Video Games are great, they have potential to explore difficult ideas in a new light, and they provide high levels of entertainment. As the years have gone by and the possibilities of games have further expanded with the evolution of story and design details games have become better and a better source for enjoyment then we would have thought previously. One of the biggest honors of a game is a need to return to a game once it is finished, this mainly comes down to completion of the story and just how much enjoyment the player has had whether it actually be the story or the gameplay or in some circumstances both. In this world of games and this particular era peoples attention span don’t really let them play a good selection of games over again and in some people’s defence there are games that aren’t worth playing again. However others just don’t want to play games again after finishing them.
I have never understood why people can play fantastic games that have plenty of reason to replay them and don’t, what is the point of playing something if you are not going to stick with it. Sure I understand that there are games that are not worth replaying or enjoyment is lessened by multiple playthrough’s, should you replay a game if it is bad? Well it can be answered as both yes and no,yes because maybe a second playthrough can help the game get better and become more enjoyable then it originally was, in my case that game was Watch Dogs which I initially did not enjoy a further analysis of the game and a further play allowed me to get a better perspective of the game. However the reason for the no answer is because in some games the initial experience that we may have loved goes away and becomes dull we mostly find this in a mystery game. On our playthrough of a mystery we are wrapped up in every twist and turn that the story takes, every clue leads us closer to that end goal of discovering the culprit or what is going on and is the case and point in the Professor Layton games. While the puzzles in the game are enjoyable the mystery portions lose their fascination on a second playthrough even though it is really strong and enjoyable the first time, so in this case not going for that second playthrough is understandable but what about in other cases?
Playing the story of a game is a key part of replay value and is part of what makes us want to play a game again. This mostly is because a story has so much impact in perhaps speaking to the player in a certain away that might connect to their personal life. In other ways the story of a game can be so compelling that multiple playthroughs continue to allow us to explore the depth of the characters and the magic of the story. Some games even have such a compelling story that one playthrough can not allow the full experience to be pulled through and to another extent the story is so good that almost immediately after finishing the game you want to start again. The level of a great story that really drives the player to succeed and want to play through again on a few occasions is exactly what Sony and Naughty Dog achieved with the Last of Us. The story presented in The Last of Us connected to many players emotionally and how Naughty Dog positioned the player to be protective and care for the characters is part of the games draw in point for people looking to play the game as well as replaying.
Gameplay is also of critical importance in trying to get replay value and emphasizing on a reason for us to continue our time with a game. Even if the story is weak and unenjoyable strong gameplay has the story beat and can push us to return and make our way through. In a recent game Watch Dogs I find just this example, the story of Watch Dogs was really awful and made that run through Watch Dogs not as good as it potentially could have been but even with this being the case the gameplay was almost perfect and was really enjoyable. The gameplay was one of the things that pulled me back into the game even if parts of my mind were screaming quite loudly don’t return to this game, however a further thought made me return to spend time with the great gameplay.
Likewise it is a similar idea that exists in the game Journey that can prompt a return. While a first look at Journey would never prompt the player to want to visit the game in my opinion a look at the great gameplay pulls the player through and forces them to continue through again. The gameplay of Journey is nothing groundbreaking and looks boring, it is actually quite compelling, it is a literal journey meant for the player to gather an experience and the gameplay presented is the definition of the story, the story of the game doesn’t exist but the gameplay is what forges the story of Journey and forging that story as you run through the bright beautiful world that lays in front of you. Sure the gameplay of Journey is basically just jumping, running and some small basic puzzle solving how the game is positioned as a journey compels the player to accept the amazing gameplay and want to take several visits and find different interpretations to the game based on said gameplay. It is because of gameplay as a second reason that we return to these games and feel compelled to replay the game however many times over.
Furthermore the combination of a great story mixed with amazing gameplay is major reason to return to a game and in my books this is often why I come back and forth and return. Sometimes because of this combination we often find ourselves revisiting the same game twice, three times or even more, even more particularly we find ourselves drawn to a game or a particular franchise every year to replay a game of choice. In combination of story and gameplay it is why every year I pick up Kingdom Hearts 2, a few years back I fell in love with the game and since then I have picked it up every year for one or sometimes two playthroughs. I always find it great to revisit Kingdom Hearts 2 every year because of the story and the fun gameplay, I have been drawn to the story and find myself revisiting just because of the story mainly, the story is emotional and the characters are great and I not to proud to say that I tear up every time I finish the game because the story is emotional and gets to me every time and because is just so amazing. I know in a sense Kingdom Hearts 2 seems a weird choice for a yearly game but why not we each find a game that tells us I have to keep playing this game.
Just like a selected game our yearly visits can also prompt an extension of a franchise and selection of maybe two to three games in a franchise for replay a year. In some cases we want to continue to experience and enjoy some of our favorite games from our favorite franchises the problem is with so many new games coming out and so much that we continue to leave in our back catalog. Because of this we can’t always find time to enjoy all our games we want to replay but at least finding time to complete a playthrough of at least one or two entries in a franchise allows us to still immerse ourselves in the experience of the franchise and find enjoyment in a selected entry. In my case I find myself revisiting at least two games in the Legend of Zelda franchise each year to enjoy the games, just this year I have revisited Wind Waker HD as well as A Link Between Worlds on top of that I have been finding time to do another playthrough of Skyward Sword.
Replaying games is a great thing for finding new love for a game that you may have initially hated but more importantly it is about reliving an experience that we ourselves felt so connected to initially. Often we must question a reason for revisiting these games and deciding whether they are worth playing for another visit. Again while some games lack replay value I believe it is our duty to show the developers that we have enjoyed their games and provide countless visits to the games and enjoy each one that we find worthy time and again whether for the reason of story or gameplay.