Video Games Are Better The Second Time You Play Them

By Julio Franco · 17 replies
Sep 23, 2016
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  1. Everyone remembers the first time they played a really good video game. The constant surprises of Half-Life, or the drama of Final Fantasy VI, or the stress and catharsis of Far Cry 2. As good as those games were the first time around, they’d almost certainly be better the second. Or the third. Or the fourth.

    I love to replay games. It’s something my colleagues occasionally give me crap for. They worry I’m sacrificing time I could otherwise spend on new games re-experiencing old ones. I do play games for a living, so I always try to maintain a healthy mix of new ones in my rotation. But I’m almost always replaying something.

    In fact, I generally enjoy replying the older games more than breaking in the new ones. At the moment, I’m replaying Wolfenstein: The New Order and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I’m still regularly going back to a New Game+ playthrough of Persona 4 Golden, and I’m in the middle of my third time through The Witcher 3. I have a perpetual game of Half-Life 2 that doesn’t so much end as it does endlessly refresh and repeat.

    Read the complete article.

  2. ETF Soldier

    ETF Soldier TS Evangelist Posts: 463   +136

    I am struggling to articulate exactly how much this article rings true for me, re-playing games is an incredible experience and in the same capacity that if you re-watch TV shows and movies, re-listen to music and re-read books you are 100% likely to discover new things, minute details that carry more significance the more you think about them and new interpretations.

    I tend to play a game through once making the choices I as a person would do whilst trying to not f**k everything up.
    My 2nd playthrough I may explore other avenues unless I really like the 1st choice (like chosing Imperial over Stormcloak in Skyrim), things tends to be because I don't want to invest time in choices that make the game less fun or I find uninspiring. I normally increase the difficulty on these playthroughs as well.
    Sometimes I do more playthroughs if the game is particularly linear and I want to ride the story-train every now and again (Half Life etc.)
    I am currently playing Bioshock for the 3rd time now with my fiancée, I've done AC2 3 times, Half Life 2 over 4 times, Fallout 3 about 4 times, New Vegas 3 times at least and I do the same with Strategy games too.
    Julio Franco likes this.
  3. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,182   +469

    If I like a game, I always replay it more than once. There is usually more than one way to play or beat a game and I often will try to find different ways to do it.
  4. enemys

    enemys TS Addict Posts: 121   +110

    Ok, we get it, you love replays. Don't want to sound rude, but... So what? Of course it's ok to replay the game, but I never encountered anyone saying the opposite. And the article is good, but I do most of the things you write about during my first playthrough.

    And I just don't like replays. I rarely ever touch the game again after finishing it. In fact I don't recall a game newer than 10 years old that I have successfully finished more than once. I get to know them as fully as I can the first time and there's not much left for replaying after that. Most of the time the gameplay is too simple to convince me to replay (or even touch the add-ons or DLCs), and even if I try it, I wait a couple of years, so that I don't get the feeling of doing the same thing over and over again. The only thing new games usually offer me after finishing them once is hunting some more achievments, and gathering them is not really my favourite activity.

    My "played more than once" list is pretty short, like 15 to 20 titles. Not much given about 18 years of playing games and finishing a few hundreds of them. So... I just don't like it, even though I appreciate it. Even Witcher 3, which everyone seems to be replaying over and over again. I spent 200 hours on my first and only playthrough and I don't think I'll be coming back to it before, like... 2018.
  5. Bigtruckseries

    Bigtruckseries TS Evangelist Posts: 583   +318

    A good game should be accessible - by anyone - whether it's the 1st time I play it or the 100th.

    These games are so convoluted in design, that often, you don't even understand the rules when you play the first time.

    Look at Fallout 4: without going online for help, you might get STUCK trying to build the teleporter, or get stuck trying to find the railroad - and enter their hideout.

    HALO, I believe started the trend of games having you follow objective markers - rather than allowing you to explore your way to the answer. As these games become more and more complex, you end up with more extraneous info and locations that don't help you actually get ahead - requiring more hand-holding to help you beat the game.

    Classic games and many of the best games give you the rules of playing up front and never deviate from them.

    They can be played from start-to-finish by anyone, without help from outside sources.

    There are lots of games that are fun to play through the first time, but I'd never play through again. Especially open-world games like Fallout and Far Cry series. Far Cry 3 and 4, Fallout 3 and 4, Grand Theft Auto... despite the fact I could advance up the skills tree using my knolwedge of what threats require more priority, I'm not synching another 100+ hours into a game after I beat it when I already know the story from start to finish.
    Julio Franco likes this.
  6. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,559   +706

    I love replaying games - but I tend to only play games that encourage doing so.... For instance, Civilization V has probably hooked me for thousands of hours since its release - and VI will probably do the same when it's released next month....

