Is 100% Completion In Games Really a Good Thing?

Senior Contributor
08.29.12 14 Comments

We’ve all felt it. We’ve looked at our achievements, especially for a game we’re playing, and we’ve felt a little tug when we see one. I could do that. It’d be easy.

I’m currently fighting it right now, actually. After reviewing Sleeping Dogs and Darksiders II, I actually sat down to play them as a gamer, not as a critic (and yes, that’s a compliment to both of these games). The problem is that they’re both open world games with a lot of trophies and a lot of collectibles.

And they’re both maddening in their own way. Sleeping Dogs has a relatively small number of collectibles, and completing dating sidequests puts the locations on your minimap. Darksiders II, meanwhile, is gigantic and crammed so full of collectibles it’s giving OCD gamers fits.

Which is starting to make me wonder if 100% completion is such a good idea.

There are very, very few games I have 100% on. In fact, I can only think of one: Double Fine’s Stacking, and that’s more through accident than design. I just really liked the game and collecting all the doll sets was fun enough (and it must be said, simple enough) that I wanted to do it. Similarly, going back and solving the puzzles in a different way was also pretty fun.

But most games I look at the trophies and it makes me exhausted. Take the upcoming Dishonored and its achievements: just trying to hit those alone will require at least two playthroughs. Many games at least make it possible with a New Game Plus, but even then that’s asking a lot. I just don’t have the time, and I can’t be alone in that one.

To go back to Sleeping Dogs, I left a lot undone in my personal playthrough. I didn’t do all of Roland’s jobs, I didn’t unlock all the lockboxes, I didn’t hijack five trucks, and I didn’t kill somebody with a fish.

But I still enjoyed the hell out of it, and the side missions weren’t necessary to complete the game. Similarly, with Darksiders II, I’m missing God knows how many collectibles but I’m still enjoying myself. Still, on some level, not having everything bugs me.

So, it leaves me asking… is 100% completion, and rewarding it, even with only a little digital trophy, really worth encouraging? Or does it get in the way of the game?

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