RPS Asks: do you restart games you haven’t finished?

I’ve played a million beginnings and around a thousand endings, or at least that’s how it feels. Imagine having seen the first act of Romeo and Juliet a hundred times but never having seen how it ends. That’s my experience with all manner of games, from big story-driven RPGs to some of my favourite strategy epics. I’ve founded so many starter cities that have never birthed a civilization and met so many characters whose fate I don’t know. And this isn’t a case of starting a game and then abandoning it; these are the games that I play again and again, sinking days and weeks into them, restarting but never finishing.

Diablo III is the latest.

It’s the kind of game that devotees completed within days of its release, carving their way through the story as quickly as possible so that they could move on to the real stuff: unlockable difficulties, new game plus modes that allow a character and equipment to carry over into a fresh playthrough, additional levels, equipment and features added after the initial release. The end is the beginning, which means the beginning probably isn’t very much at all.

But, for me and many others, the beginning of a game is the place where we spend most of our time. I still haven’t finished the campaign in Diablo III but I’ve made at least twelve different characters who have made their way through at least the first Act. I started again a few days ago and made this guy:

Years ago, I might have been forced to start again because of a lost save file, stored on a disk somewhere. Now, everything is in the cloud and even though my Battle.net account insists that I reset passwords every time I go back to Diablo after a few months away, it’s usually fairly good at retrieving my characters. I can’t bring myself to spend time with someone I’ve abandoned for so long though. The best friends, I’ve always thought, are the ones that you can see years after your last meeting and barely miss a beat with as soon as the conversation starts.

Save games and RPG characters don’t work like that for me. I still haven’t finished The Witcher 3 but I’ve spent so many weekends over the last couple of years in White Orchard that you’d think I had a time-share property there. It’s far from the most interesting part of The Witcher’s world but I’m so worried about moving on without seeing everything of interest that every time I visit I’m in for the long-haul. And I visit more often than I should because of the whole restarting business.

no idea what this place is actually like

With a big story-driven game like The Witcher 3 perhaps it’s more understandable than it is with the hacky-slashy loot-gathering likes of Diablo 3, but, equally, I could argue that Diablo’s vaguely roguelike origins make it a game intrinsically suited for many brief attempts rather than one master character. The problem is, most roguelikes encourage lots of replays by killing you. A lot. Diablo 3’s demons might as well be caressing me with feathers for all the damage they ever seem to do, which is, I suppose, why so many people only consider the second, third or fourth playthrough with a character to be a “proper” playthrough. You can push up the difficulty as you play.

When it comes to The Witcher 3, I play with the combat difficulty turned down. It’s not a game I play for the challenge of the fights, it’s a game I play for the characters, the setting and the stories. The problem is that I become so anxious about missing out on a plot-thread or nuance of a relationship that I feel compelled to start fresh if I leave my save for more than a month or two. If I had to leave a film half-way through, I wouldn’t start it again from that point if I picked a copy up months later; I’d start from the beginning.

Granted, things are a little different with a big RPG that might take me a hundred hours to play even if I don’t keep restarting, but the feeling of losing track of certain threads remains.

you're more likely to find me inventing the wheel than launching a rocket

It’s not just the opening act of RPGs that I play over and over again though – strategy games are the worst contenders. Just this year, I’ve seen more randomly generated galaxies and ‘Earths’ than even the most courageous interstellar cross-dimensional voyager might expect to see in a lifetime. That’s thanks to Stellaris and Civilization VI, both of which conform to the 4X strategy formula enough to be victims of my Best X theory. Essentially, that theory says that eXploration is the best of the Xs (the others are eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate).

I love discovering new worlds, step by step, hex by hex, or star system by star system. In fact, I like that part of the game so much that with Civ VI I’ve taken to playing Marathon length games, so that the actual discovery and settlement portion of the game lasts for absolutely ages. Unfortunately, that means the rest of the game lasts even longer than usual as well and – you guessed it – I end up restarting somewhere around the time everyone is sliding into the Kill Your Neighbours era.

