Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Finished Mafia 2

Given that few people these days finish games, I thought it was worth mentioning that I finished Mafia 2. "Finished" as in played through until the end credits, not 100% of all achievements and collectibles done. I then uninstalled the game and deleted it and the save games from my hard drive, as I am not planning to play it again. As I said before, Mafia 2 for me is an interactive movie, and while I had fun playing it, it wasn't enough to make me play the game again. Personally I found there was too much driving in the game; fortunately I had an XBox 360 controller for my PC, which made driving smoother, but still I preferred the shooting part.

Although I am certainly one of those "aging gamers" CNN talks about in the article I linked to, I also have 10,000+ hours of MMORPG done. So 20 hours isn't too long for me. But I wasn't exactly wishing that Mafia 2 was much longer either. At some point you feel like you've seen all of the city, played around with all of the weapons, and the rest of the game is just repeating what you learned earlier.

I certainly do have left many, many games unfinished. I think I am more motivated to finish an "interactive movie" kind of game than one with a weaker story which goes on and on. For example I never finished Borderlands. I do agree with the observation that one reason for not finishing games is that there are so many of them now. Between free games and Steam sales one doesn't have to be a millionaire to accumulate a huge collection of games. And with a job and family one then easily ends up with too little time for too many games. Finishing a game ends up not being a priority, unless there is a gripping story of which you really want to know the end. Too many games have rather boring stories, and repetitive gameplay, so once you got the impression that you've seen everything interesting, you're more willing to stop playing without having reached the end.

"For example I never finished Borderlands" DON'T. You'll feel much better that way.
I played Mafia 2 on the pc, and had a love/hate relationship with it's "simulation" driving. It was challenging, and coming from GTA4 I loved it just because of that.
Yet sometimes, some missions required god-like executions and several tries to get it right. It wasn't even scaled gently.
When you get used to playing some medium/hard missions the game suddenly goes berserker in the middle of the story and slams you in the face (disguised spoiler: I'm talking the part when you run to save an old friend).
And then the difficulty drops again and leaves you with a bland (gameplay wise) finale. Am I the only one who felt that?
Actually these days i finish more games than in the past. But there's also much more games that i drop after a few minutes.
I also finished Mafia 2, but the "meh" feeling was certainly there.
A game has to hook me in order for me to finish it.

No, I didn't finish Borderlands. Lately I tried Just Cause 2 and after a few hours I had the feeling that I had seen it. Played Dead Island but I got frustrated about halfway through as the difficulty was just getting too much for me.

These days I have so much games that it's less of an issue not to finish a game. If you pay €50 for a game, you feel forced to finish it. If you pay €10 for it and have three hours of fun with it, it's good value. And that's what games like Borderlands, Just Cause 2 and dead Island provided.
As much as I loved Borderlands, I have to agree the story was weak, and the ending was even weaker.

But don't worry, justice was served:
Execuse me for the rudeness, but I have one and only one answer to the point of this post:


People find games repetitive and boring beacause there's so many games and only SO many tropes to base the stories on.
Well, the number of possible stories is identical for all media, and there are many more books and movies than games. Why should games run out of stories faster than other media?
Interesting thing though is that I'll read a book again or watch a movie again, but I'll never play a game again for the story.

The game has to be fun and compelling on a moment to moment level for it to be replayable.

So while story is good for a game, it should never be the sole reason to play a game, because at that point, you might as well just do a movie or a book.
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