We've all felt it. The disappointment of jumping into the newest and most highly anticipated video game, only to be left wishing for something other than what we received.
Recently for me, it was in Star Wars: Battlefront. The long awaited reboot to the classic FPS. The moment I heard that there was going to be a new game on the next-gen consoles, I raced over to Gamestop and preordered it, my excitement was unquenchable and I remember pulling out my old Playstation 2 and booting up my old copy of Battlefront 2, and jumping into some instant action thanks to my favorite mode: Galactic Conquest.
Well, last week the game was released and I waited patiently for the store to open so that I could partake in my glorious new game that would undoubtedly steal away my soul as I was positive that it would be exactly the game that I had envisioned. Alas, it was not. It fell short of my grandiose vision of a reboot. Now, don't get me wrong -- it is a good game. It's beautiful, and for the average gamer, it truly does bring you into the Star Wars world and allows you to enjoy the sights and sounds of some of the planets that we until now could only imagine. The problem I had with the game is that it felt as though it was lacking something. A true campaign mode - which is the biggest aspect of a game to me.
I grew up an only child in a generation that didn't have online/multiplayer options. I grew up devouring hours of campaign and story modes until I had worn out the game cartridge. It is what I'm accustomed to, and it's what I love about gaming in general: the ability to feel as though I'm being drawn into a massive story that is full of twists and turns, and it isn't until the final credits role that you feel satisfied and accomplished.
Star Wars: Battlefront truly does not have a single player campaign mode, and that is what the designers intended. They chose to focus on the multiplayer aspect of the game:
As we concepted the game and thought about the legacy of the previous Battlefront games--they didn't really have campaigns, they've always been predominately a multiplayer franchise. That's what we wanted to do. We wanted to focus on the multiplayer. - Sigurlina Ingvarsdottir (Senior Producer for DICE)
Instead of bringing in a story mode, Dice added the Missions feature which in essence is a Team Deathmatch style gameplay which can be played solo or cooperatively against bots on various maps.
Now, once again don't read this article and think that I'm saying that the game is bad, because that's not what I'm saying. Rather, I'm saying that I was sadly disappointed in what I found in this galaxy far, far away.
So the question is: How do you cope with the letdown after spending $60+ on a game you thought would quench all your gaming desires?
1. Manage your emotions
Basically, this step is key when dealing with any difficult unexpected circumstance, and it applies equally as important when dealing with your disappointment with a video game. Most psychologists say that when dealing with disappointment it's important to allow yourself to experience your emotional reaction so that you can in turn make rational decisions rather than making rash decisions while staying entrenched in the emotion you feel.
2. Don't take it personally
Now you may wonder how it's possible to take a video game personally, but honestly it's easier than you think. Have you ever said to yourself:
I'm so stupid for ever thinking this game would be good...
Man, how could I have thought it would be worth spending that much for this game?
Seriously!? I'm an idiot that game just ruined my life...
This was the worst decision of my life...
When you take it too personally, it narrows your perspective and prevents you from seeing the positives of the game that you were disappointed in.
3. Review your expectations
Once you've processed through the first two steps, then it's time to look back at your expectations. Once you've walked through your emotions and taken a step back and learned to not take it personally, then you can in essence check yourself. Take a moment to look at what you expected and why you expected it. Maybe your expectations for the game were unrealistic? Perhaps now that you know what the game really is you can give it another chance after you've had a chance to cope with the reality of the game.
4. Look at the big picture
Self-reflection is paramount to good mental health, every psychologist/ psychiatrist will tell you that. So this is where you take a moment to look at everything and take it all into consideration while dealing through your disappointment. This is the exploration phase, you've dealt with your emotions rather than letting them determine your fate, you're now in control.
5. Try again or try something else
This is the make it or move on step. This is where you truly come to the conclusion as to whether or not you let the disappointment define your gaming experience or choose to go down a different path. If you truly choose to give the game a second chance, you may wind up finding more reasons to love it rather than holding onto your disappointment. This is where you garner a deeper understanding of yourself and your gaming choices.