By oraknabo 40 Comments
I haven't posted in a long time, but I was thinking about this a lot today and felt like writing something:
I love to explore.
Historically, I've been a giant fan of huge game worlds in RPGs and Sandbox games.
As a kid, my best memories were from the original FF, Dragon Warrior, & Ultimas. Exploring Hyrule was always my favorite part of the Zelda games. Suikoden is my favorite RPG series just because of its world, lore and the vast variety of stuff you can do in it. Dragon Quest VIII is still a game I love to just run around in for the landscape alone.
As worlds in games have gotten bigger and more open, I am running into a number of problems with them and now I'm finding myself dreading even starting on stuff like the Witcher 3 and knowing games like Fallout 4 are on the horizon.
1) The games are too damn long!
I used to feel like I'd really gotten my money's worth with a 100-hour game and would try to squeeze every last drop of value out of them, but my life has gotten pretty busy and I find it hard to spend that kind of time on anything.
Now I find myself enjoying short games I can finish quickly and move on from like Game of Thrones episodes or Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (though I did play all of the New Order and loved it) or quick arcade-like sessions with games like Rogue Legacy or Binding of Isaac.
If all I had going was a demanding Job, diving into these kinds of games in my free time as a distraction would probably be the perfect thing for me, but I've got a lot of personal goals I'm always working on and I like to spend my time away from work being productive on various projects. I seem to have less and less time for entertainment.
2) The worlds are often too big/empty/repetitive
A lot of these games offer attempts to slowly reveal new gameplay experiences throughout or have a skill tree that keeps things fresh with fun new powers but they all inevitably get to a point where I run out of steam and feel like I'm not really getting much out of the experience and may only still be playing to finish the story.
I finished Fallout 3 twice, but never even made it a third of the way through New Vegas or Skyrim. Even though Far Cry 2 is one of my favorite games, I skipped FC3 (though I managed to make it all the way through 4). I made it about half way through ACIV:Black Flag though I took a pass on everything else in the series after Brotherhood. I also passed on WatchDogs, but I did make it all the way through Shadow of Mordor (even got Platinum!) and GTAV.
I think the ones I did actually finish have something that really helped keep me going. Mordor's Nemesis system and powers kept me interested well past the halfway mark even as I felt like I was mostly grinding to find collectables toward the end and GTA's heists helped a lot to break up any monotony I was feeling.
I Know how much work goes into making these games, so I understand that it's difficult to deliver depth and lots of unique detail on top of all the breadth of experience they provide, but as these worlds get bigger, I find myself wanting a little less breadth and more depth.
3) There are too many decent large world, exploration-based games
Just making the list above seems overwhelming to me and I know I missed a bunch. If you total up the number of hours of gameplay in all of the big AAA open world-series, it's a staggering amount of time. I feel like if I spent that kind of time playing games these days, I'd never have time to watch a movie, read a book, hang out with friends & family or have any kind of time to be creative on my own.
It's not that I play big, open world games out of any obligation and I'm not totally ready to give up on them, but as time goes by I seem less able to commit the time they require and it seems to be getting difficult for me to even get excited about playing them. I understand the answer is to just play less of them overall, but it's also hard to know which ones to focus on when so many are out there and you only have so much time to devote.
If you feel the same way, feel free to vent about it below or talk about what you've had to do to deal with it.