I don’t know about you, but I love RPGs. I have a special place in my heart for them, ever since I started playing them in my youth. Ultima 5 or Bard’s Tale II were among the games I played most on my Commodore 64 and I can’t even imagine how many hours I’ve sunk into them. I’m simply happy that my parents believed the pretty obvious lie that I was practising English by playing them. That said, I do remember that I had a talk with one of my English teachers simply because my written English started to sound funny after a few weeks of living in Britannia. But I digress.
What I really need to get out is something different entirely. You know, as much as I love RPGs, I usually take a lot of time finishing them. And that’s not only because they are intended to be very long games. (In case you don’t believe me, simply head over to How long to beat and search for one. Why not Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny, which was a pretty long game for its time.)
No, my problem is different: I get burned out. I really do. As much as I love these kinds of games, as much as I love to grind in them, as much as I love exploring every nook and cranny of their respective worlds, it always ends in a burn out. Then I stop playing the games. I turn to something else and nearly forget about them.
Then the strangest thing happens. I return to them and continue playing. This can take a long time, like with Octopath Traveler which I played for nearly 40 hours before I stopped. I returned to it only in January this year. When I checked, my last save was from 2018. A hiatus of two years! Needless to say, I had forgotten all about the game’s mechanics and was subsequently destroyed in the first boss-battle I stepped into. But I prevailed and managed to finish all second chapters of the eight protagonists. Then I stopped playing the game again. Funny, right? I don’t even remember why I picked it up. It was probably some unconscious urge in the back of my head.
On the other hand, I do remember why I returned to Alrest yesterday evening. Seeing Pyra invited to Super Smash Bros in the latest Nintendo Direct, I recalled that I hadn’t finished the story of Xenoblade Chronicles 2. So I popped in the cartridge and booted up the game. I noticed that I had already made my way to Elysium in the 100 hours of my adventure. There were only, and I hope I don’t spoil anything for you, two smaller battles and the last boss fight left. So, roughly two to three more hours of gameplay. I must have wanted to savour the ending of the game back in 2017 when I stopped playing. Either that or I couldn’t bear to finish the game because that would mean the destruction of Alrest, a world that had become dear to my heart. In the end, I finally concluded the game and was rewarded with a very fulfilling ending. A wave of relief washed over me. Not only because the ending was so sweet, but also because I could cross another game from my backlog.
Speaking of backlogs, I wonder when I will return to all the other RPGs still waiting. Dragon Quest VII, Bravely Default, Xenoblade Chronicles X and so many more. I don’t know when it will happen, but I know it will. Eventually!