Most games have little replay value. Sure, you may play it once, or maybe twice if you want to complete everything. But most of the time once you’ve finished the game there isn’t much reason to play again. You have your fun, then trade it in towards buying newer (hopefully better) games. But then there are some games that you keep coming back to play again & again, even when they’re considered outdated by most.
A lot of developers try to cash in on this. Why do you think so many older titles are available to buy through various online services? I think some games have a nostalgia aspect. We want to relive a small part of our childhood & play the games we remember loving as kids — even if they don’t always live up to our memories. More modern developers release dlc packs to extend the playtime of their games. Whether this is new in-game content or maps for multiplayer, these add-ons make new playthroughs unique & enjoyable again. And then some games owe their extended replay value to modding communities. A lot of PC games allow fans to modify the game through a variety of ways. The most recent example is Amnesia: Dark Descent. Editing software that comes with the game allows players to create new storylines to share with other fans.
I applaud all of these efforts to extend our playtime. Games aren’t cheap, after all. Anything that can help me get my money’s worth is appreciated.
I was looking through my game collection the other day & noticed that I still own a lot of older games that I still enjoy playing. So I decided to make a list of my permanent playlist, if you will.
Elder Scrolls: Oblivion
This was the game that made me spend my tax refund on a brand new, high-powered gaming PC. Originally I played Oblivion on my 360. It was the first game I bought on the system, in fact. But I bought the PC version when I saw the dedicated modding community. Seriously, if you’ve only played Elder Scrolls on a console, you’re missing out. Mods further expand this massive game. Not only are there literally hundreds of mods (current count places it at 23,173 files on Tesnexus alone), but the people who are creating these mods should probably work as programmers & designers themselves. A lot of them are really high quality. You can add quests, factions, houses, gameplay effects, armor & even races & character models.
Time for something a little more obscure. Indigo Prophecy (or Fahrenheit in Europe) is an old XBox game released in 2005 by Quantic Dream, the same developer of Heavy Rain. The gameplay is very similar in that the game is more of an interactive story. You play through three connecting character stories as you investigate a ritualistic murder that has one of the characters as the prime suspect. The reason this is in my permanent collection is the unique gameplay & engaging story. Most of it plays out as a point-&-click adventure, but the action sequences require Simon Says-style use of the dual analogues. Conversations are timed, & it’s strangely exhilarating to be hunting yourself. The second half of the story kinda falls off, & the graphics aren’t great, but I still love it & continue to play.
Another old XBox game, & by my favorite developer, BioWare. Jade Empire was the first BioWare game I ever played, & it encouraged me to buy Star Wars KotOR, even though I’m not a big Star Wars fan. The story is Jade Empire is absolutely brilliant. I can vividly remember the shock I felt when I saw the plot twist halfway through the game (not going to spoil it for those who haven’t played, but let’s just say when you think you’ve won… you haven’t). My first thought was, “What the hell?” My second was, “These people are freakin’ geniuses!” I’ve been a fan ever since. Although the combat is a bit repetitive, the characters & story are more than enough to keep you hooked.
I also have to give an Honorable Mention to Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath. I loved this game on the XBox. It’s one of those games that is just fun to play. It has a real sense of humor, & the live ammo system is both unique & well-designed. The reason I didn’t put this on the list is because you can’t play it on the 360. A remake was announced for the PS3, but so far the developers haven’t announced anything for the 360. But if it does become available, you can bet I’ll be playing this again.
What makes a game a part of your permanent collection? Is it the variety & entertainment of the gameplay? A great story? Drive to reach 100% completion? A dedicated multiplayer base?