With Stellaris it’s even worse because I can make a species to play as. Given any kind of character or empire creation tools, I’m likely to spend as much time creating saves as I am playing them, for a little while at least. Stellaris has a great randomise button as well, so I can hit that, start a new game as a new species in a new galaxy, and then play until a mushroom decides to blow up my favourite colony. Or my best scientist goes mad and vanishes into the unknown.

if we stay in our home system we never have to deal with this sort of thing

To be clear, I do finish games. Quite a lot of them. And that goes for both the big story games and the strategy campaigns. Even the ones I’ve completed twenty times or more, like the original Doom, feel unfamiliar in their later levels though. I could draw you maps of most of episode one from memory, but after that it all gets a bit hazy.

I can’t be the only person who does this. Surely there are others who either enjoy something about the particular excitement of a new (or old) beginning that they get stuck in a cycle of restarts, or simply struggle to get past the reception room? Even if there are millions similarly afflicted, I think I might have a particularly bad case though. In that opening paragraph I said that Diablo III is the latest restart in my life, but here’s the terrible truth: I started writing this article yesterday and around an hour ago I restarted Pillars of Eternity. My last save was my seventh fresh character and I was twenty five hours in.

Total playtime: 137 hours. Times completed: zero.

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113 Comments

  1. lylebot says:

    The original Doom definitely. Must’ve played through the first episode a hundred times.

    For RPGs, Ultima VI (which my brother and I would start games of just to muck around in the world, we never actually played through the story), and more recently Dragon Age: Origins, which I burned out on very fast, and thought I should give another chance with a new character since so many people think it’s so great. I burned out on it just as fast the second time.

  2. kud13 says:

    With RPGs, I tend to delete unfinished character and start fresh. It took me 3 tries to properly “get into” Dragon Age: Origins like that.

    Same goes for action-adventure games.

    With stuff like shooters and RTS, unless I lost a save, I can come back to a game months, sometimes years and play to completion. Actually, I just recently finished Half-life 2 Episode 2 like that for the first time.

    It’s not about new beginnings for me. It’s usually a combination of losing interest, losing focus, getting stuck and no longer being in the right “mindset” to solve a particular challenge.

  3. Collieuk says:

    A lot of games pack their best content in the first third. After that you get what amounts to a lot of filler then hopefully a decent finish. I tend to get as far as the 2nd third of the game then go off and do something different. And yes then I struggle to get back in and start over. Strategy games, RPGs and Simulators are the ones I most likely give up on. You only need to look at the achievements on Steam to see how few players finish games. That’s half the reason the best content is dished up early.

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      The other half is the fact that the first part of the game is generally, uh, created first. This ensures that it inevitably receives more attention and polish than the bits that get rushed through as the devs struggle to finish the game by release day.

  4. Voqar says:

    Sometimes.

    I went back and played thru all of Borderlands recently and that’s pretty old.

    I’m playing thru DAI now after not finishing it at release (got to val royeaux and that area killed my desire to play and even this time thru it made me want to vomit but I pushed thru it).

    But my list of good games that have tons of content that I never finished is pretty long – so many times I get 60+ hours in and just feel like I’ve played enough and had plenty of fun and just don’t feel compelled to finish the story. Witcher 3 for ex, or Far Cry 3, and so on.

  5. Regibo666 says:

    I’m forever doing this. Usually I’ll start a game, get bored or move onto another game then return and restart it again…. usually to become bored at the same point again.

    I’m forever doing it on MMO’s too.

  6. padger says:

    Over and over again.

    killlll meeeeee

  7. Horg says:

    There is a strong correlation between the complexity of a games systems and the number of times I will restart before reaching the end. Length of the game doesn’t correlate so well, but does factor in sometimes, for instance taking time away from a long story game and forgetting where you were up to when you come back. Generally it’s mechanics optimisation that niggles at me. The more you play, the more you understand, and the more you realise how you could have planned everything out better. So it’s a more optimised restart, get a bit further until you hit some new content, and the cycle repeats until you have a more or less complete understanding. Some people might find that odd or irritating, I don’t. I love figuring everything out. Finishing the game can be a secondary consideration sometimes, and that’s just fine as long as it presents something sufficiently engaging to overcome along the way.

  8. popej says:

    Yes, this habit is the bane of my gaming life. :(

  9. Turkey says:

    I can’t play games with character creators anymore. I never even get past the tutorial if the nose looks weird from a certain angle.

    • SlimShanks says:

      I can spend hours on a character in the editor, and have to remake it as soon as I start the game because the lighting changes and everything looks wrong :(

      • Premium User Badge

        Qazinsky says:

        I have done this, yes. Curse you, weird character editor lighting!

