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Completism Thwarts Me Again

Written By mista sense on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 | 4:13 PM

Remember my Aberrant Gamer on "Completion Anxiety Disorder," wherein I proposed some possible reasons why gamers don't finish games?

Well, my usual demon is my own perfectionism. I'm never able (or rarely able) to go through a game without maximizing my opportunities, scoring all the sidequests or special weapons or what have you. You guys all know I adore Persona 3 in the worst way -- and yet I haven't quite finished it.

See, I want to get all the Personas, first of all. As those who've played the series are aware, getting Personas without permanently losing the ones you have takes a bit of effort, time, money and messing with various combinations. Even taking the shortcut -- looking the combinations up on Gamefaqs -- takes time in that you might have to pay to re-fuse Personas you've lost in the making of new ones. And I just can't bear the idea that I'd be missing out on some really cool, awesome one -- to say nothing of the Personas that can generate special items if you hang with them for long enough, or who unlock unique abilities under the right circumstances. There's so much to want that's so hard to get. This little fan comic pretty much sums up my P3 life (see full version here).

And remember my Aberrant Gamer column, "Playing the Field," in which my efforts to be a dutiful Harvest Moon DS farmer were being thwarted by my inability to decide on a wife? A lot of it was I just loved being a playa, but a big chunk of that was I just couldn't bear to think I wouldn't end up with the best wife. What if marrying someone else would give me cuter scenes? A cuter baby? What if I regretted my choice later?

Persona 3 also has a girlfriend component, wherein going on enough dates and having the right relationship level with a girl can make her your special lady. Some girls require your personal stats to be on a certain level before you can make any progress with them -- especially Kirijo-senpai, who'd be my first choice. I mean, she probably will. I don't like Fuuka so much, but she's cute and makes a good girlfriend, right? And, like... Chihiro's so cute, I really feel bad for her nervousness. And, I mean, I like Yukari, and Yuko, and yeah, I completely can't make up my mind, so I'm grinding as hard as I can just to make progress with all of them until I make up my mind (jokes about grinding in the context of a post about video game girlfriends aside).

So, yeah. I adore Persona 3, but it has the pitch-perfect recipe for a game I'll never finish -- and that's without even mentioning the other factors in the Completion Anxiety Disorder column that also apply here: attachment to the fantasy world, the need for a large investment and the fear of payoff.

But I was so excited about Persona 3: FES, and now that I've got a disc here I can look at, I'm wondering what to do. I am a completist, a perfectionist, after all -- so of course I wanted to finish Persona 3 before playing FES. I suppose I could play FES without first wrapping up P3. If absolutely necessary, I could look up the ending just to give me a place to start -- but of course, I'm afraid knowing how P3 ends will further sap me of my motivation to finish it.

What do you think I should do? I mean, I like P3. I really want to finish it. So should I assign myself like, a half an hour of playtime every night until it's over? I wanted to be able to give you guys FES impressions ahead of its retail release; I wonder if I could do it in time?

I'd pretty much have to play P3 to a high degree and crunch it into a short period of time to accomplish this feat. Maybe I'd have to abandon a little of my completist perfectionism. That in itself would be an interesting mission. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

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