The Few Games Where the Story Is so Good, You Need to Experience It Again


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Games are hard to go through more than once compared to books and movies considering the investment that has to go into them. I tried to play Okami again. I love that game. But it’s 60-70 hours. I don’t have time for that, especially considering how much else I have to do in life.

There are some exceptions. Shadow of the Colossus I’ve played more than a few times. If I’ve gone on long enough, I’ll go back to games that I played 10 or 15 gears ago that I don’t remember vividly, most recently Legend of Dragoon.

I think it’s good to approach media again every now and then. If the art you’re appreciating truly had an effect on you, it’s worth it. I’ve gone back to East of Eden, one of my favorite novels, 4 or 5 times, and as I’ve aged I’ve gained new experiences from it.

With games though, I’m content to just relive my favorite moments through YouTube.


The only game I replayed purely for story was Bioshock. I actually enjoyed it more the second time because I was better at exploring and picking up the environmental storytelling.

The single player games I replay the most though are Year Walk, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery, and Halo. Those are less for their story elements and more for mood, style, and gameplay reasons.


I’d say the only games I ever go back to for story are Bioware’s games. I’ve played through KotOR a dozen times, Jade Empire 4 or 5, Dragon Age: Origins 3, and the Mass Effect Trilogy anywhere from 7 to 4 times through. They’re just so dense with lore and story decisions that I can’t help but re-play at least one old Bioware game a year.


Triple A games, maybe. There are plenty of short games in the indie space, ranging from a dozen hours to two hours to even shorter. Perhaps some of those would be more suitable to compare to books or movies, investmentwise.

That being said, most of the indie games in my personal history weren’t the sequeling type, so the question hasn’t come up in that particular context.


I’ve played through Mass Effect - Mass Effect 2 at least 3 times, mostly because Mass Effect 2 is such a strong game!

Also played through Until Dawn quite a few times with different friend groups as that’s such a good game to play with friends and everyone feels different about all the characters and hearing everyone’s perspective is fun (Team Emily forever). Same with Dream Daddy and Night in the Woods.


Doom? I mean mainly it was the combat that made me play it through a second time instantly after the first, but the story was so perfect for what it was.


I’ve lost track of my Mass Effect and KOTOR playthroughs. Particularly ME2, which just knocks it out of the park, story-wise, especially with the Shadow Broker DLC added on.


Yep, I didn’t really think of those in this case since most games with stories is want to back to are already pretty long.

From a gameplay perspective there are tons of games I go back to all the time, a lot of them short and indie.


Oh, I do mean short narrative games in specific! Sorry for the confusion.


I don’t replay games that often- especially considering the length- but one I’ve frequently and almost habitually went back and replayed is LISA: The Painful RPG. It takes about 15 hours to beat if you’re thorough, and each playthrough feels rewarding. The first time you’re really in Brad’s shoes trying to get Buddy back, but with each successive play you feel compelled to question your actions when you didn’t before, and the level of attachment to the party members you collect increases each time. I found myself getting acquainted to the wasteland that Brad tears through like hell on wheels. Additionally, there are endings and achievements that are impossible to get all in one playthrough (I’m thinking specifically of the Pain Mode ending here)

Its a shame this game really got caught up in Undertale’s shadow, because I feel like it carries just as much emotional weight.


Can’t think of one right now that I’d replay just for the story.
I’ve noticed that interactivity definitely can add weight and emotional connection to a good story, BUT its also more of a commitment on the part of the reader. In time and effort. Usually not enough nuance there to make it worth it for me.


Mass Effect’s a good series for this, love the story, but my problem there is that my favourite remains the first one, so putting in another 80 hours to finish the rest of the trilogy again is kind of a big ask…
Think my answer for this would be the Metal Gear Solid series, 1 through 4; despite its occasionally weird translation, its insistence on monologuing about tech concepts, and its juvenile portrayal of female characters, I still think that series has one of the more interesting and involving story to revisit; they don’t take that long to play through either.


I’ve replayed many games but rarely, if ever, for the story. If there are multiple endings and the game play is engaging, I’ll replay, although all that’s coming to mind from my own personal experience is ChronoTrigger.
More often I replay simply because the gameplay is enjoyable or I want to be in the world again and experience the environment or specific moments.


I’ve had games on in the background (or a friend playing them) plenty of times, which is about the same level of attention I will give to rewatching an entire series of TV again. I’d say it’s hard to count how many games I’ve seen several times like this (at least for several hours - even just a Quick Look or Waypoint stream can be several hours of a game).

I think I’ve seen a few movies giving them my undivided attention more than three times (ie over 6 hours of my time) but not sure I’ve ever sat down and turned the lights off, phone away, just watching a TV series all the way through several times. The recent Twin Peaks season is the only time I can think of when I’ve recently even watching something twice without having a secondary activity (reading a magazine/paper/the internet etc) and that was something rather special.

I have completely replayed more than a few games over the years (Hell, even just the merely ok games like inFamous can often get me twice thanks to the two path stuff and being relatively short experiences). More often though I’ll just play some of a game (ideally via saves or level select tricks). Mass Effect 1 is something I’ve probably played through four times (twice around release and then two more times playing through before ME2 playthroughs). Totally focused on the game, looking for any details I may have missed or just enjoying the things I remember. Both story and mechanically, the latter of which almost always involves exploring a space I’d not originally fully considered the first time playing.


Chono Trigger!
Thanks for reminding me, that’s one I’ve played a few times.
I agree though, not just the story. For me it’s a combination of the music, gameplay, story, and a big hunk of nostalgia that brings me back.


I do this offten if its a good serise. Played witcher 1+2 just before 3 came out, then all mass effect just before ME:A and then Shadow of mordor before war came out. its always fun to replay those games before new installments. and as second or third times, it never takes as long.

one can always find time for this if you are not trying to buy and play every game that comes out.


I’ve tended to replay the older episodes of Kentucky Route Zero as the new ones come out - that’s been consistently rewarding in terms of picking up threads and details I may have missed the first time around.

With shorter games, especially, I’ve had great success in foisting them onto friends and watching them play. I get the experience of seeing the game again, but in a more social context and through a new pair of eyes. Usually the indie story darlings of years past - Gone Home, Her Story and the like.


It isn’t the most explicit narrative in the world, but I’ve replayed Journey 5-7 times. It hits me hard each time.


Played through Fallout: New Vegas more times than I can count at this point. Mostly just side with the same faction and experience the same storyline over and over, but god I love that game to death and something about that world just never gets old to me. Obsidian knows how to write a damn video game.