video games

Finishing Versus Completing a Game

When it comes to gaming, I have a bit of a problem.  I finish a lot of titles, usually in the range of fifty to seventy each year, ranging from smaller indies all the way to massive open-world RPGs.  I’m sure that sounds amazing, so what could possibly be the problem with this?  Well, I finish fifty to seventy games, and I never complete any of them.  My platinum trophies and 100% completion ratings are a barren landscape of nothingness.  Side quests are left undone in favor of seeing the credits roll so I can move along to the next entry on my never-ending backlog.

I like to “collect” game experiences.  Finishing something allows me to check off another title that I can now casually bring up in conversations or refer to in my writing.  Slowing down to play something after rolling credits feels like wasting time that could be spent trying something new.  This quantity over quality approach allows me to find new favorites at a rapid rate, but at the expense of not being able to fully explore the titles that I fall in love with.  It also prevents me from feeling comfortable doing multiple playthroughs or circling back to play DLC packs because I only have so many hours in the day, and they should be spent clearing my backlog.

In 2019, I want to change this.  I’m sick of constantly feeling like I need to hurry through one game to play another, and I also feel like my overall skill level suffers as a result of never doing more challenging post-game content or trying out harder difficulties.  I am a goal-oriented person, however, so I need a tangible goal to achieve in order to change how I fundamentally play games.

After thinking about varying methods, I have decided that the easiest way to track my progress is to simply use the console achievements.  I’ve never actually made any great attempts at being an achievement hunter, and there’s no way to know if I enjoy it unless I give it a try, right?  The goal here is simple:  Obtain 100% of achievements in some games before the end of the year.  These can be games that I have finished previously, so all I have to do is double back and clean up, or brand new experiences that I’m playing for the first time in 2019.  Throughout the year, I will post updates that show how I’m doing, all culminating in a grand finale at the end of the year where I talk about how successful my endeavor was and whether I enjoyed the overall experience.

My habit of rushing through games is not one that can be unlearned overnight, which is why I’m not setting a strict number of games I want to complete this year.  I would rather just start playing through some titles and collect achievements more naturally.  Gaming should never be a chore, and I’m hoping that giving myself permission to go back and revisit some old favorites grants me additional freedom and flexibility, instead of feeling restrictive.

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I’ll close off this reflection by referencing a few titles that I’m considering completing as a part of this new project.  I played Disgaea and Disgaea 2 last year and have been curious about going back to work my way through the meaty post-game bosses.  Bioware and Bethesda RPGs are also all up for grabs, as I would love an opportunity to revisit any of them and write retrospective critiques about them.  As for new games that I could see myself completing, The Witcher 3:  Wild Hunt and Valkyria Chronicles both seem like possibilities, depending on how much I enjoy them.  Overall, I want to keep my options open based upon what I’m in the mood to play and see where the year takes me.

How do you handle the balance of finishing new games completing old ones?  Do you have any suggestions for games that might be a good starting point for achievement hunting?  Let me know in the comments below!

 

41 replies »

  1. I myself only tend to go for 100% completion if it’s practical. If the character gains EXP from doing side quests, it’s a perfect motivation to take a break from the plot. That said, if I feel I’ve experienced enough of the game, that’s when I decide to actively pursue the endgame, and in most cases, once I see the credits roll, I’m done.

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  2. I only have about 10 platinum trophies because honestly it just isn’t reasonable for many of them. All the ones i have are easy to do really like the Telltale games or Coffin Dodgers. The hardest one I have is Final Fantasy 15 which isn’t that hard to get, but is still fun.

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    • I doubt I’m going to start hunting the hardest achievements overnight. This is more about determining if I enjoy doing it at all and going from there. FFXV is definitely a potential platinum.

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      • It absolutely is, honestly they are pretty much all from just playing the game and doing some side stuff like fishing and hunting monsters. As long as you enjoy the game you barely notice you are hunting achievements.

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  3. Omg Disgaea 1 and 2 are like The Games I’ll probably never finish! I had them both on PS2 and never made it more than halfway through the story and once they came out on PC I just forgot about them once I reached that same point again :’D

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    • So Disgaea is fun because I got 1 and 2 for my 15th birthday on my PSP, got partway through, realized I was incompetent at strategy games and rage quite them both. Years later, my husband bought them for me on PC because he thought I could probably finish them as an adult and here I am now, completely addicted.

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  4. I used to be more interested in 100% completion, but now there are so many games out there that I just do main story and maybe a few side quests. Otherwise I just end up getting bored.

    For achievement hunting, I only tend to do it if there are branching narratives where I want to get all of them. Do you play on Steam?

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  5. i move games on steam that ive completed to their own category, if ive finished but could revisit for achievements then i have a different category for those tooo 🙂

    if i finisdhed a game but there was areas i didnt like about it or there was 0 replayability then ill ignore its achievewments and accept its over for me.

    reading through this has definitely made me want to pick up some games i havent in a while

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  6. Whether I simply finish or go the distance and complete a game is dependent entirely on the game itself. Bethesda RPGs are massive, but Oblivion and Skyrim are pretty straightforward with their achievements and might not be a bad place to start!

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    • That’s my thought! I’ve always wanted to play the other questlines in Skyrim, but never had the motivation to do so. I usually just do the companions to get the disease resistance from being a werewolf and then do the main quest.

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  7. For larger RPGs and open-world titles, I typically go towards completing as much of the game as possible, mixing up main missions and side quest objectives. This still doesn’t get me near 100% completion for the most part, but I tend to complete a large chunk of most bigger games I play this way. It’s quite challenging for sure to tackle a lot of games as you alternate between newer releases and titles from your backlog, as there’s likely hundreds of games in your library similar to mine I’d imagine. It ultimately depends on the game in question, of course, as say in likes of Mass Effect: Andromeda or Assassin’s Creed you tend to get quite a few fetch quests in the mix, whereas in Witcher 3: Wild Hunt I actually tried to pursue all side questlines and monster contracts until I’ve cleared them all out, as there’s less repetition in those.

