What game has the most annoying loading times?

PCG Jody

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Dec 9, 2019
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I ask the PCG staff a regular Weekend Question and post the answers on the site. If you'd like to throw in an answer here, I'll squeeze the best into the finished article!

This week's question is: What game has the most annoying loading times?

Now that Grand Theft Auto Online's load times have been reduced, let's figure out which game is still making us stare at load screens for too long. Is it Civilization 6, Fallout 4, or any of the recent Total War games? Is it your own super heavily modded version of Minecraft or Skyrim? Or is it that one game you installed to an HDD by accident?
 
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 for sure, that game is highly painful to launch.

Click icon, wander off while Steam does its thing. SGW3 itself isn't too bad at this stage, except for one major stupidity: when you return, you get a screen with one and only one choice on it—press spacebar to 'Start'. How dumb is it to have that useless step in there?

Press spacebar—this is the shortest step, so please yourself re whether to stay or go.

Screen to select Continue Campaign or Multiplayer. You definitely need to have something to do after this, unless your life is one long sequence of emptiness. I haven't actually timed it, as there's a good chance my clock would break down due to normal wear and tear while waiting, so I don't know how many minutes it is.

I usually launch the game while organizing dinner, I make enough trips past my PC that I can do these steps in passing—it's ready to play after dinner. Then I Alt-Tab out to whatever I want to do, before starting a game session.

What's actually needed? An icon with built-in 'Continue last session'. That's all, most of the time. One click, go do something, game's ready when you return.
 

OsaX Nymloth

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Jan 29, 2020
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First Witcher, before the Enhanced Edition. I actually didn't finish it because of these ultra long loading times. You could go and make yourself a tea or get a snack everytime you had to switch locations. And you had to switch locations a lot. I gave up on the swamps at some point. Vision of Geralt running to the city and back to the swamp AGAIN was too much to handle.

It wasn't till "ultimate edition" came along and I actually finished Wither. It was a good game and the loading times were really improved it didn't look like a medieval torment machinery anymore.
 
Jun 26, 2020
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Still GTA Online IMO.

Other notable mentions include BG3 (I suspect this will get optimized before launch, though, but right now even on my NVME it's pretty painfully long), RDR2 Online, and Pathfinder games after you put in a couple dozen hours into a save.
 
Nov 27, 2020
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Fallout 4. I just stated playing again this week, and granted, I have modded it pretty heavily, but the loading screens when going from an exterior cell to interior cell, or interior to exterior, can be just be extremely long. Even with an RTX 3080, Samsung SSD, and a liquid cooled I9-9900K, i can still experience a load screen that's in excess of 1 minute, and that can really just kill the game flow. It doesn't happen with every load screen, but often enough to be a pain.
 
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Zloth

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Wow, I was going to complain about how X4: Foundations takes 70 seconds to load a save but, once its loaded, there's no more loading screens that I've seen.
What's actually needed? An icon with built-in 'Continue last session'. That's all, most of the time. One click, go do something, game's ready when you return.
For sure! If the game is something real time, then immediately pause after starting. I want to click, go grab a drink, and find the game waiting for me when I get back.
 
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I think the worst I've seen was Minecraft with a Feed the Beast mod pack. I think it took about 10 minutes every time I started the game and that was on a SSD.

I don't remember if I've played any games with long loading times during gameplay. Maybe the Mass Effect elevator rides, but that didn't happen all that often and it wasn't that much worse from some other games, that's just how it was before SSDs.
 
I don't like a game that's slow to load or transition any more than anyone else, but at least it's for a legit reason—poor coding aside. I can live with it. But…

Starting a new game:

A major peeve of mine is games which can take 15-20 minutes from a fresh start until you can actually start playing. Apart from the usual 'look at me mom' stuff, I'm talking about the unskippable forced in-game intro sequences.

I often avoid starting a new game of any of the Far Cry games from FC3 on because of this total disregard for the player. FC5 is the worst, because you have to be there, pressing the W key so your character keeps following the leader—at least with the others, if I recall correctly, you could walk away and return to the game waiting. Heck, you could even win FC4 that way with a tasty dish of Crab Rangoon!

Unskippable cut scenes:

Those would count as annoying loading times too, wouldn't they? The best ones happen directly after your only save-game, so if you die a few times in the following mission segment, you get to *enjoy* the cut scene multiple times.
 
