Overcoming First Impressions

How much time does it take for your initial impression of a game to form? A few minutes? A few hours? How much time does it take to overturn that first impression, if indeed it can be overturned at all? First impressions are very powerful things. No matter the subject be it a game, a movie, a book, or even a person, your first impression of them is going to heavily influence your interactions. Usually we have plenty of opportunity to reinforce or overturn it, but what happens when your first impression becomes your only impression?

It’s been about a month since I sunk my first few hours into Final Fantasy XV, and unfortunately that handful of hours still represents the entirety of my time with the  game.  I blame this on my decision to pick up Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE for Wii U shortly after starting Final Fantasy XV. I thought that Tokyo Mirage  was just going to be an interesting little side-game to change things up every so often as I played through FFXV, but it instead wound up nearly monopolizing my game time ever since I started it. Now though, after three weeks, I’m finally poised to finish Tokyo Mirage but I’m not feeling the excitement I ought to be. I see FFXV looming just over the horizon. I know I need to go back. I know that it’s a well-made game. I also know that I’ve already decided that I’m probably not going to like it.

You see, my first few hours with Final Fantasy XV did not do very much to convince me that it was a game that I wanted to play. I’ll just say right off the bat that it ‘s an absolutely beautiful game, I don’t think anybody could deny that. If visuals alone were enough to get me into a game, I don’t think anybody could pull me away from this one. If my friends are to be believed though, those visuals are mere icing on the cake when compared to the actual gameplay its sporting. However that wasn’t my impression of the game. My impression was one of creeping boredom and frequent questions.

I found myself asking questions from the word go. I wondered if I could just proceed through the story like I wanted or if I had to mess around in this open environment for awhile first in order to level up in preparation. I questioned why I had to be chauffeured from location to location rather than doing the driving myself. I mused as to why I had to do a fishing mini-game, why level ups only happened when I camped for the night, and how I could better keep track of Noctis during combat encounters.  Perhaps all these are all things I’ll grow accustomed to once I return and sink more time into it, but right now they’re all sitting in front of me as very good reasons to just forget about the game and move on to something else.

My experience with Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE hasn’t made this any better either. Without getting too much into it, it’s very clear what’s going on in that game. I have a clear path to follow, but not to the point of being led by the nose. The progression system makes sense, there are no unnecessary mini-games to deal with, and the combat makes a point off ensuring that you’re always aware of who’s doing what. Suffice it to say, having this comparison has only made my initial reservations all the more compelling.

Despite all of this though, I do want to return to Final Fantasy XV. Right now I’m only grudgingly returning to it because I promised a friend I’d do so, but I want it to give me a reason to stay. I would absolutely love it if the game managed to overturn these first impressions of mine, but right now I think its unlikely. First impressions are powerful things after all.

Have you ever gone back to a game that left you with an unfavorable first impression? Did it overcome that impression? What did it have to do to win you over?

Image by Flickr user portal gda (CC)

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Yes, I have gone back, and no, the game wasn’t any better… I found that the reasons I disliked the game were still there even after taking a break. The only time I ever changed my opinion about a game was if I overall liked the game itself but had some “fan” issues at the time, like with Dragon Age II being so different from Dragon Age: Origins, and Skyward Sword being so irritating after Twilight Princess. But I hated Two Worlds II even after seven hours of playing, and still hated it when I picked it up again to give it another shot.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Ah, I see. At least you gave it a proper chance. Was it just an awkward game to play or was there something else about it?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For Two Worlds II? I just didn’t really like it. I know fans of it say it has a solid story, but – while the premise was interesting – the characters were one-dimensional, the equipment menu is awkward at best… and the protagonist *giggles* every time he kills something (and while it would be interesting to play as a serial killer, I’m not sure that’s what the game was going for here). It was glitchy, the combat/targeting system didn’t always work right… ugh.

