Polygon Community Feature: The games which beat your personal 'Hype Train'
A few weeks ago, if you recall I asked the Polygon community a simple question:
"Which games met your personal hype train, and then some?"
Since then we had a number of great responses from our fellow Polynauts, all of which are listed below. The hype train is coming folks, and it's stopping at Kingdom Hearts, Castlevania, Skyrim, LBP2, Fallout 3 and Red Dead Redemption. - feel free to add more stops in the comments section below about the games you feel are hype-tastic.
For me, my ‘Hype Train' was justified in the shape of the cowboy sim, Red Dead Redemption. A little background, I don't like GTA games. I never have, I probably never will.
Something about the series annoys me, it might be the driving controls, it might be the "serious" business of crime, I don't know. Anyway, when I first heard about RDR, I had a bad feeling. Rockstar? Oh, Lord no!
I saw some of the trailers, and my feelings changed. This looked like it might be a laugh! From seeing some of those early trailers, I was hooked. I needed to see every scrap of info I could, I couldn't wait to get to horsing around (hoho!) in the Wild West.
Upon release, I was expecting a romping, rollocking cowboy game and while I got this, I also got a more ponderous, thoughtful take on the genre; one that resonated with me tremendously. While the game has numerous ways for you to be a jackass, I opted to play Marston as a good guy, because it felt like the right thing to do. The portrayal of his character informed my choices in-game, and the game was better because of it. Red Dead, I salute you, for being better than I had hoped - and my hopes were high.
Oh, and those long horse rides, Mexico and the homecoming?
Between Google bothering me to provide them with my phone number from the handset that I haven't seen in six months - and the utter disappointment that Borderlands 2 brought as a single-player game - I struggle to think of a game that I could write about.
Maybe I should cast my mind into a bit of an adventure, I suppose some distraction will help. As I place the pitch black disc into my Xbox 360, that menu theme starts to play as it loads my saved data from the cloud. It hits me.
This is the game which exceeded all my expectations, and then some.
From the very moment that I started the game, I was sold. The simplistic design of the menu, coupled with that theme coated another layer of mystery onto the adventure I was about to undertake. It began rather hands-free, your character put onto the back seat of a horse drawn cart to take in the sights. While this wasn't great from a gameplay point of view, it did an ample job of introducing some basic concepts that were relevant to the world I'd soon drown myself in.
After a small hour of creating my usual character; a Redguard, I was off!
A semi-tutorial was all that was between me and a world to explore, but I didn't mind. The game was already proving to be awesome and could only get better from here on. I chose to go with the Imperials, mostly because I didn't actually notice the Stormcloak lad over yonder. I mean, dragon....hello?
So after my blade accidentally finding its way into the Imperial torturer, and sneaking past a bear with all the subtleness of a giant, I was free. A whole world awaited, and I went to pick flowers and catch butterflies; maybe not the most epic start of my journey but something so simple was actually a blast to do.
The world was gorgeous, and behind every stone was a new discovery waiting to be discovered. In every cave there were new treasures to be found, and none of it looked the same. Skyrim was everything I had hoped it would be, and even then it gave me a bit more.
It is the game I go back to when others disappoint, because it's the game which never disappointed me.
Alright, let me start off by saying, that there are very very few games that I buy into the Hype Train for. But, there's always exceptions to the rules right? But I digress; there has only been one game in my lifetime that I have actually followed every step of the way from announcements at E3, to GamesCon, to PennyArcade Expo, well you get the point right?
That game was LittleBigPlanet.
LittleBigPlanet was a huge deal for me. It was released right around the time I got my first PS3. But even cooler were the tie-ins; the pre-order skins, sticker packs, etc., from the likes of GameStop. Let me begin by saying I don't normally pre-order games, and if I do it's certainly not for the preorder perks. But somehow having a Kratos Skin and Nariko skins, was just too cool a proposition to pass up; not to mention all the stickers and junk used for level creation. But all of that aside, that wasn't my biggest reason for following the game so closely.
The main reason was that it reminded me of Super Mario Brothers, although a Mario Bros. with super-physics-driven-awesomeness!
Not only that but it was a customizable physics driven game, which I still to this day haven't found many that I enjoy as much as LittleBigPlanet; and my brothers, cousins, pretty much everyone I know loves the game as well. To this day anytime I hear someone recommend a PlayStation 3, the advice to pick up LittleBigPlanet as well is never that far behind.
The other side to this was the level creation. Being that I'm not all that creative myself, I spent endless hours seeking out and downloading levels with my brothers and cousins, and playing the living daylights out of them. The sheer number of things people have done with the limited resources in LittleBigPlanet was just astounding to me. This level of depth was the reason I continued to play the game up until LittleBigPlanet 2 came out.
It was just such a fantastic game, and it's still easily one of my top 5 games of all time.
I was so hype for that game.
My brothers and I grew up on Sega consoles. 1999 came and the Dreamcast stunned us at Christmas. It was better than every console we had before, and in some cases had games that looked better than what we saw at arcades (for example Soul Calibur.) Cue massive disappointment when the Dreamcast was discontinued. Whilst we enjoyed the Dreamcast for another year or so, without new games... our interest eventually waned.
So with the Dreamcast now defunct, we found Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft each courting us with their PlayStation 2, Gamecube, and Xbox respectively. We argued over which would best replace the Dreamcast, and since we would have to combine funds and buy it ourselves we had to be in agreement otherwise we wouldn't be upgrading. I wanted the PS2, citing backwards compatibility, DVD functionality, and the cool looking games (plural), my one brother wanted an Xbox citing the better graphics, Halo (the only game he ever mentioned), and DVD playback.