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Aug 4, 2020
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Fallout 4. I just stated playing again this week, and granted, I have modded it pretty heavily, but the loading screens when going from an exterior cell to interior cell, or interior to exterior, can be just be extremely long. Even with an RTX 3080, Samsung SSD, and a liquid cooled I9-9900K, i can still experience a load screen that's in excess of 1 minute, and that can really just kill the game flow. It doesn't happen with every load screen, but often enough to be a pain.
Yeah F4 was the worst for me, load times were anywhere from 5-8 minutes when going between areas...fortunately I found a mod to fix the issue and the times dropped to a few seconds with the occasional 20-30 sec window for the larger areas....
 
Dec 16, 2020
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I think the worst I've seen was Minecraft with a Feed the Beast mod pack. I think it took about 10 minutes every time I started the game and that was on a SSD.

I don't remember if I've played any games with long loading times during gameplay. Maybe the Mass Effect elevator rides, but that didn't happen all that often and it wasn't that much worse from some other games, that's just how it was before SSDs.
I would quickly swerve that game. 10 minutes!!!
 
Jan 23, 2020
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I feel like Mount&Blade: Warband should at least be an honorable mention. While maps themselves often load at the snap of a finger, it gets really screwy with custom maps since the game seems to download them at a speed no faster than 100 Kb/s even if you have the best internet connection in the world, so if you were to play a match from start to finish, you could spend upwards to 2 minutes just staring at the scoreboard if a custom map is in the map rotation.
 
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If any of you remember the Commodore 64, the worst load times now are blazingly fast compared to that.
well, yes, in the past the "hard drive" was a cassette tape recorder that you used to load the game into memory, and if you wanted to play again, you rewind tape and reload it again..

Or you found a game in a magazine and decided to type it into computer to play it... missed semi colons be damned.

mind you, my first computer also had cartridges so it also had instant load, so best/worst experience all in one place.

It makes you appreciate almost instant boot now and not complain it takes 15 seconds to start as PC now have so much more compared to the past ones... like... graphics, sound, more than16kb of ram... I could go on.

Most recent game that comes to mind was the last Dragon Age, so many loading screens... it stopped you wanting to go into houses and everything was a loading screen.
 
well, yes, in the past the "hard drive" was a cassette tape recorder that you used to load the game into memory, and if you wanted to play again, you rewind tape and reload it again..

Or you found a game in a magazine and decided to type it into computer to play it... missed semi colons be damned.

mind you, my first computer also had cartridges so it also had instant load, so best/worst experience all in one place.

It makes you appreciate almost instant boot now and not complain it takes 15 seconds to start as PC now have so much more compared to the past ones... like... graphics, sound, more than16kb of ram... I could go on.

Most recent game that comes to mind was the last Dragon Age, so many loading screens... it stopped you wanting to go into houses and everything was a loading screen.
I started with the cassette drive on the C64, and it was awful. But even the floppy disks took forever to load. And yes, I also spent countless hours typing in game code from magazines. Good times!

The C64 also had cartridges, but I never had any, other than maybe a speed loader cartridge. Those things helped, but it was still awful.

But to be honest, modern games are getting so huge that it almost reminds you of the C64 if you're not using an SSD.
 
But to be honest, modern games are getting so huge that it almost reminds you of the C64 if you're not using an SSD.
we almost come full circle, instant startup and slow game loads. If people keep expecting better graphics, storage can only load it so fast so there will be a point you can't have instant...
if you haven't ever experienced the slower versions, and only know the new, any time isn't fast enough. NVME are fast enough now, going from a pcie 3 nvme to pcie4 doesn't gain you much in real world. It loads 1 second faster, wow... the jump from hdd to ssd was as big as you going to get. People expect to jump like that every generation but its not like that. The faster things get the smaller the increases.
 
The absolute worst that I've ever experienced was in modded Atlas or Ark (they are basically the same, by the same studio, etc). I can't remember how many mods we had on Atlas at the time, but it was under 20, and the game was taking anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes or even longer to load up. And those games are like fruit flies on life support--do anything you aren't supposed to do, like delete a mod, and your world will be forever lost, and you'll have to start over.
 
As I play Fallout 4 again, I'm going to have to take back what I said earlier. This game has very annoying load times. It takes forever to load new areas. I even transferred it to my SSD, and it still takes forever. It's just as bad as the C64 was.
 

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