Everyone has a movie they’ve watched dozens of times or a book you’ve read so often that the pages are beginning to fall out. A person’s favorite games are also usually marked by how many times a gamer plays through them. However, unlike books and movies, games can offer new and surprising experiences on different playthroughs. These six role-playing games (RPGs) all have an incredibly high replay value and offer something new each time a player starts a new save file.
Released in 1995, Chrono Trigger is classic RPG that is still a treat to play today. Combining an epic storyline told across multiple eras, a robust combo-heavy battle system, and the artistic talent of the legendary Akira Toriyama, Chrono Trigger is still one of the best RPGs ever made. It’s collection of multiple endings also heavily encourages various playthroughs.
With twelve unique endings – or thirteen if your playing on a ported version of the game – there are plenty of reasons to play this title multiple times. Each of the different endings occurs by fighting the final boss at different stages of the game. While these various endings range from upbeat to depressing, the best alternate endings are the goofy ones. There’s nothing quite as fun as destroying an apocalyptic monster in a difficult battle and then getting an ending scene where just about every character becomes a dinosaur.
Fallout: New Vegas
It’s always going to be weird that the best Fallout game in the series is from neither the company that created the franchise nor the company that currently owns the series. Developed by Obsidian Entertainment, Fallout: New Vegas combines the tactical shooting of the recent entries in the series with the substantial RPG mechanics of the earlier games. This combination and the game’s expansive narratives allow for more freedom in gameplay than perhaps any other entry in the series.
The replay value of New Vegas comes from the many ways a player can engage with the game. The vague background of the protagonist and substantial level of character customization allow a player to explore the world as just about anyone with any worldview. The scores of ways to play through New Vegas and the game’s responsiveness to these different mentalities make each visit to this wasteland feel like a fresh experience.
Nier: Automata is nothing short of one of the best explorations of humanity ever created. Following the story of android units engaged in a war with interloping aliens on a desolate planet Earth, this RPG is exceptional in both story and execution. While a replay of this game has value in and of itself, it’s also necessary to experience the game’s full story.
There are twenty-six ‘endings’ in Nier: Automata. Most of them are joke or narratively inconsequential endings, but the first five endings all offer further insight into the events of the game. The second playthrough provides a new perspective on the events of the first run through the game, and the next three endings all depict how different characters react to their newfound humanity. Moreover, the many missable side-quests present in this title make replays an excellent and thought-provoking experience.
Fire Emblem Awakening
Fire Emblem Awakening is a pretty middle of the road RPG in most regards. The combat system has a decent amount of complexity, the story is enjoyable if cliche, and there is more than enough consistently fun content to merit a purchase at nearly any reasonable price. However, the incredibly high replay value of Awakening stems from its amazing and diverse cast of characters.
There are forty-three controllable characters in Awakening’s base game. The majority of these characters can interact with the other characters and even form romantic relationships that are unique for each combination. These couples usually produce children characters with states and specific interactions based on who their parents are, as well. Essentially, to get the most of this quirky and adorable collection of characters, multiple playthroughs of Fire Emblem Awakening are all but required.
Similar to other entries on this list, multiple playthroughs of Undertale are needed to experience the entirety of the game. Pushing this idea even further, how you play the game on each playthrough affects later interactions with the game. To get Undertale’s full experience, a player needs to complete a neutral, pacifist, and genocide run of the game in that order.
While its praise may be a bit over sung, Undertale really is a terrific game with a hyperspecific tone and style. Even if every joke doesn’t land with every player, it’s impressive and refreshing to see a game that feels so personally tied to the creator’s sensibilities do so well. Now that it’s available on nearly every platform and more affordable than ever, this is the perfect time to check out this modern phenomenon.
Bravely Default is a wonderful RPG that contains an ambitious and heart-wrenching story. Following the opening of a mysterious chasm that swallows villages whole, a group of adventurers set out on a journey across time and space save the world from utter destruction. Even if the story is a bit straightforward, this game’s comprehensive job system merits exploration over multiple playthroughs.
There are twenty-four different jobs – or character classes – in Bravely Default and each can combine with another job to allow for more complex strategies. This system allows for a host of unique party compositions and ensures that each playthrough feels different from the last. With so many different ways to play the game and such great characters and story beats to push the player forward, Bravely Default is a delight to play over and over again.