Length in Video Games: My Two Cents

With the recent leaked gameplay footage of The Order: 1886, which is due to be released today, claiming that the main storyline could be completed within five hours, the internet has been set abuzz with discussions on whether the length of a video game matters. My main argument would be that while having a video game that has plenty of content that can last huge amounts of hours is a definite plus, if a game is presented well and is entertaining to play then the length doesn’t always matter.

Currently I am playing Dragon Age Inquisition and have plunged 40 hours of gameplay into it and I still have a lot to do in the main storyline, and double that in extra content. As a student it is great to have this much gameplay as AAA games come at a price and so the investment has, so to say ‘made its moneys worth’. However, I thoroughly enjoyed playing The Wolf Among Us which has about 8 hours of gameplay, as it had an immersive storyline, great visuals, and overall entertaining gameplay. Both of these games would rank high in a figurative list of my favourite video games, with length not being the main determining factor.

In regards to The Order, length may have been detrimental to its success as the main storyline is all it has to offer. As it is a ‘shooter’ game, you wouldn’t expect it to have the longest of main campaigns. Successful ‘shooter’ games like Call of Duty have main campaigns that roughly average 7-8 hours of gameplay. However, they have multiplayer which can add hundreds of hours of gameplay to the game. As The Order only has the option of single player, fans of the ‘shooter’ genre may feel disappointed as they cannot engage with the game like they could with another game in the genre. Also, the fact that it comes with a hefty AAA price tag, people may feel its not worth the investment for a short game that, although was supposed to be innovative in its play style, many reviewers have found it to be largely similar to many other games of its genre. As I have not played The Order, I feel like I can’t place a full judgement as there may be some redeeming qualities that make it worth playing. However, its not a game I will be anxious to play for a while, at least ’til the price has lowered.

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Telltale’s Game of Thrones Episode Two: The Lost Lords Review

After a shocking and exciting end to the first episode, there was a high expectation for Telltale to maintain the elements they had presented in the previous episode. With the introduction of two new playable characters and two more places to explore, we still get that typical Game of Thrones feel to the episode, however the episode was slightly slower with less action. However, this is understandable as it progressed the multiple story lines and added more difficult choices that will likely have bigger impacts on the rest of the series.

The introduction of the first new playable character, Asher Forrester, was a great start to the episode which melded an interesting story, due to his witty personality, with an avenue for more fighting fuelled interactions. During the fight Asher has with the Sellswords in Yunkai, I made a mistake and died the first time, however playing the second time around and missing one interaction, the fight sequence changed drastically from what I had played before which shows how much effort Telltale have put into the game to make every small input change the way you affect the story and how you witness it. Asher’s small part in the episode was enjoyable to play and has implications for a wider interaction with the Game of Thrones world in later episodes with the hint that he may come across Daenerys Targaryen.

Throughout the rest of the episode, we are introduced to a shock second playable character which I will only go as far as saying is based in Ironrath. This part of the episode was the slowest but it progressed the characterisation of the Forrester family. Elsewhere, we saw Gared Tuttle make it to The Wall and a continuation of Mira Forrester’s story in Kings Landing.

Although we see fan favourite character, Jon Snow, introduced in Gared’s story, I felt as though he was not characterised as well as other prominent characters from the show like the Lannisters. Gared’s story did feel a bit too similar to that of Jon Snow’s in the novels and TV show’s which did hinder the originality of Telltales’ addition to the Game of Thrones world. Perhaps a few more diverse decisions in future episodes will help characterise Gared as a more original character, but overall his story was mildly interesting.

Mira’s segment of the episode was by far the stand out point of the whole episode. The decisions you had to make for her part of the story were genuinely difficult which did highlight the overall great story created by Telltale as you feel so attached to the characters that you find it difficult to choose who you want to aid more, and how you want the story to play out. Mira’s involvement with Tyrion Lannister within the episode, which is likely to continue in future episodes, was exciting to witness and furthered the opportunity for the player to have a larger influence on the presentation of Mira’s character. In my view Mira is the best crafted character in the series so far, and the opportunities to decide on the direction of her story were the most difficult, yet the most satisfying.

Overall, The Lost Lords picked up on the great story introduced in the first episode and developed the story further that is likely to bring more exciting twists to the story. The stand out characters of the episode were Mira and Asher whose stories had many exciting interactions, but Garred’s character seemed slightly unoriginal this episode and so hopefully we will see more opportunities in future episodes for his character to develop into a more original one.