Let it be known that I am not a fan of episodic gaming. I grew up in a time when you bought a game, the entirety of the game was on the cartridge or the multiple discs some games had. I never had to wait months on end for the second chapter of a game unless it was a completely new game or a sequel and the wait was about two years. TellTale Games made episodic gaming popular. I hate them for that because other developers followed suit. Now everyone thinks it is cool to sell a game piece by piece. When I spend my money I like to have the whole experience on my disc with no wait for my enjoyment.
Life Has Enough Cliff Hangers Without Episodic Games
Now, don’t get me wrong TellTale makes some great games. Some of their titles are in my favorites ever category. I just have to play them once they are complete. I patiently wait until all the episodes are released, then I grab the Season Pass disc and binge play through the entire story. That is a more enjoyable experience for me, rather than buying the Season Pass disc right off the bat, playing the first episode, waiting a month or two, downloading the episode, playing it, then rinsing and repeating. My life is already full of cliff-hangers.
I’ve been reading comic books for thirty years. And we all know how every comic books end with a huge cliff-hanger that will be resolved in thirty days. I don’t need cliff-hangers in my games as well. That makes them annoying and less enjoyable.
Batman Episodes Should Be Limited to Cartoons
Take this example, I finished the first Batman game that TellTale released. I loved every minute of it and simply could not wait to play the sequel. I purchased The Enemy Within as soon as I got paid. And I began downloading and playing the episodes. I took me a couple days due to work but I polished off the first four episodes. Then I attempted to download episode five only to find out it wasn’t out yet.
I had to patiently wait for over a month to see what type of Joker I had created. I was not a fan of that. Plus, I couldn’t add this game to my beaten list. I like to track all the games I’ve beaten each year. I started it in 2011 and now I have some nice lists of games I’ve completed. This little hampering me adding it to my list also miffed me. Now, once the month had passed and I had to make some difficult decisions as Bruce Wayne and I finally saw the credits. Next time I’ll make sure to check that all the episodes are released.
Episodes Break Immersion
This trend that TellTale began has been picked up by other developers, one in particular, Capcom. Resident Evil is my favorite franchise ever and I was put off by how they made the chapters in Revelations into almost like television episodes. I’d purchased the whole game and was happy with that. But the whole recap at the beginning of every episode and the upcoming preview broke the immersion I usually have with Resident Evil games. Revelations 2 was a completely episodic affair and I had to wait until they put the whole game onto a disc for me to enjoy it. The game was great, but once again that whole television show feel at the end and beginning of the levels was aggravating.
Square Enix also tampered with this episodic mechanic for the Final Fantasy VII remake. But I think they may have changed their mind due to the fact that we’ve not heard a lot of news lately. So hopefully they’re just remaking the game and will have it all ready for us on one disc in the very near future.
Not All Good Things Need Episodes
Now, I’m not discounting how good the games are that happen to be episodic. I’m just irritated as to how I get the game and how those episodes break the narrative for me. At least TellTale has a nice story that isn’t broken up within each episode. But the Revelations interruptions after every level were nerve grating and took me out of the story. I do enjoy great single player campaigns and TellTale has some of the best. I just wish I could get the whole story right off the bat. Hopefully, Capcom and Square Enix will stay away from this mechanic in their upcoming games. I would have been insanely mad if Resident Evil VII was episodic and took me out of that Baker House every time I beat a chunk of the game.