How Short is Too Short?

One of the biggest complaints levelled towards Resident Evil 7: Biohazard has been that it’s too short. For me, my first playthrough was on normal difficulty and it took me just over ten hours to complete the game. While I haven’t had a chance to get back to the game yet, my next course of action is going to try a speed run on easy. Complete the game in under four hours, and you unlock a new melee weapon that supposedly makes madhouse difficulty much easier. Beat madhouse with any finish time, and you get unlimited ammo. use unlimited ammo to blast through the game and grab any coins or bobbleheads you missed. 100% the game, in other words.

But what about people who aren’t interested in achievements or collectibles? To be honest, I’m rarely enamored enough with a game to desire playing through it again in an effort to make sure I 100% it. I feel differently about RE7, but what about people who don’t? Is ten or so hours enough to justify a 60 dollar game?

That’s a hard question to answer. Six dollars an hour, that’s about on par with a 12 dollar movie ticket. So if you look at it strictly from an entertainment money to time ratio, it seems fair, and on par with what Hollywood is doing. Of course, that’s not how I usually think. I don’t like to compare value in gaming with value in another form of entertainment. So the question is simply, is a short game worth full price?

In fairness, though, what is a short game? Ten hours to best RE7 is longer than it took me to personally beat the single player campaign in Battlefield One. I haven’t played it, but I heard the story in Titanfall 2 takes five or so hours. Resident Evil 7 is twice as long as that.

What those games have that RE7 doesn’t is multiplayer of course. I owned Battlefield One on day one, and I didn’t even touch the single player stuff for at least a month. That wasn’t why I got the game. (Though the single player campaign was simply amazing, and much improved from Battlefield 4.) So while the campaign took me about half the time it took me to finish RE7, I’ve played the multiplayer for hundreds of hours. I don’t feel as though I paid too much for Battlefield One.

Do I feel as though I paid too much for RE7? Well, no. I plan on starting that speed run soon, and I can’t wait to tackle madhouse difficulty. I can count on one hand the number of games I’ve felt the need to 100%. RE7 is going to be on that list. I’m a fan of the series, and RE7 was everything I wanted in a new Resident Evil game.

But can I see why some people may be upset about the length? Sure. Paying 60 bucks for a game you can beat in a couple sessions is going to sting if you have no plans to revisit it. Sure there’s DLC coming, (and available now for our friends on the PS4) but that cost money. Capcom has announced a free DLC story mission coming that should shed some light on the much-discussed ending, but the DLC coming in late February is 10 or so bucks a pop, or 30 for the season pass. That’s going to end up being around 90 dollars all said and told.

What’s included in the DLC? New game modes and story chapters. Well, there you go. Shorter game modes with an emphasis on replayability. For more money. Not to mention the DLC came out hardly a week after the game was released, so it certainly seems as though some extra game modes were completed for the game but held back to make up DLC. That’s another hard pill to swallow for some, and as much of a fan of the game and series as I am, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

The Resident Evil games have long had extra modes that unlock when beating the game. Mercenaries, Tofu, etc. Here the extra modes are stuck as DLC, behind a 10 buck wall. It would be one thing if the modes came out months later, but they’re out now for PS4 users, as I said. In my mind, there’s no way some of the extra modes weren’t at least considered to be within the game and held back for DLC purposes. Resident Evil isn’t a series that needs DLC, and it’s a bit disappointing to see them go this route, although literally every developer is, and it’s making them a lot of money. Perhaps at some point, consumers will start voting with their wallets. (Not me, not right now, I need some more RE7 in my life!)

In the end, though, I’m a firm believer in art. Games are art. I’m a writer, I make my living writing fiction. I get it. Telling stories is important to me, and it’s always been important that artists get to tell their stories. And RE7 is a hell of a story. So is the game too short? Well, no, not to me. It’s exactly how long it needs to be, to tell the story the game makers wanted to tell. It’s a chilling experience, and one of the best times I’ve had with a game in a long time. So it’s hard to call it too short because it simply is what it is. It’s a game. And it’s ten or so hours long. (Speed-runners are sub 2 hours, of course!)

If you’re interested in what I had to say about Resident Evil 7, check out my review right here.

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