In praise of slow gaming

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a game that my MacBook can't even look at sideways with it it turning into a steaming slagheap of aluminum and silicon. The RPG, in it's PC and Mac iterations asks for too much for my poor laptop's increasingly outclassed 15 processor. Happily, I discovered that it's available for my Nintendo Switch, albeit with significantly scaled-down graphics (there'll be a review coming later.). I downloaded it the other night and, with the snow coming down hard enough here in west central Alberta's back country today, I spent around an 90 minutes playing the game.

I scarcely made any progress. It was lovely.

There's something about many modern games that gnaws at me. Even in open-world games, I feel like a fire's lit under my ass to get things done. Skin 15 whatzitbeasts. With minimal motivation, kill the outlaws camped on the outskirts of town of town (becasue the well armed local garrison can't handle them.) Go where you want to, but do these things. In. A. Timely. Manner. Even my favorite games of the past few years—Fallout 4 and Skyrim—which let you wander and do whatever, still do what they can to make you feel like there's shit that needs doing, yesterday. So far, and admittedly, it's early into the game, Divinity: Original Sin 2 hasn't made me feel this way. Perhaps it's that the narrative is slowed down by forcing gamers to read and consider their responses to NPCs. You have to consider your responses to everything, really: taking an NPC into your party when you're unsure of their motivations can change the course of the game. Arming your group with the wrong weapons and armor or using your resources with abandon can screw you down the road. Pause. Read. Think. Act. Or maybe say fuck it until later and learn how to craft something. This sensation of a lazy riverboat ride of a gaming experience is helped along by the fact that, on battery power, you can only play for two hours at a time. That's a pittance for a game that offers close to 200 hours of gameplay. So far, I haven't felt rushed. I don't want to keep playing all night. But I'm looking forward to coming back to the deep world building that the game's writer's have worked their asses off for and the enjoyable, liesurely pace that the game has offered me so far.

Slow, for me at least, is where it's at.

Image via Flickr, courtesy of Ryan Hyde