Deciding to buy a video game, as opposed to renting from GameFly or borrowing a game from a friend, is a big deal when you’re an adult who has to be mindful of what you spend your money on. Prioritizing paying next month’s rent is much more important than blowing your paycheck on that AAA title everyone is playing right now. When you do buy that video game you have to have, you’re hoping you’ll get your full money’s worth from the purchase and a good gaming experience. Does buying a video game necessarily give you an incentive to complete every single aspect a game offers you? It depends on how much you enjoy the game.
I wouldn’t consider myself a completionist when I play video games. I’ll play games I’ve been interested in playing for the longest time with the intent of only playing through the main story missions of a single-player campaign. A lot of games tend to pack a ton of stuff for players to do or secrets to uncover. It can be anywhere from plenty of side missions to finding Easter Eggs the developer may have planted in a certain level of a game. Gaining full completion may also mean unlocking every single achievement in the game to raise your gamer score and to have bragging rights to tell your friends. Whatever it is, being a completionist can mean many different things to different people.
The extent of game completion for me is to do the main story missions and maybe unlock levels and characters that remain locked. Most of the time, I may play just one or two side missions in a game only to immediately get right back to the story to get to the ending. Some side missions I find boring and contribute nothing to the overall story. I dislike spending hours on a mission that’s less exciting to play when I can watch more of a game’s story unfold. I’m here for the story, not have a game put me to sleep.
I’m not an achievement hunter because I very rarely care if I unlock all the achievements in a game (but sometimes I do get a little excited when I see the achievement unlock notification at the bottom of my screen when I’m on my Xbox One or Xbox 360), and most achievements have some crazy requirements. Play the game entirely on nightmare mode? Complete the game without dying once? No thank you. I know some players like the challenge these achievements offer, but I don’t have the patience to bother with it. Maybe that’s why my gamer score is much lower compared to most of my other friends’ scores.
The only time I feel the need to do a full completion of a game is when I absolutely adore the one I’m playing. Full completion means doing not just the story missions but doing every single side mission I can find in the game. Or at least try. The video games that fit this description for me are the Dragon Age and Mass Effect series. Every codex entry must be found and every fetch quest has to be completed. It’s not like these Bioware titles are any different from other games that are similar to them. Dragon Age and Mass Effect both have their share of interesting and boring side missions.
I’ve discovered a long time ago when I was first introduced to these games that the strong urge to get a full completion for games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect has to do with having fallen deeply in love with the world and characters that have been created. Doing every single side mission and leaving no stone unturned means I have more time to spend with the characters and to admire the area around me.
One of the best aspects of a Bioware game is listening to the back and forth banter or remarks coming from your party members. It’s funny to see which characters get along and which ones don’t quite see eye-to-eye, or just hearing more backstory about a particular character’s life through the banter. It’s always highly recommended to try and switch up your party every now and again to get a different experience with each one, though it might be hard sometimes when you have your own personal favorites. The randomized banter also makes doing a boring fetch quest easier to tolerate.
Sometimes I do think I might be losing out on the full experience of other video games I have when I skip out on doing side missions. At least with the Bioware games, I know it has been money well spent when I clock in a ton of hours in those games. I may be kind of wasting my money on some games when I don’t do everything there is to do in them, but if the game is fun enough, there’s still a huge chance I may replay it again. At least if being an adult doesn’t always get in the way of my gaming time.
What does full video game completion mean to you? What games have you played that you absolutely have to finish completely?