“The game gets good X hours in.” It’s a common argument that is thrown around in the video game community quite frequently. The variable itself fluctuates game to game, but many fans use this defense to counter negative feelings toward a game. An infamous mainstay of this argument is 2010’s Final Fantasy XIII and the claim that after 20-30 hours the game gets better. Through the years we have had other examples, but the latest game that seems to use this defense, albeit to a lesser degree than FFXIII, is Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky.
No Man’s Sky caught my attention early on in its development and I’ve been following along ever since. Although my hype was not through the roof like many fans, I was curious, but still wanted to hold off on pre-ordering the game before its launch. Skip to this past week and the launch of No Man’s Sky and I am more skeptical than ever about picking the game up.
When I research a game before I purchase it, I look to industry personalities whose views and interests line up with my own. Doing this, I can see if said game will cater to my tastes. I started noticing a common thread through the breakdown / review videos I was watching. Every personality was saying that the game started out slow and required three to five hours to really get “good”. This is where my interest faltered and where it has for many titles in the past.
I don’t want to have to spend three to five hours with a game before it gets “good” and I shouldn’t have to. I applaud Hello Games for the scope of game they created, but the fact that one could have to spend almost five hours with the game before fully enjoying it is questionable.
As I grow older, my time becomes more precious. Between my final semester at my university, a job, and other obligations, my time playing video games is starting to dissipate and games that require three hours just to get to a state of fun are becoming less appealing. Back when I was in high school and earlier, games like this were fine because time had no meaning to me. I had all of the time in the world besides that which was dedicated to sports. Now, that is just not the case.
I understand wanting to teach the player the systems of your game and how it handles and feels, but to expect a commit of three to five hours before a game opens up is just a bit ridiculous. More times than not I find myself physically stopping myself in the middle of games and saying “this game is not respecting my time with it”, and putting it down.
This piece is not meant to single out No Man’s Sky. Many titles in the past are guilty of this as well and as I grow older and responsibilities mount, I am starting to see what many older gamers in the industry were alluding to in terms of a game respecting your time. Like I said earlier, I’m proud of the massive world that the tiny team at Hello Games created, but it seems like their most recent title does not respect the players time as it should.