Demanding an end to repetitive games
If there’s one thing we’re short of at QorC Towers – other than good looks, cleanliness and wit – it’s time. And that means unrelentingly repetitive games are something of a problem.
We have full time jobs, we have families, there’s Dave to muck out too. And all this combined means it’s rare that I get more than a couple of hours in an evening to fire up my trusty PS4.
QorC podcast: Are some games wasting our time?
It’s a far cry (and I’ll come back to that later) from the days of my lackadaisical youth when my parents would cook and clean for me, so leaving me free to spend days on end breeding a golden chocobo in Final Fantasy VII.
So, when I do get a spare hour to play a game, I tend to want to use my precious time to experience more than yet another identikit fetch quest in the latest Assassin’s Creed or Far Cry. Surely I’m not the only one?
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m as partial to a huge open world game as the next – after all, I recently ploughed 15+ hours into The Division Beta over a lost weekend. But where I draw the line is when it comes to games going out of their way to waste my time.
Killing pigeons in GTA, solving the Riddler’s crappy puzzles in Batman: Arkham Knight or hunting for honey badgers in Far Cry 4 are, to my mind, all examples of a game wasting my time. These time-sponge addendums to games are nothing but filler, a means through which developers can shoulder the burden of a growing expectation from gamers and gaming press that a release has to offer over forty hours of ‘gameplay’ to be worth forty quid.
Would Assassin’s Creed: Unity really be worse off for not having a ridiculous number of artifacts and newspapers dotted around its syphilis-ridden Parisian locale? I doubt it. In fact I think a trimmed down, leaner version of Assassin’s Creed could let the franchise get back to making us feel like assassins, rather than some parkour-trained kleptomaniac.
Perhaps Ubisoft agrees with me. After all, the publisher has recently announced that Assassin’s Creed is on hiatus, meaning that this will be the first year since 2008 that we won’t see a return of the franchise.
I think it unlikely but maybe, just maybe, 2017’s Assassin’s Creed will be bursting with ideas that genuinely hold my attention throughout 20-30 hours of exhilarating combat, smart storytelling and novel gameplay.
Wouldn’t you rather get that instead than 40-50 hours of working out how to leap off a ledge so you just so happen to nudge into an Animus fragment that finally allows you to claim it as your own?
On the other side of the divide stand games like Firewatch and Her Story. These titles concentrate their experiences into a condensed, plot-heavy handful of hours – the gaming equivalent of a movie versus Assassin’s Creed’s multi-series DVD box set.
Not every gamer wants to shell out ten or twenty quid on a game that’s going to be done and dusted after just a short amount of time, admittedly. But for us at QorC it’s almost a relief to be able to complete a game while still having time to see the wife and kids.
Perhaps the best example of a game that’s straddled the two extremes most successfully in recent times has been Until Dawn. A single play-through takes about 12 hours, but the game is varied enough that a second or third play could still yield surprises that the player hasn’t experienced before.
Is this the perfect balance of time investment vs reward, so making it the recipe for Ubisoft and others to follow going forward. Or does the pigeon fancying of GTA, or junk-collecting antics of Unity represent better bang for your buck?
I know where myself and the rest of the QorC lads stand, but then we’ve all got work, families and putting together Ikea furniture (in the case of Dave) taking chunks of our time. Come on gaming: make games worth our time.
About Quit or Continue
Want to know more about Quit or Continue? Well, the short version is that we’re four 30-something blokes who love games, don’t have the time we used to and want to guide people like us to make the right choice when they buy games.
We review games in the book club style to tell you if a game is a waste of time. And, even better, we’re here to make your voice heard, so please let us know your thoughts on this or any game we’ve covered.
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