        It’s too bad, because I wanted to like it. Some of the side quests seem interesting and not at all like the standard “fetch quests,” and like I said the story premise seemed interesting, but there was just something about it that irritated me every time i went to play it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hatm0nster says:

        Sounds like it was kind of a mess. I probably wouldn’t have tolerated it for very long either.

        …they seriously giggled after every kill? That’s kinda messed up. :/

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeah maybe it got better the further in your played, but still… And yes. He seemed to get quite a bit of joy out of killing things…:/

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Imtiaz Ahmed says:

    as the previous comment stated, initially Skyward Sword was that game for me. I was initially turned off by the games hand holding. Everytime I would re-load my game, the game thought it was suitable to keep telling me each time I caught a bug, it’s history and he it’s daddy was. I didn’t understand this along with other things. But as I took an extended break from the game and came back, focusing on the gameplay, exploration and story alone, I fell in love with this game and it ended great! There were some really cool boss fights to.

    One game that started sour after much hype for me, and isn’t doing much to fix that is Xenoblade Chronicles X. I got this game on day 1, I’ve invested 60+ hours in it so far, I’m near the end but there are things about this game that make it drag and don’t wipe away that first initial bad taste.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. duckofindeed says:

      My experience with Skyward Sword was kind of opposite yours. My first time playing it, I loved it. During my second playthrough, however, now that I knew what to expect, that initial wonder of, “wow, look how well I can control Link’s sword” was gone. Plus, I found myself hating all the extra little “fetch quests” the game made me do, which sometimes made the game feel like a chore rather than a fun experience. And I think I had so much fun during my initial playthrough that my expectations were too high the second time around. High expectations have ruined many a game for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Hear me out! It’s now one of my favorite games of all time!

    But the first time I played it I just didn’t “get” it. It took me a while to figure out the first section in Clock Town, and then make it to the swamp and do the lost woods/maze, and get to the first dungeon. I managed all that and beat Woodfall Temple – having to rewind time more than a few times. After that, I gave up. Nothing about the game clicked for me.

    I eventually went back to Majora’s Mask months later – deleted my game and started again. And something about the 3-day hook just worked this time. I found the rhythm of the game and its puzzles, and was more accepting of the need to restart the cycle before the moon crashed into Termina.

    It’s a classic Zelda game, but the introductory puzzles and path to the first dungeon, combined with the time limit, are unforgiving in many ways.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      It’s definitely a game that takes getting used to. It tells you what you need to know, but doesn’t do much to tell you about non-essential, but helpful things like the Reverse Song of Time. I don’t think I figured that out until I hit Great Bay Temple the first time through.

      Thankfully the 3DS remake does a lot to address those issues. Still prefer the old version since I’m used to it, but am glad there’s now something available to make the experience more accessible.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Mr. Panda says:

    Yes, sort of. There are games with pretty poor starts, but I know they’re great. For example, Zelda: Twilight Princess and Kingdom Hearts II. The first few hours are abysmal, but I continued them because I would enjoy the rest of the game, and I did. I didn’t stop playing, but I knew ahead of time that I should like it. I actually enjoyed FFXV’s and TMS #FE’s starts. I just didn’t get around to finishing the latter. Usually, if I stop a game, it’s not because I didn’t like it, but because something else came up, usually better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      That’s usually what happens when I stop playing a game too. Out of curiosity, how far did you get in TMS #FE?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. duckofindeed says:

    I often find that my first impressions of a game are wrong. My initial impression of Ni no Kuni was that it was super boring. After a few hours, though, that all changed, and it’s now one of my favorite RPGs. The game just took a while to get started, but once you get allies to fight alongside you, it becomes a much better game. I loved Super Paper Mario during my first playthrough, but after that, it’s never really appealed to me as much as it did the first time. Once the whole mystery involving Blumiere and Timpani is revealed, the game wasn’t as interesting to me anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Agreed with Super Paper Mario. Loved it during the first playthrough, but unfortunately the game gameplay just isn’t enough to hold it up after the story concludes.


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