Video games are curious creations, really.
Especially these days. They are usually clearly made to be completed, but at the same time they mount complications upon complications before us to keep us from ever seeing the end credits.
One complication is length, especially in the seemingly endless and witless love for open world “sandboxes” developers seem to harbour. Another is the difficulty level, whether as a high skill threshold, or a steep learning curve (or both). And there are complexities or any number of other reasons, really.
One way or another, here’s ten games which have a distinctly low completion rate, based mostly on Steam achievement stats.
Myst by popular opinion is somehow a representation of adventure games at their best and worst at the same time. Stunning visuals, deep lore, some talk of legacies and creating worlds through stories. Good stuff. Allegedly, because it took a special kind of dedication and patience to parse through it.
The series started in 1993 and continued until 2005, having birthed 6 games during that time. If your main contact with adventure games was the Secret of monkey Island, then playing Myst could be something like getting slapped by an iron gauntlet covered in finest silks. It hurt, but it was also so gorgeous.
Either way, Myst are a piece of work for anyone without the patience to figure out just what exactly they need from you.
9. Dark Souls
Yeah, it’s a mainstay on these lists, so let’s get to the point.
Through a combination of demanding combat and unforgiving difficulty, currently only 12.1% and 7.3% of Steam users have achievements for either of two endings, respectively.
Apparently the world of Dark Souls allows only the most dedicated people to complete the journey. Which is fair. If any two-bit hero could do it, what’s all the fuss about, right?
8. Super Meat Boy
Remember that little bloody game? And I didn’t mean that as an expletive, the thing is possibly bloodier than the latest Doom. It also happens to be bloody hard.
Even the achievement for completing the first chapter is owned by 3.2% of Steam players. Dead Boy, awarded for completing the final chapter, hovers at a sad 1,2%, and earlier chapters don’t have all that much higher completion rate. It seems that even a platformer can be more than most of us can handle.
And it’s not like the game makes us fight it to complete the levels. The responsiveness is incredible, which is absolutely essential when everything in the entire world trying to kill you. Curiously, when you complete the level you have a pretty interesting kind of replay. Much like Nicolas Cage in Next we can see all our incarnations at once, dying one by one until only one remains. It’s a very neat feature, and it showcases just how hard the level can be.
7. XCOM: Enemy Unknown/Within
Firaxis’ revival of the Gollop brothers’ alien-fighting turn-based tactics game was a very fun title. Admittedly, hardcore fans of the original found some reasons to grumble, but the overall reception was great.
And yet according to Steam barely above a quarter of players managed to finish it at all. The playthrough called canon, Impossible Ironman (extra-hard EVERYTHING, only one save slot, autosave after every turn) has a 1.7% rate of completion. This is XCOM, baby.
Playing the game on Normal without Ironman on is playing XCOM with training wheels, and yet it can still be hard and frustrating, because RNGod seems to hate you at all the wrong times. Go up to Impossible and you’re looking for the kind of challenge you’ll feel good about beating. Assuming you can actually do it.
6. Darkest Dungeon
From one tactical game to another, Darkest Dungeon proved to be too much of a challenge for some many people that only 1,9% got the achievement for completing it. How’s that for a hard nut to crack, huh?
Unlike XCOM, where the emotional state of your grunts is almost irrelevant, DD doesn’t hesitate to wreck you adventurers emotionally, to the point when they can actually get a heart attack and die during gameplay. Who knew exploring monster-infested dungeons in a grim setting can be so nerve-wracking.
If that wasn’t enough, Darkest Dungeons wields character permadeath like it’s nothing, the levels are procedurally generated, and locations varied. It’s your worst XCOM nightmares coming to life in a fantasy tactical roguelike form.
Oh, and the game looks great, with stylised sprite-based visuals giving the game a sort of grimly, yet whimsical tone.
5. The Witcher 3
The Internet measuring stick for every game. Memes, and ships, and discussions. And yet. AND YET! Only 27.2% Steam players have the achievement for completing the game. One would think that more people would choose to see it to the end.
The reason for that probably is the sheer size of the game. It takes over a hundred hours to do every quest, every contract, clear the map of question marks… It is a serious time devourer, and some people could have gotten too lost in the ashen battlefields and rolling hill to care about saving some girl they only know by reputation unless they know Andrzej Sapkowski’s books. And then there’s Gwent.
If someone knows of a way to check completion by countries, please let us know.
In the meantime, can you push yourself forward and complete Geralt’s quest?
4. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
While we are talking about games too big for their own good, what about dragons? Skyrim for a time was everything the gamers ever wanted, if the Internet is to be believed, with ridiculous amount of time people spend there.
So tell me, then, why on 28.6% people even bothered to finish the main quest, and only 22.3% got to level 50? You’d think either of these thing would be no-brainer for intrepid adventurers, wielders of the Voice.
But no. Less than a third of the game’s Steam players did. I guess the imminent world-ending crisis is a minor inconvenience you can shelf for later. Oh well.
Darksiders was a pretty unlucky game, undeservedly so. Passing by almost unnoticed, it wasn’t until the more crunchy sequel that the franchise got any wider recognition. The Warmastered edition helped only so much.
As it stands now, the game has 13.1% completion on EASY! 10.4% on Normal. It baffles me, especially since the game has a solid “Very positive” rating on Steam and is a very entertaining game, and the visuals designed by Joe Madureira are a sight to behold, weathering the test of time with style and grace.
Maybe it’s because the environmental puzzles, which at later levels required some dexterity. Who knows. What’s important is that there aren’t many contenders for the Horseman of War position.
2. Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition
This one here is a very curious case. Since its release two years ago only 12.1% of players finished it on the Human (Normal) difficulty mode. Which is funny, because the Devil Hunter (sort-of Hard) mode has a 19.3% completion rate. Still very low, but perceivably higher than Human. How so?
It might be because, well, Human isn’t all that fun to play if you have any experience playing slashers. It’s easy.
Sure, it has all the complexity we’ve mentioned before, but enemies die really fast, especially on the early levels, often before you can even really get started on your combo. Devil Hunter is much better at this, giving your enemies a bit more life and punching power without being quite as punishing as even higher difficulties, all of which sit below 10% completion, by the way.
1. Dungeons of Dredmor
Dungeons of Dredmor is an RPG from 2011, stylised as a really old-school game, predating the Infinity-era RPGs. It’s also pretty funny, complex, and, apparently, really hard to finish.
According to Steam only 3.2% of players managed to complete the game on Medium (nicknamed Dwarvish Moderation), which is slightly ridiculous. Who would have though a game inspired by the RPGs and Roguelikes of old would be hard to complete, this is absurd. Much like the game’s humour, proudly teased on the game’s Steam Store page.
One ray of sunshine is that the Elvishly Easy mode has a 2.4% completion rate, which I can only attribute to the fact that almost everyone considered it to be beneath them.
Endings are harsh
So that’s our pick of ten games you are unlikely to actually finish. Whether due to the scale, difficulty, complexity or a myriad other reasons, seeing the game’s ending credits can be an actual achievement worth marking down in your personal history.
Which games do you think should come in a hypothetical extended cut of this list? Let us know.