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bob

Games length

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Thought this might be an interesting topic, that has bothered me for a while.

 

 

Basically, I have less and less time to play games these days, but i still try and squeeze in an hour every now and then. I feel like there are some games these days that are just long for the sake of being long, while others seem to judge the length better.

 

 

My playthrough of The Witcher 3 suffered a lot from this. After about 25 hours of playing through the main storyline, I felt it was ready to wrap up and deliver the ending. However, it just kept going! There was still about a third of the game to go! It just felt so long, i ended up being relieved when it finished, which was a pity, because I was really enjoying the game up until then. The slog at the end left a bitter taste in my mouth, and made me less likely to do any post game content.

 

 

As a comparison, a game like Titanfall 2 had a great, neat campaign that felt about the right length, with a nicely judged difficulty curve and good pacing throughout. I was satisfied all the way to the end, and didn't feel like it had ended prematurely.

 

 

The other aspect is the post-game content, or trophy hunting. In my opinion, through the process of playing the main story of a game, it should guide you towards opening up the rest of the content/side quests, and through playing those, you should be 60-70% of the way through the games content. Once done, you can play through and mop up the rest of the side quests, content or trophies. This isn't the case in certain games. After completing Yakuza 0 (for which the main story was pretty well judged IMO), the amount of extra crap to do was just silly, especially trophy hunting. I think after around 30 hours, I had finished the main game and done a fair few of the side quests, but there was still around 100 hours of 'extras' to do (according to howlongtobeat.com)! I realise that no-one is forcing you to do all the extras, but 'completing' a game gives a certain sort of satisfaction, and putting that behind a 100 hour barrier just seems bizarre.

 

 

One argument in favour of long games is the value for money aspect. Many people argue that if you are paying £60 for a game, you want it to last as long as possible before you feel the need to spend another £60 on the next one. However, there's a difference in playing a game that has great 'replayability', and one that just gives you loads of boring tasks to do to draw the game out, or adds a load of extraneous chapters and has a story that drags. One could draw parallels with films. Nobody complains that films aren't long enough. If the film tells a great story in 90 mins or 180 mins, it's still a good film. Nobody is walking out of the cinema complaining that the film should have been 4 hours long. 

 

 

Anywho, do you think some games are too long these days? Should we expect a certain length of gameplay, or should it not really matter? How much post-game content is acceptable/needed? What sort of balance is needed?

 

 

 

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I tend to prefer shorter games these days but it completely depends on how invested in the world/game I am. Games like Persona 4 or (completely the opposite to you bob) The Witcher 3 kept me so interested that I was happy to keep playing.

I don't necessarily have time to play the longer games anymore but if one really sucks me in then I'll tend to get lost in it for hours (a rarity for me these days).

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I finished Dragon Quest XI a few weeks ago.  Whilst I absolutely loved it, and have been meaning to write a review, the length did leave me feeling a bit burnt-out.  It's probably 50 + 50 hours for the first two acts, and 50-100 more for the post-game (depending on how much you want to do).  Most of the game is absolutely fantastic, but what annoys me is when the pace slows right down, forcing you to do lots of preparation for a difficult boss (the Switch version has a couple of extra ones, if I understand it correctly).  Naturally, you want the best armour, but it needs to be forged, and they make certain materials rare and only obtainable in certain places.  It's that sort of thing that makes several play sessions purely preparation for something else, rather than exciting in their own right.  Mind you, that's nothing compared to Dragon Quest IX, which I spent 900 hours on.  There are even a couple of jokes in DQ XI about how that game is remembered mostly for trying to find the Metal King Slimes (that series' high EXP enemies) over and over again...

 

The Etrian Odyssey games are pretty bad for this - making you get to level 99, "retire" and then get to 99 again - and I don't really know why I 100% completed some of them.  With Etrian Odyssey Nexus, I'm afraid to say I just gave up.

 

I don't particularly dislike length if every play session is stimulating in some way, but resentment sets in when it feels like they're just trying to waste your time.

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Depends on the game for me. As long as the story remains interesting, I'm happy for a game to go on forever (not literally, but almost).

Same goes for MMOs if they really click with me. I still go back to GTA Online once in a while to see what's new. Admittedly, there aren't many MMOs that appeal to me nowadays.

As for more action based games where the plot isn't the main focus, I reckon around 10 hours is good.

