Up For Debate - Can Games Ever be too Long?

Written by Jon Sutton on Tue, Feb 7, 2017 3:00 PM
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I’ve recently been diving back into The Elder Scrolls Online and have been pleasantly surprised by just how far it’s come in the last two or three years. It’s now an insane value proposition, cramming in hundreds if not thousands of hours of gameplay, and it can be picked up for as little as £15 in a sale. So far I’ve enjoyed a few evenings plodding about in its gigantic world, reaching the lofty heights of level 12, but I can tell I’m only scratching about at the surface. It’s almost incomprehensibly large.

This left me with a decision. I either dedicate practically all my gaming time towards The Elder Scrolls Online, potentially for years, in order to fully immerse myself in everything it offers, or I don’t. Considering it’s being constantly expanded at an incredible rate (including the upcoming Morrowind expansion) I’m facing an uphill battle. In the end I’m probably going to skip it altogether, as I’ve done with pretty much every MMO of late. They’re just so time consuming that you have to sacrifice playing potentially dozens of other games in order to play just one.

Which brings me around to the major bugbear of mine, and that is when games are just too damn large. There’s a school of thought that bigger is always better, or that getting hundreds of hours worth of gameplay is better value for money. It is, in theory, if you’re having a high level of enjoyment over that entire period, or if perhaps don’t consider time a limited commodity. While I might eke out 2,000 hours grinding bosses in one of ESO’s Delves, would I not be better off spending just 8 seeing Resident Evil 7 through to its conclusion? Or is it that just considered a waste of money?

There’s a lot to be said for tighter gaming experiences that respect your time, that don’t repeat content and don’t bombard you with filler for the sake of a back-of-the-box feature checklist.

Where do you stand on this matter? Is bigger always better? Or do you prefer a tightly designed experience that’s over before it can grow old?

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13:33 Feb-11-2017

I thought this was a pretty cut and dry topic, but I guess not.
It's the idea of quality hours. If you have a load of quality hours, then it doesn't matter how long the game is. If it's just quantity, then there's an issue.

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09:26 Feb-11-2017

Quality > Quantity. Give me 10 hours of variety and solid mechanics, instead of bloated and repetitive "objectives" spread out across a bland map littered with icons, and then I'll gladly pay $60 for it.
And then there's The Witcher 3, with 200+ hours of quality writing and mission content. Can't put a price on that.

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13:20 Feb-10-2017

I think if games has adventures it should be long.

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04:04 Feb-09-2017

I wouldn't say 'too long' but repeating similar quests/missions/whatnot to get 100% is absurd (I'm looking at you, MGSV) :/

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20:44 Feb-08-2017

Dragon Age Inquisition might be a little long for some people if they choose to do most of the content, I have plenty of friends that never manage to finish it because they've been in it for 80 hours.

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18:45 Feb-08-2017

It depends, if it is 100 hours of filler content like fetch quests, than yes, a game can be too long. If it is 100 hours of meaningful content or replayability, then no.

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04:04 Feb-09-2017

^ This.

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13:47 Feb-08-2017

Well MMO's in general are extremely time consuming. I like the GW2 model, it doesn't require players to grind much to fully enjoy almost all aspects of the game. That way you can play other things for a time and come back with no loss.

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12:10 Feb-08-2017

Though excellent main storylines, I found Kingdoms of Amalur to have the worst side quests and most boring and grindy side quests I have ever played. More recently Dragon Age Inquisitions Hinterlands were a nightmare, especially after you have beaten the game and potentially explored its entirety already, the will to go through it again is just not there and I found myself skipping it every time.

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11:19 Feb-08-2017

My somewhat-over-simplified answer to the question: If the content of the game justifies the length then no, otherwise yes.


I'm not gonna bother going into detail since everyone here knows exactly what I am talking about. I don't feel like doing so anyway.

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09:20 Feb-08-2017

as along as it doesn't become repetitive and offers alot of in-game upgrades and a wide rage of weapons/tactics/combos you can make it as long as you want.. #Darksouls #thewitcher3 #borderlands

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09:19 Feb-08-2017

I've always been for quality over quantity. Of course, there are games which can pull both off successfully, like The Elder Scrolls games, The Witcher trilogy, Mass Effect trilogy, Baldur's Gate II, etc.

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09:25 Feb-08-2017

On the other hand, it took me less than 3 hours to beat Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, yet it is one of the most beautiful games I've ever played. I can say the same for Prince of Persia games (The Sands of Time trilogy and PoP 2008). Each game lasted circa 10 hours, but my God, they were nothing less than a work of art

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06:07 Feb-08-2017

i thomk its important for a good game to be big enough to enjoy it for a longer period, but on the other hand smaller games are more joyful because the story is told much faster and therefore it brings you more joy at the same time.

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04:59 Feb-08-2017

No game is too long unless it is full with collectibles or filler quests.

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06:52 Feb-08-2017

But what if they "masked" the longevity of the game with fetch and/or useless quests?

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11:02 Feb-08-2017

I think that's what he meant by filler quests. Quests serving no purpose other than artificially creating more content, no matter how unoriginal or repetitive it is.

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04:53 Feb-08-2017

No.
Simple as that.

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03:30 Feb-08-2017

I don't mind a really long game, as long as I am actually enjoying the story and immersed in the world. It's like watching a really good TV series, except you determine both the pacing and length of the episodes. To put this in perspective, The Simpsons has 609 episodes. Each of those episodes is about 22 minutes. That equates to 223 hours of content, about the same amount of time I put into Skyrim.

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02:57 Feb-08-2017

Longer is usually better as long as its enjoyable.

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00:06 Feb-08-2017

It needs to be JUST right. If the quality of the game is great, even a 3 hours game feels like 20ish hours. It highly depends on the quality the game holds. Beside, long as you are satisfied with the game, that's what matters right?

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22:50 Feb-07-2017

That depends on how is the gameplay time extended. I don't mind having long questlines. On the other hand I hate, when eg. there are too many items to collect all over the map and that extends the gameplay time far too long.

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22:18 Feb-07-2017

If Elder Scrolls Online came a long way after two years and I still consider it too easy and boring (at least on PS4)... then I wonder what it was like at launch.

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22:23 Feb-07-2017

PS4..... well there's your problem. xD Just kidding, I haven't played any of the console versions, and have no idea how they compare to the current PC version..... but generally speaking, MMORPGs just translate far better on PC..... just like sports and fighting games do on consoles.

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02:11 Feb-08-2017

Absolutely broken. Now it's just boring, lag-ridden, and (as you noted) super easy.

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21:57 Feb-07-2017

How about quality over quantity ? ...make the story medium long, but give us options to interact with it and to change multiple outcomes not just at the end but during the story too and give ways so our choices have some consequences...

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