Tobold's Blog
Saturday, June 20, 2020
Last Chance to See

Given the huge number of games I have access to, the process of choosing a game to play *now* is sometimes quite complicated. Why should I play this game, rather than that one? Should I try to "finish" the games I started? Or rather try to play as many different games as possible? But now a new aspect has come into play in that decision process: Will I still have access to this game tomorrow?

That question didn't come up all that often in the past. Usually any single-player game you had access to, you had access to forever. Some multi-player games might require a subscription, but that wasn't all that many of them. So, you buy a game, and you play it when you want. Until the appearance of game services on which you don't buy games anymore, like the Xbox Game Pass for PC.

If you are subscribed to Netflix, you can read on the internet every month which films will disappear from the service. So if you want to see them, watch them now, before it is too late. An Xbox Game Pass for PC is just like Netflix, and now you can have exactly the same effect: At the end of the month, some games will leave the service, and if you want to play them without buying them, you better do it now!

So today I've been playing Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun. It was one of the games I downloaded on the Xbox Game Pass for PC service when looking for games I find interesting, but then I never got around to playing it. Now I saw that the game will leave the service at the end of the month. Decision time: Either I play it now, or I decide that I don't even want to try. In this case, given that I had already downloaded the game, I decided to try it out. I can see how it is a nice game, but it turned out to be not my style. I felt it to be too deterministic, too scripted, playing more like a puzzle. And I don't like the "flow" of games in which you have to constantly quicksave and reload. Shadow Tactics bleeps at you if you haven't quicksaved for 2 minutes! So it very much plays like "quicksave" - "try to get past the next guard" - "fail/reload loop until you succeed" - "leather, rinse, repeat". There is a certain feeling of success to be had if you manage a situation on the first try, without reloading, but that requires you to patiently watch scripted patrol paths for quite a while. I know friends who would love this, but for me the flow is all wrong.

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