• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.
  • Hey Guest. Check out the NeoGAF 2.2 Update Thread for details on our new Giphy integration and other new features.

I'm pretty sure reviewers don't finish long games. | AC Valhalla

ItsTheNew

I believe any game made before 1997 is "essentially cave man art."
Mar 26, 2013
1,652
129
760
USA
I recently beat AC Valhalla.
I put 66 hrs into the dang thing.
However, around 15 hrs into it, I realized that the game's story wasn't going to evolve past the same story beats of king making for all 13 territories. Later on, my interest of playing the game waned. I started skipping cutscenes, side activities, running through missions instead of completing them "the right way." Basically, I was done moving the controls around and wanted to see the payoff after nearly 40 hrs. ANYTHING!

AC Odyssey has been called too long. I'd agree, but it's main storyline is as long as Valhalla. During that 60 hour playtime the naval combat and sailing system shakes up the gameplay. The boat in Valhalla only serves as a clumsy way to get to raids. So, you don't ever get any on foot gameplay reprieve in Valhalla. You're almost always on foot or on a horse.

This also exposes the monotony with the advertised "raids". These are just bandit camps near the river you have to collect(on foot) 2-4 chests from. Since they all play the same, the other gameplay systems like your crew, your custom npc, hell, even your loot has little to no influence. It's almost all nearly non functional or there to sell cosmetics.

I went online and saw nearly universal acclaim from review outlets, 85% on MC, but only around 70% from gamers.
I've been called jaded before but frankly as I've gotten older my time to play has decreased but my enjoyment for games has gone up. But if I was getting paid to write reviews and I've seen this open world formula countless times, I'd probably rate Valhalla a 4.

So what am I getting at? Reviewers are supposed to be well versed in games, meaning they play many games and are familiar with many contemporary gameplay mechanics. Presumably they have an Assassin's creed fan on staff, or at the very least an open world "expert". If they have to play these long ass games that show nothing new after 15 hrs of gameplay, how are they not voicing what their readers feel? Length bloat has creeped to critical levels. AC Unity's map icons wouldn't make anyone bat an eye at this point.

Putting myself in a reviewers role, it would be tricky to play the main quest, a decent amount of the side quests AND THEN write a positive review all within a week's time. The technical and gameplay issues in my mind would be magnified, especially if you're playing on a deadline, and preparing a review. So please, reviewers of overly long games, do yourselves a favor and ask for copy and pasted 80 hr open world RPGs to cap their paperthin story to 25 hrs max OR make sure there's enough going on to warrant the gargantuan playtime.
 
Nov 22, 2019
411
732
305
I can't imagine actually listening to games reviewers opinions or caring what they think. They are not authorities on game quality. They are not people who play video games as a hobby or for enjoyment. They are workers with external motivators driving their playtime. It is impossible to objectively judge the merits of games quality when said game is obstructing your free time. If a game is difficult, it may get a lower score simply because the reviewer is bad and has no intrinsic want to be challenged like someone looking to buy that game would. Meanwhile if the game is easy, maybe it gets higher rated because the reviewer banged it out and the game can be more adequately judged for its merits. If a game is repetitive, like asscreed, maybe you find that gameplay enjoyable for 20 hours so you sing its praises, not caring if it grows tiring because you have effectively seen all you needed to write your review. This isn't factoring in sponsors, fear of black listing, editors, fear of backlash from a rabid fanbase or deadlines.

Tldr, don't listen to game reviews. Read the opinions of other users and have confidence in your own personal judgment.
 
Last edited:

Kacho

Member
Feb 22, 2011
11,063
2,387
1,275
Virginia
With a game like AssCreed reviewers don’t need to finish them. The experience is largely the same the whole way through, so if they enjoyed it after six hours of play they poop out a positive review and call it a day.

I think Skill Up is the only reviewer that touched on the issues you mentioned in the OP.
 

godhandiscen

There are millions of whiny 5-year olds on Earth, and I AM THEIR KING.
Mar 15, 2007
15,086
3,723
1,740
I agree OP. Tons of adventure games are jam packed with wonder during the first 5 hours, and completely sink in quality once you reach the true gameplay loop. Reviewers should be aware and seriously spend time with them before slapping the score. However, there is little accountability for reviewers, the most popular a are the ones who can market the games they review the best, so we are in the situation we are.
 

