Monkeys Fighting Robots

When it comes to completing tasks in a video game, my attention mostly lies with the ones in the main story.  While I will complete side quests and missions after finishing the main game, that’s normally as far as I go.  Games that include open worlds have trophies, secret areas, and objectives designed to keep players engaged after the credits roll.  But games like the Batman: Arkham series make trophy collecting tedious.

Batman: Arkham Knight was the worst offender.  In order to fight The Riddler, you have to go around Gotham and collect all 243 Riddler trophies.  Finding that out while playing the game made me stop playing it, and I haven’t played it since then.  This is a problem many games with open worlds have.

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They make collecting items feel tedious and not rewarding because there’s too much to collect in order to unlock or reveal certain things.  The world’s they create have different areas, but not every one of them makes me awe over what I’ve discovered.  To be honest a lot of the areas in Arkham Knight look and feel the same, or at least feel like they can all be part of one place.  However, games like Rise of the Tomb Raider and God of War aka Dad of Boy are two games where I don’t feel that way.

Rise of the Tomb Raider was the first in game that made me want to achieve 100 percent completion.  A big reason was because discovering areas, monuments, and collecting items was tied to its player progression system.  Being able to upgrade Lara’s ability to translate words by going around deciphering monuments added to her character.  It also made me want to max out her ability to do so and go and discover new areas.

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Also, going back to a monument she couldn’t translate earlier on in the game and seeing her do so later gave me a huge sense of accomplishment.  Going to secret areas and temples gave off a sense of awe because they all looked and operated differently.  Nothing felt or looked the same.

By going to different areas I was also able to upgrade Lara’s physical skill set, and weaponry.  The game never made me feel like I had to collect and explore these extra things.  The option of doing so was presented in a way that gave me a sense of curiousness and adventure.  Plus the way Camilla Luddington voices Lara Croft in the reboot series makes me feel like I’m with Lara and not controlling her.

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God of War does the exact same thing.  The video game makes me feel rewarded by visiting all of the realms and completing all of the tasks.  By doing so I’m able to max out my attacks, weapons, and armor.  It’s also a video game that uses its focus on Norse mythology to tell tales and stories while traveling.

There have been times where I’ll arrive at my destination and stay in the boat because getting out stops the story.  I sat for many minutes to hear a head talk about a fire giant and loved it.  Like Tomb Raider, the team behind God of War made sure to make every realm feel different.  They also made sure each realm had its own unique tasks outside of the ones shared between all of them.

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I understand not every game is going to be centered around mythology.  But it’s important for developers to make sure buildings and areas feel and look different from each other.  Fallout 4 is another video game that does this really well.  It’s a nuclear Boston, but being in its version of Fenway Park (Diamond City) feels and looks different than other areas.  Even each faction you can join has different looks when it comes to what they wear, and where they hangout.

A driving force in what makes me want to complete every task in a game is I need to feel like every area has something intriguing about it.  If I go into areas and everything is the same, I’ll just lose interest. I’ll stop playing a game if I’m doing the same thing over and over again.  Talking to you Ubisoft.

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My fear is that many AAA games that involve open worlds will have some missions that are different, but most will be copy and paste.  Go here, climb this, collect this, repeat.  The bigger issue is consumers won’t know until they give the publisher their money.  They may be able to get a refund, but the truth is people won’t get their money or time back.

They’ve paid for a service, but lose out on an overall experience.  One that is worth earning 100 percent.  Instead it’s just worth 10 bucks store credit in trade-in value if that.

Nick is a staff writer who enjoys all types of video games and reminiscing about past pinball experiences. As a gamer who has one arm, he also aspires to one day be cast in a live-action adaptation of Mega Man.