10 Games With The Best Replay Value
From western RPGs like Dragon Age to sandbox games like Minecraft, there are some games that players can’t stop playing even after one playthrough.
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For many games, the goal is simply to beat it by reaching the end and either getting a full credit sequence or just a simple “the end” screen. Even if the game is really good, the player has likely explored everything the journey has to offer by that point, which means there is no reason to play it again until maybe years later.
But, for some games, the end is just the beginning. When a game has a high level of replayability, the player can start over repeatedly with new playthroughs and still have plenty to explore. What are the best multi-play games on the market today?
Since RPGs place a strong emphasis on detailed storytelling, many RPGs are only good for one playthrough because the player will have likely seen everything once the story is completed. When RPGs let the player make their own choices instead of simply being directed by the narrative. However, there is much more replay value, since the player will have to play the game several times in a few different ways to see everything. The western RPG series Dragon Age is a great example of this.
While each of the Dragon Age games follows a different plot, they all center around the fictional continent Thedas, which is a fantasy setting filled with various creatures and magical phenomena. Because the player makes their own unique character and is allowed to make many important narrative choices, they will likely miss certain quests, significant characters, and whole possible story arcs if they only play the game once.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Another great RPG that has to be played more than once to get the full experience is the 2019 tactical JRPG Fire Emblem: Three Houses. In this latest mainline installment of the Fire Emblem series, the main character is a former mercenary named Byleth who has been tasked with teaching one of the three ruling houses at Garreg Mach Monastery.
Since these houses represent the ruling superpowers, the player’s choices on who to teach and how to teach them directly affect the future of the country. In order to see all four main storylines, the player will need to play through the whole game at least four times. Then, with all the characters, love interests, quests, recruitment options, and teaching options, the player will likely need to play even more times to see everything.
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
When talking about replayability, it is impossible not to mention games from the genre that is all about constantly starting new playthroughs: roguelikes. Although roguelikes have existed since the early days of video games, the main game that caused a resurgence in the genre’s popularity is The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, which is the 2014 remake of the 2011 Flash game The Binding of Isaac.
This indie game follows a young boy named Isaac who runs into the labyrinth monster-filled basement of his home after his mother attempts to sacrifice him. The player must navigate through the dangerous basement, which is inspired by The Legend of Zelda games, and defeat various bosses. But, the high difficulty, complexity, and variety of the game will lead to many deaths and new playthroughs.
Slay the Spire
Although The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth rejuvenated the roguelike genre, the 2019 deck-building game Slay the Spire reimagined the genre. For this game, the player selects one of four characters, who each have different attributes and abilities, and climbs the titular spire, which is procedurally generated. Rather than being a pure roguelike, however, the player fights enemies using their deck of cards.
As the player ascends the spire, they gain and lose cards, which allows them to develop their deck. This idea spawned many other similar deck-building roguelike games. Regardless of whether the player reaches the top or dies, they gain points that lets them unlock new things for the next run, which technically allows players to have some progress.
The idea of the player keeping a bit of progress in a roguelike game was expanded on by the 2020 award-winning game Hades. In previous roguelike games, the main draw for players to keep attempting new runs was either the desire to make it to the end or the entertaining gameplay. Hades manages to add completing the story to that list, because the main narrative and any side-stories with characters develop each time the player either wins or fails a run.
In this game, the player controls Zagreus, who is the son of Hades, as he tries to escape the Greek underworld to find Persephone, who is his mother. Besides progressing the story, the player can use the time between runs to upgrade Zagreus’ stats, construct new things for future runs, and more. With the large amount of content in Hades, it is easy to miss things even after playing for many hours.
After Minecraft started the trend of open-world sandbox survival games, many games tried to carve their own space in the genre. One of the games that managed to stand out was the 2013 indie game Don’t Starve, which centers around a scientist named Wilson who gets trapped in an alternate universe known as the Constant.
While playing as either Wilson or other characters, the player must make sure the character survives in this parallel world against various supernatural threats by managing the character’s health, hunger, and mental stability. The open-ended gameplay and variety of characters across ports make multiple playthroughs worthwhile.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Released in 2011, the open-world action western RPG The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of the best-selling games of all time and is often considered one of the best games ever made. Set 200 years after Oblivion, the customizable main character is the Dragonborn that must defeat Alduin, which is a dragon powerful enough to destroy the world.
Unlike other RPGs, however, the player can choose to ignore the plot forever and do whatever they want in the large province of Skyrim. Because the player is not restricted on what they can do, the game has much more replayability than other RPGs, which has led to many ports and remasters.
Another great game released in 2011 is the 2D action-adventure sandbox game Terraria. In this game, the player customizes their own character and enters a finite procedurally generated world where they explore, mine, build, and fight enemies. But, the game is more than a 2D Minecraft because the focus of the game is making houses for other NPCs and defeating various bosses rather than freely mining and exploring.
If the player tries to ignore the main objectives, they won’t get far, because the first boss will eventually spawn regardless and the world will slowly get corrupted by either the Corruption or Crimson. Because of this, the replayability comes from the player slowly learning how to properly survive after multiple playthroughs and trying different ability classes.
Inspired by the Story of Seasons series, Stardew Valley is a 2016 farming-sim RPG where the customizable player character receives their recently deceased grandfather’s farm in Stardew Valley and decides to leave the city to work on the farm. During the game, the player harvests crops, raises animals, mines ore, catches fish, develops relationships with the local townspeople, completes quests, and fights monsters.
Since this game has plenty of activities, events, relationships, and secrets to explore, players can easily spend hours on multiple playthroughs. The only true ending the game has is when the player achieves 100% perfection, but they can still keep going even after that.
Fully released in 2011, Minecraft is a 3D sandbox game that is also the best-selling game of all time. After choosing one of the default characters or importing a customized skin, the player enters a cubic infinitely procedurally generated world where the player can mine blocks, craft items, build structures, fight mobs, and more.
Although there are achievements for doing certain things and there is technically an ending, the player is free to do whatever they want. This limitless freedom means that players can keep starting new playthroughs without ever running out of things to do.