Debate of the Day: Can a Video Game Be Too Long?

I’ve heard of a lot of complaints recently, and made a few myself, about new release titles being too short. Six, five, even four hour campaigns aren’t unheard of these days, and gamers feel like they’re not getting their money’s worth if they’ve shelled out $60.

But I want to ask if there’s a converse to this, if a game can actually be too LONG for its own good. You would think that more content always means you’re getting more for you money, but I think sometimes a game can drag so it taints the experience of what came before it.

Some games, you just don’t want to end. I could play Mass Effect for 100 hours or more and it would never get old if there was fresh content to be had. But now I’m having a different experience with its sister title, Dragon Age II.

I’m almost 30 hours into the game now, and that’s only doing quest and not dicking around to explore, because frankly, you can’t dick around and explore. Rather quests pile on quests, and I thought the game was over about three different times already. The missions are different yes, but I’m doing them in the same six maps over and over and over. These extra hours aren’t adding anything to my experience.

I think that concise story arcs sometimes work well for games. Titles like Assassin’s Creed and Dead Space sit at about 8-10 hours, and if they were 20 or 30? Even if we like the gameplay,I think that would have made the game worse in the end. But then titles like Fallout 3 or Oblivion or Grand Theft Auto where you can spend dozens of hours just exploring and fighting on your own, I think you can go for 100+ before you start to tire of the world.