Find all previous editions of the PCG Q&A here. Some highlights:
- Has Half-Life: Alyx made you want to buy a VR headset? (opens in new tab)
- What's a game that handles politics well? (opens in new tab)
- What's your favorite piece of games merch? (opens in new tab)
Maybe like Tom you're finding it hard to finish RPGs (opens in new tab). Maybe you're never happy with the character you create first time and have to go back, or you realize there's an essential mod but it's incompatible with your existing save files. Or maybe you just keep forgetting the plot. It happens to the best of us. What game do you keep restarting but never finish?
Here are our answers, plus some sourced from our forum (opens in new tab).
Christopher Livingston: I've never gotten far enough in Factorio to launch a rocket. Not even close. It's because I keep starting over, because I've made an absolute mess of my factories. I always try to stay organized, to keep my assembly lines nice and neat, but eventually they spiral out of control and become a massive, ugly, inefficient tangle of conveyor belts and machinery. And I don't know why starting over is preferable to just putting in some extra work to remove the messy parts and rebuild—I think it's just the idea of starting fresh with a bit more knowledge than I had last time, and the promise to finally build things properly and sensibly. This time it'll be perfect!
It never seems to work out, and I'm left staring at a giant mess, and then I start over yet again.
Morgan Park: Once a year or so, my friend and I start up a new game of L.A. Noire with the goal of playing through the whole thing together. We love driving like maniacs through the streets of 1940s Los Angeles and laughing at the facial capture and performances that don't quite hold up nine years later. But, without fail, we fall off the game sometime during Cole Phelps' homicide career and never return. A year later, we've forgotten enough to give it another go. I kind of hope we never finish it. I'd be satisfied forever revisiting the first half of the game like some twisted version of Groundhog Day.
The Witcher 3
Jarred Walton: It's long, and I mean, really long—without even counting the Heart of Stone and Blood and Wine expansions. Plowing through a 100-hour game is just too daunting. Maybe I could bulldoze through the main storyline, but that's still going to be 60 hours or more. Plus, let's be real: I know myself, and the instant some side quests start popping up, I'll forget about streamlining things and be off chasing whatever beast lurks in the forest. I've restarted the game a few times, and probably never made if further than the first 20 hours or so—though I did benchmark the hell out of Novigrad, which is practically the same thing as finishing the game, right?
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Tyler Wilde: I've spent around 100 hours in Divinity: Original Sin 2, and another 60 hours mucking around in the mod tools, so I forget that I haven't actually finished it until someone mentions the ending. RPGs let you go back in time and use all your hindsight, which is now foresight, to do things differently, and maybe because I wish I could do that in life, I find it hard to resist the draw of a new character. I'll stop being a save scummer and finish it one day. Just after I create one more character.
Andy Kelly: I've played every Civ, including the most recent one, yet I've never finished a game. Not once. I enjoy those first few hours immensely, founding the first city, exploring the map. But I reach a certain point, when I have too many cities to manage and too many units on the board, that I get bored and pack it in. I just don't have the patience to see it through. That's why I've never been much of a grand strategy guy. Every time I play Civ I tell myself this is it, the game I will finish. But then I never do. But does it really matter if I've enjoyed myself? I don't think so. I can't wait to start and never finish a game of the next one in the series.
Shaun Prescott: I vaguely remember reading an opinion piece in 2011 about how Dark Souls would "slay" or "destroy" Skyrim. It was a deliberately contrarian take—Skyrim anticipation was through the roof at the time, and I remember having dreams about it. But Dark Souls did actually ruin Skyrim for me—when the latter released two months later I got about halfway through before drifting back to Lordran. A few years later I tried again, armed to the teeth with mods... only to abandon it at the exact same halfway point (fighting some dragon in Whiterun). Then I tried again recently on Switch and didn't even get that far. Skyrim just bores me, I guess.
Baten Kaitos Origins
Wes Fenlon: This is actually a GameCube game that I have been playing on PC emulator Dolphin, on and off, for at least four years now. Okay, so I'm not technically restarting it each time, but I have a save file that I get the urge to go back to on random quiet weekends a couple times a year. Baten Kaitos is a beautiful game, one of the last of the generation of JRPGs to use pre-rendered backgrounds (think the PS1 Final Fantasy games). It even has surprisingly decent English voice acting for a Japanese game from the early 2000s. And the combat! It's really fun. It's a fast-paced card combat system, where you have to curate a deck of abilities that combo well together. When you're in the groove, you chain together cards into 20 or 30 hit combos while building a damage multiplier the whole time. But for some reason I never stay committed to Baten Kaitos. I could easily finish it in a couple weeks, but instead it seems like I'm destined to play it in Sunday afternoon chunks for years to come.
From our forum members (opens in new tab)
Mazer969: I'm the worst at this. I've started The Witcher 3 about four times now, never even been to Skellige. I've started Dragon Age Inquisition maybe six times, mainly out of class/race regret after a lull in playing but also because I always forget to turn off lip-shine during character creation and only notice my elven mages sexy glossy lips after the prologue. I've started Skyrim easily a dozen times and played almost 200 hours between Special Edition and OG and I only know of Paarthurnax through cultural osmosis.
Sarafan: It's Morrowind for me unfortunately. The game is great, but I never finished it. Sometimes I get bored before reaching the ending and sometimes frustrated when I can't find the desired person (no waypoints). It's a lot harder to find NPCs and items in a 3D cRPG than in an isometric one. I had a few tries and I hope I'll finally be able to finish the game some day.
Zoid: I have restarted Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3, Skyrim, and Fallout 4 countless times now. It's inevitably always the same story: I start a new character and play for many hours until (A) life gets too busy for a spell, or (B) my fickle gaming interests shift to another game for a while. When I come back to revisit my playthrough I have either forgotten everything that I was doing or grown bored with my character build. Rinse, repeat.
Grindzombie: Total War: Attila took me a good 10 restarts over the past 4 years before I finally felt like I hadn't totally borked my empire by turn 20. Think I'm finally on the path to victory now, though.
AI War is a game I want so badly to understand and eventually master, but damn if it isn't neigh impenetrable. And all that DLC... Sometimes I'll have a run that doesn't even make it past the title screen.
Frindis: I hear Morrowind coming up a lot and it is the same here. I install tons of mods, enjoy it for 60-80 hours and then stop playing. When I get the itch again, my mods/savegames are gone because I tend to do a format at least once every 6 months and do not always remember to take backups.
Mr.Vic20: Its not the only one, but my most recent example would be Metro Exodus. I adored the previous entries but something about this one is just a little off for me. I'm in the 3rd area after 5 different attempts to play through. I'm just not loving the transition in both narrative tone and open world play. This game feels like a weird cousin of the Metro series.
McStabStab: Divinity: Original Sin 2. I love the game, started one playthrough, made it to Reaper’s Coast, discovered much of the map there. Then started second playthrough with friend, made it almost as far, never finished. Third playthrough restarted with difinitive edition, still in REAPER’S COAST. Why am I so bad at getting through this area?! I need to get stronger for Bloodmoon Island!
DelirusRex: Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever actually completed Fallout 4. Like properly. Without so many mods it becomes the Galactic Empire instead of the institute, Metal Gear Solid style stealth equipment, and things to make the construction bearable. And to lock Preston in a cage high above Sanctuary.
What was the question?