        It gets a bit weird when I choose clothes for my character too, if everything clips, then it doesn’t bother me that much, but if the game is usually good with nonclipping, I’ll skip the one part I wanted to wear, because in clips into another part slightly.

  10. Kingseeker Camargo says:

    I can’t be the only person who does this.

    For one thing, on the internet you’re never the only one.

    And in this particular case, my question would be whether there is one person who doesn’t do that. Surely you’ve heard that saying about Deus Ex and how every time someone mentions it, someone else will reinstall it. You probably also heard how Liberty Island is pretty much the only part of the game all of us remember vividly, and memories begin to fade as soon as the next mission begins.

    • kud13 says:

      I only restart DX to try out new mods.

      And I unconditionally love everything up to Paris. The catacombs is where I generally lose steam.

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      Marclev says:

      Bad example for me. Deus Ex is possibly the only game of that length that I’ve actually finished multiple times (Fallout 1 and 2 would be the other ones) and of which I can remember details of levels throughout!

    • cautet says:

      It’s not someone, it’s me that is now going to reinstall DX yet again just to play the Liberty Island yet again. I will spend ages messing around with settings and mods then play for an hour and uninstall it. For the 100th time.

      I don’t even like the game yet.

    • ROMhack2 says:

      I did that just last week. But I quickly realised how poorly it plays and decided to read the plot summary on Wiki instead.

      Actually, it doesn’t play too badly all things considered but it requires a lot more patience than I was willing to give it.

      • Kingseeker Camargo says:

        This is a major issue, I’ve found in recent years. Gameplay in general has been improving ever so slightly with the years, and we quickly forget just how much crap we used to put up with.

        A few years ago I tried to replay Metal Gear Solid 2 and I lasted for about 7 minutes before saying: “Jesus, this plays like balls!” and promptly uninstalling the thing.

        Hell, I can’t even deal with the (atrocious) FOV of BioShock 2 (really, the world is a very very small window obscured by two *gigantic* hands), and that was one of my favourite games of all times for a while there!

  11. notenome says:

    Oh God yes,

    I restarted the Witcher 3 three times (hmph) before finishing. I restarted Tyranny maybe 5-6 times before finishing. I never finished a game of Civ 6 (restart when I start getting away with the game). Every time I start Stellaris I end up creating a new game, I guess the wonder of a new fresh experience is more appealing then picking up where I left off. And then there’s Dwarf Fortress…

    I think I have a very narrow goldilocks zone for games, where I have anxiety about making ‘wrong’ choices on the one hand and boredom if I’m doing too well on the other. Guess I’m the problem.

  12. Abacus says:

    I’ve lost many a save after having to reformat my computer a number of times. Worst ones were The Witcher and STALKER. I lost my Witcher save once when I was in Chapter 4, so I restarted and went through the first 2 chapters quite breezily. Finished it last year in time for TW3 and I’d say TW1 is, for me anyway, on par with 3, way better than 2.

    STALKER on the other hand I haven’t finished. I hope to someday do a run through with an overhaul of some kind that fixes a lot of the problems, I’ve got an image somewhere that lists out the best overhauls and the pros and cons. After that I’ll be able to start Call of Pripyat or Clear Sky.

    I lost my Gothic save once but a kind soul at the GOG.com forums uploaded a .rar he made with saves at all the key moments throughout the game, so I was quickly able to pick up from where I left off (with a better character too because I completely misunderstood the skill system).

    I feel like Steam Cloud keeping track of my saves is one of the best things Steam has going for it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Strangely Brown says:

      The Stalker series is the only example I can think of right now that I replay every now and then but rarely finishing. The early days in those games are the best, once you start getting your hands on NATO weaponry and a suit that can take a couple of hits the wonderfully oppressive atmosphere loses its sting.

      As for modding, I recommend the Complete mods. They don’t change much, but they certainly smooth out a few rough edges, which sounds like what you’re looking for.
      Other overhauls off the top of my head are Smrtr and Misery (for CoP), but I find the over-powered weapon stashes and maddening inventory clutter (respectively) off-putting.

    • cautet says:

      Stalker I and II are fantastic games until the end. Well, the beginning of each is a tad rough also, but the middle is so good that I would say don’t bother finishing I before playing II. Just watch a youtube clip of the on-rails section at the end.

