In for the Long Haul


On a day where a number of high profile websites have put their money where their mouth is - fuck anything that causes me to be Wikipedia-less – I thought I better say something about SOPA and PIPA. If you haven’t already, then it’s well worth familiarizing yourself with both sides of the argument for these controversial bills. I don’t know nearly enough about the US system to comment on whether they have a shot at being passed in their current state, but if they do then the fallout will be felt far and wide and it will negatively affect the online presence of our favoured industry.

And now for something completely different.

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After an anti-climactic final showdown with an overgrown lizard and almost ninety hours of spelunking, looting, brawling and blacksmithing, I think I am finally ready to move on from Skyrim. Over the last couple of days loading screens have started to drag more than usual; each new mission has appeared just that little bit less interesting, and the required travelling that less bearable; and the other games in my collection have started to look ever so slightly more appealing.

I completed the final story mission yesterday evening. Once the final dialogues had been completed and the threat of rolling credits had passed, I realised that there was still much to be done in Skyrim and that I could play for another hundred hours and never see a true ending. Opening the menu screen and scanning my outstanding missions I saw nothing that I was desperate to pursue. The Thieves Guild missions, which I had begun the day previous, seemed likely to feature far too many loading screens, requiring me to move from one building to another stealing, replacing, and altering Skyrim-y things. I had no interest in chasing stolen books for the Winterhold Librarian and the lumbering giants outside of Dawnstar never did me any harm. I had been spoiled by the Dark Brotherhood assassination missions, which featured some of the most interesting objectives and characters in the whole game, and I just couldn’t bring myself to start a new story thread all over again, one that would probably pale in comparison to the Brotherhood’s.

While it did start to wear out its welcome, I loved Skyrim and consider it to be six weeks well spent. It is a rare occurrence that a current generation title holds my attention for such an extended period and succeeds in thoroughly discouraging me from playing anything else. These days, my attention span struggles to withstand the onslaught of a true epic - I haven’t even attempted to play a MMO for the best part of a decade – and a constant supply of new games means that I’m not inclined to stick with any one game for too long.


Back in the old days, I wouldn’t blink at the prospect of a fifty hour+ RPG. I invested untold hours of my mid teens playing sprawling RPG’s, time that in retrospect would have been better spent fumbling around in girl’s knickers, drinking cider, acquiring a taste for tobacco and/or soft drugs and other things that are expected of modern teenagers. Instead, I put over 100 hours into a number of Final Fantasies, and the ins-and-outs of the fairer sex and my tolerance for cider remained a relative mystery for longer than they should. On the plus side, the members of my FFVIII team were all at level 99; a silver lining to every cloud.

Final Fantasy has always been the one series where I have been willing to put in the hours. Final Fantasy XI – my lone MMORPG experience – claimed almost 200 hours of my life before I finally, and reluctantly, packed it in. The only current generation game that I have played for more than fifty hours is Final Fantasy XIII, which I platinumed with 110 hours on the clock, half of which was spent pushing forward and spamming circle.

I’m glad that I bucked the trend and stuck with Skyrim for as long as I did. There is still a decent chance that I will return, either in the next few days if I find myself missing it, or a little further down the road when the inevitable DLC drops; any additional content would need to open up an unexplored portion of the map, as opposed to just generating some new quests, if it is to convince me to return after a prolonged absence.

If I were to rewrite my Best and Worst of 2011 today, then Skyrim would take game of the year honours, as I would look back at a consistently brilliant adventure, albeit one that was rough around the edges but always careful to fully reward the long slog. With that out of the way, it is now time to decide which game to play next. Whether it’s Dark Souls, Saints Row the Third, Deus Ex Human Revolution or Assassin’s Creed Revelations, the only thing I know for sure is that I won’t be pouring 90 hours into it.

Comments

  1. Skyrim's a beast. I'm still working on it myself, but I promised I'd put it away by the end of the month. Every time the side quests start to get monotonous, one pops up that really surprises me. I'm in the middle of the Dark Brotherhood questline right now. When the side quests stop surprising me, I'm going to finish up the main story and beat the game.

