Wash, rinse, repeat. When is it enough?
Not much in the world of gaming for me this week. Had a few sessions of Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen and my weekly game night with my friend playing Borderlands 2.
Both games are actually beginning to wear on me. Surprisingly, Borderlands 2 is wearing on me the quickest. Having just played the first one only a year ago, I think it was too soon and the overall game design too similar to keep it fresh. It really does feel like I am just sort of rehashing the same stuff from the first game and the first game really became a chore by the final third of the game.
(Sure looks pretty, but loses a lot of the appeal after the third time you have to come back to the area.)
Both Borderland 2 and Dragon's Dogma suffer from the same fatigue problems: revisiting the same areas repeatedly and having the same encounters every time I visit these areas.
I think part of the problem is in the idea of the open world. If your world isn't truly open, which neither game really is, then you have to drag me back and forth through the world in what ends up being relatively few pathways. Unlike Skyrim, where I generally have unlimited freedom to wander to my destination by a route of my design, I am forced to revisit the same areas in Borderland 2 and Dragon's Dogma to get to a newer area or more likely to revisit an area I've already been to with a different quest.
Sure, both games offer a limited quick travel system but the slog to and from these points can be pretty bad. In Borderland 2's favour, there is a vehicle available for travel in many areas which speeds up the process. Dragon's Dogma is a horribly slow game to walk around in and desperately needs horses, magic carpets, or whatever vehicle replacement comes to mind.
(from left to right: Snak-thedogenthusiast 's pawn, Retrohunter95's Pawn, my character, my Pawn)
However the fatigue of all this travel is exacerbated by the encounters. Both games suffer from having the same combat encounters in the same places each time you revisit the area. Again I think Skyrim needs to be held up as a much better execution of more random encounters that feel much more natural. At least I hope that Borderlands 2 will continue the mechanics from the first game and will scale the encounters as I grow in level. Nothing I've seen so far in Dragon's Dogma suggests that the encounters are going to further scale since hitting about level 30, hopefully I'm wrong about this.
Part of the problem is of course inherent with the leveling of characters. It is tough to have enough unique areas to pace the game alongside the advancement of the player. However, this is generally my problem with RPGs and games with heavy RPG elements like Borderlands 2. I feel like most of the game is designed to waste my time on repeated mission areas so that I am fooled in to believing that I am getting a lot of game. I understand that grinding is a part of a lot of RPGs and MMOs, but I think the secret to success here is to never let on that I am grinding. I hate to keep using Skyrim, but I think Bethesda's approach to "grinding" never feels canned and rehashed.
I'll likely stick with both games. Borderlands 2's core gameplay is fun enough to help battle the fatigue and playing with a friend makes up for many of the problems in almost all games. Dragon's Dogma will likely get finished for the same reason I finish loads of RPGs long after they've worn out their welcome. I have invested so much time in the game already that it almost feels like it would be a greater crime and a greater waste of time to abandon the game.
So, hopefully I'll be able to push through more Dragon's Dogma this weekend. What are you playing this weekend?