The idea of a game’s replayability being one of its main selling points is, I think, a really interesting idea because the standards for replayability have evolved with the standards for video games in general. After all, when you say you want replayability in a game, do you mean that in a sense that it’s fun and you’d like to relive the fun? Perhaps you skipped some content in the game that you’d like to go back and find? Maybe you want to take another look at the writing in the game now that you know the conclusion? Or are there multiple endings that you want to discover? Or perhaps you’re playing a game in which you make very important decisions and you want to experience the game from other answers? Perhaps it’s something else entirely? Regardless of reason, there are several reasons one could have for replaying a game. Admittedly, I probably don’t replay as many games as I should. Moreover, most of the games I’ve replayed I’ve only replayed once–maybe twice if it was short. Yet I also think that gives more gravity to the games that I have replayed more than once or twice because it speaks in volume on behalf of their timelessness. The only stipulation that I’m putting on this list is that there’s only 2 games on here that I can recall the exact number of times I’ve beaten them–the others are approximations which will be listed.
5. Harvest Moon: More Friends in Mineral Town
“Beaten” 3-5 Times
I have the word “beaten” in parenthesis because you don’t necessarily “beat” Harvest Moon–you just get to a point where you’ve done pretty much everything, so you start over and try something new. And that’s exactly what I’ve done with my first and favorite Harvest Moon game, More Friends in Mineral Town. I’d usually get to about a millionaire status before I’d start to get bored of my farm and want to try something new–making new friends, making them at different times, trying new crops, trying to get certain events, although I never did marry anyone else since Cliff was my waifu4laifu. Outside of marrying everyone, I’m pretty sure I’ve otherwise done everything there is to do in this Harvest Moon entry.
4. Kingdom Hearts
Beaten 4-6 Times
I’ve made no attempts to conceal the fact that I’m a JRPG junkie. The first JRPG I ever played was Okage Shadow King, but the first JRPG that I fell in love with and even beat was the first Kingdom Hearts. Regardless of how I feel about the franchise now and what it’s devolved into, it will still always hold a special place in my heart for being the JRPG that got me into JRPGs. I got Kingdom Hearts shortly after it came out in the States, but because I was so young and such an inexperienced gamer, I could never even figure out how to beat the ambush on Destiny Islands. It wasn’t until a few years later, shortly after Kingdom Hearts 2 came out, that I would decide to revisit it to see what all the hype was about. Needless to say, I was hooked. I made it a point to replay it at least once every other year or so, eventually. And when the 1.5 Mix came out in the States, I replayed it yet again. Because I’ve replayed it so much, I know what to expect and exactly what to do anytime I enter the game now, and replaying it now has become very relaxing for me.
3. Devil Survivor 1 and 2
Beaten 6 times each
I didn’t expect to fall as in love with these games as I did, yet here I am: Having played each to 100% completion. These games are oozing with moral ambiguity–who are the good guys? Who are the bad guys? You can just as easily argue one over the other–and I adore not just games, but any kind of story like this. Antagonists who are arguably more justified than the protagonists, protagonists who may or may not be in the right depending on how you look at it–I think stories involving these kinds of factors add a HUGE layer of interest and involvement to the story, especially if it’s a story in which you’re in charge of several important decisions, as you are in these games. Because I got so interested in the story, and more importantly because I thought each side was equally right and I wanted to see what would happen had I sided with one over the other, I ended up getting all the possible endings to both games: 6 in each.
2. Spongebob Squarepants Battle for Bikini Bottom
Beaten countless times, but less than the #1 game
I can’t tell you how excited I was for Christmas 2003 when all I wanted was a copy of this game–and lo and behold, my amazing parents got me a copy. The ad made it look amazing, despite all the technical problems of Revenge of the Flying Dutchman I still had lots of fun with it, and most importantly, I was 9 years old–I loved Spongebob. There was no reason for me to not be excited about this game. Needless to say, upon playing it, it exceeded my expectations. With a wide variety of levels, collecathons that added a lot of replayability to the game, and just plain being fun, it’s really easy to understand why anyone would replay this game as often as I did. Like many of the other games on this list, I didn’t want to stop until I’d hit 100% completion–which, by the way, was no easy task for me in light of just how much there is to do in this game. It’s aged incredibly as well, on top of that. To this day I’ll re-play it if I want to play something more relaxed even though there’s nothing new for this game to offer me–it’s just that fun.
1. Jak & Daxter
I’m not sure numbers go high enough to reach the amount of times I’ve beaten this
Ask any passionate gamer about the games that got them into gaming and they’ll usually have one or 2 particular games that turned them from someone who casually enjoyed video games to a full-blown gamer. This, to me, is that game. The first console I ever had was a PS2, and at first, we mostly just had racing games. This was the first non-racing/non-puzzle game we owned and my sister and I fell in love with this highly-praised platformer immediately. I didn’t know games could be this fun–and so, both my sister and I would play it endlessly. We wanted to experience everything this game had to offer. And when we did, we wanted to do it all over again. And again. And again. There’s so much variety in this game that it definitely never felt repetitive–an absolute must for any games hoping to have any replayability to them. I still replay this game every so often, in fact–hell, I can still 100% the game in a few hours, no problem. It’s aged wonderfully. There aren’t many games that have enticed me as much as the colorful world of the first Jak & Daxter game–mixed with the nostalgia I have for it, this is a game I’ll still be replaying in years to come.
As always, feel free to comment with your most replayed games and why you’ve replayed them so much! Do you think replayability is important for a game to have? How much replayability is too much?