A video game story should always be orchestrated, to the point of making every virtual element look and feel like a cog on the big wheel, regardless of their functions and the direct input they have on the centerpiece. A lot of games tend to lose sight of this, and often resort to cramming as many filler quests into the pot as possible, if only to stretch out an otherwise short experience. The problem, though, is that a game with an unnecessarily long campaign can, in fact, steer players away from reaching its end.
Of course, we've seen our fair share of ridiculously lengthy stories over the years. And when we say lengthy, we're talking about games that breach the twenty hour mark. Of those twenty-plus hours, some developers have opted for quantity over quality, and it has shown through some pretty lousy subplots and questionably bad side quests. But which of these games have really taken the cake? Well, here's how we see it.
5. Far Cry 6
As much as we admire Ubisoft's ambition to build on the Far Cry brand by incorporating bigger open worlds for each passing entry, its sixth instalment, on the other hand, takes the absolute cake. With an estimated completion time of 23 hours, the shooter not only bags a spot for being the lengthiest in the series to date, but the most unnecessarily overcooked in the whole of the first-person shooter realm.
Granted, Far Cry 6 isn't the greatest link in the chain. If anything, it's a step in the complete wrong direction for the series, and, unlike its past entries, it's worryingly devoid of any character and finesse whatsoever. The fact that it launched with a campaign that became incredibly boring very quickly was, sadly, the nail in the coffin for an otherwise great game. And to think, this same story could've been told in half the time if it had removed the bulk of its filler content. Ubisoft, however, was far too greedy, and instead opted for quantity over quality.
4. Borderlands 2
Borderlands is a ridiculously good game, and perhaps one of the most addictive in the FPS genre. But there's a line that we can't help but chalk up, and it's somewhere between the twelfth and fifteenth hour of the campaign. It's there, annoyingly, that the story sort of gets lost before ultimately succumbing to a boatload of filler quests and empty spaces. It's only after the twentieth hour, of course, that things begin to form a line in anticipation of the grand conclusion.
To beat Borderlands 2, you will need to dump around 30 hours into it, either alone or with a friend in the game's online or split-screen co-op. And while the latter can be far more enjoyable than the former, it's still a lengthy journey to take under your wing, especially when it's littered with copy and paste missions that distract you from the overall structure of the narrative. Anyway, it's still a fantastic game — even if it is a little on the heavy side.
3. Assassin's Creed: Valhalla
After Ubisoft transformed Assassin's Creed into a full-blown role-playing series, its worlds soon became a lot fuller and far more taxing. Prior to the release of Origins, an Assassin's Creed game would set you back anywhere from ten to fifteen hours. But Valhalla, on the other hand, strived to hit the fifty-plus milestone. The problem with that, of course, was that only seven or eight of those hours actually told a story worth telling. And the rest, well, let's just say it took a lot of persistence to shovel through it without succumbing to boredom.
Sure, Eivor made for a pretty good Viking protagonist. And England, for what it's worth, was a beautiful open world setting full of lore and opportunities. But boy, Valhalla's plotline was hands down one of the most lacklustre to date, with the bulk of its tale being based around repetition and aimless exploration. After reaching Glowecestrescire, which was sometime after the thirtieth hour mark, it was easy to lose sight of what the story was even about. And to be fair, the game could've cut out half of England's story arcs and players still would've caught the gist.
2. Mad Max
If you're able to look past the monotonous grinding and questionable plotline, Mad Max is actually a very good game. It's a shame, though, that the would-be award-winning open world game is shrouded in pointless slogs and scavenging missions. And honestly, that's what the game is: spending twenty or more hours scouring a post-apocalyptic wasteland in search of car parts.
The game's redeeming feature, of course, is the Arkham-style combat that it employs, as well as the chemistry between the characters themselves. But its story, on the other hand, is pretty much built on fetch quests, to the point of having a solid 90% of them make up the whole game. And to be fair, the game could've cut out half of them and it still would've had the same impact.
1. Red Dead Redemption 2
To make it clear — Red Dead Redemption 2 is not a bad game. It is, however, incredibly long, and at parts more of a test of endurance than anything else. And while the bulk of the campaign plays out like a well-orchestrated theatrical masterpiece, its few smaller segments definitely weigh it down at times.
Of course, if it wasn't for the whole Guarma section of the story, which showed up just as the final curtain was about to unveil its tassels, then we wouldn't have had an issue, to begin with. But alas, it happened, and it added a little too much content into an already oversized story arc. By the time it all drew to a close, it was pushing around fifty to sixty hours in length. And then the epilogue happened, which was just another standalone game in itself.
So, what's your take? Do you agree with our top five? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.