Monday, January 9, 2012

Stories should have an ending

So, I play a lot of video games.  Seriously, it's pretty much all I do in my spare time.  I don't have a huge amount of disposable income, so I only have a Playstation 3 and a few (dozen) games.  Though with that in mind I have plenty of games to play through and have even played some of them a few times.

What I typically like to do is play through a few games at a time from different genres, but sooner or later I hit a point in one of the games where I just can't put it down.  I often do the same when I find time to pick up a book.

And the story is often the reason.

I love to follow a good story.  Hell, I even follow a bad story if only to see how it ends.  But the problem I'm having with some video games that I've been playing lately is that they don't end.  I'm not talking about sequels, that's a whole separate topic.  The story ends, but now we have DLC.

There are two games that serve as perfect examples for what I'm talking about.  Fallout 3 and Borderlands.  Without going into too much detail, the games have some definite similarities in terms of gameplay, setting and style.  But the story is where they set themselves apart.

Put simply compared to Fallout. Borderlands...doesn't really have a story.  But I'm getting off topic.  When playing these games I picked up the Game of the Year Edition, so all the DLC is included.  I played the main story, beat it, and watched the endings.  Then got started on the DLC.  In Fallout, one of the DLC packs continued the main story while the other three are extra side-stories.  In Borderlands all of the DLC are side-stories.  This isn't a bad thing...

Except that it's getting boring.

Again, let me explain.  In both games I enjoyed playing the story missions and working side missions in around that to flesh out the narratives.  But even the story expansion in Fallout was falling flat.  The game was over, what more did it have to offer?  Without the drive to complete the story, there is no motivation to continue the extra mission.

Oh they're still fun absolutely.  Borderlands continues to have some hilariously colorful NPCs to liven up the game and the Fallout world will never stop being fun to run around in.  But it was more engaging when there were things to do.

It occurs to me as I write this that another perfect example of this issue is Batman:  Arkham City.  Again, I love the game, the story, the gameplay, everything.  When you start the game you look at the in-game map that shows your quests and objectives and think "Holy missions Batman!  There's a lot to do!"  Then you start doing them and before long there is nothing left.  Now the map looks as empty as the city feels.

Once the game is finished what else is there to do besides start over?  DLC to add more missions or expand the story just don't have the same draw for me that the original game does.  But that's just my rambling opinion, what's yours?

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