Graydon Webb – The Contrarian American


Credit: Dontnod Entertainment

Episodic games have always been one of my favorite aspects of modern gaming. Ever since the first Walking Dead season, I could appreciate the idea of timed releases as a fascinating and unique concept. Frankly, I never really understood the hate these games got, as episodic titles as a whole really satisfied the kind of gamer I found myself to be: story-driven, and easily distracted.

What I love the most about episodic games is the ability to break a game into segments, allowing for easier play sessions in short bursts. Even when episodes are, say, three hours long, the cinematic fade-to-black cliché made for scenes that assisted with the pick-up-and-play format. As I said before, I get distracted pretty easily by the stresses and nuances of daily life. I don’t always have the ability to sit down for a long gaming session. But episodic breakdowns make games feel a lot more approachable, especially ones that rely so much on a hearty narrative and decision-making.

Credit: Dontnod Entertainment

Perhaps my favorite part of the episodic format is the enjoyment of seeing a narrative play out over time – pardon the pun. I absolutely adore the feeling of knowing a game is coming out in small bits over the course of a few months. This instantly excites me, as I can expect a good chunk of my year to bring me new parts of a thrilling narrative. This was especially pleasurable with a game like Life is Strange 2, which changed up the setting and plot details with every episode. I just love stretching out that fun and always having something to look forward to.

Of course, there are drawbacks to episodic games, I will admit. Waiting around does stink sometimes, and one of my favorite games of all time – Telltale’s Jurassic Park – was made arguably better by including all of the episodes in one package. To be honest, I’ll take episodic titles any way I can get them, as long as their stories hold up in the end. If the finished product is an emotional adventure in about 15 hours or less, chances are I’ll melt no matter how the installments are delivered to my eyeballs.

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