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Shorter Games Equal Higher Quality?

Over the past few years and especially in this new generation, veteran gamers have often complained bitterly over the length of certain blockbuster titles. Some people just want to get as much bang for their buck as humanly possible, and if a game takes only about 10 hours or less to complete, it feels like a rip-off.

But does it? Really? The only substantially long game of 2008 that will likely be considered for Game of the Year is Grand Theft Auto IV, and at this point, it seems to be an anomaly. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots might take about 15-20 hours but it's only about 6-8 if you don't count the cut-scenes, and other competitors are relatively short as well. Dead Space falls into the 6-8 hour category as does Mirror's Edge, and we hear that Gears of War 2 won't take longer than 10 hours, either. We beat Resistance 2 in about 12 hours (which felt shorter than the original title), and unless we start talking about sports and racing games, all we're finding are a lot of experiences that can be classified as "short." Look at last year; we gave Game of the Year to two games and neither of which would be considered long: God of War II and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. So the question is: should we really be complaining?

Granted, with online multiplayer becoming such an important factor, the single-player adventures aren't everything anymore. Hence, even though shooters like R2, GeoW2 and the upcoming Call of Duty: World at War are kinda short, one could play countless hours online. Remember last year's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare? 5-hour single-player; 5-million hour multiplayer. Then again, maybe we should also consider that developing games in this new generation is extraordinarily expensive - as any studio will tell you - so the more quality involved, the shorter the experience. The money will run out eventually for most developers, so a 6-8 hour game might be the new target mark for a title that delivers in every possible respect.

But hey, there are still plenty of long games out there if you want to look for them. Take Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Fallout 3, for instance, and we seem to recall Bioshock taking about 20 hours. Then there's always the PS2 RPGs that can take the once-standard 40-60 hours (like the Atlus Shin Megami Tensei series), and GTAIV and Saints Row 2 can drain away plenty of hours as well. It's just that we've perceived a significant shift, and now we're starting to wonder... When we hear a game will take less than 10 hours, should we immediately start to consider it an excellent game?

11/11/2008 Ben Dutka

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Comments (47 posts)

AntDC
Tuesday, November 11, 2008 @ 10:21:42 PM
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I think I'd feel ripped off if I played an RPG that went for less then 10 hours, but I think I'd just get board from repitition if a FPS went for much longer then 10 hours. It's all about balance IMO.

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MetalHead09
Tuesday, November 11, 2008 @ 10:30:15 PM
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yea balance is good but imo 15 hours is a nice number. i remember when games took weeks and not just a few days to beat. i do like the balance this generation. id rather have a game grab me by the nuts for 10 hours and not let go then have to deal with to much repetition. i still do miss the 3 week grinds and stuff like that but i guess thats what rpgs and open world racing games are for now.

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King James
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 10:20:59 AM

lol! Great analogy.

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ceedot
Tuesday, November 11, 2008 @ 11:13:05 PM
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Well if it's less than 10 hours, and offers nothing in online, then it's a rip off.

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coverton341
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 2:50:19 PM

agreed whole heartedly

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AceTatsujin
Tuesday, November 11, 2008 @ 11:16:14 PM
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RPG games should be more than 30-40 hours to be honest. Other games, don't really matter. Shooters are all-a-like to be honest. I do hope Killzone 2 is about 30+ hours of single-player gameplay. But anyways. I heard Mirror's Edge is around 10 hours of gameplay ... THEN WHAT? Where's the freaking content at? Quality and thats it? No. I'll keep my money.

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Daedusian
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 12:01:09 AM
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Uncharted is probably the best example of this. The game took what, maybe 6 hours (I forget), but every single minute of that game, at least to me, I enjoyed. There was not one moment when I said "oh, I really don't want to go through this mess again!" when playing through for the second or third time. Same goes for R2, well except for the final boss... don't get me started lol, I absolutely hated that boss. They should've scrapped that idea and thought of something different... my god that was bad.

Anyways lol, Uncharted brought back my love for games that are short and have no online play. But when games are like this, they better excel tremendously in their story and gameplay, or it just falls flat!

Last edited by Daedusian on 11/12/2008 12:01:48 AM

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aaronisbla
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 12:44:51 AM

The last boss was a tad bit of a letdown for me, but i wont say anymore, dont want to spoil it

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King James
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 10:28:38 AM

agreed. Was the last boss on R1 that bad?! I don't remember. They dropped the ball in R2 on that one. Besides that, R2 is solid.

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somethingrandom
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 5:38:50 PM

There was no last boss in R1, you just had to destroy the big power center. I felt the last boss in R2 was WAY too easy though... it was easier than the first boss (daedalus only hit me once, and that was because i was rubbing against the inside wall while sprinting away from him). You should never be able to beat a final boss first try...