Fredrik

Member
Jun 27, 2005
8,625
1,733
1,640
Yeah...

I stumbled into a save bug after 50 hours or so and had to start almost from the beginning 😤

Uninstalled the game and googled the ending.

And what can I say? I’m glad I didn’t waste any more time on this game.

I’ve only played through Origins and Odyssey in the AC serie, so my experience in the IP is limited. I’m admittedly cranky now but even before the brutal save bug I thought Valhalla was the worst game of the three with a wide margin. I think it missed the mark on so many things.

The beautiful water world from Odyssey was replaced with muddy brown water.
Every raid was the same.
The stealth was constantly broken by the need of calling your vikings to open chests and doors.
Skill tree was a mess.
I felt like I played as a cancer rather than hero for the country.
The puzzle mystery quests was boring and time-consuming.
Main protagonist was uninteresting.

I liked the graphics in some areas though, and 60fps was great. And some quests mid game were really well-made, and when the fighting was at it’s best it had really solid action.

But I would rate it 6 or maybe 7 out of 10.
 
Last edited:
  • Strength
Reactions: ItsTheNew

BPX

Member
Nov 10, 2018
2,292
6,589
590
 

Andodalf

Member
Oct 20, 2013
5,474
8,082
885
23
Earth
I think you underestimate how much time you can play a game when you literally get paid to do it. A lot of reviewers do manage to finish even really big games, or play through shorter games multiple times (like TLOU 2)
 

Bonfires Down

Member
Jul 31, 2007
2,857
3,885
1,430
Damn, 53 hours main story according to Howlongtobeat. Previous AC games are also filled with side missions, but at least you could finish the story relatively quickly if you want.
 
  • Like
Reactions: EDMIX

TheContact

Gold Member
Jan 22, 2016
6,487
6,158
860
two of my co workers have over 130+ hours into this game, i doubt any reviewer put that much into it, but then again i don't think you need to play more than 20-30 hours of an AC game to get grasp of what it's like--even valhallah a lot of it is repetition
 

Andodalf

Member
Oct 20, 2013
5,474
8,082
885
23
Earth
Damn, 53 hours main story according to Howlongtobeat. Previous AC games are also filled with side missions, but at least you could finish the story relatively quickly if you want.

The main story in AC:V basically includes what would have been the biggest side missions in past games
 

Fbh

Member
Dec 6, 2013
15,506
11,228
1,070
How fast could you rush through it on easy though?

Wouldn't be surprised if that's what a lot of them do. Rush through on easy, then maybe play the opening 30 minutes on other difficulties to get an idea of the differences and call it a day.
 

dDoc

Member
Jun 14, 2019
252
245
305
Until I read player opinions that Ubi has changed it's formula I wont be touching a game of theirs.

It seems all that matters to them is to provide a huge game world with shed loads of worthless things to collect where they can hitch in cosmetic MTX lately.

To hell with innovation and engaging gameplay, who needs those right?
 
  • Thoughtful
Reactions: ItsTheNew

Umbasaborne

Member
Dec 21, 2020
572
902
330
As someone who loves odyssey and origins, valhalla is the most boring of the 3. Unlikable characters, boring enviroments, boring side activities, samey story quests. It just feels like a fucking chore, where i enjoyed every hour of the last two games. The problem isnt that its long, its that its boring. The last two games were long and fun.
 

Kacho

Member
Feb 22, 2011
11,063
2,387
1,275
Virginia
Loool is that real? 😂
There’s a video of the same guy playing Doom Eternal and completely botching it. Hugo Martin mentioned it in one of his recent streams. That guy is a grade A dumbass.

Pretty sure there’s a video of him botching the Titanfall 2 tutorial as well.
 
Last edited:

Kenpachii

Member
Mar 23, 2018
6,969
8,376
765
I recently beat AC Valhalla.
I put 66 hrs into the dang thing.
However, around 15 hrs into it, I realized that the game's story wasn't going to evolve past the same story beats of king making for all 13 territories. Later on, my interest of playing the game waned. I started skipping cutscenes, side activities, running through missions instead of completing them "the right way." Basically, I was done moving the controls around and wanted to see the payoff after nearly 40 hrs. ANYTHING!

