Making it to the End

I remember coming across a GameFAQs poll once that asked readers whether or not they finished their games. It was enough to pique my interest, so I selected the “yes” bubble and took a look at the results. Once the results page loaded up I found myself rather shocked. Most of those who answered the poll had marked “no” in their response instead of the opposite I had expected. At the time, I was someone who only played one game at a time. It didn’t matter if it was the only one I had of if there were others that could be played instead. Once I started a game, I had to finish it before moving on. I suppose I assumed that most gamers were like that too. Games are expensive after all. Why wouldn’t you want to at least get the full experience out of that $60 investment? Well, after years of steadily diminishing playtime, I believe I’ve finally come to understand the results of that poll.

Keeping up with video games is hard work. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Perhaps I should say that keeping up with video games isn’t easy. It wasn’t easy when I had plenty of time at my disposal during my high school and college days, and now it’s become even less so as I’ve settled into my life as an adult working a full-time job+. It’s fine for the most part and I’m not really complaining here; it’s just that it’s made my remaining game time that much more valuable. I’m still able to finish my games, I just have to do it over the course of weeks and months instead of a few days like I used to. What that’s ultimately amounted to for me is a newfound need to be very selective about which games I’ll choose to see all the way through to the end. If there’s nothing in it to hook me, if I’m not having fun when I come back to it on weekends, then chances are that I’m going to wind up dropping it. Not even games I’m hyped up for are immune to this. Prime example: Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a game I wanted to see through. I was excited for it before release and was even fortunate enough to receive it as a gift from a friend. Its world is vibrant, there’s plenty to do, and there seems to be an interesting story buried in there somewhere. It’s just that getting to that story is proving to be a problem.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 suffers from two flaws in my book: its combat and story. Combat has the unfortunate quality of being borderline boring. Characters all auto-attack until they can trigger an ability. Trigger ability builds a special meter that can be spent on various powerful attacks. These attacks can be combined between party members and eventually chained together. There should be enough there to keep one interested but it just doesn’t work in practice. I don’t fully understand it, even when I do get it working right it’s just a matter of whittling down a boss’ health bar entirely too slowly. It also doesn’t help that most bosses aren’t actually beaten if you bring them down in battle. They just beat your party in a cut-scene not even a second later. As for the story, I’m still waiting for it after beating a boss and making it to the second main titan landmass. I still haven’t been given a reason to care about my party members, their quest to get to some forbidden place called Elysium, or even the mystery of who Pyra the Aegis is. If the game was trying to bring me in with initial questions, then the time to start giving me some answer breadcrumbs was 5 hours ago! Ahem suffice it to say that despite my initial excitement for this game, it’s not giving me much reason to stick around to see the end. If a younger, less encumbered, version of me had received this game he would still have finished it no problem. However, 2018 me is a different story.

The working adult version of me has only a fraction of the patience of his younger self when it comes to games. Where I would have once been willing to tough it out and endure until I finally got to the good part in a game like Xenoblade Chronicles 2, I now find myself resenting the game for stringing me along with the promise of something better. In the case of good games like the Witcher 3, it becomes a problem of time. If progressing through the main story requires lots of sidequesting, I’ll find myself losing interest. Witcher 3 is a good game, I’ll even call it a great one. However, it got slow. Too slow. Now I wonder if I’ll be able to make it to the end of that one as well. Finishing a game, even an RPG used to be easy. Now though, I’m not so sure about that. Years after seeing that GameFAQs poll, I think I might finally understand its results a bit better.


Do you finish most of your games? If so, what keeps you moving through them? If not, what is it that holds you back?

18 Comments Add yours

  1. Kariyanine says:

    What is your definition of most of my games? I only ask this because I have an incredible collection of games that I have honestly never touched (I blame Steam sales for this trend), and while it wasn’t my intention when I bought those games, it is a concern. If I start a game, I start out with the intention of finishing it. Some games, like say Dark Souls, have frustrated me to the point where I wasn’t having fun playing them anymore so I stopped. But my intention is always to try to finish them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Hmm…sounds like that’s mostly a case of having a large backlog (or “pile of shame” depending on who you ask :)). As for the ones you start and fail to finish…it seems similar to what’s going on with me. (i.e. moving on once the fun’s gone.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If a game doesn’t grab me within 2 or 3 hours, I tend to drop it in favor of something else; even if I paid $60 — because you can gain most of that back selling it off on eBay. I *love* RPGs, having grown up playing plenty of them on SNES and PS1, but now that I’m 36 I just don’t have the same amount of free time. Not only that, but there are so many interesting games releasing nowadays that sometimes it’s hard to talk myself into investing 100 hours into something like Xenoblade 2 versus playing through 5 other games instead.

