Which Smash Bros. is best? Was it the original on the N64? The more competitive Melee? The more casual-friendly Brawl? Or the more recent Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS, which is a mix of the latter two? Which Fallout is most superior? Is God of War a great fantasy action title with fun and visceral combat, or an experience about a whiny and violent baboon that insults mythology except for the first, which was a good Greek tragedy? Which Final Fantasy adventure was the most engrossing?
Those might be some hard questions, but stop and think for a second. When reading those, how many people will at least once jump to the conclusion of 'Well, that one is the best and that other one was a waste of money'? How many will say, 'This game is objectively better than that one'? That's the whole point of this article.
Make no mistake, this is not to say that there can't be bad games even in an otherwise good series (no one shall speak of the Zelda CD-i games…) and that every complainer is wrong, but seriously thinking for just a second…what could be expected?
It would be easy to go on a rant about how some people are sticking to their nostalgia-filled goggles when they settle down to play Morrowind because Skyrim is so much better. Until the next game comes out, and the people playing that are laughing at the people who think Skyrim is the best when, obviously Elder Scrolls VI: The Rise of the Mudcrab is the best. That would be easy. That would also be missing the point of this Critical Hit, though.
As of the time of writing of this article, Final Fantasy: J-Pop Boy Ban-… erm… Final Fantasy XV is on the horizon, yet, despite not being released, a lot of people have decided it's going to be horrible. Why? Well, many were hoping the next Final Fantasy would be a return to the classical mix of high-Fantasy, inventive story-telling, great characters, and a little bit of magi-tech thrown in. Instead, the most well-known things about the game are that it stars a bunch of boys and Cidney was in the crosshairs for her outfit. That's enough to put people off, completely because there is a preconceived notion of what a Final Fantasy should be, and not having one that meets that criteria will cause it to be written off.
How many Smash Bros. fans still play Melee? Well, when the Wii U and 3DS versions came out, what were they hoping the game would be like? Some hardcore, competitive, fighting game? Before details were even released? Yes, as they felt like that was the direction the series should be taking. They didn't want what they got, since they felt they deserved Melee 2 and, thusly, the actual quality of the game got ignored in favour of the ideal.
A series doesn't always have to go in a different direction, because that would be senseless. Imagine if Kratos suddenly got put into something like Ace Attorney. The game would be less about finding conclusive proof and more about trying to find a way to not get killed when trying to pin the murder of multiple gods and a countless number of innocents, some multiple times over, on someone who doesn't even care if he's guilty or not. However, some people take this to mean that the game should be exactly as they imagined and desired it, and the result is entitlement.
A game tries something new? It's bad. The developer changed something that you liked for simplicity's sake? Pandering to casuals. Added in a new feature? Shocking. The old game wouldn't have been such a sell-out. Newcomers like the game? They are just wet behind the ears and don't know what the series is really about.
Bad practices abound, stupid decisions are made, games get worse, and these things need to be dealt with. However, nothing comes from a smug sense of superiority and feeling that the next title should be exactly what you expect it to be, which is likely to be just a rehash of your favourite title, or a drastically new direction, especially if it comes with the dismissal of said game having even possibly done something right.