It's not much of a secret that I am terrible at beating games. I wouldn't say I have a short attention span, but longer games usually get somewhat formulaic and repetitive, so I'll stop playing for a while and play something else. That new game quickly becomes my main focus and I forget the former game even exists. Case in point: I have started the original Mass Effect three times. I love everything I've seen and heard about the Mass Effect universe. I love sci-fi and Mass Effect seems like a wonderful world filled with a colourful and vibrant backstory. The first time I played it I got to the first driving section and absolutely hated it, put the controller down and just never picked it up again. The second time I powered on though that part, but ended up getting distracted by another game not too long after. The third time I gave up half way though the citadel stuff because I was doing the same shit I had already done 2 times before.
OK, maybe I do have a short attention span.
Right now, I'm trying to play through Final Fantasy VI. 16-bit (and earlier) console games are a bit of a blank spot in my gaming knowledge. Prior to getting a PlayStation, most of my gaming was confined to the Amiga (and the Philips CDi, but the less said about that the better) so I missed out on a ton of great SNES and Mega Drive games. Apart from the obvious games that have been re-released a million times on a million different platforms (e.g.Mario, Sonic etc.) I've played very few console games from prior to the Playstation. That is something I want to rectify, and what better way to start than with Final Fantasy VI, a game that many consider to be one of the greatest RPG's of all time.
So, fully aware of my attention span issues, I set off on my adventure. It was going along swimmingly. I was loving the story, the characters and the world. The plot was fantastic. It was keeping enough suspense to make it intriguing, but bringing in new plot developments regularly enough to keep things moving forward at a good pace. The story behind the Espers and the War of the Magi was really appealing, and the current war with the Returners fighting Kefka and the Empire was engaging. The characters were varied and interesting, with the world itself being just as diverse.
10 hours in I was feeling great. This was finally going to be the game that breaks my long string of unfinished games. But I always feel like that when I'm playing through the early parts of a lengthy game. Going back to an earlier example, I felt the exact same way about Mass Effect while I was playing through the Citadel sections for the first time. And we all know how that ended.
As I continued, the game started to take it's toll. It became more repetitive. I had to spend time grinding enemies on the Veldt to teach Gau new rages, and to learn new spells from the Magicite. I powered on through this for a while and made my way through Zozo (what the fuck is up with that town?) and on to the Magitek Research Facility. Just over a week ago I reached my breaking point. With the game clock at 17 hours and 51 minutes, I couldn't play any more. Having just infiltrated the research facility, fought a bunch of difficult enemies and gained 7 new types of Magicite, it would time to do some more grinding. I need to learn some new spells and teach Gau more rages. I would be crazy to just plough through the story without learning new stuff first, but I just didn't feel any desire to engage in more repetitive battles.
But, my story isn't over yet. After giving it a break of just over a week I think I'm ready to jump back into it. I want to further the story, I'm happy to do a certain amount of grinding to achieve that. I think I've figured out how to play lengthy games. I just need to take a break for a while in the middle. Normally within a week of putting down the controller on a lengthy experience I would have found another game to occupy my time and I wouldn't touch the game I stopped playing. But I have stopped myself from doing that. I have played some games, namely Frozen Synapse (which is awesome) and the original Rayman (which I haven't played since childhood and is full of nostalgia) but nothing super in depth. And that has kept my desire to continue the story in FF VI alive.
So, will I complete the game? I certainly hope so. It might take another break after a further 10-15 hours, but hopefully I'll be able to remain undistracted and keep on going to the end. I'll be sure to keep you updated on how it's going.