With the prices for next-gen games being as high as they are, discerning gamers would like to ensure that the titles they do decide to buy offer enough value for their money. And one metric that is often used to measure that value is the game's replayability, whether it is a single-player experience that can be beaten in one sitting or a sprawling 300+ hour open-world RPG that takes weeks to complete.
It is now common for most triple-A games to ship with a new game plus mode, as this is one method developers use to extend the time spent with their games. There is also a push for more engaging endgame content so that players are kept coming back even after the credits have rolled. So with these things in mind, here are a few games that offer ample motivation to play them more than once.
Updated November 15, 2022 By Ben Jessey: Finishing your favorite game can often be bittersweet. You finally get to see how the title concludes, but it means your exciting adventure is over.
Thankfully, some games lessen the blow of the latter by including ample amounts of replayability. Sometimes they're so stuffed with content that you can keep coming back. Other times they offer incentives to play through the game again in a different way. We previously included the best types of these games on this list, and now we've added a few more.
19/19 Dragon Age: Inquisition
The main story of Dragon Age Inquisition revolves around closing the breach in the sky and stopping the evil Corypheus. However, the long adventure is shaped by the decisions you make. Even choosing the species of your character impacts things.
So, after playing through it once, you can switch up your race and class as well as make different decisions to have a significantly dissimilar experience. Alternatively, you can make one run feel like forever if you attempt to do all the side content, as there is a ridiculous amount of it.
18/19 Fallout: New Vegas
At the beginning of Fallout: New Vegas, you are almost killed by a sharply dressed man who has the voice of Matthew Perry. Then the adventure turns into a revenge mission where you hunt him down. Yet, it's not long before you're brought into a conflict surrounding who controls the post-apocalyptic Mojave Wasteland and the New Vegas city within it.
This whole tale can play out in plenty of different ways, largely determined by which of the factions you help. That alone encourages multiple playthroughs. On top of that, there are a bunch of smaller choices in the game, and it can be cool to see how each of those decisions affects things.
17/19 Cyberpunk 2077
While it launched in a questionable state, Cyberpunk 2077 has had many patches since and is now a great RPG. The game follows a mercenary named V, who attempts to make a living in the futuristic Night City. However, one job ends with them getting an anarchist rockstar stuck in their head.
V is very customizable, as you're free to select their gender and lifepath. Both decisions alter many conversations you have within the story, and the choice of lifepath dictates the entire prologue. Also, other choices you make impact what ending you receive. So, it's worth playing through multiple times to see every possible start and conclusion to the story.
16/19 The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
Skyrim is a game you can play forever. In a single playthrough, there are countless quests to do and places to see. So much so that plenty of people never finish the main story. Even if you do manage to make it to the credits, you probably still have a litany of side content to complete.
Alternatively, you could begin a new story run. After all, the second time could be a completely different experience as the abundance of decisions you make throughout the game heavily impacts how things play out.
15/19 Dishonored 2
At the beginning of Dishonored 2, you have to choose between playing as Corvo Attano or Emily Kaldwin. While the story is largely the same regardless of who you pick, they each have different powers, so it might be worth playing through again as the character you didn't select the first time. Plus, the game has a chaos system where your style of play directly impacts the world around you. Therefore, you may want to try a high and low chaos run.
Need another reason to do an extra playthrough? Well, there are plenty of ways to complete every level. Thus, you'll want to replay the missions multiple times to see different ways they can be done. To sum up, there are plenty of reasons to keep playing Dishonored 2.
14/19 Hitman Trilogy
The Hitman games have always been known for their open-ended gameplay, wherein you are allowed to tackle objectives in more than one way. You can decide to go full stealth until you discover the opening you need to get to your target or play things a bit more loose and reckless knowing you can go gun blazing as soon as things go south.
And this same openness still holds true in the World of Assassination Trilogy. The package consists of the three most recent Hitman games, with a total of more than 20 maps with missions for you to play through. That's a lot of replay value for anyone who fancies messing around in the different stages and uncovering many of their various possibilities.
13/19 Halo: The Master Chief Collection
While Halo Infinite might be getting most of the attention right now, the series really wouldn't be where it is today if it wasn't for the foundation laid by the earlier titles. This is why a compilation like The Master Chief Collection is a must-own for any fans that want to relive some of that earlier glory.
Even though it was originally released in a somewhat rough state back in 2014, the collection has been improved through continual updates and improvements, making it the ultimate way to replay the six games that make up the overall package.
12/19 Genshin Impact
Free-to-play video games have gotten a bad rap in recent years, mostly due to their aggressive use of microtransactions. This is why the larger gaming world was taken by surprise when Genshin Impact launched back in 2020 with a well-balanced freemium model that didn't feel like it was pay-to-win, like most of its contemporaries.
Of course, the fact that the underlying game itself was dense and filled with hours' worth of content for players to get through also helped, placing them in an anime-inspired world that rivals even some bigger open-world games in size and scope. And it has continued to receive updates and even more content, which only goes further to raise its replay value.
11/19 Final Fantasy 14
Very rarely does a game become so popular that its developer is forced to halt its sale, but that was precisely what happened with Square Enix and Final Fantasy 14 over the holidays of 2021, when it was forced to stop selling digital copies of the game due to servers being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of players attempting to play it.
