The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild – what were you expecting?

GameCentral readers discuss games that turned out to be very different to what they expected, from Skyrim to Pokémon.

The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Puro, who asked what game did you have completely the wrong idea about until you played it properly? Is there a game you assumed you wouldn’t like, which on further investigation you found was totally different to what you imagined?

A lot of people seemed to have had that experience, either because they went in blind, were fooled by deceptive marketing, or just got the wrong idea in general. Dark Souls came up a lot but so too did recent games like Resident Evil 7 and God Of War.


Not like the others

I’m not sure how unusual this story is but I know that Zelda is not as big a seller as many assume, at least not compared to Mario and Pokémon. But anyway, my story is that I have never owned a Nintendo console before the Switch. I’ve played on them, borrowed them even, but never completed any of their games or really got that into them.

I think you can probably guess where this is going but needless to say I was completely blown away by Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. I had played some of the Zelda games before, Twilight Princess the most, but had found them to be quite restrictive and boring. But this was nothing like them and nothing like anything else I’d ever played either.

How they got this game working on a Switch I’ll never known but the size and breadth of the game is just astonishing. I was expecting something like the Twilight Princess but just without having the world split up into separate areas, but this was far more than that. It’s easily the best open world I’ve ever explored and I basically cannot think of a bad word to say about it. And that’s definitely not what I expected.


Official winner

I think my answer for this may come close to being the definitive answer because I know for a fact that Final Fantasy VII is the most returned game ever in the UK (I doubt that record has been broken recently given the rise of digital and people generally knowing much more about games before release nowadays).

For those that weren’t around at the time Final Fantasy VII was advertised purely around the cut scenes with almost no sign of the real in-game graphics. More than that it was heavily implied to be an action game, and since it was the first major Japanese role-playing game to be pushed in the UK most people had no idea what it was until they bought it, played it, and… didn’t like it.

I did at least keep it long enough to beat it but it was not what I expected and I can’t honestly say I enjoyed it. I more kept at it just because it was so weird I was curious what was coming next. The UK is a little more friendly towards Japanese role-players but still well behind other countries, and I’m not sure Final Fantasy VII really helped.


Lesson learned

It almost feels painful to talk about this one but I’d say it had to be No Man’s Sky really. I don’t remember when the reviews came out but I’d pre-ordered it and hadn’t read one by the time I played it. I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch to say I was disappointed.

But it wasn’t just that it wasn’t as good as I thought it was completely different to everything they’d said about the game. There was no action, the graphics were terrible, the aliens were irrelevant, there was no story or interaction, and it was horribly repetitive.

I was expecting some kind of space epic the simulated the entire universe and let you do anything you wanted. Instead it was a boring survival game where there was basically nothing to do. It did have one good thing about it though: It taught me never to pre-order again.


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Unexpectedly enjoyable

I owe this one to GC, but XCOM. I’m not sure it was so much different from what I expected though, as I didn’t know what to expect at all. Although the fact that I really enjoyed it was certainly not what I expected.

I knew it was a strategy game, of course, but I hadn’t really played a proper one before, as a console owner, and I wasn’t really sure what it’d be like. I expected it to be very slow and complicated, but really the first tutorial takes you through it all super quick and I basically never looked back after that.

It does get more complicated after, and I did struggle a bit with the base stuff, but once you muddle through one game (probably losing) you just start again and I when I won the second time I was over the moon and completely sold on everything!


Surprise reverse

I get the impression this topic is meant to be positive, but when it comes to games that you thought were one thing and they turned out to be another the first one that springs to mind for me was Far Cry 5. The first half dozen or so hours I was absolutely convinced it was a modern classic, the best of the series, and probably one of the best games of the year – if not generation.

And then it slowly turned into one of those games that weirdly gets easier the further you get, not harder. Once I’d unlocked all the computer-controlled allies I was basically invincible and defeat was such a minor inconvenience nothing seemed to matter.

Rather than a tough survival game with a strong political message it turned out to be a rather silly first person game with nothing to say and a backwards difficultly curve. I could’ve sworn it was going to be good but it wasn’t. So yeah, that one subverted my expectations. Just not in a good way.


Sneaking mission accomplished

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by Metal Gear Solid V. I would never have bought, seeing as I haven’t liked the previous games, but when it came on PS Plus for free I gave it ago and was pretty impressed. I knew it was open world going in, but I didn’t really think it’d be so different that it was almost a completely different game.

Sure there was stealth and everything in it, but it all felt much less linear and contrived. And of course it didn’t have much story either. I imagine fans saw this as a bad thing but I most certainly did not. So yes, it wasn’t at all what I expected going in, considering I actually liked.


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Double surprise

For years I’ve managed to avoid all the hype about the Dark Souls games. Life is too short to have a game beat you up about every simple mistake and I didn’t want anything to do with it. But then Bloodborne came free on PS Plus and I figured I didn’t have anything to lose, especially as I’d heard it was slightly easier than the regular Souls games. I don’t know about that but it definitely deserves all the praise it gets.

At first the game was exactly what I was expecting: punishingly, stupidly hard. I had no idea what I was doing, where I was going, or why I was even bothering. But I know from the Inbox that this is actually a normal thing and that getting to the first lamp and working out how to deal with the mob in the street is kind of the first right of passage.

After I did that and beat the first boss I began to get confident and started to appreciate the game. Father Gascoigne nearly killed my newfound confidence but eventually a I beat him too and then… I loved the game. Or rather I really liked it. I finally fell completely in love with the game when all the Lovecraft stuff kicks in halfway through. I’d completely forgotten that was supposed to be a part of the game and when it started the game just ascended for me.

So at first it was what I expected, then it wasn’t, and then it wasn’t again. Amazing experience.


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