Open-world games are kind of my thing.  Oh sure, I play quite a few rpgs, action/adventure titles, and strategy sims, but open-world games make up a large portion of my ever evolving 'favorites' list.  I enjoy all of them.  From Rockstar's various contributions to Bethesda's near works of art in the Fallout and Elder Scrolls universes, I've played them all and consider most of them 'finished'.  Most of the various GTA, Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Infamous's, and of course Batman Arkum City have a hundred hours or more on their respective save files.

The problem is I haven't beaten many of them.  I'm not sure if it's apathy, wanderlust, or just too much of a good thing in terms of volume and quality of content, but I rarely complete the main quest or mission strand or battle or whatever. 

(One of the small few Rockstar titles I've completed.)

The Grand Theft Auto cities are huge, detailed, and full of life and activities to pursue.  I remember playing Vice City for days, building up all of my businesses, collecting a fine collection of cars and weapons, and basically finishing out almost all of the side-quests.  Then I got stuck on the final mission in the mansion against Vance I believe.  I tried it off and on for several days and never could get all the way through.  So I shelved it, called it done, and moved on to San Andreas which had just came out. (I was late to the GTA party...)  Another title that had me mesmerized for many, many hours, and another GTA I never quite got to the end of. Although I did finish flight, driving, and even the boating challenges as well as all of the Los Venturas mission strands.  For some reason, watching CJ get his revenge on Tenpenny and Sweet never seemed that important to me.  The exception was IV.  I'll admit I got caught up in Niko's plight and wanted to see it through to the end.  The completion was rare and I started thinking about it.  Why had I finished this one and not the others?  The story wasn't considerable better, although it was better scripted than previous entries.  The game-play was largely the same if a bit more refined, so it couldn't be that.  And then it dawned on me.  There was less to do.  Certainly there was a lot to do, but most of the rpg or sim-like aspects of Vice City and San Andreas had been removed.  No upgradeable businesses, no real property to buy, significantly less side missions, and no real reason to amass a fortune except to keep buying bullet-proof vests and scads of guns and ammo. 

I beat GTA 4 because there wasn't enough to do...

Is that a fair thing to say?  Or even a point that makes no sense?  I'm not 100% sure, but with less content came more of a desire for me to see the game until it's end.

(Ok, time to finish that quest... Oh, look at that waterfall! Pretty...)

(Six hours later.  Ok, time to finish that quest...)

I've been playing the Elder Scrolls series since Daggerfall and I've never finished a main quest.  In fact, the only Bethesda game I've ever finished is Fallout 3.  New Vegas got boring and my play-through of it just kind of trailed off.  I've tried going back to it, Oblivion, and Skyrim, with varying degrees of success, but just can't seem to slog my way through that critical 'main path' mission strand. 

I haven't finished any of the Elder Scrolls games because there's too much to do...

 I've got a level 54 Wood Elf assassin/thief/enchanter who rules three of the four guilds (piss off companions!), but haven't ever had the urge to get past my meeting with Parthanaax and learn dragon rend and all that.  Too many things to do... Hunting dragon priest masks and daedric relics and rare items is just too well done and just plain fun for me to get around to finishing the game, although I do consider all of them 'finished'.


(You're damn right I finished this game!)

Batman: Arkum City came out of nowhere (as I hadn't played the first one at the time) to blow me away.  There was a nice mix of a lot of things to do, but tangible and interesting rewards for doing so.  Not as much (not counting challenges) as an Elder Scrolls game, and about the same as a GTA, Batman AC walked the fine line of delivering just enough content really well.  The main reason I tore through this particular open-world game is because of the way the upgrade system was tied to the major battles in the game.  It didn't hurt that most of the side content featured kick-ass villains with substantive differences in attack pattern/ability.

I beat Batman AC because the villains were just that awesome...

It was a fun ride.  The catwoman sections were handled well and the the battle-system just continued to evolve.  New game+ puts a whole new spin on combat and I suggest anyone with a bit of an urge to challenge themselves to try it out.

(Another GOTY title I never beat. I'm sorry Rockstar!  Your games are really fun, I just don't finish them...)

The fact that I never finished Red Dead Redemption is one of my bigger 'gamer shames'.  I've poured hours and hours into this game.  Hog-tying bandits, shooting wildlife, and playing poker, I've explored from one end of the map to the other.  I've finished most of the story-line missions, but have stopped just short of the big twist before the final few hours.  How do I know about the twist without having finished the game you may ask? (Or not, this is the Internet era...) It was spoiled for me, and not recently either, by a roommate a week after release!  To think of how close I was to a felony that night...

RDR's ending was ruined, but as I'd seen most of the world I consider it beaten...

I enjoyed nearly every aspect of that game.  The horse riding and gun-play were well executed and the cast of characters was as enjoyable as any of the greats of open-world gaming.  Without the spoiler I probably would've finished the game, but it just didn't seem urgent any more after knowing what happened.  It became time to move on to other things (Skyrim, see above).

I guess I've just got 'gaming ADD'.  I love the genre and plan on continuing to support the companies who create them. Who knows, maybe I'll get around to beating a few more of them eventually...

How about it guys and gals?

Do you generally finish open world games or get side-tracked by the content?

What exactly is that 'sweet spot' of just enough content?

Thanks for reading and good night!