I’ve come to the conclusion I hardly ever complete games. I’m not even sure why. I suppose some of it must stem from my years within online universes that have no ‘end’. That perhaps single player games just don’t grip me in the way they should, through one thing or another. Either way, looking through my Steam account it’s apparent I’ve a mountain to climb and there aren’t enough hours in the day to work through them…
I’ve purchased two games recently; Batman Arkham Asylum: Game Of The Year Edition (says who?) for £3 and The Witcher: Enhanced Edition for £11. I must admit, both games have momentarily gripped me, but The Witcher in particular turned me off much quicker than I anticipated. A relatively dull opening sequence attempting to be grand, combined with uninspired combat and even duller dialogue really doesn’t get the juices flowing. After establishing that Witcher’s are seemingly Jedi in different costumes (they’ve got force powers don’t you know) I really am struggling to continue, although I’ve been assured it gets significantly better.
As for Batman, well it’s great barring one major niggle. Windows Live. If I’d have taken the time to read up on the game beforehand (Steam sales are just too inviting), I would have avoided it like the plague, knowing now that the parasite has dug itself so deep within its inner workings. It actually took me three days just to play the game, simply because Windows Live wouldn’t login, meaning if I were to continue I wouldn’t be able to save my progress (not much point in that). This doesn’t even cover the absolute agony Windows Live forced upon me, just to install the updates.
It’s not surprising then that I’m reluctant to revisit Batman, even if the game is great. Battling the constant gauntlet of Windows Live — will it shut my computer down, will it update, will it login — is just too much, when all I want is to load a game and continue from where I left off.
And this is probably the reason why my Steam account is like a gaming graveyard, filled to the brim with great games that are littered with annoyances I cannot ignore.
You’ll be pleased to know I have completed some of the ‘classics’; Half Life and its episodes, Portal, Deus Ex, Black & White, every Command & Conquer, The Curse of Monkey Island and many more. Yet some I still begrudge not having completed, but cannot bring myself to play; Penumbra (too scary) Thief 1, 2 and 3 (too scary) System Shock 2 (too scary) Baldurs Gate (game save corrupted), Torchlight (a little too repetitive) Left 4 Dead 2 (can never find players with brains or convenient times) Sins Of A Solar Empire (micromanagement misery) Dawn of War 2 (another Windows Live loser).
But these are just the tip of the iceberg for games I’ve yet to complete. My pursuit of completing them held back by the smallest of issues. And despite a feeling of guilt, I’ve begun to look on it as my mum does books.
She has a terrible habit of skipping pages if she finds what she is reading dull, or simply puts the book down to never return. And although I would never skip pages or game content (mores the pity sometimes) I think I need to begin to acknowledge that if a game doesn’t grip me as it should, why continue? You wouldn’t eat a pie if you didn’t like the filling, after all.
This of course, is a very short sighted idea. Some games could improve significantly as time goes on and I’m willing to give The Witcher the benefit of the doubt, but at what stage should I cut my loses. Surely if a developer cannot grip the player within the first thirty minutes, there is little hope for the remainder of the games content and if it doesn’t improve significantly in later halves, the developer should seriously be given a slap on the wrists.
Thinking about it, I don’t actually know of any games I’ve played which have started badly and gotten significantly better, only the opposite; there are an abundance of games which open with fireworks and end with sparklers.
So in the midst of an MMOG drought, I’ve decided to complete my Steam list whether I like the game or not, starting with Batman (curse you windows Live).
I’ll see how far I get, otherwise I’m just going to delete the games off my list and forget the ever existed.
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