Is it for me? Deciding on Whether to Buy a Particular Video Game or not
With the price of games being the way it is nowadays, you might find you have to be a bit more selective when it comes to buying games, if you’re on a tight budget.
You could try asking yourself some questions and do a little research before you commit to buying a game, if you aren't already doing this.
Will my system be able to run it?
Does the game only run on a certain operating system, and with certain hardware? Is your rig up to par, and does it at least match the minimum system requirements?
There are some games that have an extensive fan base that may be able to help out with tips and tricks to help get an older game running on a modern operating system with newer hardware, but for the most part, if it looks like you might have trouble running the title, then don’t bother.
You can check on the system requirements online – the game’s Wikipedia entry will often have them, as will several gaming blogs on the internet, and maybe the game’s official website. The game in the store will also always have the specifications listed on the back of the packaging.
This really only applies to PC gamers.
Does it utilise any sort of DRM, and which DRM does it use if so?
This has become a more and more pertinent question in recent times, with companies bundling some rather intrusive DRM with their games. Does it use SecuRom, Games For Windows Live, Steam, or some other DRM?
Keep in mind that most games do nowadays, but some DRMs are worse than others. It can range from a simple online activation to being online all the time while playing, to only being able to install a game so many times on a system.
Some argue that this is hardly a basis on which to buy a game or not, but if it totally ruins your gaming experience, then why bother with it? Maybe wait a while – sometimes developers end up patching out features like this down the road.
Is it any good?
Have you read any reviews of it? You can try gaming magazines or look up the game on Metacritic, for example. Numerous other websites will have reviews of that game, likely.
Even taking a peak at gaming forums, if you can stomach all the usual nonsense that you find there, might give you an idea of what the game is like.
Because the people there are consumers, not critics or reviewers who might get “compensated” for a good review of a title, if you know what I mean. More than likely someone somewhere will have bought the game and is talking about it.
Is there a demo available?
More and more games these days don’t receive demos, at least not before release, but rather post-release. The fact is having some hands-on time with the game could well help you make up your mind whether you like it that much, or not.
If there isn’t a downloadable playable demo, then you might even try asking if you can play a game in-store. Some places let you do this.
What genre does it belong to?
I hardly ever buy first person shooter titles nowadays. To me titles like Call of Duty, Battlefield and Medal of Honor are too short, and the gameplay isn’t particularly rewarding unless you buy it for the multiplayer, which a lot of people do.
A single player campaign that’s over in a few sessions and offers little to no replayability isn’t worth my money – unless one waits a while and the price comes down. RPGs are a different matter. I would more than gladly pay for one of those games seeing as you can easily put hundreds of hours in to something like Skyrim or Fallout New Vegas and still come back for more. And that's not even counting playthroughs using mods.
Do a little research
Look the game up online, watch trailers of it, but really go for in-game action. Trailers often show the hot bits of a game, much like movie trailers do and can be polished, a lot. Gameplay videos on YouTube, particularly from consumers, and not the official channel, will let you see just how the game plays and whether it’s everything the developer or publisher claims it to be.
Listen to podcasts put out by the developers or others online that might mention the game. Subscribe to some gaming blogs and learn more about the game; maybe someone has an opinion piece on it.
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© 2013 ANDR01D
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