Confession: I Don’t (Usually) Beat Games

Last week, we published a story about how to fix a huge backlog problem. I have that problem too, but mine stems from the fact that I never finish games. Thus they never get removed from the backlog as I tell myself that I’ll come back to them eventually. Half the time I wait so long in between sessions that I feel the need to restart the game as I have forgotten the story and how to play.

I also tend to enjoy large open world action games or long RPG’s meaning each game normally takes at least 40 hours to finish. Usually much longer though. I’ve started The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt 4 times, never making it further than Skellige. It’s not that I don’t like the game either. It’s one of my favorite games of this gen. One day, all of a sudden, I just stop playing and never pick it back up.

The Pattern

It’s a pattern most of the time too. I’ll play the game. Enjoy it for awhile. Then one day I’ll turn on the Xbox, look at the game on the dashboard, and decide I’m not in the mood. That repeats until I start a new game and forget about the old one. Then the viscous cycle starts anew. Back when I bought mostly physical games, this happened way faster as well as the thought of changing disks was too much to overcome.

Longtime listeners of our podcast know it’s become kind of a running theme that I don’t beat games. It’s actually quite rare when it happens. In the last two years, I can count on one hand the amount of new games I’ve beaten. It’s pretty much been Marvel’s Spider-Man, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Kingdom Hearts 3. And that was a year and a half ago.

In my heart I’ll want to finish Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and Cyberpunk 2077 when they come out. That task is much easier said then done though. Especially if Assassin’s Creed releases anywhere near Cyberpunk. I also want to play Marvel Avengers which releases 13 days before Cyberpunk so there’s probably no hope to finishing it.

The Root Problem

As I mentioned, I love playing RPG’s and especially JRPG’s. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of them on the Xbox, though that’s a story for a different time. So I started playing Persona 5 Royal, excited to once again try to beat the game after failing to beat the original. Well technically I beat the game with the bad ending, after reverting to a previous save since I was tired of grinding Mementos.

This time I decided to open a guide though, so I wouldn’t miss anything needed to unlock the extra semester and palace. That’s when I realized that min/maxing was ruining my gaming experience. I was sick of having to look over the guide and choose the best dialogue options, and who to hang out with to make sure I max out the experience.

I then realized I did this with one of my favorite new series of all time, Divinity: Original Sin. Anyone who’s played the game knows the combat can be difficult. Thus the need to design the best party composition took root, and off to YouTube and Google I went. Of course there’s 100’s of videos and articles on how to build a character, what skills to use, and what to level up. But once again, that ruined the fun of playing the game. Instead of beating both Divinity: Original Sin and Divinity: Original Sin 2, I stopped playing after 20 to 30 hours.

The Plan

Since I’ve been stuck inside the last month and a half I came up with a plan. I decided to start Divinity: Original Sin 2 over but not use any guides, or builds or anything of that nature. Then I forced myself to stop trying to 100% the game and just get through doing whatever seems fun at the time. Also, I’ve cranked the difficulty down to one of the lower ones so even if my characters don’t have the best skills and builds I won’t fail as often.

It’s been a tremendous experience so far. Instead of worrying about what to level, I just go with what seems good and figure it out on the fly. As someone who enjoys puzzles, I don’t know why I didn’t realize that character building was a puzzle in and of itself.

Right now I’m about 15 hours into it. I’ve exited the first area and haven’t wanted to put the game down. Time will tell if this solution will work in the long term, but I definitely feel better than usual while playing. If you’ve never played them you can pick up the collection on Xbox right now. They are two of the best games of the last half decade and well worth the $60 price tag.

I’ve also been more realistic about which games I want to go back and beat, and which ones are worth doing so. As much as I want to finish Assassin’s Creed: Origins/Odyssey, it’s probably not worth it considering how close we are to getting the next entry.

The Future

Time will tell if this plan will work with future games, but at least it’s a start. If you’re like me and struggle with beating games, I recommend the strategy. Trying to 100% every game I play has led to me never beating any game I play. Thus I’m hoping that future games can be finished even if I don’t see everything it has to offer. Or if I don’t collect every bit and bob available in the game.

I doubt I’ll ever finish The Witcher 3 as Gwent is just too much fun, and really grinds story progression to a halt. But I hope to see the story conclusion of Cyberpunk 2077 on its release.

Let us know down in the comments if you have a problem beating games, and what your solution is to fix that. And stay tuned to Generation Xbox for much more like this and everything else in the world of Xbox.

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