Monday, 17 September 2012

Completed or not completed?

That is the question.

I've been thinking about this since I 'finished/completed' Lego Batman a couple of weeks back, when is a game completed these days?

Back in the old days (and I'm not saying how old) generally games would have a start, middle and end, exceptions being sport and fighting games due to the fact that you could complete the game with multiple teams/fighters, but even then there were a few sports games where the main mode was a knock-out type game where you won a trophy and that was it. These days with sports games you can be playing season after season and theoretically never complete the game.

Anyway, slightly going off on a tangent there.

The example I'm going to use for the purpose of this post is the aforementioned Lego Batman on the 360. I imagine that the PS3 version will be very similar but the 360 version is the one that I played through. For those of you who haven't played it Lego Batman consists of two fifteen levels for heroes and fifteen levels for villains broken down into three separate stories consisting of five levels each. That's fair enough, a fair bit of game play there and after completing one set of fifteen levels you get to see the end credits. Only one thing about that though, after each 'story' level has been completed a 'free play mode' unlocks allowing/meaning that to properly finish the levels you need to go through them all over again. That wouldn't be too bad if you didn't have to keep going through them over and over again until you collect all of the relevant cannisters, Lego parts etc that are hidden throughout each level to unlock bonuses, bonuses that also need to be bought by collecting studs on each level which work towards your 100% in game completion. Add to all of that two bonus levels and completion starts to look a whole lot bigger, but then they are included within the 100% completion and once finished you can put the game down.

But wait, this is the 360 version remember and what do you get on the 360 version... achievements.

Yes, the achievements where if you really want to complete the game you need to unlock all 46 achievements which range from completing episodes to smashing all street lights in a particular chapter (does that really add anything to a game?!). If and only if you decide to go for all the achievements is the game then really completed or is it when you complete all 100% of the actual game. The one good thing about Lego Batman is that it didn't have any DLC as then the game could be never ending.

At the moment for me Lego Batman is finished due to completing the thirty story modes for heroes and villains. If I were to 'complete' it then I would at least play through the free play modes and then go on to complete all 100% of the game. I personally do not count achievements towards the completion of a game for two reasons, 1) I don't much care for them and 2) some games like Gears of War include online achievements for the like of multi-player which have no bearing on the solo mode.

I know that there have always been games like this, for example Super Mario World had your basic levels, the 96 exits and then the bonus star levels, but these days games seem to have more and more definitions of 'completion' and multiple endings that sometimes it's nice to just have a start a middle and an end.

What do you class as 'completed' these days?


  1. I class completed as a game whereby I've finished its main quest/storyline/set of levels. I say 100% completed if I've finished everything the game offers, main quest, side-quests, collectables, unlockables, achievements and bonus levels. Unfortunately games these days have become very very hard to 100% complete what with a number of difficulties, tough achievements, some online only, multiple endings.

    The pattern for my games purchases tends to be I rent games easy to complete and buy games difficult to both complete and 100% complete.

  2. That's an interesting question I have seen posed a few other places as well. I guess I personally just view a game as completed or beaten when I get through the main storyline. Too many times now, there are things like oddball achievements, secret endings or online ladders that really can extend the life of the game, but I don't know that I consider them essential for 'beating' a game. Or perhaps it's a matter of semantics. You 'beat' the game when you finish the storyline and it's 'complete' when you get all of the trophies or achievements?

  3. The definition of "complete" isn't what it used to be. Back in the 16-bit days, finishing a game and seeing the ending was completion enough. These days, developers throw in all sorts of content to extend a game's playtime. Secrets, achievements, etc. I rarely go for 100% completion mostly because I have other games to play.

  4. 'Complete' to me is when I personally feel that I'm done with the game or that I've got as much out of it as I want to.

    I'm not fussed about getting trophies in PS3 games either so I never try and get them all.