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Buckeyestar
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 1:21:18 AM
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It's funny you mentioned that you named God of War 2 and Uncharted your games of the year. I wasn't aware of this site at the time, but I told anyone I spoke to on the topic that my 3 contenders for game of the year last year were God of War 2, Uncharted and Mass Effect. Hopefully I can see all 3 on one system someday. :D (Dragon Age coming to PS3 fills me with hope for Mass Effect.)

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Gabriel013
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 1:43:44 AM
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Multiplayer elements can go take a leap. Whether I put down the cash is based entirely on the single player elements. Due to having a house to run, game purchasing is limited so I'd be miffed if I could fly through my new game in a couple of hours then have to twiddle my fingers a couple of months until I could get a new game. Mass Effect is an example of a good game that lasts a decent length of time.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 10:23:15 AM

I'm with you. I grew up with single-player and that's where my focus remains. :)

Of course, having a lot less time than I used to factors in, too.

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Deleted User [Administrator]
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 1:58:09 AM
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If resistance 2 felt shorter than the original to you then you werent very good at it. I beat the original in about 6 hours so if R2 is shorter than that(no way in HELL its 12 hours) im starting to feel nervous about my purchase.

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Joe_III
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 2:11:53 AM

Quit whining.

That said, games have been getting shorter. I remember the first game that was about 10 hours to get noticed for it's shortness was Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (I think that's the title). And it was lambasted for being only 10 hours long. It affected the review scores, there was lots of forum rants, etc.

A good single/coop campaign should be around 15-20 hours. Shorter than that it's hard to tell a good story.

Take Squeenix for example. Their RPGs have always had good stories, and long play-times. However, neither of these really suffered even when they took gameplay out of the simple turn-based system that was standard. Even tho I hate realtime RPGs...

Multiplayer is a whole diff beast, though.

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Tim Speed24
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 7:24:02 AM

How about Black for that matter. Short game for the PS2 but it was probably the best FPS with the best effects I saw on the PS2.

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Deleted User
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 4:05:23 AM
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does mirrors edge have multiplayer?

Last edited by n/a on 11/12/2008 4:07:24 AM

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Deleted User
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 4:13:31 AM
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as a matter of a fact eff it ima just rent it. ill get nba 2k9 instead..

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Scarecrow
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 5:54:45 AM
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Depends
I wouldn't call any of the God of War games short...(except the psp one)

But yeah if that's your definition of short, then yes.

Heavenly Sword is another great game, way underrated because of its length.

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Troy Powers
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 7:48:28 AM

Heavenly Sword was incredible. Better than Uncharted IMO. Probably my favorite game at this point.

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TheRaPtuRe
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 6:12:16 AM
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everyone is going to have a different opinion on what is short and what is just about right.
I'd say that 10 hours is fine for a game.
6 for mirrors edge though is absolutley pathetic though!
they should put the price down

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Sir Shak
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 6:29:03 AM
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i am not very fond of multiplayer gaming and can afford 1 or 2 games a month so i need a good and long story to put my money down.
if i was to recieve only 6 hours of entertainment then i would prefer to watch a couple of good movies instead for a lot less money.

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Tim Speed24
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 7:35:56 AM

I know what you mean about multiplayer. I go online very rarely because of the swearing and the people not playing very nice at all. Can't everybody play the game the way its meant to be played.

Why in racing games do people try to go backwards or crash you all the time. Drives me nuts. And in shooting games people on your team kill you when they get bored, Mentals!

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englishgolfer
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 6:52:16 AM
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i tend to buy games for my kids and what ticks me off is if they ring me up at work in the afternoon saying that they've finished the game that was bought for them in the morning. anything less than 10 hours, imo, is not worth the money - no matter how good it is.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 12:12:18 PM

Maybe that's because you're not the one benefiting from the game...?

If I had to pay for it and didn't play it, I'd be pissed, too...no matter how long it took the person I bought it for to finish it.

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Frenchy17
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 9:47:10 AM
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I agree, I thought the final boss was a pretty big letdown to me as well. No where near as difficult as other parts of R2. Is Dead Space really that short? My roommate started playing it a few days before I got R2 and I beat R2 the other night and he has a few chapters left on Dead Space. What happened to exploring and looking for pickups and the like? Seems like everyone wants to just rush through a game to say they beat it instead of enjoying the whole experience. If that is your goal, then you probably are wasting money on games.

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King James
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 10:17:18 AM
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Well, I don't mind a short game...IF, and only IF, there is high replay value. That way those 6-8 hr turn into 12-16hr or even 18-24hr.