AC Odyssey has been called too long. I'd agree, but it's main storyline is as long as Valhalla. During that 60 hour playtime the naval combat and sailing system shakes up the gameplay. The boat in Valhalla only serves as a clumsy way to get to raids. So, you don't ever get any on foot gameplay reprieve in Valhalla. You're almost always on foot or on a horse.

This also exposes the monotony with the advertised "raids". These are just bandit camps near the river you have to collect(on foot) 2-4 chests from. Since they all play the same, the other gameplay systems like your crew, your custom npc, hell, even your loot has little to no influence. It's almost all nearly non functional or there to sell cosmetics.

I went online and saw nearly universal acclaim from review outlets, 85% on MC, but only around 70% from gamers.
I've been called jaded before but frankly as I've gotten older my time to play has decreased but my enjoyment for games has gone up. But if I was getting paid to write reviews and I've seen this open world formula countless times, I'd probably rate Valhalla a 4.

So what am I getting at? Reviewers are supposed to be well versed in games, meaning they play many games and are familiar with many contemporary gameplay mechanics. Presumably they have an Assassin's creed fan on staff, or at the very least an open world "expert". If they have to play these long ass games that show nothing new after 15 hrs of gameplay, how are they not voicing what their readers feel? Length bloat has creeped to critical levels. AC Unity's map icons wouldn't make anyone bat an eye at this point.

Putting myself in a reviewers role, it would be tricky to play the main quest, a decent amount of the side quests AND THEN write a positive review all within a week's time. The technical and gameplay issues in my mind would be magnified, especially if you're playing on a deadline, and preparing a review. So please, reviewers of overly long games, do yourselves a favor and ask for copy and pasted 80 hr open world RPGs to cap their paperthin story to 25 hrs max OR make sure there's enough going on to warrant the gargantuan playtime.

Valhalla sitting at 85% is about right.

U know what u bought with assaassin creed. Assassin creed = massive amounts of content with a long length and lots of things to do.

If your main complain is that the game is to long, then don't play games that are that long. They are not for you.

Why you think ac valhalla is long, i consider it pretty darn short actually. i rather had 1000 hours of content that i could come back to and move further and further in with all kinds of other people on the world map where i can raid with and make it a semi mmo in those enviroments.

Imagine the next ac game being 25 hours of gameplay, i wouldn't even touch it for a second.

What a game review does or does not isn't interesting towards anybody then him, if he has 1 week to review the game a game that takes atleast 2+ weeks to complete if you play working hours and u are well known with the franchise then honestly u shouldn't be reviewing it.

I make reviews sometimes of games myself, and i won't do it other then small nitbitch until i complete the games for 95% and actually know what the game has and what the flaws are.

The fact ac odyssey has norway, america, england, god worlds all in the base game is just amazing something i totally didn't expect. The quest content was well crafted, the world is solid and the city's are great. It's a huge jump from odyssey on this front and with 2 dlc's coming i can't wait what they have left.

If you find yourself walking to the next main quest npc and skip everything, the game isn't for you simple as that. It's like playing zelda breath of the wild rush to the castle kill boss 1 hour later. wow boring game.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Gtafans93

ItsTheNew

I believe any game made before 1997 is "essentially cave man art."
Mar 26, 2013
1,652
129
760
USA
Tldr, don't listen to game reviews. Read the opinions of other users and have confidence in your own personal judgment.
It's easy to handwave reviewers, however I think it's better to actually demand more from them (respectfully).
You're correct there's a bunch of hidden dimensions that I didn't cover, however they are probably the most influential considering their scores show up on MC, big channels on YT don't.

I think it would be relatively simple for them to keep notes on "Has the gameplay or story changed in any appreciable degree since the last 10 hr check in?", And of course not being cowards and making their trophies viewable (Hi Alex Navarro!) to hold them accountable when they say they've beat the game.
 

ItsTheNew

I believe any game made before 1997 is "essentially cave man art."
Mar 26, 2013
1,652
129
760
USA
Valhalla sitting at 85% is about right.