Most of that was fueled by the recent release of its Endwalker expansion, which was eagerly anticipated by long-time fans and new players alike after being delayed several times due to the pandemic. That the game is still going so strong after launching all the way back in 2013 only shows the depth and amount of content it has to sustain players with.
A great puzzle game has the ability to keep players coming back for more, and Tetris definitely stands at the current pinnacle of the genre. This is all down to its intuitive gameplay that is easy to get into, yet challenging enough to remain engaging.
The game has seen several iterations over the years, all of which retain the same tile-matching mechanic that defined the vanilla title. And with more than 35 million copies sold on the Nintendo Game Boy alone, there is no wondering why it remains one of the best-selling video games of all time.
9/19 Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
There is a reason why Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the highest-selling video game on the Nintendo Switch. Simply put, the game offers hours upon hours of fun go-kart racing for players of all ages and skill levels.
And that's just a reference to the eight different cups and 32 total race tracks available to play and master. By the time you factor in the different multiplayer modes and unlockables, those hours could easily run into days, weeks, and months, making the game a must-have for every Switch owner out there.
The battle royale genre continues to enjoy much popularity several years after it was introduced, and nowhere is this more evident than with the continued success of Fortnite.
Not many games can boast the kind of impact the game has had and continues to have on pop culture. Its simple pick-up-and-play gameplay is certainly behind that popularity, as well as its widespread availability on just about any device powerful enough to run it.
7/19 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
When Super Smash Bros. Ultimate first graced the Nintendo Switch in 2018, nobody really anticipated just how relevant the title would remain three years after release.
The game is not only a mainstay at the biggest fighting competitions around the globe, it has also proven popular with casual gamers who simply enjoy playing as some of their favorite gaming mascots. And with a total of 86 fighters for players to choose from, the game is truly worthy of that "ultimate" qualifier at the end of its title.
6/19 Detroit: Become Human
Quantic Dream has made a name for itself with its focus on story-driven games like Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain. Its games are known for their player choices and branching paths, which help make any given playthrough feel unique.
But when those branching paths are as many or divergent as the ones in Detroit: Become Human, it almost demands to be played several times. The game is based on a 2,000-page script and boasts dozens of different endings — the only hope of getting to see even a fraction of them is via multiple playthroughs.
5/19 Resident Evil 2 (2019)
One of the main criticisms levied against the remake of Resident Evil 3 was its relatively short length. The game could be beaten in about six hours, and that's after accounting for sitting through cutscenes and generally milling around in the game.
The 2019 remake of Resident Evil 2 on the other hand felt like a fully-fleshed-out game. There were expanded sections not featured in the 1998 original, as well as unlockable bonus modes, like one where you get to play as a giant block of tofu. Add that to the fact that players could play as either Leon or Claire (albeit with overlapping puzzles and gameplay sections) and the potential playtime can be doubled.
4/19 Mass Effect: Legendary Edition
The Mass Effect series might have fallen from its recognition of quality with Mass Effect: Andromeda, but the original trilogy remains highly revered even today. So it didn't seem all that surprising when the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition was announced and subsequently launched to even more praise.
The collection contains remastered versions of the first three Mass Effect games, with the first one receiving the biggest overhaul, bringing it closer to parity with the subsequent two. The three games together chart a sprawling adventure across the furthest reaches of space, where the choices you make determine who lives or dies. And the fact that those choices carry over from game to game makes them great for playing at a stretch and multiple times.
3/19 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3 was already a huge game to begin with, clocking in at anywhere between 25 to 50 hours depending on your play style. But add in its two expansion packs, Hearts of Stone and Blood & Wine, and what you get is one of the chunkiest open-world RPGs available.
But one of the biggest draws of the game is its stellar narrative and the fact that some of it can be shaped by player choice. This immediately encourages multiple playthroughs, which might explain why it still proves so popular even all these years after its original release. A next-gen version is on the way, so expect even replays when that happens.
2/19 Grand Theft Auto 5
The games in the GTA series are frequently lauded for their open-ended gameplay and various sandboxes. GTA 3 was one of the very first 3D open-world games, helping to define the template that pretty much every other open-world game would use going forward. And that winning formula is still on display in GTA 5, with several main and side missions scattered all over its massive map at any given time.
But most of the fun in GTA 5 happens outside of those missions. We've all been caught spending countless hours just mindlessly running a rampage through the city, or performing one of its designated side activities, which is something that we find ourselves doing over and over again. All that is to say that the game has unrivaled levels of replay value. And when you add in GTA Online, and all the fun and chaos it adds to the overall package, that replayability increases exponentially.
1/19 The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
Is it even possible to have any kind of discussion about games with great replay value without including The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? After all, not many games encourage as much freedom or experimentation from a fundamental design standpoint. The very fact that you could attempt to take on Calamity Ganon in the opening hours of the game (and fail miserably) shows just how open this particular open-world game truly is. And it is that freedom that lends it most of its replayability.
The game's inventive puzzles can be tackled in any number of ways, using any combination of runes and items at your disposal. This often results in a number of solutions to those puzzles, which range from straightforward to completely hilarious. Even today, speedrunners and completionists are still discovering new ways and methods to break the game, which is why it stands tall as the current pinnacle of open-world game design, and a game that many fans simply can't get enough of.
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