    Same goes for Elder Scrolls IV (I'm one of the few who like it better than Skyrim), where I have beaten every quest numerous times with various maxxed out characters and still loving it :)
    Julio Franco likes this.
  7. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,144   +911

    Games I've replayed due to either better hardware or because I enjoy the game enough (or in most cases more)to warrant more than one play through:

    Mass Effect (1,2 &3)
    Half-Life 2 (including both episodes)
    The Last of Us
    Bioshock: Infinite
    Killzone (First one only)
    Halo (1,2 &3)
    Timesplitters: Future Perfect
    Fable (First one only)
    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

    I could tell you everything about those games because I've replayed them over and over and just sunk a lot of time into them. Today though I really play Multiplayer only these days, in the last couple of years the only single player games I've enjoyed are The Last of Us and Bioshock: Infinite.
    Julio Franco likes this.
  8. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 953   +515

    I find that only if the game is exceptional will I play a game through again (Dishonored is a good example). And I am not the type of gamer who enjoys replaying parts of games when it is not a part of the intended mechanics.
    Example being, a game that has a poor checkpoint system and I die. Losing too much progress because of that really pisses me off and sometimes I just don't care to play the game further. There have been games where I've lost 2-4hrs of progress because I was so into the game and then something happens.
    Or a game where the story puts you in a holdout position, and you mess up at the end and have to do it over from the beginning.

    But don't get me wrong, if I play the game on a harder difficulty or it's a rogue-like or it's a waves mode, I'm fine with it (and usually enjoy it).
  9. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,321   +1,970

    I think it very much depends upon the game. If you're talking games like GTA5 where you can go ANYWHERE and approach the goals differently, I very much agree, but some games tend to steer you down a lane, that is restrict where you can go .... those are pretty much one way to do it only and I'm not much on them; and of course there are varying differences in between. Still, the point is well made and that is the mindset I use to approach when playing a game ...... Hmmmmm ..... I say mindset, my old man would call it brainless ...... seems to work either way!
  10. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    They did this with the Wolfenstein reboot:


    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,255   +454

    I think it is the exact opposite! A lot of these open world games have multiple paths and multiple endings. I played Far Cry 2 two times and had nearly a completely different experience the second time though. I've played GTA 4 and 5 each three times and had lots of different experiences as well. So I have to say that sure you know ONE story from start to finish, but these games offer multiple stories. If you enjoyed the game, you are missing out by not trying it again I think.
  12. John J Miller

    John J Miller TS Rookie

    They didn't do this just for the reboot. As a player of the original Wolfenstein that option was in the first game

    davislane1 likes this.
  13. AncientYouth

    AncientYouth TS Rookie Posts: 19   +12

    I've recently played the original 2 tomb raiders again on my phone on the way to and from work and thoroughly enjoyed them, I've played dead space 2 , fear and Half-Life 2 at least twice, and there is one level in splinter cell I have played probably 100s of time setting my self targets like getting 47/47 head shot kills in a row, or killing all enemies without using any weapons

    Obviously sports games you play over and over
  14. CaptainTom

    CaptainTom TS Maniac Posts: 302   +132

    I think the replay records for me are:

    -MGS4 = 10 playthroughs. Every single time I found a new weapon or area to explore and got engrossed in the story. Completely blown away.

    -Demon's Souls = Probably 20 playthroughs. When it came out I could not believe a game could be this good.

    -Minecraft = Endless? Does this count? I played this game way too much

    -Borderlands 2 = 9. That game and its DLC are nearly an endless pit of content to play with your friends.

    -TLoU = 6. For a game that's semi-linear I played through this one way more than I usually would. It's objectively the best game ever made imo.

    No idea what the next one will be. Probably whatever Kojima's game ends up being or TLoU2.
  15. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,300   +427

    Doom, Doom 2, Doom 3, GTA SA, Dishonored, Blood, Redneck Rampage, NFSMW, NFSU, Heretic, Hexen 2, Quake, Quake 2 and STALKER series

    Still play them all. I only buy maybe 2 games a year now and I am replaying Doom and GTA5.

    Half-Life while great bores me now.

    I may play FC3 again

    Replaying is fun, relaxing and makes me a good Capitalist
  16. amghwk

    amghwk TS Addict Posts: 205   +82

    I don't think this article is worth a "feature" segment. We all replay games that we like. Why write some lengthy story on it? And then tack on "feature" on it?
  17. ypsylon

    ypsylon TS Booster Posts: 114   +21

    Replaying Mass Effect series pretty much constantly since I discovered it (I don't care about mulitplayer in the slightest). I'm not on top of new titles nor did I ever beat it on Insanity - simply I'm incapable of doing this. Still in my humble opinion, ME trilogy is the best game ever released (ignoring default, pathetic ending of ME3) and I'm not even interested in trying something else. It's very Babylon 5-like kind of plot and that's highest kind of praise I can think of. ME is one and only for me.

    As I writing this just finishing Legion loyalty mission. I have to try one thing however. Play one full Renegade game. I always feel like I need to take a shower after choosing not Paragon route. Will probably spend a week in the bathtub to wash all that renegade filth from me! :D

    Yeap I'm ME junkie, without question.
  18. Draconian

    Draconian TS Enthusiast Posts: 52   +12

    Assuming you like the game the first time.

    I doubt if I played Firewatch or Gone Home a second time I would like them any better.

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