What type of gamer are you? Do you like playing games with set objectives and a set way of doing it? Do you like more freedom and deciding how to play the game? Which game type is better? There is no correct answer to this, everyone has their own opinion, personally I prefer games that are somewhere in the middle, games where you have a set goal to reach with multiple ways of getting there.
I recently played Red Dead Redemption, I liked the games style and atmosphere but found that for every mission roughly two thirds was riding on the horse or on a wagon from point A to B, just to be told at point B to go back to A then C. I found this dull and repetitive. If the time was used to progress the plot or give more depth to characters I could understand the need, however it seemed to me that most of the dialogue wasn’t necessary and even worse in these situations the conversations would usually stop long before I arrived at the destination. I’m glad Rockstar have included the Press A to skip to destination function, but if the journey has no purpose why include it in the first place? I have the same problem with the Grand Theft Auto series, after spending hours at work and hours in traffic getting to and from work, the last thing I want to do is spent virtual hours driving in traffic on some virtual highway.
I realise that the entire internet is probably screaming at me right now for even suggesting that these games are not perfect, and I accept that. This is just my opinion but imagine if this concept was applied to any other medium. No film or TV show would spend two thirds of the airtime simply showing characters simply going from point A to B in real time. (I know someone will suggest they do that in 24 but that’s the exception) They may show a short snippet of a plane taking off and landing maybe even some dialogue in the plane but we don’t see the whole journey. As an example let’s look at the Indiana Jones franchise, if we applied Red Dead Redemption time, then each movie would last hours, possibly even days if they used transport that was available in the era and most of this time would involve Harrison Ford sitting in a seat. It doesn’t sound too exciting does it?
One of the arguments for this feature is that it adds a depth of realism to a game which is certainly true, travelling from America to Mexico does take time. However people also need to sleep, eat, go the bathroom and bathe (although I can forgive this as people of that time didn’t always bathe on a daily basis) and none of these are requirements. You go to sleep to save, but you don’t need to eat, and you certainly don’t need to go to the bathroom. While there are little parts in the game that allow you to do these things it is not portrayed in a realistic manor i.e. You do not need to go to sleep every night, nor do you need to empty your bowels which doesn’t really matter as you don’t have to eat either so no bodily waste is produced anyway. Why is this not included? Because the mundane tasks of daily life are not entertaining. (I apologise to fans of The Sims everywhere, but admit it, making your sim go to the bathroom and eat everyday is not the fun part of the game)
I have no problems of travelling in games, any game that offers an open world will have you going from place to place. What I don’t like and don’t understand are the games like Red Dead Redemption that will mark a mission start point on your map and when you arrive at the destination the first thing it tells you to do is go elsewhere. Why not mark point B on the map and have the character meet you at the actual start point of the mission? There are obvious exceptions such as if you have to collect a car, another character or weapons etc, but this should not be the norm.
For me, this type of game play is just padding akin to a TV shows that show you what happened in the last 15minutes after an ad break, or shows you what’s coming up after the break. At best it’s unneeded at worst it is filler and a good game should not have a large portions attributed to it.