sobota, 24 kwietnia 2010

Lenght vs Intensity / Plot and Gameplay

Just a quick thought, something that has been clattering around in my head for a while now.

You know how all the games have gotten shorter? I know, I'm not saying anything new. The thing is, while many people lament because of that, I'm not sure what to think. Sure, on the financial side of things, this sucks - we are asked to pay the same amount of cash for a game that lasts about 10 hours, as for one which takes longer to complete. And again, I can see why this is happening. An article I once read on pointed me to that. Think about it, if a game costs more and more to make - graphics, engines, and sometimes even getting celebrities to help out (like Liam Neeson in Fallout 3), then do you think it's going to be longer and longer, or shorter? But I digress.

What strikes me is that there are two sides of this argument. Some people want a longer game, perhaps a sandbox type one, which gives them a lot of freedom and time to walk around (see Fallout 3, The Elder Scrolls games, some action games). Others, me included, would rather see a streamlined, perhaps a bit short, but in-your-face game. Sure, Call of Duty 2's single player campaign takes about two or three hours to complete, but it's intense, dramatic, and overall a great experience. From what I've seen, you can say the same about Call of Duty: World at War. Short, but brutal. These two games are not really designed for Single Player gaming however. They are primarly multiplayer products. What about Batman: Arkham Asylum? I don't know how much time it took me to finish it, but I think I played for 3 days (of course not too intensively, or I would finish it way before that). But it was one of the best experiences in my life as a gamer. After it finished, on one hand I thought "Well, it could have been longer", but on the other I thought "Still, it wasn't long enough for me to get bored."

See, that's the problem with people like me - relatively short attention spans. I could never learn to play a RTS properly, because I always get bored at some point and I don't care about grinding my skills anymore. I'm all about plot driven gameplay. I love the Fallout universe, but I just couldn't make myself play Fallout 3 for longer than a few hours. Even though I would love to explore and see interesting stuff, I just can't be bothered by the ever-attacking enemies and the feeling that wherever I go, I will get the crap beaten out of me. What opportunity for exploration is that supposed to be? But again, I'm probably missing the topic here, I'll cover this grievance some other time.

I'm not sure if I can stay interested in a game for long enough to play it for hours upon end. My last experience like that was The Witcher, where I wanted to know the plot and enjoyed the world of the game (which I already knew from the novels). I just can't stay interested in a plot which gives me too much free time, like Morrowind did. I have to know what I should do next, and Arkham Asylum did a great job of giving me a strong plot to come back to when I get bored of finding Riddler's tokens.

So, to sum up - financial issues aside, I like my games shortish, but intense, with interesting plots and some things to keep me busy when I want to chill for a bit. Like Knights of the Old Republic (which isn't a particularly short game), where, upon my first playthrough, I spent at least a quarter of the whole play time winning and losing money on Pazaak and Pod Races. KOTOR is, by the way, probably my number 1 cRPG... but that's another topic.

Back to work.

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