    I have similar complaints about XC2 (abilities take far too long to charge at the start of battle, which makes the first 10+ hours feel like a total slog while you watch Rex auto attack enemies to death, and the navigation system is abysmal — though fixed a bit in the recent patch). Had this released 20 years ago I’d have happily endured its shortcomings and found things to enjoy, but I ended up shelving it after 11 hours because it’s doing nothing for me. It did feel like it was picking up a bit, but there are other more interesting games I’d rather try out. I’ll double back later and see if I take to it more, which has been known to happen in the past (Doom, Dishonored, and Mass Effect: Andromeda are more recent examples).

    TL;DR – I no longer feel the need to finish games that aren’t holding my interest because I don’t owe them anything more than the money I paid. My time and sanity are far more valuable.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Luna says:

    Unfortunately I would have been one of the gamers checking No. I have a stigma about completing games which is why I really don’t play single player games as much as I would like. For some reason, once I’ve finished a game, I lose interest in it. Well I should say once I have completed the main storyline. This is why I prefer multiplayer games and RPG’s. There’s so much to keep me interested that I seldom have that sense of loss. I am making a goal for 2018 to complete more games though… fingers crossed haha. Thanks for sharing!

    -Luna 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      When you say you have a stigma about completing games, do you mean you have a policy of not completing them or that you just don’t like doing it?

      Like

      1. Luna says:

        It’s more of I can’t bring myself to complete them. Especially if I like the game. When I complete them all interest just disappears for me. It’s weird but it’s been this way all my life lol

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hatm0nster says:

          That’s not necessarily a bad thing though.

          Like

          1. Luna says:

            Yea but my list of completed games is in the single digits lol

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Hatm0nster says:

            …I think I understand the problem now. 😀

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Luna says:

            Lol right!

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Matt says:

    Yep, I almost always finish one game before purchasing another one and moving on. Rare have been the instances in which that did not happen.

    Ironically, while I did finish Xenoblade 2, the original Xenoblade and X are two of those rare games I did not beat. I dropped Xenoblade Chronicles while fighting the final boss, because I just kept losing and I had just run out of patience to grind my way through him; and I gave up on X towards the later chapters due to the same reason.

    I am sure there have been other games I did not beat, but those are the only two that come to mind right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      You are what I used to be and what I want to be again! 😀 Does the combat in Xenoblade 2 get any better? Like said in the post, I’m not really feeling it and am waiting for it to get better. Also, does the story pick up at all?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Matt says:

        Hopefully you can rejoin the club!

        Well, I actually liked the combat and pulling off all the combos. If you there is some aspect of the combat you do not grasp (which is precisely what happened to me) I suggest you check some online tutorials. I was a little bit lost regarding how the elemental combos worked, because the game stupidly does not allow one to re-watch explanations, so I went online and things became much clearer. After getting the hang of it, the combat experience was much better, and the bosses far more manageable!

        As for the plot, I would say that it picks up after Chapter 4 (which is utter filler).

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hatm0nster says:

          Alright, I’ll do that then. I really do want to like Xenoblade 2, just need motivation to play it.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Matt says:

            Well, hopefully it will work out for you in the end, as it did for me.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. “I now find myself resenting the game for stringing me along with the promise of something better.” That’s just about my feeling too. I gave up on sidequesting (which the game attempts to force you to sidequest a ton for levels) and I’m just trying to muscle through to the end. I’m in chapter 7 and no, the combat doesn’t get better. Merely adding more blades and more party members doesn’t solve the problem. It remains a confusing mess of waiting for cooldowns and brute forcing every single battle. When I finish, this game is getting a verbal lashing from me, with reasoned points of course. 4/10 or less, in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      I’m already looking forward to reading that review. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well cool! I’ve got a three day weekend ahead of me so I’m going to try to push through the last few chapters. Hopefully there’s not too much more meandering content ahead of me! It’ll be a nice feeling to put this beast down.

        Liked by 1 person

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