Readers discuss their usual tactics for beating video games and how they decide when to give up and when to multitask.
The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Fennel, who asked what you count as beating a game and if it just means having completed the story or everything 100%.
Everyone had a slightly different approach and while most agreed that getting to the credits counted as beating a game, others liked to go further, especially for trophies and achievements.
As someone who has amassed thousands of games over the years, there’s no way I can complete all of them. There are some games I play that I feel I have experienced all they have to offer within the 15 hour mark and just give up on (Far Cry 5 and Dying Light springs to mind) but it’s rare that I stick to one game to completion and play nothing else.
The last I did this with was Elden Ring last year, which I played for a solid month to 100% Steam achievement completion. I’ve played other games to completion since but not in-between playing others.
I’ve been more wary in the past couple of years with my purchases too and seeing if I actually would find the time to finish them. I really want to play Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom but Breath Of The Wild took me over 120 hours to finish, I don’t have it in me just yet.
Stick to the plan
I must admit I’m quite a tenacious wee fellow, so if I start a game I tend to finish it. Due to this, I tend to only buy games that I know I’ll likely be able to finish, and plan which games I start based on that. Thinking of the games I’ve bought myself in recent years I think I’ve finished them all but it does tend to mean I won’t start really long games after finishing a long game recently. It does provide nice palette cleaners between the longer games though, interspersing games like Inscryption and Inside, between longer games like Xenoblade Chronicles and Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom.
I have tried things like Game Pass but find I’ll start so many games and not even try and finish them, as you’re not quite invested in them, having not consciously decided to buy them. It felt more like window shopping, downloading it, having a wee gander to see what it’s all about and then on to the next fairly interesting game, all the while not seeing much of any of them.
For that reason, I’ve decided the more considered approach of reading previews and reviews and buying and investing my money and time in a game I have chosen is my favoured way of buying and playing video games.
I try and beat every game I play.
This is in stark contrast to my gaming youth, where I would rarely finish anything. I’d say that during a prolific year of my 30s I’m sure I beat more games than the whole of my childhood, teens, and twenties combined.
As a general rule, though, if I’m really not enjoying a potentially long game I’ll stop. A recent example of this is Immortals Fenyx Rising, which I started to find a bit repetitive about five hours in and dropped.
Earlier this year I played through Dark Void, an Uncharted clone that couldn’t be more generic, because it was a short experience, and I don’t think I can accurately form an opinion about a game unless I’ve seen the credits.
I’d advise that everyone tries to see a game through if they’re 70-80% there.
It’ll leave a more lasting impression and make any potential sequel more appealing.
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Post credits scene
I try to at least finish and by that I mean get to the credits screen, every game I own. Even online shooters like Apex Legends have a natural end for me. After all the achievements were awarded and a handful of wins I found it had reached its end for me.
I don’t see the point of buying a game and not finishing it. I’ve not got endless cash, so I still played like I did 20 years ago. I might have a pile to get through, but I will get to each one.
I can only remember one game I never finished as it was so difficult, I gave up on it. No, it wasn’t a Souls game.
As I’ve said before, you can come and go on a game, as long as it’s not online only and the servers shut. I’ve never paid full price either, as I tend to get used or from a key seller. I’m still on Read Dead Redemption 2 several years after release but am only maybe a dozen missions in.
On the other end I’ve played through the Batman: Arkham games several times, including the Riddler trophies.
If I’m stuck, I’ll go on YouTube to find a cheese or easy strategy.
Going by the achievements I’m on the lower percentage of people doing this now.
I finished the new Turtles game and I think it was under 20% of people had the achievement. This is a two-hour game and people can’t play through it? I don’t know.
Anyway. Have a good weekend all.
Sunk cost fallacy
When I was younger and only got a handful of new games a year, I’d (try) to play everything through to completion. These days I’m quite happy to abandon a game I’m not enjoying.
Two recent examples would be Red Dead Redemption 2 and Deathloop. I gave them both three to four hours but found them very uninteresting so moved on to something else. There are too many other games I want to try to bother continuing. Since I only buy games once they’re a cheaper, it’s no big loss if I only play them for a short while.
I try to complete the main story of every game I play. But the story and the gameplay needs to be compelling! These are the games I am currently working on:
Final Fantasy 16: good story/boring gameplay
Progress = stalled
Aliens: Dark Descent: OK story/fun gameplay
Progress = stalled
(Need to be in the mood to play this one)
Call Of Duty multiplayer: no story/addictive gameplay
Progress = need to unlock the next gun on battle pass
Baldur’s Gate 3: great story/complicated gameplay
Progress = wife is blaming pregnancy brain and it’s too much for her, so can no longer play our co-op game (right at the end of Act 1)
Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty: good story/competent gameplay
Progress = still playing and will be the game I complete first
It’s all well and good having loads of extra things to do and unlock but they need to be interesting and worthwhile or change the way you can play the game.
I think the internet guides and YouTube videos have also taken some of the magic out of games, as it’s so easy to figure things out once you get stumped now.
Looking forward to Hades 2. That should keep me occupied.
A somewhat topical Hot Topic this is. I only pre-ordered Spider-Man 2 and bought Assassin’s Creed Mirage because they had been trimmed down.
DC Comics have always been my favourite. Green Lantern and Hellblazer blow anything Stan Lee ever plagiarised clean out of the water. Yeah, sue me.
So I’m not all that invested in any of the Marvel comics or superheroes. I got about halfway through Spider-Man on PlayStation 4 before the map just got way too full and I couldn’t be bothered trying to get any further.
Generally, I do try to get my money’s worth. Oblivion, Skyrim, Bloodborne and Elden Ring held no secrets from me by the time I was done with them. The same goes for Zelda: A Link To The Past and all the 3D era Mario games.
The difference between Red Dead Redemption and the sequel makes the point for me. I savoured every moment of the first Red Dead Redemption, to this day one of my most memorable gaming experiences in 35 years. The sequel? Not so much.
Bloat for the sake of busy work does not a good game make.
I do try to complete every game I buy but not necessarily as soon as I’ve bought them, usually because I’m in the middle of trying to complete another in my backlog!
In the N64/Game Boy Advance/GameCube days I would try to complete each game on each difficulty with each character (if they had different ones) so for example, Mario Kart 64/Super Circuit/Double Dash got some serious playthrough.
As of late September/early October, I’m trying to complete Cruisin’ Blast. I have already got gold on the easy and normal difficulty races but I’m grinding to level up each vehicle to level 5. Races and the Cups are short, so it’s not too bad.
Simultaneously, I’m trying to get all my Pokémon to level 100 in Pokemon Sword. I’m nearly-ish there but I won’t bother with Let’s Go, Eevee! or Violet. Namely because it is so much easier/quicker to level them up in Sword than the other games.
If I am having difficulty with a certain game, I will look online for help but if I still can’t get past a certain part I’ll call it a day and move onto the next on my shelf. That finished game is then sold or traded.
These days, 100%ing a game isn’t important to me anymore like it used to.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Fennel, who asks whether you try to beat every game you play?
There’s been a lot of debate recently, over whether video games are getting too long or bloated, but do you always try to beat them, regardless of their length? What do you count as beating the game and are you happy to move on once you’ve completed the story or do you try and 100% it as well?
How often have you given up when playing a game and what caused you to do so? What’s the shortest amount of time you played a game before giving up?
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