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I’m on the home stretch of Hollow Knight. Truly great game, right up there with the other greats I’ve played on my like Mario and Zelda. Unfortunately though, as often happens, my weird compulsions are forcing me to sabotage my enjoyment of the game slightly. I was wondering if this was familiar to anyone else?

When I feel like I’m about to reach the big bad, I feel compelled to explore every nook and cranny, complete every side quest, open up every area of map, and hoover up everything I might have missed. This is fine on smaller, linear .

In large worlds like Hollow Knight, it completely sucks all the impetus out of me as I wander around slashing walls looking for secret areas or trying to complete impossible platforming challenges because I think there might be ‘something’ just out of reach. I know I don’t need to do this, but the thought that I might miss something is too powerful to ignore.

The Witcher 3 was the same. Luckily that game has the best side and sub-quests in any game I’ve ever played so they were consistently rewarding, even if the actual reward was just a few coins. What was not fun though, was running around bombing the monster nests and taking out bandit hideouts. Sailing around the Skellige Isles, being constantly harassed by harpies while fishing for underwater caches that contained, if I was lucky, some armour that I would never wear… not fun.

And that’s me complaining about two absolutely fantastic games. It’s even worse for mediocre ones. I remember the original Xenoblade Chronicles on Wii. into towns to hand in my completed quests, knowing I’d be bombarded with another four or five quests. Dreading seeing those wee exclamation points on the mark, evidence of a quest-giver, because I knew I’d feel compelled to run out and skin another 10 defenceless creature simply to satisfy the whims of some blank-slate non-player character thought up by a developer simply to pad out the game.

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I wish I could just go with the flow of a game – follow its progression naturally and keep the enjoyment going. But the fear of missing something makes this impossible!

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