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Terraria VS Just Cause 2 - makes you think

Terraria VS Just Cause 2 My Game-Designer/Gamers thoughts on these vast content game.

Shefyg Gur-Ary, Blogger

September 14, 2011

9 Min Read

Terraria VS Just Cause 2 

The comparison is weird,  Terraria & Just Cause 2   what can possibly these 2 very different games has in common

One for PC, the other is for Consoles.
One  is 2D kinda platforming game, the other is 3rd person shooter.
One has kinda 8bit look, the other tried to be a realistic for its time.

But they both have grappling hook :)

Just kidding, the real thing that interests me with these games is what makes me, a quite a busy man, spend so much time into them, and what can make me stop.

I spent on each about 35 hours so far. Terarria - I just wanted to explore it. I love that this game is randomly generates world for you, and that you can go in any direction, and do countless things. The fact that it is has a simple look, and that its 2d (not like Minecraft - the obvious inspiration and comparison to this game), has just made it easier for me to get into. It gave me the feeling I can be good at it, and the illusion that I can leave it anytime I want. And of course, 10$ on steam - you can’t go wrong with that. This game is amazing, I played 35 hours in about a week to 10 days. I usually get to play no more  than 10 hours in a good week, and that means I got hooked, (and also that my wife noticed, but that’s OK, she knows who her husband is).
And I haven’t really played it with others yet - which suppose to be the real fun.

Just Cause 2 is a different story. It has an enormous world, and a lot of fun things to do. but it can feel repetitive. It’s a good thing I love the action. It is not “make your own story” game. It has its own ridiculous (but in a good way) story, but you can finish that in 15 hour or less. But all the grappling,  explosions, stunts and challenges action, makes it really fun. So you can go for the 100%, and that can take forever.
I believe it can take more than 100 hours, but I’m going for it. You see, I realised that though I consider myself a gamer, I don’t have even 1 platinum on my PS3. You can say that’s a good thing, I’m not a whore, I have a life, I’m not addicted to gaming (maybe just for buying consoles games I don’t have time to play). But on the other hand, it means that I haven’t got the full experience from any PS3 game, the way that the developer wanted me to. Now, thinking about it from a game D&D is interesting, I know I should play at least some game in that way. Because I know, that when I work on the iPhone game I’m currently developing, I think on every feature, and every achievement, and how it would make the player enjoy the game.  And this is probably true to other games other people develop as well. In most games, especially open worlds, 3d person games, which I love, I go for each side mission I can. And of course, I did both ways on infamous 1 & 2. But trophies are something else. It’s Like the developer way of telling you, “You don’t have to do it, but try it - it could be fun”. It can really change the way you play and think on a game.

I’ll give you an example on the very good downloadable XBox game - Shadow complex. It has an achievement called something like “Status Update:Single”. After you going some way in trying to save your gf, you get to a place, where she is being taken away from in a chopper, At that point you can continue the game, but you can also go all the way back to your Jeep in the start of the game, and just leave her behind.
It’s even have an alternate game ending video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBnHwVa63I8). This is definitely one of my favorites achievements/trophies. BTW - the answer is yes - this game does also have a grappling hook...

So what about JC2, did going after the trophies made the game better for me? - Well, yes.
This game has some fun trophies. They change they way you play it. Make you look for bridges to fly under, high places to jump from, and big ass plains to grapple my car to.
As I said, it can take forever to complete. But one day I can say. “Yes, I have only 1 platinum trophy, but its on Just Cause 2”. I should design special T-shirt for that.

In both games I love the collecting, the possibilities, the big world, and the grappling. Terraria is more creative, and Just Cause is more fun and even casual in some ways. But you really can’t compare them. Some would like one or the other, some would like both, some would like none, so you might ask, why do I compare them at all. What does the “Terraria vs Just Cause 2” heading even means?

Well here is the hint, I stopped, with some anger playing one of these games  (but might still come back to it), and the other one I’m still playing.
The reason I stopped is important and it has something to do with how big the worlds game really is.

Big worlds are great. if you enjoy a game and you like the exploration and/or the creativity in it, than whats better than having more from the things you love. Now I know just about where the ends of the world of Just Cause 2, they are the edges of the map. it is repetitive, but its OK, I don’t care there are many settlements and army bases that look similar, as long as I’m having fun getting 100% from them. And I love it that the map is so big, that even when using the fastest plain, it would take you some time to get to other side of the map. And you will see plenty on the way. (Thank god for black market/”Air-Sheldon” fast transport). It feels real that way, and though it would take me forever to complete, I know it would be a real accomplishment.

Terraria is different. The world is randomly generated, so there is no map. You can go up, down, left, right, and no one tells you to do this or that. The world has plenty to offer, and how you go through it, how you build it, and who you fight is up to you. You can also play multiple worlds and with different characters you create. And as I said before, multilayer coop is great.

So which one did I stopped and why. The Answer is Terraria, and here is the reason why.
Terraria is very creative and fun, and I played it for hours straight, which I don’t normally do. I got me some nice equipment, weapons, grapple hook, bottle with air for double jump, magic mirror to go back home fast and was ready to face the big world. Then I got my depth meter, which was great, because I really wanted to know how low can you go. This was awesome, I just got to the lava section down on the inside of the ground, after digging for ages, and I just wanted to know how low am I getting, so I would know how much progress I make. I was still dying  from time to time, each time need to make all the way back down, so I started digging a root that would be almost straight down, to save some time, and it worked great.
I got passed the lava, and I found more lava in Hell, with demons and everything, that was WOW, so far saw some nice monster, and was digging my way, but here I was falling into a large void, that had lava and demons and staff I haven’t seen. Life beneath earth. So I died the first few, and then I made my life a bit easier, by making water  from higher places leak down all the way to hell, and turn some of the lava soid so I can walk on it without dying. I got on to one of the demons building, fought them (they are hard) dug through to the ground, and … got to the bo bottom of the world :(

This was disapointing to say the least. Hell was great, but it was just a small 2-screen hight section. Demons are nice, but that’s it, nothing to much to explore there, and the whole illusion of endless world just shattered. At that point I closed the game, and didn’t go back.

I know there are much more things to explore, go right, go left, go up, different worlds and stuff, and of course coop. But you can’t make me Wow, and in 2 minutes just break what made this game so much fun in the first place - thats just wrong.

You see once I had the straight down root, I could found the bottom of the world in I think less than 2 minutes. No more endless world, depth meter became pointless, and me, the player feel cheated. You might say, I’m making too much of it. I should expect the world to end at some point (<- sunny double meaning there). You are right, but it just should have been much lower. I should enjoy it some more, have some cool down, find something amazing as closer for going down, and then I would feel fine about it. I love good endings, it just need to be good.

I said I might go back to it, because there is still a lot to see there, and I still thinks its a great game. But now this game has an ending for me, I’ve seen the ends of it, I know its there, and that it is closer than I thought.

About Just Cause 2, It has ends, I know where they are, I knew from the first time I played and opened the map. But that’s OK, this game has specific things to do. One day I’ll get all the upgrade cases (or most) get all the settlement and bases 100%, do all the challenges,do all the mission and get this game at 100% and my platinum. And that would be great. This will be, or so I hope, a happy ending.

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