Does Mirror's Edge have high replay value? I feel that it wouldn't be worth the money if it can't break that 12-15hr bracket.

IDK, games should longer ,especially if they have an engaging story to tell. I feel robbed when the single player is ridiculously short. I mean since when did having a great multi-player give these studios reason to slack on the single player (e.g. Gears1 & Halo3)? I'd rather them do what Incognito did and charge less for an incomplete game. W/ Warhawk, Incognito said that the single player didn't stack up w/ the multi-player, so they dropped it (along w/ the price). Worked out great for them and us, the gamers.

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Deleted User
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 11:30:08 AM
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yea really what replay value? 6 hours worth of gameplay is not enough for me to forget or miss the game when im done. like wtf am i gonna do its the same as watching a funny/entertaining commercial on tv, yea its good but u not gonna want to see it again because after one time you damn nearly memorised it. dice/EA should really stop acting like bitches and sell this crap for 30 bucks. on top of its shortness there aint no multiplayer, they are rapists.

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rjmacready
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 12:09:04 PM
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Why do people keep saying Uncharted: Drakes Fortune is short? That game took me around 23 hours to complete, and ummm I don't suck that bad!
After work, I only have time for about an hour a day tops for gaming so that game was perfect length.

Even if it was short (which like I said, I thought it was definitely not short), it was incredible, and one of my favorite games of all time.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 12:12:34 PM

23 hours?!

You HAVE to be thinking about another game... I'm quite slow myself and it didn't take me more than 10 hours.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 11/12/2008 12:13:06 PM

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Arvis
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 1:04:37 PM

Maybe he meant 23 hours to "complete" as in "unlock everything?"

-Arvis

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HighLife
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 12:35:48 PM
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UnCharted took me about 10 hours also but it was a grat 10 hours. I like single player games or co op with a friend. Multi is no fun for me, since I suck playing FPS online. I like games where you and a friend cam play together drink some beverages and talk crap face to face.

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tlpn99
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 12:56:18 PM
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Surely you can count MGS4 with the cut scenes. Are cut scenes not part of the game ? They tell the story of a game and isn't that what a game is a story that you get to play through to find out what happens next ? Unless your playing a sports game or something else like some racing games or other types ie quiz games etc.

Ok if you do skip the scenes in MGS4 when you play through a 2nd time then yeah it will take less than the full time. The first time someone plays through a game do you or indeed they cut the scene to get onto the next bit asap ? I know I was so tempted when playing MGS4 that I was dying to jump the scenes but I knew if I did that I would lose some of the storyline plot and be lost further into the game.

I do agree that some games do seem shorter sometimes even without cutscenes but if it's quality over quantity I know which I'd rather have. It could be a growing trend but with blu-ray discs surley the games content should increase unless it would take some people too long to complete a game and then lose interest.
Also on the same note maybe developers don't want to put too much content in as they want the game to be released as soon as they can to get the money back. Sometimes a game can take a while if there are problems with some element of the game too. (Unless of course it's a certain Duke Nukem game) lol.

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Arvis
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 1:07:29 PM
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I have Gamefly, so a short game isn't really a bad thing for me. It just means I get to the next game quicker. :)
Of course, right now I am playing Valkyria Chronicles.... yeah, don't think I'll be sending that back very quickly.

-Arvis

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coverton341
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 2:57:06 PM
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I just would like to have at least a few of the RPG titles out now that take the 40-50 hours to complete and the 90+ hours to do EVERYTHING in. I mean does anyone remember breeding chocobos to get the gold one and getting every single thing in FFVII. That was a good time and not every game out at the time took that long but it seems to me that no game in recent memory takes that long to 100%. Maybe FFXIII or FFvXIII will deliver in this regard. Then with two 50+ hour games can we really complain about the 6 hour bite we take to have a breather from something epic?

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556pineapple
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 4:22:39 PM
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I was starting to get kind of bored with GTA IV by the end of it. On the other hand I've beaten Portal a few times already (I just bought the Orange Box used a month ago) and I still enjoy playing the story mode. I think it just depends how how repetitive the game is with itself and how unique it is compared to other games. I thought the missions in GTA IV just ended up being more of the same thing towards the end. Chase scene, shoot-your-way-through, protect someone, hit someone, etc. If the game had been a bit shorter, then I wouldn't have minded that so much. And yes, with playing portal over and over again, the goals are the same, but there are always faster, more creative and more efficient ways of accomplishing them. I like that sort of thing.

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NextGenGamer
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 5:38:14 PM
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The length of a game in no way indicates the quality of said game. Shorter games need less developement time to become great, but a long game can be just as great given enough time in developement.
And also one other thing, you can't consider games such as Resistance 2, Gears of War 2, and Call of Duty 5 to be short. These games have excellent online components that can keep you hooked for months.

