Quantity of Gameplay Doesn’t Equate to Quality Of Gameplay

The Order 1886, one of Sony’s supposedly system sellers for the PlayStation 4, was released around a week or so ago as of this writing. The game didn’t get good reviews nor did it get bad reviews. People praised the visuals and high production values but criticized the boring story and low replay value. Unfortunately, most gamers who heard that The Order 1886’s single player campaign only lasts for 5 hours! When they read that the game was incredibly short, they simply wrote it off. No way were they going to spend their hard earned cash for such as short game!

It’s then since come out that it’s not really true and the game isn’t exactly five hours long. The video that supposedly shows the entire playthrough actually starts when the gamer got his first trophy and not at the start of the game. Also, the person that made the video also clarified that he did play the game a whole bunch of times before and it wasn’t his first time going through the campaign. According to HowLongToBeat.Com, a website dedicated to showing the average time it takes to complete a game, The Order: 1886 takes roughly 7 to 11 hours to beat.

It depends on how much a completionist you are.

It depends on how much a completionist you are.

Still, some gamers will still gripe that 7 to 11 hours is still too short. But when is a game too short? Is there a certain number of hours that a game needs to hit in order for it to be acceptable? Now, I’m not a dimwit. I know most people generally equate the length of the game to how much money they’re spending. I understand the need to get more bang for your buck. But I think the length of The Order: 1886 isn’t its main problem.

When gaming was in its infancy, a game was never really too long or too short. That’s because you couldn’t beat them. Games would just go on and on forever until the game finally beats you. In Space Invaders, you simply cannot fend off the horde of aliens. There was simply no end to the number of waves. They’ll just keep on coming and coming until finally you have no choice but to bow down and welcome your new insect overlords.

It's only a matter of time.

It’s only a matter of time.

Then we hit the 8-bit generation. Now it was possible to actually finish games, which was very innovative at the time. And, here’s the thing: those games were pretty short as well. Even the classics we remember so fondly were pretty short compared to today’s games. Look at Contra; this is a game that could be finished in a half hour. Castlevania is the same way. But we didn’t mind: these games were too good to ignore even though they would be deemed incredibly short by today’s standards.

There were some really epic games where you felt it would take you days, sometimes even months, to finish some of the more lengthy games. I mean, it isn’t possible to finish a game like Metroid or The Legend of Zelda in one day, was it? Surprisingly, you actually could finish those three games in one, good long sitting! Try searching for longplays for Metroid and The Legend of Zelda on YouTube. If you know where to get everything, it should take you only roughly an hour to finish both games. So, if you’re playing it for the first time, you can realistically finish Metroid in a good 7-8 hour session.

And here’s another thing: there were actually games as recent as the PS3 and Xbox 360 era that were incredibly short but they weren’t criticized for it. Most of Telltale’s adventure games, even when playing all of the Episodes back-to-back in one marathon session, you could probably finish each of them in 8-10 hours. Portal 2 is the same way.

Truth to be told, one of my most favorite games of the previous generation of gaming consoles is Lollipop Chainsaw. It’s a shallow action game but it’s incredibly fun. It’s also very funny, cartoonishly violent and has lots of over-the-top action. And I finished Lollipop Chainsaw on Normal mode in one day. I popped the game in, played it and kept on playing it and, before I knew it, I was watching the ending cutscene. But the time flew by and I didn’t regret buying it for one second!

So why all the hate for The Order: 1886? Of course, it’s the perceived value of money! Or, more precisely, the lack of value. If the game was sold at a cheaper price, I don’t think it would have too much heat on it. But that’s not the biggest issue. The problem with The Order: 1886 is that it’s not a very good game!

Most reviews have called it dull and uninspired. They’ve said that the worlds are lifeless and the characters bland. There are too many cutscenes, the adventure elements are pointless and ridiculous AI. And, of course, the story ends in a cliffhanger that just leaves you thinking “That’s it?” Based on the reviews, it doesn’t seem to me that people should be complaining about the length of a $60 game; they should be complaining that this particular $60 game just isn’t that fun. If the game was really, really good but it lasts for only 5-6 hours, you know what most gamers would do? They’d play it over and over again! I’ve played the original Contra probably a hundred times now and I’m still not tired of it!

If The Order: 1886 was excellent, with excellent gameplay and an intriguing story but was only 5-6 hours long, there wouldn’t be this many people complaining about its length because those 5-6 hours would be so good, you’d want to go through the entire thing again and not get tired of it. We’ve all played short games that we’d be glad to pay more for because they’re good games. I guess what I’m trying to get at is just because a game isn’t very long, that doesn’t mean it’s not going to be worth your money. Only bad games aren’t worth your money.

Does a game’s length matter to you? Let me know in the comments section below!

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