The RPG Scrollbars: Quests Done Quick II
Faster than a bard shot out of a cannon
It's Summer Games Done Quick time again! You know what that means. The final seal has been broken, the rivers are turning to blood, and High Dread Azagorath is free to destroy the land. But while people wait, they're doing speed-runs. And in celebration of that, I thought I'd take a dig through the archives for a few particularly impressive and interesting ones that take that whole idea of a fifty hour epic and beat it down so quickly, the hero's hometown doesn't even have time to finish smouldering.
Quest For Glory I-V
That's right, the entire series - one of my favourite series of all time. Although due to a bit of a glitch, blink and you'll miss Quest For Glory V. What's fun about this one is that as well as a commentary, original creators Lori and Corey Cole are on hand with their thoughts and comments of "Seriously?" At this point it would be most snarky to do a reference to how long Hero-U has taken to come out, so I won't.
Mass Effect Andromeda
It's probably a good thing that the supposed 10 hour demo cut off at the first plot point, if you can race through in just 2 hours. You won't admittedly get to enjoy Bioware's trademark plotting, amazing characters, flawless narrative and charm... because it's Mass Effect Andromeda! But you can at least see one player do to it what it took Shepard three whole games to do to the Reapers.
What can change the nature of a man? Rollerskates! Not literally, of course. But by powering up Strength to punch things and Wisdom to deal with the endgame as quickly as possible, the Nameless One manages to wake up and discover his destiny faster than I manage to wake up and eat breakfast. On the other hand, to him, a hideous afterlife full of pain and torment. To me, a bacon sandwich. I'll take it.
It's amazing how much a determined childe can get done in a single night... but to do it under an hour is taking the piss harder than Tremere diablerised Saulot. While at this speed it hardly matters, it's also probably the only time I've seen anyone play as Nosferatu. I suppose it doesn't really matter when everyone just sees you zooming past at a blur regardless of having access to Celerity.
Divinity: Original Sin
Divinity 2 is one of my most anticipated games of the year, not least because of how well the original handled a world that let you do just about anything the rules allowed, and get away with quite a few things they hadn't anticipated. How many RPGs for instance give you something to one-shot the final boss, and simply hope you won't keep it tucked away for a rainy encounter? Still, it was a big and often very tough game, especially factoring in those turn-based combats. Spoiler - there's not too many of these in this 25 minute long assassination.
SHODAN herself could hardly do it faster - and I bet she'd cheat by switching the enemies down to the lowest possbile setting to prevent them attacking, getting rid of all those pesky puzzles, and probably sending down the lift for herself before realising that she was single handedly dismantling her own scheme and going "Haha, nice try, insects."
The Elder Scrolls
The Elder Scrolls? Wait, which one? Arena? Daggerfall? Morrowind? Oblivion? Skyrim? Yep. All of them, crushed in just two hours. Amusingly, much of that is spent on the first two games, which lack the same breakability as Morrowind (4 minutes) or Oblivion (5). It's just a shame that it doesn't also take the time to nip over to the world of Redguard, the first and only Elder Scrolls Adventure, and Battlespire, the deservedly forgotten Elder Scrolls Legend - aka vaguely online hack and slash that few played and fewer didn't bitterly regret.
So, uh. What counts as an ending? The good ending? That'll take about 40 minutes of time, and who has that to waste? But turns out if you're happy with simply An Ending, it's a relatively easy 15 minute jaunt to finally be allowed into your faction's fortress home base and do a little fiddling around with a nuclear bomb they have on display. If they didn't want to be obliterated in a nuclear hellscape, they should probably have deactivated it. Or something, anyway.
And of course, finally...
Possibly the greatest speed-run ever seen by the genre, because it's based entirely on one of the silliest mistakes it's possible for an RPG developer to make, unless you count promising a release date for Grimoire. Put simply, the villain spends most of the game masquerading as your friend, and standing around until you bring him what he needs to execute Operation: Total Dick. However, the developers didn't create two different instances of his character for this, or give him any form of invulnerability. The inevitable happened. Two Worlds speed-runs are entirely questions of how long it takes to kite the guy over to some villagers and then snicker as they kick his arse.
A valuable lesson for us all.