In response to a few recent games that appear to be lacking in the criteria. This is a short list and thoughts on some stand out game mechanics that developers seem to be ignoring and need to build upon.
The 6 Games That Made Me A Completionist
I’m not much of a completionist in games. Collectibles don’t interest me all that much, I’m not typically compelled to take part in side missions unless I really love the game or they lend something interesting to the overall narrative, and I’m not one to aimlessly explore worlds unless I have a strong incentive to do so. Most of the time, all I’m interested in is completing the story.
But every once in a while, a game comes along that hooks me in such a way that I can’t help but see everything in it completed entirely. These are the six games that managed to do so.
I’ve found that a great game has the same sort of addictive quality as a good book; you’re continually drawn back to it time and time again, and simply can’t get enough of it and everything it has to offer. To me, inFamous is this kind of game. No matter how large and extensive my backlog is, I cannot find a good enough reason to not go back to Empire City and take on side missions each time I sit down to play.
Even though it does tend to cycle through the same missions, I still love to sit down with the game and run around collecting blast shards, finding Dead Drops, healing citizens, and completing the odd side mission to free up medical centers or make areas of the map safer. I care about the city, and I have a genuine interest in helping rebuild it and make it a safe place for myself and the citizens that live in it. And being that I’m not one to traditionally care about these things, the mere fact that it does manage to captivate me on this level is very telling of the game’s overall quality. Like a good book, I simply can’t put it down. And that’s not something that happens every day.
In a market overrun with mediocre games following the same rule set of so many others, inFamous is a breath of fresh air, a game that really, truly allows you to capture the essence of being an all-powerful superhero and run with it. It exemplifies the idea of taking old conventions and adding new twists to them in order to make it something unique and interesting, and it’s so compelling and well-made that, despite the fact that I have an intimidating number of games staring back at me, it’s currently my go-to any time I have a spare hour or two for gaming. That’s a rare feeling for me, and because of this, it’s slowly becoming not only my favorite of the PlayStation exclusives, but also one of my all-time favorite games.
Admittedly, I was a bit lukewarm on the original Borderlands. Shooting was fun, but I felt somewhat directionless and got bored with it after about eight hours. So naturally, I was only mildly intrigued by Borderlands 2 when it was first announced. But once I was able to jump back into the mess on Pandora, I found it increasingly harder to pull myself back out.
Maybe it’s the story. Maybe it’s the new guns and abilities you can harness. Maybe it’s Jack spewing random insults in my ear. I really can’t put my finger on exactly what it is, but I do know one thing: I love myself some Borderlands 2, and I will admit to becoming an obsessive completionist with it. Whenever I enter a new area, I make a point of doing every single side mission. Not only does it gain me XP, money, and weapons, it also allows me to see some of the most interesting and unique parts of the game’s story and world. I normally hate grinding in games, but in Borderlands 2, it’s a total joy to sit back, turn on music, and shoot anything that moves.
I know, I know…this is kind of a weird one. I got really hooked on the original Fable when it first came out. But at the time, I was playing it on a borrowed Xbox and only had a few days with it. Oddly enough, I wasn’t ever able to get back into it the same way after the fact.
That is, until Fable 2 came out.
I love Fable, simply because it’s everything I want out of a fantasy RPG: a whimsical, stylized world, unique lore, choices with consequences, and super fluid and satisfying combat. Fable II delivered on this with a handful of new options, making it a personal must-play.
Over the course of about 25 hours, I completed the main story, every single side mission, and even bought up several shops and hunted a fair amount of gargoyles before finally burning out. It’s not necessarily an amazing game, but it managed to come along at the right time to resonate with me and be compelling enough to make me want to complete anything and everything I could.
Mass Effect 2
Let’s face it; the best parts of Mass Effect 2 were the extra things you did on top of the game’s overall storyline. Whether it was the side missions for your crew, adding upgrades to the Normandy, finding new entries of data for the codex, or even just exploring the different environments in the galaxy, Mass Effect 2 was a supremely satisfying experience that did nothing if not entice me to explore it to the fullest and take in everything the game’s universe had to offer.
And I’m kind of ashamed at how many hours I spent reading about planets and playing the planet scanning minigame to explore worlds and check out distress calls. But despite the fact it seems arbitrary to people on the outside, that part of Mass Effect 2 is no less compelling and a testament to how powerful and deep the game’s universe manages to go.
One of the precious jewels Rare made for the Nintendo 64, Banjo-Kazooie gobbled up hours of my childhood as my younger brother and I jumped in and out of the game’s different worlds obsessively collecting Jinjos, feathers, and puzzle pieces as we searched maps and discovered new areas. No stone was left unturned in the quirky and unique world of Banjo-Kazooie, and it forever holds a special place in my childhood.
I grew up in a home where money wasn’t super disposable. We didn’t go for wanting, necessarily, but we also didn’t always have the most “cool” or “cutting edge” things when I was a kid. As such, if I really wanted something and it wasn’t near birthdays or Christmas, I had to resort to saving up babysitting dollars in order to get it.
This is when the unsatiable need for a GameBoy Color entered my life. And after scraping up spare dollars and practically monopolizing the neighborhood’s kid-watching services, I was finally able to afford one and bought a copy of Pokemon Crystal along with it.
And that was pretty much the years of my childhood from then on. I came home each night after school and logged hours into Crystal, exploring the world, battling trainers, going back and gaining access to new areas using the different Pokemon abilities I’d obtained along the way, and filling up my Pokedex to an impressive degree. Of any game I’ve played in my life, Pokemon Crystal was one of the first to really hook me and keep me coming back for more time and time again.
Got any to add to my list? Tell me what games became a near-addiction for you in the comments below!