Are games too long?

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  • Deleted user 28 January 2013 13:46:11
    Contrary to popular opinion, I'm coming around to the suggestion that perhaps games are too long.

    Recently I've completed Max Payne 3, Asura's Wrath, Black Ops 2, Borderlands 2, Battlefield 3, X:COM, Binary Domain and Deux Ex and every single one of them was quite a slog towards the end.

    And far too often I find as I near the end of games, I'm wishing they'd just hurry up and get it over with so I can move onto something else. Currently feeling a little like that as I near the end of Syndicate - which is ironic given it's quite short.

    So is this a symptom of bad pacing? Shiny new games syndrome? Poor narrative/writing in games? Or are developers influenced too much by the time vs. value argument? In other words, do games have to be a certain length in order for people to feel they've got their money's worth.

    I would class Limbo as one of my favourite games of this generation and felt it was paced to perfection and ended perfectly before it started to get stale. Yes I realise it wasn't a full-priced release so was easier to swallow.

    Should games be 4-6 hours long rather 10-12? And also by virtue, £30 instead of £40?
  • Dougs 28 Jan 2013 13:47:03 66,650 posts
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    Yes. Especially for those of us with families.
  • RunningMan 28 Jan 2013 13:50:55 2,386 posts
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    +1. Bordersland 2 is just way overlong.
  • Mr_Sleep 28 Jan 2013 13:54:49 16,840 posts
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    It very much depends on the game in the same manner that it depends on the subject matter, style and directing/editing skill of the people involved.

    Journey, for instance, is perfectly paced for me and the whole thing has an artistic vision. Something like xcom is different though, the purpose isn't really quite the same with a game like that, it's more of a mission by mission type thing. I was happy to play a few missions and go off and play something else (or spend every waking moment playing it but that doesn't support my point ;-) ) whereas something like Journey can and should be finished in one sitting and it is experienced best in that way.

    I don't think there really is a definitive answer to your question that can be applied to everything.

    Edited by Mr_Sleep at 13:57:10 28-01-2013

    You are a factory of sadness.

  • MetalDog 28 Jan 2013 13:56:50 23,708 posts
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    They should be as long as they ought to be to be at their best. There's plenty of short or casual stuff out there for those too busy for epics.

    -- boobs do nothing for me, I want moustaches and chest hair.

  • Deleted user 28 January 2013 13:58:07
    So long as the standard is maintained long is fine. Depends on the genre. A fps is harder to keep long where an RPG is arguably better with more length.

    Max Payne 3 being 20 hours wouldn't be the optimum for it where skyrim being 10 hours would be rubbish.

    Ps borderlands 2 is as long as you want it to be. You choose how long your adventure is.

    Pps limbo was a good length. All halo games are about 8 hours which is perfect.
  • kinky_mong 28 Jan 2013 13:59:44 9,955 posts
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    Depends more on how much you are enjoying them and whether they have good pacing I find.

    It will always be down to personal opinion, for instance I found Limbo a chore for the last hour and just wanted it to finish, which is quite a feat for a three hour game!

    I'll never get my Orc looking the same again.

  • quadfather 28 Jan 2013 14:01:17 11,818 posts
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    Pepsipop wrote:
    So long as the standard is maintained long is fine. Depends on the genre. A fps is harder to keep long where an RPG is arguably better with more length.

    Max Payne 3 being 20 hours wouldn't be the optimum for it where skyrim being 10 hours would be rubbish.

    Ps borderlands 2 is as long as you want it to be. You choose how long your adventure is.

    Pps limbo was a good length. All halo games are about 8 hours which is perfect.
    This. Took the words out of my mouth

    psn quaddy456, Dark Souls tips

  • elstoof 28 Jan 2013 14:01:35 6,604 posts
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    Yes.
  • ZuluHero 28 Jan 2013 14:01:45 4,019 posts
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    When a game stops being fun it should end. Sadly not a lot of games know when to judge this.
  • elstoof 28 Jan 2013 14:02:14 6,604 posts
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    Except Gravity Rush, that ended too soon.
  • bitch_tits_zero_nine 28 Jan 2013 14:03:45 6,654 posts
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    My Borderlands 2 character is sat in Steam with 70 hours on the clock and unfinished.

    Yeah, I feel the same way I think.
  • andytheadequate 28 Jan 2013 14:05:19 8,076 posts
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    I'm playing persona 3, around 65 hours in, and it's becoming a drag. It has obviously been artificially padded, without adding anything new. It's a shame because it's a brilliant game.

    I found deus ex kept my interest all of the way through. The only problem was the last mission was poor, not that it was padded, imo.

    As others have said, a game should be as long as it can hold interest for. As soon as they start padding it out, using similar levels, back tracking or running out of ideas, games start to feel like a chore.

