Picture this: you've just waltzed through the bulk of a story. You're standing on the brink of completion with the credits practically within reach. The only problem is — you've got one more obstacle to shove aside before shaking hands with the endgame. Unfortunately for you, it's a pretty big obstacle to kick aside. And on top of that, it's idling with a grin smeared across its face, cackling at your misfortune as you watch the conclusion fall through your very fingers. It's a grind, clear as daylight.
Love them or hate them, we can't always give up the amount of time needed to see them through. And that grind can feel a whole lot worse when standing between the last goal and the credits. Like coming to a grinding halt (no pun intended), a long slog can often spoil the immersion and leave us frustrated through to the final moments. That being said, there are plenty of bite-sized grinds that try not to act as a major setback for the player. These five, however, definitely aren't a part of that collection.
5. Conquering England (Assassin's Creed: Valhalla)
Ubisoft definitely ramped up the length of the storyline with their latest Assassin's Creed venture. The only problem is, despite the Viking lore being a compelling platform for Ubisoft to explore — the game is just too long. Of course, on paper, Valhalla soaks up enough material to cover the whole age and still leave players hungering for more history. However, physically playing the game for yourself — it isn't long before you come to notice the true slog that rests within the plot.
Using Power to upgrade your skill tree and progress further into the game, Valhalla takes you on one heck of a journey through a whole bunch of counties in Viking-torn England. The downside of this, sadly, is that after spending sixty hours rummaging through the country and stripping it of all its riches, your Power level eventually grinds to a halt, forcing you to resort to another twenty hours of pointless pillaging before progressing. And that's not great, especially for those wanting to unravel the conclusion without having to lose another three solid days back at the grind.
4. Maxing Out Skills (RuneScape)
Anyone who has plunged into the world of RuneScape will know that every reward the game has to offer comes with a lengthy challenge of some sort. Of course, being an MMORPG that boasts hundreds of pathways for players to forge, it comes as no surprise that every worthy piece of gear comes with a lifetime commitment to the grind. And that's just it. RuneScape, no matter your path, demands a whole heap of your time just to break the ice.
Whether you're sinking into a simple life with a part-time job mining down at the local quarry, or throwing yourself headfirst into deep exploration between faraway lands — RuneScape will have you tallying up the hours just to so much as put a dent in your abilities. And it takes time. A lot of time, just to finally reach a respectable level where you can finally take a breather and admire your long-term accomplishments. Unfortunately, to reach such acclaim, you'll have to drudge over the grind for a month or two. Or twelve.
3. The Nemesis System (Middle-Earth)
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor introduced a real game changer back in 2014. Rather than lay out a set squadron of enemies and have you pluck them out one by one, Middle-Earth switched the system up and built a whole new platform to tackle. Titled The Nemesis System, both Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War made it so a web of orcs would all rise to power or fall from the ranks, depending on how you approached the board. Of course, if you chose to eliminate one orc, the underdog would effectively rise in power and take its place. If, however, an enemy bested you in battle — then they would ascend the ranks.
It all sounds great on paper, sure. However, the real problem lies with the population of Sauron's Army. And believe me when I say — there are a lot. Like, an infinite amount of soldiers all clawing for the top spot. Of course, that does mean that you're left to mop up faction leaders, wipe the slate clean and repeat until your heart's content. The major issue, sadly, is that you'll never really stretch to orc genocide. Apparently, a player did wipe the roster dry — but we're taking that rumor with a grain of salt, to be honest.
2. Paying Tom Nook (Animal Crossing: New Horizons)
From pop-up tent to multi-million Bell mansion, Animal Crossing: New Horizons takes you on quite the journey when it comes to evolving your adorable little home. Of course, bagging the luxurious residence and having all the bells and whistles to boot doesn't come easily, nor does it happen overnight either. In fact, moving up the property ladder and claiming the maximum upgrade for your home can literally take a year to accomplish. And boy — you don't want to know how many fish you'll have to catch and sell before being completely debt-free.
It comes as no surprise that when moving into your first home, a loan isn't usually that far off. Pay it off, of course, and you're free to upgrade a second time, and then a third, and so on. Upgrade to the last milestone and you'll be slumped with a whopping 2,498,000 Bell loan to pay back. So, unless you've got a solid gold carp sitting in your back pocket — you've got quite the work cut out for you before having enough Bells to bolster a carefree lifestyle. Like, a year of fishing for boots.
1. Waiting 400 Days (The Longing)
Now this one is definitely strange. Like, seriously eccentric. But then, what can you expect from the darkest crevices of Steam's ever-evolving library? There's been a fair share of wacky and wondrous titles appear on the platform, that's for sure — though nothing quite seems to top this adventure idle hit. And as far as top-shelf grinding goes — this is definitely the one to beat. At least that's what we think, anyway.
The Longing, in a nutshell, is a point-and-click indie that revolves around a shadow named Shade, who stands as the last servant to the sunken king of an underground kingdom. The issue for you, as it goes, is that the king has entered a 400-day rest in order to regain his strength. That leaves you, the lonely shadow, to literally wait for the slumber to be over before returning to standard royal duties. Of course, you can wander the world around you and experiment with your free time, though nothing will dismantle the 400-day countdown cemented in your diary. And yes — it is in real-time. You literally have to remain idle for 400 days. That's it.