U know what u bought with assaassin creed. Assassin creed = massive amounts of content with a long length and lots of things to do.
They are made by two separate studios who approach the formula differently, even right down to sprint being in one title and not the other.
If your main complain is that the game is to long, then don't play games that are that long. They are not for you.
I don't think repetitive stories or gameplay has to go hand in hand with long titles. If it is, then the dev has run out of ideas and the scope of the game should shrink.
Why you think ac valhalla is long, i consider it pretty darn short actually. i rather had 1000 hours of content that i could come back to and move further and further in with all kinds of other people on the world map where i can raid with and make it a semi mmo in those enviroments.
If Valhalla had any systems to support that game length I'd agree. However it objectively doesn't.
I make reviews sometimes of games myself, and i won't do it other then small nitbitch until i complete the games for 95% and actually know what the game has and what the flaws are.
I disagree. Subjecting myself to another 100 hrs on the samey gameplay I've already soured on to gather digital trinkets is not going to make me appreciate the game more. And I doubt reviewers are doing the same before publishing their review.
If you find yourself walking to the next main quest npc and skip everything, the game isn't for you simple as that. It's like playing zelda breath of the wild rush to the castle kill boss 1 hour later. wow boring game.
If I DID sour on BOTW, I could have went straight to Gannon and finished the game. You cannot do the same in Valhalla.
And that's the point I'm making:
Comparing Valhalla to it's contemporaries makes its flaws even more magnified, and the reviewers simply look the other way.
 

StateofMajora

Member
Aug 7, 2020
872
1,182
360
Oh I KNOW they don't. They get through these games as fast as humanly possible. I wish they would just stop saying "It's X hours long" because their poser asses don't represent what someone who wants to take their time/master/complete a game will get out of it.

Just say, the main game is fairly short, decent amount, or long. That's it.
 
Last edited:

SJRB

Member
May 10, 2012
23,484
2,535
875
Not defending dogshit reviewers but after about 4 hours of playing you've literally seen everything Valhalla has to offer, gameplay / mechanics wise.
 
  • Like
Reactions: smart_brazileiro

TriSuit666

Member
Jul 2, 2018
1,267
1,115
385
I womder if the problem with AC is the animus itself? After playing Odyssey for 80 hours, I really felt nothing towards the present day segments, and the DLC just drove me up the wall. Give me more of the historical setting and less Abstergo bollocks.
 

Kuranghi

Member
Apr 17, 2015
4,040
6,994
780
I think the problem is some of these people (less than most I hope) are playing through games with the same attention you give to a podcast while you are doing something else. I get the feeling many people literally never stop using their phone these days and don't really just do one thing. So its just a surface level take on the thing they are reviewing backed up by assumption from prior experience and a few lucky times they happen to be paying slightly more attention than usual that they see something deeper.

Insanely cynicial? Yes lol
 

Zefah

Gold Member
Jan 7, 2007
44,552
25,562
1,805
Who gives a shit? From an industry perspective, it sucks that a Metacritic score can determine your financial success, but from a consumer perspective, game journalists/reviewers are completely irrelevant and pointless. It's so easy to get specialized information about any game you might have a passing interest in that it seems rather pointless to expect anything of value from generalist outlets staffed by poorly paid and mostly unmotivated individuals.
 
  • Praise the Sun
Reactions: Griffon

Fredrik

Member
Jun 27, 2005
8,625
1,733
1,640
Yeah, it is, unfortunately. Professional reviewers, you know, the ones that play video games for a living.

Oh its real, I remember he got called out so much he went on twitter and was like I got 20 years of experience in this industry or whatever the number was, I just remember it was a lot :messenger_tears_of_joy: .

There’s a video of the same guy playing Doom Eternal and completely botching it. Hugo Martin mentioned it in one of his recent streams. That guy is a grade A dumbass.

Pretty sure there’s a video of him botching the Titanfall 2 tutorial as well.
I don’t know what to say, why even show a video if you’re that bad? is it a way to slam the game for being too hard or something?
 

Kenpachii

Member
Mar 23, 2018
6,969
8,376
765
They are made by two separate studios who approach the formula differently, even right down to sprint being in one title and not the other.

I don't think repetitive stories or gameplay has to go hand in hand with long titles. If it is, then the dev has run out of ideas and the scope of the game should shrink.

If Valhalla had any systems to support that game length I'd agree. However it objectively doesn't.

I disagree. Subjecting myself to another 100 hrs on the samey gameplay I've already soured on to gather digital trinkets is not going to make me appreciate the game more. And I doubt reviewers are doing the same before publishing their review.