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As I get older, I'm definitely in favour of short games that cut down on a lot of the excess and just get down to the nitty gritty. I absolutely adored Hollow Knight which took me around 25-30 hours to finish. There is post game stuff, but I will go back to that later. Link's Awakening is another compact game that I finished in <15 hours. Perfect. However, when a long game really grabs me, I do tend to get sucked in. This doesn't happen often but BOTW took me 120 hours to do the final boss, and I enjoyed every second. On the 4th March I put in 12 hours :D  I think I was done by May, so a couple of months after release, but it was literally all I played.

Xenoblade 2 is currently sitting at 100+ hours and I still have two chapters to go. I have dipped in and out of this a lot, and I'm coming up to the two year mark since I started. When it clicks, I can sit and play for 4-5 hours at a time, but this is pretty rare. The game has a lot of busy work, which is great for those who want it, but for me it can be irritating when I'm pretty under-levelled and just want to progress the story. The fact you need to constantly need to dip in and out of menus is annoying. Overall, I absolutely adore the game, I just can't dedicated the time it demands. 

Since the Switch launched I've dropped a couple of longer games. FFVII, Octopath and Skyrim immediately jump to mind. I think it's better to have one long game on the go at a time and then just play a few indies or online games when the mood isn't quite there for a long session. Overall though, I'm definitely in favour of 15-30 hour experiences. Something that tells a good story from start to finish with tight gameplay that keeps busy work to a minimum. There's a time and place for a long RPG (I'm gonna pick up DQXI over Xmas), but I'd definitely recommend only having one on your plate at a time. If it doesn't grab you, play something else and pick it back up when you've beaten a few shorter games. 

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I can completely relate to this after getting kids and a more adult life style, I don't have the time to play games that much. That said, I can easily squeeze in a couple of hours in the evenings while my wife watches something on the TV or something - though I prefer to watch something with her.

I don't like games that are lengthy just for the sake of being lengthy and I hate games that I feel are wasting my time between the interesting things, e.g. something that is a trivial task that doesn't progress a story of some sorts, or that don't have a fast travel system, or where you have to complete the same thing over and over before you reach a hard part (mostly related to platformers). For the same reason, I like that checkpoints are more frequent in modern games. 

But I have a couple of games on Switch that I spent more than 90 hours on and have enjoyed it, and I do expect to get The Witcher 3 when I'm done with the games that I have on my to-buy-list for now - some time in spring. :) However, I also quit playing some games when they become too long or boring - Octopath Traveler got to this point when I had completed all chapter 3s on the four team members - they were so similar that it was boring.

Edited by MindFreak
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I don't feel game length personally is necessarily important but when you're playing a game that you get really absorbed in and you're really enjoying for whatever reason it can be a bit of a comedown if you end up finishing in the game in just a week. For example, A Hat in Time was a very fun game while I was playing it and while the developers seem to have intended for the game not to be that long, by the time I'd finished the game I was disappointed because it was already over and I was enjoying myself playing that game.

 

I can certainly appreciate that while working people don't have much time for games which makes my own situation a bit stranger and hard to relate when I have a lot of free time to play these games. Sometimes that can be a problem as I finished Kingdom Hearts III in just a week and usually take about a week to beat brand new Pokemon games. Final Fantasy XII meanwhile lasted me over a month before I finished it. Fortunately I enjoyed the exploration in that game so I didn't mind the amount of time it took even if the story was hardly a classic.

 

I think RPGs can be systematic of this issue. The fact that the Dragon Quest series has used it's playtime hours as a selling point is all well and good but it's not really about the amount of time it takes to finish the game the game needs to keep you engaged for a certain period of time. I've admittedly only played one Dragon Quest game and that was DQIX which I never finished as the game struggled to keep my attention during that period. I have forgotten exactly what point I was in the game and may pick it up again but it's perhaps telling that I was never able to stick with it all the way through.

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Game length is definitely becoming a huge barrier for me but it's ultimately only really a problem if I'm not finding the game engaging throughout regardless of how many hours it will take!

I feel like I'm at the stage where even something that lasts 15-20 hours feels like a significant time commitment, especially if I'm not fully invested. Link's Awakening is a struggle to finish for this very reason, despite it's relative brevity :hmm:

You can even have a game like Journey, which can be finished comfortably in one sitting, that feels too long because it's just not very fun at all. Obviously I'm in the minority with that example but it does highlight that any game is too long if you're not enjoying it!

To be honest, my tastes are becoming very limited as I grow older and barely anything seems as satisfying as previously. However, when the next 3D Mario game inevitably comes out I'm gonna be wanting a good 30-40 hours of amazing platforming action as the series always delivers (even Sunshine.. at a push.. when it released..) but preferably without the needless padding out of having to farm coins to get a moon counter up to 999 :blank:

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