      In fact from a story point of view II could easily be played first.

      • Premium User Badge

        Qazinsky says:

        A person that not only doesn’t suggest skipping Clear Sky, but actually say that it is good. I like you!

        Also, the beginnings being rough, I find that part of the charm. Well, since they nerfed the machinegun nest in Clear Sky so that you don’t actually need luck to get through.

    • Pharaoh Nanjulian says:

      I followed S.T.A.L.K.E.R. after seeing the film. I spent time on the GSC forum; it was released some years later and I got the special metal box edition.

      I have yet to finish it. The number of tweaks, mods, adjustments and so on that I’ve made or used to get it to feel as I want it mean Lab X16 is about as far as I get before I think I ought to change something. Which usually means a restart. Thus I have the next two waiting for me as well…

      I still think its lighting effects and graphical feeling are fantastic, even if the large-footed prancing characters look a little dated. Finding a bloodsucker is a very nervy business.

  13. klops says:

    Depends on a game. With 4xs it’s almost a rule. The times I’ve started Colonization (1994) are countless while I’ve actually finished it perhaps 5 times. Same with the rest of civs that I’ve played. There’s also a very good reason for that: the endgame isn’t usually good and especially in Civ6 shows how goddamned dumb the AI is. Plus I love the exploration and settlement part.

    With Paradox’s grand strategies I’ve only played EU3 and CK2. I’ve played CK2 400 hours and never finished a game, although I actually like the later CK2 also quite much. Unless I’ve become a blob emperor.

    With RPGs I usually either finish them or leave them be. I really liked Grimrock 2, but lost interest at the snake palace and never played again after the drakesnake summoning fight at the roof of the castle.

    • Premium User Badge

      Qazinsky says:

      Oh, yes, Colonization. That, Master of Magic and Civilization. Creating a new world, trying to find a place to build your first city at, with some nice resource next to it, gold, tobacco, that metal that gives units built there magic weapons. Go out looking for the fountain of youth or for some nice magic nodes.

      The exploration and possabilities are great, I’ll just leave the founding of the United States of America to someone else.

    • Winchestro says:

      It’s so sad that so few people realized what made Colonization stand out between all the other 4x games. The irony that this game was mechanically such a wild west of entirely unexplored concepts and they were just the Columbus. Now with Paradox, the Explorers and Settlers and Pioneers finally arrived. I think asymmetrical strategy games still have a lot left to explore.

  14. Zenicetus says:

    I almost never go back to a RPG or FPS game I haven’t finished, because there is usually a good reason why I bailed out. There are too many other good games out there. I try to find ones I’ll actually like enough to finish.

    The only type of game where I’ll frequently re-start are the strategy 4X games that use randomized starting maps. I won’t re-roll until I get a perfect starting position, but at least an “okay” initial setup avoids frustration. I know some people see poor starting positions as a challenge, but I’m just not that masochistic.

    • klops says:

      I don’t actually even need a good reason (the game doesn’t have to have anything wrong with it) why I bail out. Usually it’s just because I’ve played the game so intensively that I need to stop. But if I do so, I never return. Although I will return to XCOM 2 some day with a better computer – it was really, really good.

  15. ersetzen says:

    Only with rougelikes which probably doesn’t count.

  16. someoneelse84 says:

    I recently arranged my desktop game icons (yes, Im oldschool) to reflect the order in which I have progressed in them (OCD).

    Its a frightening affair… about 4 games completed (amazingly mgs 5 is one of them), around 30 close to completion and nearly the same amount near-untouched. Each and every one of the former two sorts I have restarted over countless times. Why do we do this?

    • kud13 says:

      I keep those shortcuts in the “shortcuts” folder on my desktop.

    • A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

      I use the far more modern technique of Steam categories to remind myself those I’m still playing, completed and haven’t got round to yet (there’s an embarrassingly large number it that one).

  17. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    Never! Life’s too short. I pick up where I left off or ne’er return

  18. gabrielonuris says:

    I always do this with Stalker series and Doom. I hear about a new mod, get excited, install the game again and only play the first hour.