If I DID sour on BOTW, I could have went straight to Gannon and finished the game. You cannot do the same in Valhalla.
And that's the point I'm making:
Comparing Valhalla to it's contemporaries makes its flaws even more magnified, and the reviewers simply look the other way.

15 studio's.

Story's aren't repetitive they are all unique even the side quests, they spend a metric ton of time on it and if u get tired of the main story, there is lots of side stuff to do while u give it a rest for a while that is all unique. That's also how its supposed to be played. Don't be that guy that rushes the main story and then sits there and asks WTF i raid a castle again? yea u do because u skip all the content and only do one type of content.

That's the issue a lot of reviewers had on launch day, they straight up didn't even know what the real story was or skipped half of it because they did nothing else but the main story and rushed the game hard just to have a awful time in it. Hell some didn't even know about animus puzzles rofl let alone when u complete it or the connections with the other games. Because they didn't do anything rofl. Its like witcher 3, rushing the main quest and basically watch conversations, maybe explore a bit in between? naa. well just youtube the story then.

U sound exactly the same. Imagine a game having content na can't have that.

And the fun part is u played odyssey, the most boring shitfest of a copy past post main game i ever experienced in my life and i 100% it all the way through and even did another run at some point just for the dlc because they where excellent. Yet u still bought valhalla which is leagues better and complain about it. Just amazing. What even made u buy the game after your odyssey experience? When everything was advertised as just another assassin creed game, because u know its a assassin creed game after all? hell the game straight up had witcher 3 vibes in norway and that city.

Then don't subject yourself to the torture, quit the game go play something u like instead. But saying ac valhalla is a boring repetitve game and everybody else is wrong because u don't like things even while you know the exact things u don't like would be in valhalla and most people praise it for it, then i dunno what to tell you. It scores well, it sells well and it has a massive budget for a reason. And its one of the games i buy day one for full price because it actually has what most games do not have content and content i like. Hell i want to replay it already again, i can't wait for the DLC to arrive.

Your spinning on botw is just lol worthy. If you don't understand what i mend with it u just try to be dense on purpose.

AC valhalla is the best AC so far they created from the reboot series. It has loads of content, loads of unique quests, lots of gear to find but not getting swamped with it, combat is a bit of a downgrade from odyssey maybe they patched it i dunno. Lots of area's to explore, secrets to find, fully voiced, and some solid story's that interweave with all content. Liked the unique puzzles in the game a lot on top of it massive improvement from older games. Weakest content is probably raiding and boat part, but the boat part is pretty much a dud because of england layout because the contintent simpel doesn't allow for it. Boat was solid in norway, ireland is porbably also going to be a bit better for boat solutions i would assume. And to top it off even had god worlds in the base game already included.

In short great game.

Who gives a shit? From an industry perspective, it sucks that a Metacritic score can determine your financial success, but from a consumer perspective, game journalists/reviewers are completely irrelevant and pointless. It's so easy to get specialized information about any game you might have a passing interest in that it seems rather pointless to expect anything of value from generalist outlets staffed by poorly paid and mostly unmotivated individuals.

Exactly that, watch the trailer, watch gameplay footage. watch people play it on twitch live on youtube and u know what u are getting. What's the point of a reviewer to start with?

Last time i checked they are all failed journalists that couldn't make it into that circle and most of them just do it for a paycheck and nothing else.

I think the problem is some of these people (less than most I hope) are playing through games with the same attention you give to a podcast while you are doing something else. I get the feeling many people literally never stop using their phone these days and don't really just do one thing. So its just a surface level take on the thing they are reviewing backed up by assumption from prior experience and a few lucky times they happen to be paying slightly more attention than usual that they see something deeper.

Insanely cynicial? Yes lol

That's straight up 95% of the people these days. Drives me nuts.

I womder if the problem with AC is the animus itself? After playing Odyssey for 80 hours, I really felt nothing towards the present day segments, and the DLC just drove me up the wall. Give me more of the historical setting and less Abstergo bollocks.

Animus got massively overhauled. I agree in odyssey i just wanted that animus shit to end so bad. In valhalla its this

in short i wanted more after i was done with it. basically giant puzzles.



