Ok, this is going to take a few different topics and mush them together, so bear with me.
I picked up Crysis 2 yesterday, after hearing so much praise over the game. I went in expecting a slow start, since the general consensus is that the early hours of the game are its weakest. I spent an hour playing the game before I put down the controller, grabbed Halo Reach off my shelf, and jumped into matchmaking. I was thinking to myself "I'll get back to Crysis 2 later", but I've said that about almost a dozen games in the past 6 months, and it simply never happens.
Over the course of the day, I found myself wondering about all sorts of topics that we've been discussing here in these threads for months now, as if they were all crashing into me at the same time.
Why am I constantly drawn back to a select few games, even with a stack of fresh new games sitting on my shelf virtually unplayed?
Are the top tier games THAT much better than the "very good games"? I can't help but compare Crysis to other shooters that I love, like Halo, Bad Company 2, or Gears of War. The gunplay in Crysis 2 is compitant, but not nearly as satisfying as Bad Company, nor as strategic and dynamic as Halo. Is it possible that even a game as good as Crysis 2 simply can't compete with other AAA shooters in the long run, because it simply isn't quite good enough?
Is it a matter of spare time? I do find myself feeling like 2 hours with a "good game" is time I could have spent with a "great game". This pressure often propels me to dismiss a game if I'm not completely hooked by it instantly, which I know could be considered a disservice. But hey, I have precious little time to spend gaming, and I want to enjoy that time as much as possible (geeze, I even min/max my spare time lol)
Another element that comes into play is when games like Halo Reach do such a fantastic job with their player-investment features. Reach's daily and weekly challenges keep me coming back every single day. The credit system itself would never be enough to make me play a game, but when I enjoy a game as much as I enjoy Reach, this kind of player reward system can be the tie-breaker when I'm faced with a choice between finishing Bulletstorm, or playing some more Halo.
Personally, I think I'm moving towards a situation where I will continue to play fewer and fewer different games, with a select few titles soaking up all my time.
This makes me think about Cliffy B's statement last month that the 'middle of the road' games are dying. For me, this is beginning to ring true.