    I had a lot of fun with Deus Ex HR. Let me know what you think of it.

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  2. I still havent played Skyrim yet. Its strange because iv always been a fan of the series but Iv been reluctant this time to through myself into such a big game. But will definitely do it sometime soon. The question of cider vs games is a tough choice. hmm playing games has never made me throw up or say stupid stuff before...

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  3. Daydream Drooler20 January 2012 at 06:12

    my favorite mission in Skyrim were the thieves guild and the dark brotherhood. I loved the story and the set up for each mission. i guess its my love for sneaky shadowy type of gameplay with backstab and silent kills.
    I actually really enjoyed the end-game mission, I can totally see why one would share your opinion of it though. your fighting a dragon every 20 mins or so, especially when you get to lvl 40 and 50, elder and ancient dragons drop on your head every 15 minutes or so. this kinda makes that last battle, not only easy but boring, I still enjoyed it though.
    I've been going back to Skyrim quite a few times, I've been trying to play other games again but the addiction is deep and hard to fight. recently made deadric armor and now im looking to up my enchanting so I can put some crazy enchantments on my weapons and armor. after 150 hours I still have plenty to do in the game so I dont think I'll be done playing it till next year, lol.
    as for what to start next, I wont tell you what to play, thats for you to decide but I will share my opinion on the games you have.
    Dark Souls was great, it was an easier, smoother and more enjoyable Demon's souls. the addition of bonefires gives you checkpoints this time around and a easy way to spend your souls before losing them or getting back to your souls through shortcuts. NG+ is way easier than Demon's souls' NG+ but at the same time there are some levels which can be quite frustrating. the design of said levels is pretty poor simply because you have to fight huge creature on very tight spaces, one part in the game has you walking on invisible flooring well fighting giant ice golems. its a small gripe when it comes to the overall 100 hours you'll sink into the game, plus the personal reward of knowing you beat the game is quite satisfactory.
    Deus Ex was a big surprise for me, I know some didnt like it but I fell in love so much it made it on my GOTY list. Im not a big FPS guy but for me this wasnt so much an FPS as a stealth game. it can be approached either way which is the beauty of the game, augments are a ton of fun to mess around with and open up so many different paths for each mission. I found the story to be a total lose of me but still loved the conversation system and loved making choices.
    I think you got a pretty good idea of my feeling of AC Revelations, its the best AC yet. sure I didnt dig the tower defence stuff but thats not to say it doesnt work just fine, it just wasnt fun for me. hated the desmond stuff but fell in love with the hook blade, bombs and and the city. with those three alone I'm looking forward to when I get around to starting another profile.
    can't say much about saints row the third cause I havent played it but I have a strong opinion on the game. I really dont like the over the top craziness of the game as well as their need to add in curse words for every other word just to be "cool" it takes a good writer to come up withh dialog that keeps you focused on the story and a crap writer to throw in curse words to make you feel like its a cool/hip and now type of thing. that aside, I've heard the gameplay is alot of fun.
    sorry for such a long comment.... just had alot to say... Skyrim does that to me, lol

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  4. @ Ceva - Dark brotherhood is a really interseting part of the story, though by the time i'd finished it I felt pretty burnt out on side missions. That's when I decided to finish the story and decided that I'm done with Skyrim. I'm already tempted to go back though! Cheers

    @ Joe - I don't think cider has a positive affect on anyone - we used to call it "fighting juice" at uni! I definitely recommend giving Skyrim a go, though be prepared to get lost in it for a good month or so. Thanks for stopping by.

    @ Daydream - Ha, thats almost as long as my post! :)
    I enjoyed the set-up for Skyrim's final battle, but the fight in itself was over in a flash and didnt seem much different to other dragon battles.

    Thanks for the insight on those games.I have tried starting Saints Row, but i just cant get into it. I have decided to approach it as sheer entertianment & not take it seriously in the slightest, so the juvenille humour and dialogue hasn't bothered me too much, at least not yet. I think i may end up back with Skyrim in the end, though there is still something very enticing about Dark Souls. Cheers.

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