“Everything is fine in moderation,” so the old adage goes. Video games serve a number of purposes, be they educational, escapist, or just plain fun. With the right game, you can find yourself sinking hours and hours and hours into the experience because the journey was just that engrossing. For example, platformers can be quick but intense, and still provide a ton of mirth, like the charmingly difficult Celeste; they can also be the right games that are easy to master, to the point where you can just sit down and veg out as a form of stress relief, with titles like New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe coming to mind. RPGs can last anywhere from brief yet endearing like Undertale to hundred-hour epic odysseys as in Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Don’t you even get me started on open-world games!
However, there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing.” Games with tons of content can also feel like they’re padded out for the sake of unrewarding tedium. Hell, even the shortest game feels like it drags on forever if it’s nothing but repetition. With repeated grinding in mind, one example of a game dragging out is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Unlocking fighters left and right does take a while, with the smarter AI offering a real challenge at launch, but it made each unlock that much more rewarding.
But that is not what I mean by Smash Bros. on Switch dragging on uncomfortably long. The culprit I’m referring to is none other than the game’s Adventure Mode: World of Light.
Too long of a journey without a compelling narrative
World of Light isn’t without its merits, I will say that much. To begin with, it offers an easy way to earn a great chunk of Ultimate‘s Spirits without relying on the randomized Spirit Board. Plus, the maps and environments based on series like Donkey Kong, Kirby, and Castlevania come with their own trademark twists and callbacks. The bosses, both old and new, were all amazingly implemented and made for memorable battles.
Charming as it all was, these elements come short of saving graces due to how utterly repetitive World of Light turned out to be as it focused more on gameplay than story, especially compared to its predecessors. Melee‘s Adventure Mode does not last long, but the variety of challenges peppered between fights help break up the monotony. A lighthearted jaunt through the Mushroom Kingdom? Exploring Hyrule’s catacombs for the Triforce? Escaping Zebes and reaching the finish line on Big Blue? While it doesn’t take too long to complete, Adventure Mode in Melee was the textbook example of “short and sweet.”
I’ve heard legends…
And then there was Super Smash Bros. Brawl‘s indomitable Adventure Mode: The Subspace Emissary.
Say what you will about platforming in a fighting game. Shoot down my unsung praises because of a confusing and long-spanning Great Maze. Nonetheless, you cannot deny that The Subspace Emissary was possibly the most ambitious crossover story ever made in the gaming medium. Seeing dream teams of our favorite Nintendo all-stars—and newly introduced third party special guests with Solid Snake and Sonic the Hedgehog—interacting with one another like we’ve always imagined back when we were kids, with plot threads weaving together towards taking down Bowser, Ganondorf, Master Hand, and an unknown puppet master pulling all the strings… It was unbelievable, incredible, and—in hindsight—”the silliest and coolest thing Nintendo has ever done, and perhaps ever will do,” as Arlo put it.
Imagine how much more engaging World of Light would be with compelling cutscenes like The Subspace Emissary’s.
With that said, Fire Emblem: Three Houses is on the horizon, due out on Friday, July 26 for the Nintendo Switch. Each route in the game is reportedly 80 hours long; with three noble houses to choose from, completing the game could take well over 200 hours to complete. While early impressions of the game are glowing, here’s to hoping those hours lean more on quality rather than tedium!
In any case, we want to hear about your experiences! What game dragged on far too long for you? How long did it take until it stopped being fun and started becoming tedious? What was it that made you stop playing it altogether? Share your thoughts with us below.