|Image from PopMatters|
We're still in the relative lull of summer, so I feel like I can get away with playing a game for a second time. I actually find this phenomenon fascinating and more than a little disheartening. There is value to initial impressions and immediate feedback, but revisiting a work is crucial to understanding it. You might miss things the first time. Maybe your current life circumstances had a unique influence on your opinion? Historical context will almost certainly change your view; technology, politics, and culture are intertwined with each experience.
It's unfortunate then that I (and many others) feel pressured to rush through games in an ongoing sprint to keep up with the times. To be fair, it's an embarrassment of riches; there are so many great, interesting games out there that it seems a shame to miss them. But it's also unfortunate that we miss out on the unique perspectives that come with more a more long-term study of a game. For example, I've read The Great Gatsby multiple times. I strongly disliked it the first time through, but something changed upon re-reading it. Or, more accurately, I changed. Now it has become one of my favorite books.
Long term video game criticism is hit particularly hard for simple, practical reasons: it takes a long time to play a game. First you have to simply learn how to maneuver within their systems. Then, you have to get through the content, which can easily take dozens of hours. I could watch a film or read a book multiple times through in the same time I could play a video game and that's to say nothing about the necessity of jumping into multiplayer games early, before the community evaporates.
All this is to say that I enjoyed playing Sword &; Sworcery again, even if I don't like everything about the game.