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Joe_III
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 6:06:19 PM

The length of a game easily is one of the top 5 factors for game quality. How well you tell the story, how long you can get the player to enjoy the experience before it gets too boring or repetitive are all factors directly affected by game length.

And online components are not a deciding factor for everyone. Aside from MMOs, MP gaming is only supposed to be icing on the cake. Many people play games solely for the single-player/coop experience.

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somethingrandom
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 5:52:54 PM
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I beat R2 in 7-9 hours (not exactly sure there), and I'm pissed about the multiplayer part. There's no lag or anything which is very rare and appreciated when you are running satellite internet (COD4 sucked that way, everyone had a 2 second advantage on me), but I experience random disconnects and network errors all the f****** time, so I've only finished one co-op mission so far. The game says I've played 16 hours total now. For anyone who's interested, I played Oblivion for 123 hours, and have finished the main quest and half the side quests, course I did dick around somewhat...


BTW, satellite internet is the ONLY available internet where I live. My parents pay $60/month for 512k download and 128k upload.

Last edited by somethingrandom on 11/12/2008 5:58:17 PM

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rjmacready
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 6:02:48 PM
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Ben, I just checked my saved data utility and the last one I have saved for Uncharted: Drakes Fortune shows 88% complete with 18 hours 55 minutes played. I don't know how anyone did it in 10 hours or less. Maybe cuz I die a lot I take longer or something. I didn't rush through the game, I just played it trying to solve it...and finally did after more than 20 hours.
I guess my friend and I are turtles in solving games cuz we always double the time it takes everyone else to solve games.
I'm 49% through GTAIV after 33 hours playing it as another example. I just want to SOLVE that game now, but probably won't for another 20_ hours.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 6:05:03 PM

Well, I suppose. There's nothing wrong with going slow, certainly. At least you'll always get your money's worth. :)

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djjake
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 6:56:58 PM
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to me if your going to have single player that should be the main focus and last long as it can

what annoys me is that they have made great graphics, engines and storymode on gears 2 with a 8gb disc

blu ray is 6x bigger yet we get games that don't feel any bigger than that

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karneli lll
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 @ 7:54:06 PM
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this is how i see it ; a short game = a shallow story/ plot (sorry,i prefer deeper stories n plots to amazing graphics).

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MetalHead09
Thursday, November 13, 2008 @ 1:18:31 AM
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the only game im interested in playing multi player is socom, its all i played on my ps2 except juiced, i loved juiced online. but anyway socom is my only online interest right now so the single player is what will get me hooked into a game. i loved uncharted and im pretty sure i dont suck real bad but i surely didnt beat it in 10 hours or less, i dont think anyway. i like to get at least a few days worth of single player. i mjst be one of the few who actually enjoyed area 51 and yes im talkin blacksite, 60$ and i beat it the night i bought it and had no reason to play it again. we cant forget about assassins creed, that had good story and length but i felt so boned by the ending, i was excited and ready for my next mission and poof the credits roll im sittin there like WTF!!! i wasnt ready for that game to end yet.

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poboy975
Thursday, November 13, 2008 @ 2:59:54 PM
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hey don't anyone forget about Oblivion!! I have over 180 hours in that game. I have done just about every single mission and quest possible, and still haven't finished the main quest. I do have to agree i was very dissapointed in CoD4 single player was waaaaay to short. would have loved a longer story. but I do play the multiplayer hours and hours at a time. Personally I like a great story, loved MGS4!! I took my time with that one. fallout 3 is incredible, but it does kinda feel a little short to me. but definatly great replay value!!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, November 15, 2008 @ 2:08:02 AM
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A disturbing trend, I like my investment to pay off. Online doesn't even factor into my decision to buy.

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cr67
Sunday, November 16, 2008 @ 2:39:36 PM
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I think it's all relative to each individual, such as your skill level and the amount of time each person has to actually sit down and play a game. I'm more of a light/casual gamer and more often than not just don't have 4-5 hours to spend at one sitting and will often go weeks without putting a game in my system due to work, family time and outside activities. With this being said, "shorter games" don't really affect me they way it would say your hard core gamer. As long as the game has incredible graphics and a great storyline, thats what's important to me. For example, I've had GTAIV, Assasins Creed & Burnout Paradise in my library for months and have yet to complete any of them. But that's not important to me. What's important is having an enjoyable gaming experience for that short amount of time that I do have when I sit down to play a game. I'll also rent a game for a few days just to see what its about and to see if it's a title worth adding to my library.

Last edited by cr67 on 11/16/2008 2:51:09 PM

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