GameCentral readers reveal the video games theyve beaten the greatest number of times, from Morrowind to Super Metroid.
The subject for this weeks Hot Topic was suggested by reader Gannet, who asked which game have you beaten again and again and still enjoyed? What makes it so replayable and are you still finding new things each time you play it?
Dark Souls and its offshoots, and any other game with a New Game+ option, were popular choices but so too were older retro games from those days when everyone had more time on their hands.
Leaving aside MMOs, which cant be completed due to their structure, the game(s) Ive replayed the most are the Mass Effect trilogy. Why this should be comes down to how the games are built, and this also reflects with other games I replay; namely that the game changes each time you play it, due to different decisions that you make while playing.
I can honestly say that even after tens of play-throughs I know I have still not seen everything the Mass Effect games have within them, and until I do I expect to continue playing through the series (including Mass Effect: Andromeda, as Ive yet to see all the content that has too).
This ability to see a game in a new light is one reason I like playing role-playing games and tend to replay them. There are some games I enjoy just for themselves, like the original Beyond Good & Evil, but mostly unless a game has branching storylines and content Ill only play it once, unless its a really good game.
Now, if youll excuse me, Commander Shepard has just landed on the Moon as shes been asked to deal with a VI that has gone rogue (sorry EDI).
The game I have played the most is definitely The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. There was so much variety to the skills you could choose while creating your character and it really affected how you were able to interact with the game world. Instead of the Skyrim approach where you could max out everything on one playthrough.
I really enjoyed that there were no essential non-player characters that you couldnt kill; it made your decisions feel much more significant. I also enjoyed the fact that you couldnt become the head of all the guilds. If you wanted to be head of the fighters guild then you had to kill the head of the mages guild and vice versa, meaning you had to choose one or the other when you were getting near the end of their respective quest lines. Im hoping they take a similar approach when they start developing The Elder Scrolls VI.
Games I have replayed the most? Simple: Demons Souls and Dark Souls. Demons Souls up to New Game++++++, as I was trying to get the platinum trophy, and Dark Souls for the same reason. Never actually got it on Demons but did on Dark Souls once the game was dying and they increased the drop rate so I could farm the items that I needed and didnt have to fight real people for them. These games are the reason I am so far back in my backlog to this day.
Honourable mentions go to Dead Rising because it was just so much fun finding ways to slaughter the zombies and build a crew with weapons and let them loose. And Binary Domain. For some reason Ive replayed this game multiple times and still like it. I have now bought it for the third time and will be putting it in my permanent Xbox3 60 collection.
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Back in Time
The game Ive gone through the most times is The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time, which is, to date, the only game Ive gone through multiple times. When I had it on the N64 as a kid I loved playing it but could never beat it. It wasnt until I got a Wii and the Virtual Console that I managed to finish the story.
I completed it four times before my Wii died. On the 3DS version I have finished the story twice. I recently re-bought the 3DS version so no doubt that number will increase in the not too distant future. Hopefully on another payday I will get an N64 and Ocarina Of Time and complete it on that as originally intended as well.
Reliving the past
Thinking about this Hot Topic I have realised I mainly replay games from the 16-bit era and earlier. Modern games, for me at least, seem to be a one-time play through and then its shelved. The only exceptions have been the Darksiders games, primarily as the third iteration is my most anticipated game of the year and I wanted to refresh my memory.
I envisage the reason I mainly go back to the prior generations is due to their simplicity and ease of access. Many of the games I replay can be completed relatively quickly, which is great given modern day time constraints. I recently played Super Mario Bros. on the SNES (Super Mario All-Stars cart) over the course of a few evenings trying to complete it as quickly as possible. I managed five to six completions each evening with my best coming in at a paltry 7 minutess 58 secs.This is quicker than some updates take on my Xbox One, however!
Other games I play every year or so are Super Metroid, Zelda: A Link To The Past, and Super Mario World. I know these games really well and replaying them is still as enjoyable today as they were when I was 13. This I feel is because they are designed so well with very few flaws that once you start its hard to stop playing.
I recently picked up Chrono Trigger second-hand on the DS and tested it to make sure it worked OK but before I knew it I had sunk four hours into it. It is games like this which immediately pull a player in without a long convoluted beginning that makes me want to replay games. Unfortunately, I think many of todays games delay you actually getting into the game through tutorials, etc. that the thought of starting all over again provides a sense of dread rather than excitement.
I have a feeling it might be The Last Of Us. Its certainly one of my favourite games and I mustve played it three or four times on the PlayStation 3 and then the same again on the PlayStation 4. People (well, EA mostly) say that single-player games dont have replayability but good ones definitely do, more so than multiplayer in my opinion.
I might pop on for a go of Call Of Duty now and again but its not something you can feel the satisfaction of completing, you just play until you get bored or keep losing. A good single-player game though, itll have you wanting to never leave your seat. It was like that for me with The Last Of Us every time, and Im sure Im not finished with it yet.
If I look back, its a tough call to make, but Id probably say its either SNES classics Super Mario Kart or Zelda: A Link To The Past Ive completed the most. Its possibly due to the time I had to play them, back when I was only just a teenager in the golden age of the 16-bit era. Then theres the fact that I effectively bought and played them through almost as many times again on the Game Boy Advance when I was in my early 20s and still occasionally have a go now.
Ive never owned a version of Mario Kart that didnt have replayability laced into every perfect pixel and I loved both the original Rainbow Road and end credits music so much I just used to race 150cc Special Cup over and over just to hear them. I was overjoyed to discover the whole of Super Mario Kart as a bonus challenge for beating Super Circuit. Id like for Mario Kart 8 to overtake it (no pun intended!) but itll be the best part of two decades before it stands a chance of catching up.
Games of that time somehow managed to feel enormous despite the limitations of the technology. My first play through of A Link To The Past probably took almost as long as my first (and so far only) run through of Breath Of The Wild and lasted me a whole summer of wondrous discovery in the land of Hyrule. Fast forward to my adult life and, not so long ago, I could have easily beaten the whole game, from start to 100% finished in eight or so hours without dying once.
Id memorised every dungeon and item location, knew every trick and tactic, but theres something about it thats had its hooks in me for well over 20 years now and I still go back every so often to test my memory. Much as I adore Breath Of The Wild, I cant see me dusting down the Switch in 25 years and besting that incarnation of Ganondorf in a single day…
Now I think about it, theres also the distinct possibility that the Game Gear version of Shinobi is in the running, actually. Im pretty sure it wouldnt have the same hold on me now as it did back in the day, but at the time the colour/ability swap ninja rescue-a-thon really rocked my world.
I loved it so much, I was really disappointed when I finally got to play a proper console version and found that it didnt all play the same way. By todays standards itd be seen as a rip-off but back then paying £25-£45 for a game you could sometimes beat in under an hour was just… normal, but it did mean you were more inclined to go back time after time for another run through.
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Currently playing: Wolfenstein: The New Order and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
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