I have completed two games in the last 24 hours. One – Final Fantasy XIII – I started a few months ago and have been playing on and off since then, chipping away at it. It took me 51 hours in total. The other – Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days – I started last night and finished three and a half hours later. Both cost £50 new (though obviously I didn’t pay that). Both are marketed as story-driven single-player experiences (try and spot the blurb for Kane & Lynch where it says ‘SP won’t last long, but MP can go on forever!’ Can’t find it? Thought not.), yet both have a vast difference in their length and – I’d guess – their perceived value.
But this is something that’s always hard to judge with the old games-writing malarkey, as so many people are vehemently against thrusting their value judgements on others. How can you quantify value solely through how long something lasts? FFXIII is a fuckton of padding – probably 60-70 per cent of it could be cut very, very easily. So is it really ‘worth’ more because you get 40, 50, 60+ hours out of it?
I honestly don’t know. This isn’t me making a point or having an argument either way – I’m really just thinking out loud. Or at least, on this page.
To me, FFXIII isn’t something I would consider as having value for how long it lasts, for the paddy-reason I mentioned just then. Compare it to something like Oblivion or Fallout 3 though, and you have me spouting some other opininonsense about how I feel they’re the two games I’ve got the most out of – ever. Well, aside from Football Manager, but that both transcends any attempt at reasoning and falls foul in that it’s a yearly purchase.
But a game marketed as triple-A, pushed as a gritty, hard-hitting story-led experience and as something that will change the face of gaming forever (through its camera angles/looks, at least) to offer three-and-a-bit hours of entertainment isn’t something I would call good value. And it is something that needs to be highlighted in reviews, not overlooked because it’s hard to quantify value.
It’s like mentioning the price in a review. But then, that’s a whole new can of beany worms.
I said I didn’t really have a point here. Just thinking aloud.