Editorial: Can We Ignore Expectations?
It's similar to asking, "can we possibly ignore hype?" but this is a bit more specific.
So I finally got around to beating Final Fantasy XIII this past week and while I certainly enjoyed the ending and I liked the game, I know it fell well short of my expectations. But at the same time, I have to admit to myself that FFXIII is certainly one of the better titles currently available on store shelves; in comparison to most, it's a superior experience. Plain and simple. And yet, at the same time, it's easily my least favorite entry in the legendary RPG series (with the possible exception of FFV). ...does anyone else find this to be out of whack? I know I'm a huge fan and everything, but this whole situation has led me to ask the intriguing question, "can we ignore our expectations?" In other words, can we go into every game with a blank slate, regardless of past affiliations with the title in question...?
There was a time, way back in my idealistic youth, when I believed we could always do that. Just forget about the past. Accept what's in front of you and don't compare it to anything else. If you like it, that's the only important thing. But no matter how much I may recommend FFXIII to other people, I will always say it was, overall, a bit of a disappointment to me. Obviously, it's because past FF installments were so memorable and amazing, perhaps it wasn't even fair to hold FFXIII up to such scrutiny. But then, another part of me says- "What the hell? Of course you have to scrutinize and compare; the franchise has set and reset the bar, so it must continue to live up to its good name!" I keep going back and forth on this and I'm afraid there is no easy solution. The bottom line is that it doesn't seem possible to "ignore the past."
Perhaps it's part of our genetic makeup. Have you ever been able to block out the past? Can you look at one game in an established series that you really enjoy, without letting memories of past entries cloud your judgment? And even if you think you're doing so, are you really? And what happens when expectations become, in all reality, basically insurmountable? Are we destined to be disappointed at some point down the line? Sorta depressing, I know, but worth discussing.
4/16/2010 Ben Dutka