    Now, about other titles, I always notice that games in general usually shows everything it does best in its beginning, going downhill afterwards. The best example of this are games that starts with a beautiful tutorial, opens up a big and detailed area afterwards, and halfway through it forces you to play in sewers, dark dungeons, brown canyons and other bland linear tropes that totally kills the fun factor you’ve been building up until then, as if all the resources had been spent on the beginning of the game.

  19. MiniMatt says:

    Dragon Age Inquisition. Severe case of restart-itis followed by a realisation at ~50 hours in that it got rather… boring, meant I only first finished it a couple of weeks ago, having had it sat on the hard drive for a couple of years.

    Good little plot twist at the end I’d successfully avoided spoilers of though. Still about a hundred hours too long.

  20. CartonofMilk says:

    i never really go back to games i havent finished. if i didn’t it meant either

    1 – it was so long i got bored before the end

    2- it wasn’t good enough to hold my interest and there’s a reason why i gravitated towards other games.

    Though EVERY SINGLE TIME somehow talks about witcher 3 (like this artcile) i think i’ll reinstall it and try to get into it and i may yet do that some time. I love open world, i love rpgs, and somehow this one totally failed to grab me. Maybe it was bad timing? a second try might give me the answer. all i know is i played about ten hours and found i had to force myself to click its executable in the start menu after a while so i stopped forcing myself eventually. Whatever buttons i’ve got that a great game has to push, this one wasn’t pushing them.

    • pistachio says:

      Witcher 3 starts quite poorly. You pretty much have to do every quest in the starting area because you don’t get enough XP and the fighting is a bit bland. Having to do everything makes the game essentially linear. The game becomes very balanced and open around level 10. Later on (around level 25) you get too much XP so I actually did fewer side quests than I would have liked. But that’s a luxury, right?

    • Premium User Badge

      Aitrus says:

      I’ll add that I also gave up on the game after about 10/15 hours (basically thinking it was a dull cutscene orgy) but a month later I picked up where I left off and was enthralled from that moment on.

  21. kud13 says:

    All this RPG-talk is reminding me I need to give Morrowind a second shot. I was totally not in the right head-space when I first found myself in Balmora.

    • Premium User Badge

      Aitrus says:

      Did you get lost on your way to Caius Cossades?

      • kud13 says:

        I never left. It was just too open, and I was not in the right mindset to appreciate the freeform freedom of it all. It was after a few conversations with randoms that I just felt overwhelmed, and quit.

        There are great games that require an initial investment of attention to figure them out. At the time, I just wasn’t capable of doing that.

        • inspiredhandle says:

          Love me some Morrowind. The Hlaalu and Redoran guard bone mould armour is just about the coolest armour ever, besides the armour the ordinators wear in Vicec.

          Do yourself a favour, wedge yourself into a corner in the river in Balmora and leave something on the W key overnight. It makes a hell of a difference exploring when your athletics skill is beefed up. Same applies to jumping, jump everywhere.

  22. xalcupa says:

    It the game somehow breathes RPG, I automatically restart 3-8 times to fine tune appearance or something similarly silly. Normally I am also slightly compulsive in finishing stuff (same with books) even if I find the stuff mediocre. This makes me extra careful for starting/purchasing games (lots of online research before)

    The exception being Morrowind, which I played for 3 months ´straight after release and did not even reach past the first main quests. Revisited/restarted a year ago and played a heavy modded game. Despite its age, it was great fun and quite stylish.

  23. SaunteringLion says:

    RPGs. I’ll go through character creation, customize a skill set and appearance to my liking, get into the prologue or first mission/quest/hub and file it away for later. Sometimes much later.

    It took me at least three separate attempts before Deus Ex clicked with me, around 2007. Shadowrun’s sat on my virtual shelf for 1-2 years and I’ve just recently played it and got into it (beat Dragonfall, nearly done Hong Kong).

    • xalcupa says:

      I often feel many games are too long nowadays. The Shadowrun “modules” were in my view a very good balance of suitable lenght for the storyline and character development. You simply did not get bored as with many other games who cram same-ish content.

  24. Monggerel says:

    Planescape: Tit-for-Tat

    An older friend gave me a copy and told me I’d either like it or hate it. After a short trial, I told him he was right.

    But then a few years later I found that CD again and reinstalled on a rainy afternoon and I didn’t sleep or eat for three days. That game is now burnt into my brain like a cattle brand.

