Games that you wish had less game?

I finally played Nier: Automata so forgive me if I’m relitigating a three year old discussion. I absolutely loved that game but found the combat (especially the hacking) boring, repetitive, and not terribly challenging. Most combat encounters felt like tests of endurance more than skill. And since many of the sidequest just required more combat and/or repeatedly traversing the small and uninteresting open(ish) world I skipped the majority of them. Reading about them after I finished I wish I had played some of them but also didn’t want to put in the time to complete them. I understand how repetition and frustration contribute to the games themes, but in this case I felt like the game was putting up barriers to me experience some of its most interesting moments. And that’s not even mentioning the game’s broken economy and needlessly long and obscure list of upgrade materials.

I still loved the game, but It left me wondering what a more tightly edited version would look like. Would it work if it was a more linear experience with fewer extraneous system that could be played through in 10-15 hours instead of 25+?

What games did you play where you found the gameplay or certain systems to be a barrier to experiencing the game?

4 Likes

Doom 2016 and Dragon Age Inquisition are two that immediately come to mind.

6 Likes

Dragon Age: Inquisition is a good one.

Red Dead 2 is just egregious.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (and lots of post-Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Ubisoft games more broadly) could stand to lose at least like, 30% of its content.

2 Likes

Persona games. Many JPRGs, actually, but especially those. So many of them have super cool stories and characters, but I just can’t deal with their style of gameplay.

6 Likes

Control.

This is born out of my current frustration with the game. I’m loving the story, but every mission currently on my plate ends with a boss or a gauntlet of enemies (often both) that stop my progress dead. I just wanna experience your story, Remedy, I don’t give a shit about all this shooting!

7 Likes

Definitely gonna second Control and add every Assassin’s Creed game plus Final Fantasy XV. Just too much going on.

2 Likes

As much as I loved dropping file cabinets on monsters, I was lots more in love with just exploring the environments and seeing the sights. There are definitely lots of side things I simply didn’t do because I knew it meant Big Fights that would stress me out.

3 Likes

Witcher 3 could stand to have less of just about everything… I think? It is cool that a team could create such a massive, full of experience but I am also close to 40 hours in and have barely advanced the plot and I don’t see being able to more customize my Geralt’s build as compensating for limited combat and dialogue trees for another 40-80 hours to finish the game.

3 Likes

Just a tip for Control’s combat that helped me a ton, I stumbled on it in the Tommasi fight when I kept dying while trying to use cover and peek and shoot. Then I stopped using zoom aim and never stopped moving. Once I stuck to primarily running and gunning I took 500% less damage and still dealt just as much damage and random headshots landed extremely frequently. On my next full playthrough I might not even craft any other form and just use Grip and throw things to take down shields and interrupt enemy attacks.

3 Likes

Red Dead 2, though I actually think that the wandering around and just taking in the world is extremely meditative. That game needs less traditional GTA style missions because half of them are pretty terrible or completely irrelevant to what that game is actually trying to say and just fills your head with so much fluff that by the time you reach the second (!) epilogue you can barely remember why you did anything and the whole thing falls flat.

3 Likes

Honestly, a huge number of the games with interesting narratives I have played in the past 10 years. I’ve started avoiding probable examples - like Nier: Automata, and Control- now, just to avoid frustration. I know Control’s setting and themes are interesting to me, but I also know that I will be awful at it, and will not actually enjoy it.

For me, it’s very often the case that the ‘ludo’ is just frustrating and gets in the way of the ‘narrative’ that I really care about.

Everything made by Naughty Dog. Just make a movie. also actually investigate sexual harassment allegations instead of just asking HR and going “Okay we did our due diligence”

14 Likes

Naughty Dog, even more than Kojima, needs to just make a fucking movie because then maybe the things they make wouldn’t be 8-12 hours of boring nonsense. At least the gameplay in Metal Gear and Death Stranding tries to communicate something other than “this is the 3rd person shooter section you have to get through to see the next cutscene”

Also yes, it would be great if anything actually came out of those allegations because that still makes me mad when I think about it

5 Likes

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was like a goddamned blizzard of features, skills, options, features, crafting, ability boards, and waifus. I gave up instead of figuring it out. It was an impenetrable fog of a game.

1 Like

Horizon Zero Dawn. That game world is so empty, it’s a slog to unlock the ability to control the robots and not practical in the game once it is unlocked. The side quests are bleh. I think if that game were more Dark Souls style, where the world felt designed for Aloy and the combat of the game it would be much better. Because that combat is chef’s kiss amazing, but everything surrounding the combat? Bland at best, bad at worst

1 Like

definitely putting in my vote for dragon age inquisition as well, there were some great moments in that game but they mostly happened when they focused on more tightly designed areas rather than a big open world space which really didn’t work for that game at all

also the war table mechanic made sense based on the premise of the game but every time i read a war table storyline i was just like “wow wish i could actually have talked to these characters ever” because there was plenty of interesting stuff in there but it just didn’t hit as well because i felt so disconnected to it

1 Like

@ClairvoyantVibes

What’s mystifying to me is that Kojima seems obsessed with movie making and overlong cutscenes despite the fact that he’s not a terribly great director or writer but is an absolutely brilliant and innovative gameplay designer who’s great at telling story through play.

As for Rockstar my (possibly) hot take is that they have always been absolutely terrible at mission design. All of the missions in their games are kinda kludgy, poorly checkpointed, and weirdly limited in their interactivity. The open world and many tools they give you imply that there are a variety of solutions to the problems they present you but if you don’t play exactly they way they intend they will fail you for no good reason.

4 Likes

I’m worried that Cyberpunk is going to end up being this. Around the time they announced that there was going to be street races and the ability to travel around the surrounding desert I started to be concerned about their scope for it. Witcher 3 was gigantic and I got tired of playing that about halfway through.

1 Like

I kinda feel that way about Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

Long-ass RPGs are rarely a turn-off for me. I put over a hundred hours into every Persona game and expect to put another hundred into P5R, but Three Houses is a game that I think could benefit from some editing.

It’s designed so you can’t get the full picture of the story and fully appreciate it without playing every route, but with each of them being 50-70+ hours that just feels like too much to ask of even someone like me, much less the average player. I had a great time with my first BE playthrough, but my BL playthrough felt like a bit of a slog by the end, especially given that it’s a longer route than BE. I didn’t even mind that much that the first half was mostly the same (although that’s definitely an area that could be improved), but it just goes on too long, and it didn’t feel like it needed to. I had to take a good long break before I could even consider playing GD.

Conceptually I really like the idea of focusing each route and the war from the perspective of each lord, as it plays well into the themes of the game, but if one playthough is only going to give you a fraction of the full story you really need to keep those routes concise enough that playing through all of them is reasonable for most people. I feel like I saw more than a few people leave the game unsatisfied simply because what they saw was the incomplete picture and they will likely never see the rest simply because they don’t have the time.

7 Likes

Almost all of them at this point, ha. But yes, definitely Dragon Age Inquisition. And Witcher 3. And Pathfinder: Kingmaker. And the Pillars of Eternity Games. You know, all the games I love but can never finish anymore.

3 Likes