My other brother was mostly indifferent ,but would sometimes mention GameCube just to add friction, lol.
We were actually discussing that very topic when suddenly on TV this commercial aired. It captured us in three ways.
- That song is sooooo good!
- OMFG!!! It's every Disney character in one game!
- SEPHIROTH!!!!!!! \(≧∇≦)/
Negotiations concluded, and we started saving for a PS2. We were still saving when we got both the PS2 and Kingdom Hearts as a pair of surprise Christmas gifts. HYPE!! The story and gameplay were fantastic, and all the voice work was perfect. We played the crap out of that game, completing every side-quest, and in doing so unlocked the secret ending.
Christ almighty, the hype train when into hype-er drive after that.
Games that met my hype, eh? Well, I guess it'd be the time I walked on out of the Nintendo vault and into a brave new world. The year is 2008 baby, The Office was still enjoyable, high school was still a thing I attended, and the Wii had just got some of the best games it was ever going to get.
But all those things were about to end as we hit the summer months; with ‘The Office', school, and the Wii all taking an extended break of sorts. You see, it was E3, that magical time of the year where Santa shows you all the gifts you're going to get half a year in advance. I was anxiously waiting for ‘Day 2' when Nintendo got to show the goods. But hey, Microsoft's show was on TV the day before so why not check that out?
You know how these things are just one big ad for the company and they're really just trying to sell new people on the console that everyone else already bought? This time it worked. Why? Partially an after the credits scene with Nick Fury, er Final Fantasy XIII and the promise of more RPG's in the future which my Wii lacked.
But, there was another RPG on show that impressed me. I was the type of guy that dismissed all those grey looking shooty games as grey looking shooty games. However, I was being promised a huge open world and utter absurdity with this one. I gun that shoots Teddy Bears? One that launches mini-nuclear bombs? All while listening to ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy' on the radio? Alright, maybe I needed a machine that could play this. But, I mean, I'll be spending all my money this year on kickass Wii games right? Except, well, Nintendo didn't have any of those at that year's E3. So, I decided that Fallout 3 was worth over $300.
Here I go. I'm finally stepping out of the Nintendo nest. I'm getting a brand new $300 console for this one game. That's all that really needs to be said about my hype level regarding this game. Well, once I got everything ready to go I began my adventure in the Capital Wasteland. The thing is, it's not that exciting a journey right at the start. Nope, it's all about survival, just making it out of the Vault was a trial for someone like me who wasn't used to this sort of game.
But that was it, the game didn't meet my hype. It was exceeding it.
Fallout 3 wasn't just what I expected, it was something I had never experienced. I mean, here I was in a game that was giving me a wealth of options, ones which could potentially screw me over later down the line. I did whatever I thought took to survive; an example of this is when one guy asks me to diffuse a bomb in town, another one tells me to blow it up, what runs through my mind? The morality of it all? No, man, whoever offered more cash; I got out of that scumhole and blew it to hell, or I guess the next circle of hell.
So yeah, I guess I didn't expect that. I also didn't expect to be fearing for my life in a cramped old nuclear shelter crawling with mutated freaks. Here I am, low on supplies, health, and without as much experience as I need, I wasn't sure what to do. I have a few grenades. Grenades, I never use them, too dangerous I always thought. But, hey it's my last chance. So I start sneaking around and hope to whatever divine entity exists in this game (none, unless they're a huge troll.) that these things do the trick. It did. Throughout the game I was pushed out of my comfort zone and had a gaming experience like no other I've ever had.
While, revisiting the game doesn't wield the same results and I can laugh at how easy the game is for me even on its hardest difficulty, I still find myself enjoying the game years later. I've put like 400 hours into the game, so yeah, you could say I made the right decision. For once...
For me it was Castlevania: Lords of Shadow in 2009. After a series of disappointing attempts at making a fully-3D adventure set in this universe, Konami wisely decided to adopt an IP that Spanish outfit MercurySteam had under development and repurpose it into official canon. It was the first E3 trailer that sold me on not only the game, but the sheer awesomeness of the voice cast. Patrick Stewart, Robert Carlyle, Natasha McElhone and Jason Isaacs all lent their talents to the benefit of the story, and whilst the former Captain Picard phoned his performance in somewhat, it certainly didn't distract from my experience during the first play through.
I think the standout moments were the ones which I didn't expect; whilst I anticipated the riffs on God of War it was the moments which evoked the best parts of the large scale ‘Shadows of the Colossus' battles that made me smile the most. The world of Castlevania became a tangible thing to me, and being based in the early parts of the last millennium where our collective history is only somewhat sparsely recorded, I had no problem believing the gravity of the story.
If I had to point out the highest point of the game it was the boss fight with Cornell; the lowest involved bad camera angles during some key moments though they mostly manifested during platforming sections. Still, it was my ‘Game of the Year' for good reason in 2010 even though I never touched the downloadable content, but I'll likely be tackling that at some point ahead of Lords of Shadow 2.
And there we have it folks, a collection of hype-tastic memories of games which beat the hype train back into storage. Do any of the above tales resonate with you? Or maybe you've got stories of your own to tell. Hit the comments folks, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts on games which beat your personal 'hype trains'.