What is it about a single player game these days… I just can’t seem to get them completed anymore? In the past couple of years it’s fair to say that I’ve bought a wide range of games from both genre to length, but what I’ve found is that with a lot of games that are single player and have a story over about 10 hours, I just can’t seem to complete them…
For example, I have the Witcher 3, Fallout 4 and Rise of the Tomb Raider, all of which are long single player games that I loved playing, but I’ve still not completed them and to be fair I’m a quite a long way off of completing some of them too.
It took me way too long to complete Halo 5 – even though I easily sank way over double figures in to the multiplayer within a week or so, and I think that is the problem – multiplayer!
Overwatch has been out for around a month or so and I’ve found time to play for over 30 hours. I bought Rust one weekend and put in 20 hours within about 3 days. So it’s not like I don’t have the time to play games. There’s just something about single player campaigns that can’t keep hold of me for longer than around 5 hours.
Of the games I’ve completed this year – games like, Firewatch and Oxenfree to name a couple, they share one thing in common, short single player stories.
I’ve been wracking my brain as to why I can’t seem to complete longer games and I think it boils down to two things, 1, unique/unscripted moments and 2, competitiveness. These are things that are lacking from a single player story line. But with survival games especially they come in abundance!
Moments like these don’t happen in single player games.
I’ve never had more intense firefights than I have in DayZ that leave you heart pounding if you come out of them on the winning side. I’ve never experienced more random moments than I have in games like GTA Online, Rust and H1Z1 to name just a few. The experiences that these games create purely from giving players the tools and freedom to do whatever they feel like (in my opinion) are unrivaled.
I will often sit at my PC wondering what to play and after a couple of minutes tossing up between completing my back catalogue or not, I jump on Rocket League or Overwatch. For me, there is just something more satisfying about getting a good kill streak, or scoring a ridiculous goal, knowing that someone on the other end of the game might be either raging, applauding or just in awe… ok, maybe not in awe, I’m not that good.
It’s also the social side of it, I have a group that will be online most evenings ready to play, have a laugh and create our own stories. There is also a bit of FOMO involved. I don’t like thinking that if I’ve chosen to play something on my own, that they’re then online playing together and getting all these awesome stories that I know I’ll hear about and regret not being involved in them.
My tastes in video games have also changed a fair bit over the last couple of years. It seems that the days of single player games drawing me in and getting me lost in it’s world and lore are kind of gone. Now it seems that I’m more drawn to either multiplayer or games that have some kind of online element.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy single player games – I love them, and they’ve given me some incredible memories over the years. I think it’s more that now, I feel like I’ve seen so much of it before and I kind of know what’s coming up so I lose some interest in it. Or sometimes some of them do just drag on too long and you start to think “They could’ve easily wrapped this up a few hours ago…” With online games like DayZ for example, there is that element of the unknown, and that is what draws me to them. I don’t know what’s going to happen if I play for 5-10 hours straight and that’s why I love them.
I don’t see it changing any time soon either. If I look at some of the games I’m really looking forward to playing in the next few months, it’s games like No Man’s Sky and Battlefield 1. Ok, NMS isn’t exactly a traditional multiplayer game, but it’s also not a single player story driven game, it has unknown possibilities for unique stories to be unearthed. It’s not just my story that I’m looking forward to either, it’s everyone else’s too because they will be unique, they will be in that moment and they will never be experienced by anyone else ever, you just can’t recreate those moments with in a story.
Sure, a lot of the games I play are buggy and can be messy due to so many survival games being in early access, but I find that part of the charm. I can see past those flaws because I know that just around the corner could be something incredible.