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    • I haven’t necessarily always sped through my larger titles. For example, I know I did every quest (that I’m aware of) in both Mass Effect 2 and 3. On the whole, though, the main goal here is to get me to stop and smell the roses a little more often and not always be worried about whether I’m taking too long on a game.

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      • For sure, enjoyment of the game is really what matters in the end, even when you are a game critic trying to go through as many titles as possible. I’ve probably completed both ME 2 & 3 100% as I’ve always went to do all secondary objective as well apart from main missions. For each, I’ve also beat the DLC in full. I’d say those examples are a little easier to 100% because they have a more linear design than most open-world RPGs, but their side missions are still easy to dismiss when you’re playing the main story. But you’re absolutely right, you really want to enjoy your games instead of feeling like you’re powering through the main bits.

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  8. I tend to get to 90% at best – as I am with AC Odyssey – but don’t aim for the 100% achievement. I try to finish the main questline and any interesting side-quests but then move on. But there have been exceptions: Witcher 3 was so completed that I was ready to do NG+; wanted to complete newer Tomb Raider games but stuck with mechanics; and Star Wars The Old Republic, I completed all eight classes before they added more/frustrating content.

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    • I played a bit of The Old Republic a really long time ago, haven’t played in years. I’m hoping that, if nothing else, completing my games a little more will give me a better feel for what content is and isn’t worth completing in my video games.

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  9. I definitely know what you’re saying here! Once the credits roll, I have a hard time going back through and playing side-quest that don’t feel like they have any meaning anymore, so I usually try and do any and all side quests before I reach that ending point. I’m also not skilled enough, half of the time, to get the 100% completion rate, but the only two games I’ve managed to do it are Horizon: Zero Dawn and Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. I do like to look at the trophies, though, and see if I *think* they will be attainable and try to strive for them. I hope you have some good gaming experiences (and I also use any excuse to replay a BioWare or Bethesda game).

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    • Oh yeah, skill levels are something I’m really worried about because I’m a perpetual easy mode gamer. Still, a part of pushing myself to complete some games is actually trying to improve my abilities and see if I can push myself to try harder games.

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      • I’m curious what you would label as a harder game? Personally, I find a lot of RPGs have pretty challenging bits, but I wouldn’t label them as hard. Whereas, for me personally, a hard (or dare I say impossible) game for me would be something like Dark Souls. So I’m just curious where your line is!

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      • Hard games are relative to what I have trouble with in gaming. I’m garbage at shooters, so most games with shooting bits are rough for me. I do consider RPGs difficult purely from an endgame standpoint. I rarely tackle superbosses and optional dungeons because they’re far more difficult than the base game.

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  10. I can’t remember the last time I 100% a game (maybe Lego Jurassic world?). I do enjoy fully exploring a game world, and it’s not unknown for me to drop back in for a bit after the credits have rolled, but honestly some of the 100% criteria are just off-putting. They’re either super tedious, or you have to do some ridiculous feat that takes hours just to set up, let alone do.

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    • That missing ‘criteria’ can be ridiculous and obscure. I’m at 99% in AC Odyssey and I suspect that there’s a dot of an island/outcrop in the sea that I’ve not explored or a side quest left to do. Not worth the time finding it. I’ve got other worlds to explore.

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  11. My brain is broken, so I often feel like I can’t move off of a game until I squeeze every drop out of it, and a lot of that has to do with Achievements for Xbox One/360 games. Like, I saw credits roll for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate recently, but I feel like I can’t uninstall it yet until I find all the collectibles or do every side mission. Ugh. It’s annoying at times. Especially because I just bought WarGroove and really want to submerge myself in it.

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  12. I’ve 100% very few games in my life, mostly because eventually the tedium of collectibles catches up to me. I am much more likely to 100% if you’re talking about side-quests/story content vs. “Collecting 100 glowing MacGuffins.” I try to 100% or near 100% a game before I beat the final main story mission, because I’ve found that once I’ve beaten the main content, my brain flips a switch and considers that game “done” and doesn’t want to go back to it. Right now, for instance, I’ve beaten Spider-Man, but have about 15% left to 100%, but it’s very hard to get me to pick that up and dive in to what is surely only a few more hours of exploration left!

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  13. Interesting take. It does feel a somewhat subjective thought process, the large open world RPGs that almost feel like a Hoover in terms of completion, finding 100 feathers across 40 hour game to reach completion doesn’t appeal to me personally. Equally when a number of titles force an online playing experience to reach that mythical status. I guess…in the end it comes down to whether you feel completion in your experience? Just cleared Rise of The Tomb Raider off my list, a bunch of stuff I could go back for but feel satisfied ‘my journey’ was enough, that Lara could have spent more time exploring optional tombs but ultimately got a bit bored and frustrated and in her best English accent just jolly well got on with it.

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    • Yep, I think there’s a sweet spot between finishing and completing that I may hit for some games. Do I really need to play the game on the highest difficulty to get the maximum level of enjoyment out of it? I am treating this like an experiment to see at what point I am overdoing it on a game.

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      • My random epiphany came oddly during the first Mass Effect many years back when I was chasing the achievement unlocked by playing the ‘majority’ of a campaign with ‘x’ character. Only, I wasn’t enjoying playing with them and found myself missing ‘y’. It was purely for the points. After that just began to enjoy the story as it happened 🤷🏼‍♂️

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