It seems more games than ever are intent on wasting away the player’s time – even single-player games that have no reason to do so. It’s just you, the player, and the game. Why make me do busy work then try to charge me for a microtransaction to remove hurdles?
Just Cause 3 was a game I tried to get through in my backlog. I was looking forward to blowing some stuff up and traversing the large (admittedly unspectacular) map. Little did I know, it’s loaded with copious amounts of repetitive, easy grinding, requiring me to blow up loudspeakers, over and over and over.
Then there’s Borderlands. I know many games are pumped about the third one, no doubt due to the writing. Unfortunately, my experience of the franchise is that you’re constantly being asked to revisit areas to do things that you couldn’t do before. The enemies are the same, the map is the same, the slog is the same, but it’s the developers trying to squeeze extra hours out of their creation for no reason. Don’t make me visit the same location more than twice.
Shadow of Mordor is one of the worst culprits. I was so pumped to play this and picked it up in a sale. Towards the end of the game, it tasks you with ‘branding’ five Warchiefs. There is a specific process to take to do this and it is ridiculously time-consuming to do so. There’s no reason to do so from a story perspective, it’s just a way to put a hurdle between the player and completing the game – something I didn’t do, as I got fed up of branding the bastards. I’m not going anywhere near Shadow of War.
Note, these are older games. As I said, my backlog is ridiculous! But the situation hasn’t got any better – if anything, the shift to games as a service is only amplifying the issue, as developers look to keep gamers around for as long as possible
For whatever reason, some gamers have decided that hours of gameplay is a metric by which to judge games. As a result, game developers and publishers are incentivized to increase this measurement. You even see games use “X hours of gameplay” in their promotional material – what they should be saying is “X hours of needless gameplay.”
I find myself less and less interested in games because I simply can’t depend on beating a game in a week anymore. It’s days and days of boring grinding. Developers need to cut away the fat and focus on delivering meaningful experiences.