    • syllopsium says:

      I hope you spoke to one of your past incarnations about the sphere, if not you’re missing out on a treat. Also ideally winning the final battle without fighting..

  25. ThePuzzler says:

    Restarting an RPG seems odd to me – why would I want to read the same dialogue and fight the same rats over and over?

    I have actually done this myself a couple of times in the past – the original Fallout, Morrowind – but in both of those cases I ended up giving up at the same point the second time round as well.

  26. apa says:

    I just restarted System Shock :)

  27. ErraticGamer says:

    Oh my god yes. I’ve started Dragon Age: Origins more times than I can count. The Witcher 3 at least 3 times. I just restarted Skyrim now that the remastered edition came out.

    I do it with MMO’s too, especially free to play (or pay once to play) ones. I have many, many low level Guild Wars 2 and Elder Scrolls Online characters.

  28. MikoSquiz says:

    I can’t remember the last time I finished a game that takes more than about 8-10 hours. Not every game’s fun factor graph is just a steady descent, but the average game’s is. I’m far more likely to play the first half of a game four or five times than play the entirety of it once.

    (I’ve just started another two characters in the original Dark Souls; I believe at this point I’ve killed every boss in that game half a dozen to two dozen times except the last one, whom I’ve yet to meet.)

    • cautet says:

      Dark Souls is funny like that. The more you play through an area you more you can like it. Some sections are not enjoyable at all until you played them a certain number of times.

      The joy for me of DS is walking through an area I know so well it almost feels like a choreographed dance with the NPC’s. Throwing in little subtle flourishes and pirouettes, sidestepping to just be out of reach of a sword lunge, a little parry of the next dance partner, then onward towards the music.

  29. mpk says:

    I lost a Dragon Age save when I was 42-hours in and went and cried in the corner for a while. Two years later I started it up again – one day I might even finish it. I’ve had DA2 since release and have never even installed it cos I wanted to finish the original first.

  30. malkav11 says:

    I am more likely to just abandon a game forever than restart it since it’s very likely I would get no further than I did the previous time before abandoning it again. This isn’t always true – I have certainly successfully picked games back up after months or years (came back to Dishonored to do the DLC, for example, and I eventually beat the Sith Sorceror storyline in SWTOR this year after having started it at launch). And very occasionally I will restart if there’s some grounds (a new mod, say, or a guide or something), and I did even finish at least one such endeavour recently (Avernum: Escape from the Pit, which I started back when it released and then restarted this year in order to have some idea what I was doing and where I could go to not get my teeth kicked in by high level enemies).

  31. maxcolby says:

    I do this all the time.
    Mostly because I’ll spend months on one game, then go back to another and have no clue what was going on the last time I played it nor even how to play the thing.

  32. Cropduster says:

    I also have a habit of getting pretty far, getting distracted by something else, and stopping. Also just starting a new game because I feel like I understand it better, and would enjoy more from the beginning on a harder difficulty, then getting bored.

    Stalker SOC was the one though, I had like 200 hours clocked up over different saves before I actualy finished it.

    But also, if I’m really liking a game, I don’t necessarily want to rush to the end, so I don’t, and then once I invariably get bored, I just play something else. The ending of most games is rarely that satisfying anyway.

  33. Fontan says:

    I also tend to restart RPGs and story-heavy games if I stay away for too long.

    But what afflicts me the most is any RPG that has character creation in it. I’ve grown up playing pen-and-paper RPGs, working detailed stories into the characters and enjoying the freedom of being able to be that character with his/her traits and personality and seeing how the world reacts. Computer RPGs, no matter how diverse and detailed, do not offer the same amount of freedom, so I keep restarting the game until I create a character whose imagined background fits in the world, whose motivations conform to the beats of the story. It usually takes me a few restarts and playing through the first couple of hours many times until I settle on a character I like…

  34. Frank says:

    Yes, some of my favorite games are crazy long. I’ve never finished Jagged Alliance 2, but must have started it almost 10 times; and the same for Eador. JA2 is probably 100 hours; and Eador 200-300, so I don’t feel weird about it.

    • klops says:

      JA2 is too long. Great game, but I don’t know anyone who enjoyed the last part. Then again, I don’t know that many people who enjoyed the whole game so…

      • Landrassa says:

        I find part of the charm of JA(either 1 or 2) is having to manage a group of poorly adapted misfits. Later in the game at least one’s core team typically consists of the more professional mercs, who’re not nearly as interesting to play with.