    Edited by andytheadequate at 14:21:40 28-01-2013
  • robthehermit 28 Jan 2013 14:06:07 3,967 posts
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    It all depends on the game and the pacing. Far Cry 3 is a decent length, but while the first island was a pleasure to stroll around doing your own thing, which is encouraged by the game, the second island seemed more like a race to the finish line. It's almost as if the devs were bored of making the game and just wanted it over and done with and forced you to do the same. Still an awesome game though, and anyone who doesn't like it has no soul.

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  • Mr-Brett 28 Jan 2013 14:07:47 12,723 posts
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    I think the main story should be concise and anything that's not all that important to the story or is a bit fillery should be put into side missions or a different mode.

    Portable view - Never forget.

  • quadfather 28 Jan 2013 14:13:48 11,818 posts
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    It really does depend on the game and the individual. Dark Souls for instance can be completed once, and then put away. However, a lot of people play it multiple times, utilising the NG+ feature to get more out of it. You don't have to do it, but for some people it's a great thing, and leads to 10 times the amount of time you'd normally play it.

    psn quaddy456, Dark Souls tips

  • DFawkes 28 Jan 2013 14:16:14 22,588 posts
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    I'm definitely against artificial padding, that's for sure. Forcing to to grind missions just to be allowed to continue the game is generally inexcusable. As much as I actually quite enjoy the game, Superman Returns did that a lot, as did The Dark Knight Rises and Battlestar Galactica Online (though that one was almost excusable given it mostly wants you doing PvP. Not quite though).

    Most games that try that run longer than they really should - if you make your game with 6 hours of content, just leave it at 6. Don't pad it to 10 with that kind of thing.

    I'd kick the living daylights out of the producers of Tipping Point - Ghandi

  • kinky_mong 28 Jan 2013 14:16:59 9,955 posts
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    robthehermit wrote:
    It all depends on the game and the pacing. Far Cry 3 is a decent length, but while the first island was a pleasure to stroll around doing your own thing, which is encouraged by the game, the second island seemed more like a race to the finish line. It's almost as if the devs were bored of making the game and just wanted it over and done with and forced you to do the same. Still an awesome game though, and anyone who doesn't like it has no soul.
    Exactly my thoughts, the second island could have been cut completely and the game wouldn't have suffered.

    I'll never get my Orc looking the same again.

  • Zomoniac 28 Jan 2013 14:18:40 7,791 posts
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    I've long been of this opinion. The pressure to offer "value" by shoehorning in multiplayer and massively padding out single-player is really tedious. Especially given how many great games there are to play and how little time I get to play them.

    It's now probably the biggest factor I consider when deciding what to play. If any game clocks in at much beyond 8-10 hours it has to be Best Game Ever level of good in order for me even try it. If I can play through three great games or drag myself through one in the same space of time it's a no-brainer. My favourite game last year was the PS3 HD release of GoW: Ghost Of Sparta (never got around to playing it on PSP), precisely because they absolutely nailed the pacing. It was only about 5-6 hours long but as a result it was a non-stop assault of awesome. No drawn out convoluted puzzles, just straight to the point.

    I would consider spending an equivalent of £5 or £6 per hour of game to be better value than £1 or £2 per hour of game three times as long where two thirds of it was doing menial fetch quests to artificially boost the length.
  • SClaw 28 Jan 2013 14:19:44 826 posts
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    Depends on the game and the gamer.

    I find stuff like earlier CoD etcs single player trivial nonsense, so Iím happy enough that they arenít more than eight or so hours long. But sit me in front of a JRPG which expects me to grind on the same (or different coloured but the same model) enemies for hours and hours and Iíll happily zombie away at it for ages Ė Iím a bit miffed if I can finish a JRPG in under 30 hours (even without much grinding). On the other hand I got bored of all the Fallout games, Borderlands and Skyrim after less than twenty hours and never went back to them apart from the occasional mess about.

    For me I think the difference is entirely in presentation. Some games reward you in tiny, incremental ways that make the effort seem worthwhile (something I think JRPG do far better than our own Ė getting a few extra VIT can suddenly make you seem like you leapt over a mountain) while others are more skill based and, basically, once you learn how to play itís all just whether youíre playing crap or not more than the in game skills. I mean for all the fun skills in Borderlands 2, it basically comes down to shooting stuff in the face.

    SoÖ in answer to the question yes, I think many western games are getting too much padding and are paced poorly or at least reward you badly for your time. I think Dragon Age 2 is a prime criminal in that debate; itís like they made it longer because people expect an RPG to be long. A bit of editing could have trimmed five hours of that game with no great loss.
  • Deleted user 28 January 2013 14:22:10
    Been saying this for years - yes they are too long. There isn't a single game out there that maintains itself for over 20 hours.
  • Bremenacht 28 Jan 2013 14:22:15 17,600 posts
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    HairyArse wrote:
    Contrary to popular opinion, I'm coming around to the suggestion that perhaps games are too long.

