Is it possible to be too open? - hist Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Is it possible to be too open?

Some people share way too much on various social media sites. I mean, c'mon, you don't need to tell us about your latest STD!!!

But that's not what I mean about "too open" above.

This being a video game blog, quite obviously I'm talking about open-world games. (Though really, you should try to tone down your sharing. Yes, I'm talking to you. And you.)

A lot of us love open world games because you have tons of stuff to do in addition to just finishing the story. It used to be, in the days of Grand Theft Auto III and the like, you would get a few other activities, maybe some races, maybe some other odd jobs, in addition to finishing the story.

Nowadays, people would laugh at how little there is to do in that game.

I'm playing Watch Dogs right now, and in addition to doing the story, there's a bazillion kajillion things to do!

Give or take a kajillion.

But playing on the PS4, that adds another zillion things to do because of the exclusive extra missions.

I may be exaggerating...but not much!

I looked at the trophy listings, and you get trophies for finishing most of these activities. So far, I enjoyed the privacy invasion activities enough that I did all 30 of them relatively quickly. Yes, the NSA has recruited me. Why do you ask?

Anyway, I looked at the trophies, and I see the following completion rates for some of these trophies (approximated, for reasons I can't tell you because I'm in the middle of NSA training):

Rare: 40%

Very Rare: 25.5%

Extremely Rare: 10.2%

Turn off the PS4 and go out and get a life: 1.2%

It all boils down to one thing: Who in their right mind is going to be doing all of this stuff? Why do game companies feel the need to jam all of this stuff in their games, so much that they know that nobody is going to finish it?

And don't they know what they are doing to us compulsive gamers who feel we must finish every game completely?

(Little Billy just hit his 200th side race, good for Little Billy!)

I touched on this a little bit last year in regards to Skyrim ("Can 'epic' be a 4-letter word?"). However, that post was more about massively epic storylines such as in Skyrim and other games like that, where you can do things like the Dark Brotherhood quest line, the Mage Academy quest line, the Thieves Guild quest line, etc.

These are just random activities that populate all over the world that you're playing in. Stealing cars? Races? Online hacking? Finding burner phones and hacking them? Weapons shipments?

The list goes on.

I sit down to the game, check out the map, and then find myself going to one of the activities rather than continuing the story. "Just one more gang hideout, then I'll go talk to Clara," I say. Then, four more gang hideouts later, it's time for bed and I haven't actually accomplished anything.

Don't get me started on the distraction of something popping up, like a new crime or whatever.

(Empty Chair: too late)

I have my GPS guiding me to a new activity I want to do, maybe a privacy invasion or maybe (GASP) the next story mission. I'm driving along (badly) when suddenly "crime being committed: press down to set waypoint" pops up.

Really? Another crime? I've taught myself to avoid those until I need a reputation boost because I keep running over or blowing up civilians. But the distraction is there and does make me have to stop and think for a moment.

The mentality behind including all of this stuff sometimes eludes me. Are they thinking "let's throw a whole bunch of stuff in there because some people won't like one thing and some people won't like another, and some people won't like a third thing, so let's make them all happy!" Then you get a game that's so bloated with activities that nobody will ever finish it.

And heaven forbid that your story is so boring that people do all of this stuff instead of finishing it. I can see that happening in some cases, and maybe even in this one, though it hasn't happened yet. You find yourself gravitating to the side stuff because the main story hasn't gripped you enough to want to continue it. In Watch Dogs, so far I'm ok with it but the characters are cliched and Aiden's getting a bit annoying. Maybe that's why I find myself doing the activities more, though more likely it's a time issue for me. I have time to do one, maybe two activities, but getting involved in a story mission might take longer than I have, depending on how involved it is.

That did happen to me in Skyrim, though. I was doing so many of the side quests that by the time I got into the middle of the story, I was already getting bored with the game.

It's a real danger. Though maybe the game companies don't care because, hell, they have your money already. What is it to them if you don't finish their game?

Do game companies feel like their games will be too short otherwise? Maybe that's another issue. Let's add some padding to make it last longer!

Which can be fine, as long as they're not adding 60+ hours of padding to a 5 hour story.

What about you, especially you completionists? Are you finding it harder to actually 100% these games because there's just so much crap to do? Do you find yourself getting bored?

Or am I alone in all of this?

 

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