        Tanks, Rocket guns, mortars and LAWs don’t really help either.

  35. GenialityOfEvil says:

    I’ve still never completed Bioshock. Played through till the Fontaine Fisheries at most.
    Oddly enough I tend to complete RPGs fairly easily. Maybe because I delve into them for long stretches of time when I first get them and then pick off little quests here and there for months afterwards. Having said that, I also restart RPGs a lot, I’ve played Skyrim’s intro more times than I could count. I must’ve had 20 characters, easy.

  36. Premium User Badge

    Alpha1Dash1 says:

    Yep, my downfall always seems to be related to a steam or gog sale. Wish lists are dangerous! By the time I get back to the original game, I’ve forgotten what my goals/plans were, so it’s easier to start again. Still, it means I get bloody good value for money out of the games pour the hours into!

  37. milan.jirkovsky says:

    Oho, I do this all the time as well. The only reason I finished CivV was after the dataDLCdisk, which added archeology, which meant I could discover the wolrd again and collect all that great works stuff. CivVI I haven’t finished once yet, but started several times.

    With Diablo III it’s different for me though. I like to play the whole campaign, then do little grinding, then I get border, create new character and start all over again.

    But the best thing is No Man’s Sky. I delete my save, start new galaxy, repair the ship and start discovering the universe. I create all the warp engines to get to different coloured stars, max out my inventory, get the best ship and then – delete the save again. I really hope they add more things to it you can upgrade, be it your ship or a base-like thingy and motivate you more to explore for longer. I consider it to be new Minecraft for me.

    When Minecraft started as alpha I was playing it only for a few game-days and started again. As they added more places to explore (bioms, constructs, villages) and more things to craft, I gradually spent more and more time before I deleted the save and started again. I never reached the End though and honestly – I don’t care.

  38. liquidsoap89 says:

    If I’ve forgotten the story, or feel like it will be more difficult jumping in after a long break then I’ll restart. With stuff like ARPGs or Roguelikes, I’ll just pick up where I left off since I can get back in to the groove pretty quickly.

  39. DEspresso says:

    To be honest RPG are notoriously bad at enabling your return to old saves. I tried to continue my Wasteland2 save recently and the Quest Log showed things like: Return the Gun to Sabrina. I could not remember who Sabrina ( and more important where) was, I needed the wiki to identify the gun (not marked as questitem) and to sabotage myself I had it hidden in my stash at Base Camp.

    Not easy to get back into RPGs :(

  40. Premium User Badge

    magogjack says:

    My list of Shame
    Pillars of Eternity – 112 hours – 3rd playthrough
    The Witcher 3 – 187 – 3rd playthrough, still haven’t finished Blood & Wine
    Dragon Age: Inquistion – 128 hours – 2nd playthrough
    Jagged Alliance 2 – no idea the hours but I legit spent an absurd amount of time with this game for a year and never beat it.

  41. HigoChumbo says:

    I didn’t finish GTA IV in my first playthrough. Reinstalled it a few years later and played all of it again just to find out that I had actually left it halfway through the last freaking mission =)

  42. damnsalvation says:

    This time, I’m beating Skyrim. I know I’ve said that dozens of times, but this is it.

  43. Blad the impaler says:

    I have a habit of watching act 2 scene 2 of the 1997 Hamlet but not the rest of the film.

    Skyrim is a bad one for me – but not because it fails to keep my interest. The save file just becomes too bloated around level 60, and I can never bring myself to do the main quest before then. So I re-roll and go left instead of right.

  44. DeadCanDance says:

    Sometimes this is just a reflection of the way your life is going. If you regret choices and the way certain things on your life are heading, you will try to remedy it by trying the “perfect playthrough” on the alternate universe of games. Since that is not possible, multiple restarts will be required and you will lose interest in the game fairly quickly and move on to the next. If that’s the case of some of you, I advise a reflection of your own life.

    • poliovaccine says:

      Haha wow, projection much? I mean I’m sure there are cases which are just as you say, but maybe there’s a reason you’re so acutely aware of that precedent?

      Especially cus, for me, games are actually harder to focus on if I have real life issues afoot. I can’t immerse myself in goddam silly-ass New Vegas if in the back of my mind I’m unsure if I’ll make the rent. I’m sure some folks are the other way around, but that’s just me.