    Recently I've completed Max Payne 3, Asura's Wrath, Black Ops 2, Borderlands 2, Battlefield 3, X:COM, Binary Domain and Deux Ex and every single one of them was quite a slog towards the end.

    And far too often I find as I near the end of games, I'm wishing they'd just hurry up and get it over with so I can move onto something else. Currently feeling a little like that as I near the end of Syndicate - which is ironic given it's quite short.

    So is this a symptom of bad pacing? Shiny new games syndrome? Poor narrative/writing in games? Or are developers influenced too much by the time vs. value argument? In other words, do games have to be a certain length in order for people to feel they've got their money's worth.

    I would class Limbo as one of my favourite games of this generation and felt it was paced to perfection and ended perfectly before it started to get stale. Yes I realise it wasn't a full-priced release so was easier to swallow.

    Should games be 4-6 hours long rather 10-12? And also by virtue, £30 instead of £40?
    You're saying it's not the length that matters, it's what you do with it? 4-6 is good enough for you, and you're not impressed by 10-12 anymore?
  • Deleted user 28 January 2013 14:24:01
    I don't know whether to answer that seriously or not. ;)
  • andytheadequate 28 Jan 2013 14:27:34 8,076 posts
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    mowgli wrote:
    Been saying this for years - yes they are too long. There isn't a single game out there that maintains itself for over 20 hours.
    There aren't too any story games that can, although there are a few imo.

    Most of the games I play for over 20 hours are either multiplayer games, or games that require the player to get better, rather than necessarily offering new content (e.g. Trials)
  • kalel 28 Jan 2013 14:29:59 86,329 posts
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    Some are, some aren't.

    To be honest, I don't really see the problem with a game being long, but then I'm not an anal completist. If I'm bored of a game I'll stop playing it, and not worry that I never saw some shit cut scene at the end and an hour of credits.

    Bothers me a lot more when a game ends after six or seven hours and I feel like it only just got going - I'm looking at you Halo 4 and various recent CoD games.
  • Deleted user 28 January 2013 14:32:02
    The older you get the faster time flies, and the longer games seem to be.
    I recently replayed Resident Evil 4 (emulated on the PC with cheats and everything) and I seriously could not believe how I was able to finish it a few years back, without cheating. Must have been really hyped for the game back then, too.
    The moral of this story is that cheats are good as long as they enable you finish a game sooner. Time is more precious than ANY game.

    Edited by Cosmopolitan at 15:25:53 28-01-2013
  • L_Franko Moderator 28 Jan 2013 14:33:56 9,694 posts
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    Two games in my top 5 are Lylat wars, that can be finished in about an hour give or take and Sleeping Dogs which has taken me about 25 hours to finish. As long as the game is interesting and fun to play I really have no problem with how long it takes to finish.

    I do find long games boring more often that I complete them but I also get bored of short games as well.

    I don't know if any of this has a valid point as I'm not concentrating on the post, especially as there is a conversation next to me right now about a chap called Mr Bumfree.
  • NOSAVIOUR 28 Jan 2013 14:36:22 2,804 posts
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    Games are only too long if they out stay their welcome which all of the ones you mentioned did for me. Couldn't get enough of Far Cry 3 recently though.
  • andytheadequate 28 Jan 2013 14:36:53 8,076 posts
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    kalel wrote:
    Some are, some aren't.

    To be honest, I don't really see the problem with a game being long, but then I'm not an anal completist. If I'm bored of a game I'll stop playing it, and not worry that I never saw some shit cut scene at the end and an hour of credits.

    Bothers me a lot more when a game ends after six or seven hours and I feel like it only just got going - I'm looking at you Halo 4 and various recent CoD games.
    But often some of the more interesting levels are later on, so if you give up as you can't be bothered to grind through the middle of the game then you can miss out on the best content. Being too short is as bad as being too long, but I can't remember the last time I thought a game ended too soon.

    It can also spoil your memory of a game you otherwise enjoyed. I loved the first 10 hours of LA Noire but hated the second half. If the game had finished after 10 hours it would have been my city, but now I look back at it with bad memories. I kept playing it as I thought it was going to improve again

    Edited by andytheadequate at 14:38:27 28-01-2013
  • Shikasama 28 Jan 2013 14:37:44 6,603 posts
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    I must admit I have found myself playing a few games recently and thinking 'Holy fuck would you just finish already'. Hitman Absolution sticks out as they made me go through corridor after corridor.

    I don't think it has anything to do with the artificial 'length' of the game but more about the quality and what the game serves up to keep you entertained. I never felt like Borderlands 2 was dragging on because I fully bought into Handsome Jack and the upgraded Pandora.

    I think the worst one in recent memory was Bioshock. I quite enjoyed the game but then I got past a point I assumed was the end of the game and every after that was just a pointless trudge going backwards and forwards to pick up a fucking big daddy suit.
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