As I get older I find that it’s getting much harder to find the time to play all of the great games out there. A fellow video game journalist and I were talking yesterday about our completion backlogs; the games that we’ve started, and really enjoyed, but have never actually taken the time to beat. The more I thought about it I began to realize that there are some amazing games out there that I’ll probably never finish. There’s an ever-present opportunity cost of time from which we all suffer as grown, working adults. This is especially true when your job is to cover an industry where something new is always right around the corner. I’d like to take a moment to eulogize the three greatest games that I don’t think I’ll ever get around to finishing, no matter how much I’d like to.
Final Fantasy Tactics
I feel especially ashamed about this one because I always say FFT is one of my favorite games. Here’s the thing: I played it for the first time as a kid when I borrowed my best friend’s copy. I got about 15 hours deep before having to give it back to him, and that’s just enough to time to really start developing some advanced jobs with solid abilities. I ended up buying the game for myself later on, but had to start over because in the meantime I needed some extra save blocks on my memory card (you remember the struggle). I got to almost the same point before life took over and I had to walk away. I’ve since invested about 7 hours on the PSP version, and most recently a few hours on my Vita. As much as I want to see the end game and recruit Cloud into my party, I just don’t see it happening, especially with the awful slowdown that plagues the PSP port during battles.
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
This is my type of game: a challenging, loot-rich grindfest. Monster Hunter is one of the most gratifying games I’ve ever played. ProJared, I think, summarized what makes this game so addictive very poetically: “You can run around and gather things, you can mine things, you can kill things, and then you carve ‘em up and you use those things to make new weapons and new armor, and then you go fight bigger things.” It’s a simple formula, but it’s just so dang time consuming. Most of the great equipment that you’ll need will require that you go back and hunt some big monsters multiple times. That’s the point, really, each time you face one of these scaly giants you find that the battle gets easier as you learn their patterns and forge marginally better gear and upgrades. Time spent on fan forums will reveal that it’s not uncommon for serious players to spend well over a thousand hours on each installment of the franchise. That’s just time I don’t have anymore, y’all.
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Right after I bought this game the price went down $20, and you know what? I was glad to have paid full-price. I wanted Level-5 to have that money for creating something so beautiful. I got pretty far into the game but never got fully comfortable with the battle system. I have to admit to you guys that I kind of sucked at this game, and the boss battles were starting to get really discouraging and frustratingly difficult. This is coming from a guy who loves the Souls games. Eventually I became overwhelmed by the micro-management of all my familiars and the scale of difficulty, and my interest in completing the game weaned. It’s a damn shame because this is seriously one of the most charming and visually appealing video games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing.
What about you guys? Hop on the comments and tell us your favorite game that you haven’t beaten yet, and be sure to point out what’s been stopping you. Did you come to an unbeatable boss? Was the story simply too long? Did horrible voice-acting turn you off? This could be an interesting conversation!