Finishing Games, Or Trying To

756 words.

I meant to post this two days ago four days ago but I kept putting it off because I hated what I wrote and kept thinking that maybe if I just add a little more it will magically fix itself. So here we are. Not magically fixed at all. Then I put it off again because I didn’t feel like finding a picture.

The Promptapalooza prompt from what is now two days past was: Do you “finish” games/hobbies/projects and move on or do you come back to the same things again and again? I typically do finish projects, then forget about them and move on to the next one. I’m a very project-oriented sort of person, as opposed to a routine-oriented person, if that makes any sense. My biggest difficulty is starting projects.

I finish games now only if the game compels me to finish it. Not many do, and I try to avoid games that won’t. I don’t often replay games I’ve finished unless there’s a way to get a different outcome, or sufficient time has passed that I’ve forgotten most of it.

Speaking of finishing games, I’m still plugging away at Remnant: From The Ashes, though it’s becoming somewhat less compelling over time. I think I’ve passed 20 hours on the save file time. The core gameplay loop is basically the same as Doom: Jog through successive game levels shooting enemies until you get to the next area, then fight a boss. Most of the interesting lore disappeared when I got to the Labyrinth, presumably waiting for a final lore dump before and/or after the final boss.

I keep going back, though I’d be hard pressed to explain why at this point. I hate the boss fights. I really, really hate them. Every one so far seems to have been specifically designed to annoy me personally. Most of them are some variation on the theme of a moderately straightforward boss that wouldn’t be much of a problem, except they’re surrounded by hordes of harassing adds that deplete all of your ammo and stamina and create random confluences of events that are unpredictable and likely to kill you, and prevent you from focusing on the boss.

I typically have to put on YouTube D&D shows to listen to while I mindlessly brute force my way through them, which is extra annoying because it creates more work for me when making game videos. The game is also annoying to me because I thought it would be my next video series upload but it turns out, much like No Man’s Sky in fact, there’s nothing to talk about after the first few hours.

After delaying posting this for most of the week, I can now report that after The Lost Gantry, I went on to defeat Scourge, The Harrow, The Unclean One, Canker, Ixillis XV, and The Undying King. I’ve just finished the Shrine of the Immortals “boss fight” in the Verdant Strand. My play time is somewhere around 26 hours.

Continuing on the theme of finishing games, I’ve been trying to finish Horizon Zero Dawn, which I’m also some 20 hours into now (after two years). I just finished helping Erend the Drunkard at Pitchcliff (for some reason). At this moment I can’t remember if I’ve written a blog post about this or just tweeted about it, but I might have to face the fact that no matter how much I try to like it, it’s just not that compelling after the first 5-10 hours. If it were a linear game, I would probably love it. But the open world nature just sucks all the fun out of it for me. Three-quarters of my time is spent walking down roads, picking up sticks and plants, avoiding robo-dinosaurs, making my way to quest markers that are a million miles away.

It’s also an extra chore to play PS4 games because of my thumb and/or having to use a mouse-and-keyboard adapter, so it’s a slow process getting through the game. The story in the middle parts is very meh (it suffers from middle book syndrome-there’s a good beginning and, presumably, a good ending, but in between it’s just time-killing side quests-for example, I couldn’t care less about Erend and his sister-the sister is entirely an off-screen McGuffin-in other words, the game does a lot of telling, not showing). To bring it back around to the prompt, Horizon Zero Dawn is not doing anything to compel me to keep playing, so I have to force myself to do it.

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