  45. Hyena Grin says:

    I have a really hard time stepping back into an old save.

    For me, I think that trying to do so leaves me feeling disjointed and distinctly unimmersed. Yes, immersion, it’s a trash word but it is the best word I think we have to describe the mental and emotional investment that comes from focusing intensely on a game over a period of time.

    Most of the time when I last leave a save, I have this sense of deep involvement. I have so much information about the world, its characters, its layout, its mechanics, all just creating an ambient noise in my head that it might as well be a real thing.

    When I jump back into a save after a couple of months, I cannot help feeling acutely aware of the absence of that sensation, and it’s hard to get it back. Moving forward without it feels like I am doing the game an injustice, that I am not having an optimal experience, and so yes-

    I restart.

    The real tragedy is that the same familiarity that I develop during a first playthrough is often not quite the same on a second playthrough, particilarly in more linear games. I’m not sure why that is. I suspect that my brain, recognizing ‘old’ information, just doesn’t process it in the same way. Everything feels just a little more flat than it did the first time around.

    For that reason it frequently turns into a vicious cycle of desperately wanting to finish a game but having a hard time getting into it like I did the first time, and abandoning it again. Repeat ad nauseum.

    These days I try really hard to not get distracted and just stick it out through my first playthrough, to avoid that cycle, and I’ve been finishing more games for it. But I’m finding that really difficult for some of the more epic RPGs that can take hundreds of hours.

  46. geldonyetich says:

    I figured the Digital Remastered edition of Skyrim would be an opportunity to finish the game once and for all, but I was ultimately defeated by the same problems it had before… namely, that it positively drowns the player in content and has an absolutely broken endgame balance.

  47. kalirion says:

    It depends on the game and how long ago I played it. Sometimes I’ve come back to a game 2+ years later and picked it up where I left off, other times I decide that I might as well start at the beginning.

  48. Tony M says:

    Anything with Crafting.
    You start the game up a few weeks later, look at all that crap in your inventory and think “WTF was all this stuff for? What was I thinking when I picked it up?”
    NO MORE CRAFTING IN RPGS!!!!

    • Quaft says:

      Yea this and inventory management makes it MUCH harder to get back into an old save. I often load up an old save only to immediately quit after seeing a huge messy inventory filled with various loot, crafting items etc.

  49. Grayman says:

    This is absolutely me. Fallout 2 is one of my favourite games and I have never finished it. I just happen to abandon these things every so often. Pillars of Eternity 143 hours, two characters near the end of the game. At least with Pillars I have committed to not purchasing Tyranny before I finish it.

    I have had successes though, this year I finished the mass effect trilogy. That was my second time starting Mass Effect 1 though.

    DOOM i think I can excuse because I only had the shareware growing up. That was something that I could play through on a keyboard and terribly skilled on a sunday afternoon. Today I can run through episode 1 like a manic pizza delivery man but in other episodes I would get trapped and die if speed running or possibly lost if playing more reasonably.

    Ditto for Dark Forces that had the great 1 level and later 3 level demos with Lucas Arts’ collections. Those adventure games of course where great to restart because it really beat being trapped in a single room.

    I think with my next RPGs I am going to try and stick to the critical path more than i usually do. Just to cleanse my pallet and get a win under my belt.

    • nowise says:

      I couldn’t finish Pillars when it came out and I still can’t now. I purchased Tyranny and finished it within a week. There is something more engaged with the story, and the combat is infinitely better with cooldowns and much fewer “per encounter” and “per rest” skills. Playing as a mage is super cool with all the glyphs and spells you can make out of them.

  50. Warlokk says:

    Ha, all the time… I’ve played the first 3 or 4 bosses of every Dark Souls game dozens and dozens of times, the first few hours of every Bethesda RPG for probably 100 hours each, and the first chapter of every party-based RPG I’ve ever bought at least 3 or 4 times before I finally dig in and finish. My favorite part of most RPGs is character building, so I’m constantly creating new builds and experimenting with them to find the one that really clicks for me, so I end up starting over a lot once I get bored or dissatisfied with how it’s going, or distracted by another game. Even games with NG+ modes, I’ll more often restart from scratch with a completely different character type rather than keep going with one I’ve reached the end with.

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