Gaming isn’t the cheapest hobby in the world. Recreational duck hunting would probably work out cheaper in the long run. So as a student who is struggling financially – shocking I know – it can be quite difficult to justify the financial outlay required to play a newly released game. Shelling out A$90 – A$120 can be quite a bit of cash, especially when you consider that you are not really assured value for money.
Perhaps the art design bugs you, the aiming system is too twitchy or the story is so bland and predictable that you lose all desire to plough through the admittedly entertaining levels. There are so many variables present throughout the production and execution of a game, and often so little margin for error, that only one small mistake in production can ruin the experience.
This gives you two options. One, forego gaming as a pastime as you simply cannot afford to live off carpet stir-fry’s anymore. Or alternatively, continue to chance your arm with the constant stream of expensive new titles and write a cook book to finance your habit outlining the best way to grill polypropylene.
Both of these are quite frankly horrible ideas. So I propose something else.
Look closely at what you like, think of previous games you have enjoyed and see if you can find any common denominators. For instance, if you loved the escapade of Nathan Hale and company in the Resistance series and you are only taking your first tentative steps into platforming games, you could start with Ratchet and Clank as it was developed by the same studio (Insomniac) and the gloriously innovative weapon design present across both games will help ease the transition.
You may consider yourself a huge fan of shooters, yet you only enjoyed one of the last three entries in the Call of Duty series. Again, look at the developers involved. It is possible you only really enjoy the games from Infinity Ward and not from Treyarch. This way you can pick and choose, plus have a greater degree of confidence that your money will be well spent.
It isn’t just the people who make the game that you should look out for either. Hold off on that pre-order until a few reviews have started to trickle out. Make sure you read multiple reviews if it’s a game you are unsure of, unless of course you have a particular reviewer or website that tends to line up very well with your own opinions on games. If you generally agree with the opinions of the IGN or GameSpot staff then chances are you may rely on them to help influence your purchase.
The big moral here is to be smart about what you’re going to purchase if you’re a student or on a budget, don’t make any mistakes and research what you’re going to buy, especially if it’s going to burn a huge hole in your wallet for the month.
That way, you don’t end up with an empty fridge for two weeks just so you can be disappointed by a massively hyped and revolutionary shooter that you’ve been counting down the days for. Which ultimately turns out to be the boiled shag rug soup of the videogame world – Haze.