 
Last edited:

Astorian

Member
Feb 11, 2020
498
1,476
465
AC games are beyond long these days, I'm probably done with the franchise if they keep going this route.
 

ItsTheNew

I believe any game made before 1997 is "essentially cave man art."
Mar 26, 2013
1,652
129
760
USA
In short great game.
I'm glad you enjoy the game. I'm not going to replay it and 100%, and I feel 60 hrs is more than enough to talk about the shallow mechanics. You seem like a super fan and I'm not going to dismiss your views!
 

Goro Majima

Kitty Genovese Member
Sep 2, 2007
31,626
4,786
1,470
I don't have a huge problem if the reviewers were to disclose how long they played and that they checked with the publisher to ensure that there weren't any major gameplay changes later on.

I'm mostly thinking of something like a Dragon Quest VII or a Final Fantasy XIII where things really open up many, many hours into it.
 

Alebrije

Member
Feb 25, 2010
9,988
1,966
1,125
I bet a lot a reviewrs does not even play the game a just write what they take from forums like this, other reviewers and media in general.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Griffon

ZlleH

Member
Dec 21, 2020
161
222
255
I get why some people are less trusting of reviewers, but I don't usually watch reviews for what they think of the ending.
I watch reviews mostly to see how the graphics are like, if the bugs are manageable , and the game mechanics(the game loop).

With that said, I follow a group that I trust on reviews of games, these are the reasons:
-They have been in the business long enough where they do get access to the games before the release date
-When it is a long game like Valhalla, they don't always get the reviews out on time before release, because it takes so long to finish the game (Valhalla was released Nov. 10, they got it ahead of time and the reviews came out Nov. 23)
-They do other videos where they update their viewers on why it is taking so long to get the reviews out (the reviewer came on and said he was 100 hours in and still going)
-They only review games that they like (are into), this probably helps them finish it faster(I don't see a lot of sports game reviews from them)
-They are mostly sponsored by Patreon, so less pressure from outside influence
-They sometimes have videos after the review where they talk about endings and spoilers(which I don't watch until months later, LOL)
-They have a system where the reviewer is not the video editor and commentator, so less work getting the review done.
 
Last edited:

whyman

Member
May 28, 2011
1,249
377
800
Stockholm
I put way more time into Valhalla. Like 120 hours. It is the best AC game after AC 2. You didn't play enough. OR opinions might vary.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Zefah

ItsTheNew

I believe any game made before 1997 is "essentially cave man art."
Mar 26, 2013
1,652
129
760
USA
Do the raids get more complicated than grabbing all the chests?
Does rock stacking move past 4-5 rocks?
Does flyting move past choosing the rhyme and theme?
Does drinking evolve past moving the stick left or right and tapping X at the right time?
Do the quests where you have to position the camera differently become fun?
Does the outside the animus stuff move past the climbing and jumping you've already been doing the entire game but now with lasers?
The only side quest that is and stays fun is the dice game since unlike Valhalla, the rules are simple and the challenge is different depending on your opponents deck and there's a finite amount of them.
I don't think 100%-ing any of these activities would change my mind since they don't evolve, or break much away from what you're doing already.
 
Last edited:

Redlight

Member
Feb 5, 2014
1,275
2,674
655
Animus got massively overhauled. I agree in odyssey i just wanted that animus shit to end so bad. In valhalla its this

in short i wanted more after i was done with it. basically giant puzzles.



Loved the game, the side missing structure, the lost drengrs and the legendary animals. Beautiful world, enjoyable exploration, combat and general gameplay.

Neutral about fishing, hunting, flyting and the 'corrupted' areas. Hated the cairns, the mushroom gate challenges, orlog, the terrible drinking game and the animus glitches.

I really think it's time to retire the whole animus thing. It adds very little.
 

SliChillax

Member
Aug 1, 2014
4,008
217
485
Tirana, Albania
It's not the length that's the problem, it's how forgettable the story is. I've played Origins and Odyssey and I don't even remember how they end. I only remember bits and pieces of the story because it's 25% spread thin throughout 75% padding.
 

kyussman

Member
Dec 6, 2018
529
745
360
England,UK
I'm fucking certain they don't,lol.
Games can be so bloody long these days,and with deadlines and stuff.....I'm not going to judge.