Expectations are Everything
I just picked up No Man's Sky after so much drama, poor reviews, and with talks of the recent patch. That brought this question to my mind: Have you ever had a friend, family member, or co-worker rant and rave about a movie, maybe for weeks, you finally relent and go see it, having huge expectations and you are ultimately and utterly let down? How about a movie that has received horrid reviews, you risk it and go to a discount matinee just to make sure you don't lose too much money, and end up absolutely loving it? I've experienced both scenarios so many times, it made me wonder...
We have been bombarded with trailers, marketing, and cryptic messages related to the movie Dunkirk this year. Now, I love World War II history. I love anything Christopher Nolan makes. I was absolutely stoked to see the flick. It's currently sitting at a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I believe the rating was even hire right after release. I purchase $16 IMAX movie tickets for my wife and I. It was a horrible film. While the cinematography and sound effects were top notch, the dialogue was nigh impossible to understand, the plot was incredibly disjointed, and lack of context in both beginning and end made it one of the biggest letdowns for me personally, in many years. I don't ever care to see it again nor did I even think of it since that day until now.
On the WWII flip side, another WWII epic, The Zookeeper's Wife, currently sitting at 60% on RT and even lower right after release, was one of the best and most touching WWII flicks in recent years, IMHO. Enough about films, how about expectations and reviews in games? No Man's Sky was very similar to Dunkirk in that it was marketed to death, expectations were huge and in the end, most agree that the game was a total let down. For me, I never received a review code and definitely wasn't going to gamble $60 on a game that was clearly a let down for most.
Pleasant Surprises at the Right Price
No Man's Sky is currently $23.99 on Steam right now. Spoiler Alert: You should pick it up right now. After hearing so many negative things but then news of a solid, major patch dropping, I was much more willing to gamble $23 bones instead of the normal asking price of $59.99. Even after a heavily discounted price, my expectations were still extremely low but I am actually loving the game. While not really optimized, the graphics are quite good. The sound effects and atmospheric effects are solid. The amount of things to see, do, and areas to explore are immense. It truly is a flawed yet extremely fun experience to blast off a planet's surface and out into the reaches of space.
Is the game worth full asking price of $59.99? I'm not quite sure yet. Is it worth $23.99? Absolutely and most definitely. While I wish I could go back and spend my Dunkirk money of this game instead, I truly believe that expectations can mold and ultimately define our end result. Will the game get old and end up sitting in my large pile of discarded Steam games? Maybe, but I've already got more solid entertainment out of it than my $32 investment in Dunkirk...