Andrew’s Angles – Are Games Becoming Too Bloated? – A Completionist’s Perspective

I believe it was around Christmas 2020 that I had my first experience of feeling that perhaps some games are becoming behemoths of content – the culprit? Putting 135 hours into Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and deciding that enough was enough after a particular challenging standing stones side activity.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I am a fan of games with lengthy campaigns and enjoyable side content, but in recent times, I have noticed more and more titles where I’ve thrown in the towel after completing the main narrative. My issue with this – it’s at odds with my completionist nature. I’m not going to pretend that I’m some sort of person who needs to get a Platinum in every game I play before I’m ready to move on to the next one – you’re not going to see me get all relics in the Crash Bandicoot series. You’re not going to see me get everything unlocked in online games. I’m not going to play every game on the hardest difficulty. But I am one of those people that does get a sense of satisfaction of getting all boxes ticked, checklists completed, all collectables, well…collected.

I know that this is not a new phenomenon – I can remember the frustration that many had with trying to find all 200 pigeons (affectionally referred to as flying rats) in GTA IV – where a guide was pretty much mandatory to avoid players pulling their hair out. However, there has been a recent slew of games where, despite me wanting to get as much out of them as I could, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. In recent memory, I’ve had this experience with:

  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla – 135 hours – main story and most side content completed. Felled by a single side puzzle and some of the side content in the Thor-esque area
To be fair, it wouldn’t surprise me if a decent amount of time in AC: Valhalla was spent hugging the cats.
  • Cyberpunk 2077 – I completed the main story once. I completed the side quests and jobs. However, after all was said and done, I did not have enough Eddies (the currency of Night City) to buy all of the vehicles. As a result, as much as it pained me, I finished off my playthrough, with those cars and question marks haunting my dreams
  • Dying Light 2 – Time trials. It had to be time trials. The main story was completed and all skills purchased, but I had to tap out when the remaining content boiled down to medal-based challenges/side activities (free-running, combat, etc.). That, and 6 missing Inhibitors. But hey, what a punch that game’s dropkick had!
  • Horizon: Forbidden West – The most recent of my completed games, this title is a fairly beefy package – while the actual campaign is somewhat short (around 15 main quests or so), it’s packed to the seams with side quests, crafting (everyone’s favourite mechanic!), and…medal-based activities. I’ll let you guess what happened there.

I could go on, but I’m sure that you get the point. The frustration is that I really enjoy that developers are making sure that their games have a lot of content – if I’m paying £50-£70 for a single title, I’d like to get my money’s worth! But with so many titles coming out, and the time I have available for playing them, it, unfortunately, seems to be that my completionist drive and my gaming backlog are at odds with each other, and I think that this will always be the case. My question is – at which point does a game become too bloated for its own good and somewhat outstays its welcome?

Anyway, I’m off now to play GTA V on my third generation of consoles and, maybe at some point, I’ll get the 900 Korok seeds in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

What about you, readers? Are there any games recently where you feel that the developers have put in so much content that you’re finding it tricky to get them fully completed? What side of the discussion do you fall on – get every drop out of fewer games, or complete the main content and then move on to the next title? Feel free to leave your thoughts below!

By Andrew Denman

Andrew Denman is currently based out of London. When not playing video games, Andrew is interested in a range of different topics, be it Doctor Who, vinyl records, reading, or playing instruments.

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