The Joy of Six
I finished the Resident Evil 3 remake in six hours. A full and fully entertaining game cleared in just five evenings. Six hours for a beginning, middle and an end. Beautiful.
I love short, narrative-driven games, especially if they feature guns, knives, guns with knives on them, or treasure hunting. When done properly, they are just as satisfying as any sprawling epic, and can do an even better job of making me invest in characters and story. I never feel short-changed by a great, short game.
Resident Evil 3 blew by. It pushed forward at pace and finished up long before it had overstayed it's welcome. I love the simplicity of the premise: escape the city and avoid death by Nemesis. It's builds up great momentum, never stays in one place too long, and keeps backtracking to an acceptable minimum. Everything is balanced nicely to support a brisk play-time. I've really enjoyed Capcom's RE-treatment of the series, and I'll be interested to see what they'll do with 4.
Uncharted Lost Legacy is another example of an excellent, comparatively short narrative-driven game. I'm a huge fan of Uncharted, and got the urge to play the latest entries again earlier this month. At around eight hours, Lost Legacy is as lean as it is exciting (it's very exciting). In length it's a throwback to PS3 Uncharted, but it also enjoys all the gameplay additions of U4. The thrills are rarely repeated and the colourful setting stays fresh. Uncharted 4, which I also revisited a couple of weeks earlier, is too long by a good few hours. However, I still enjoyed it even more this time around. It definitely shot up my end-of-gen rankings that I've already started organizing in my head, and will be committing to blog in the coming months.
I really do love Uncharted, perhaps more than any other contemporary franchise. I hope we get a new one on PS5.
Anyway, back to the importance of length. I can't recall ever thinking to myself "I wish this game were longer", even for ones I adore. However, this year alone, I've willed several otherwise enjoyable games to hurry up and end. The worst offender was of course The Last of Us II, a game with a perverse aversion to closure. Don't get me wrong, TLOU2 is a very nice game, but I hope I never have to visit Seattle ever again. And that's coming from someone who loved Shawn Kemp. The constant backtracking through the city was infuriating and what could have been a perfectly upsetting but satisfying ending was snatched away from us, and another couple of hours of weary misfortune were tacked on instead.
All that being said, I'm now playing and enjoying Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age, in spite of all its RPG padding, backtracking, fetch quests and other run-time-swelling tricks. I am a hypocrite, perhaps, but one who is far more forgiving when gameplay can be speed up to x2 speed, as you can in Zodiac Age.
This post is too long.