Best Replay Value – Top 10 Video Games

Video Games with the Best Replay Value

There are games that no matter how old bring me back to play them time and time again. Each time I play I find new things that make them fresh and exciting. On the other side of things there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of video games I have played part way through, quit, and never returned to because I just got bored or they were repetitive and I just lost interest. Most games don’t hold my attention long enough to become classics that I want to play again years later, so this list is very important to me as I will continue to replay these games for the rest of my life. It also has taken me awhile just to compile this list because I wanted to take time writing this article so I didn’t leave anything out. I may even return periodically to update and switch around some of these titles so check back for my final picks!


#10 – Final Fantasy IV (II)

Cecil the dark knight turned Paladin and his turncoat best friend Kain, a story of friendship betrayed.  Palom and Porom who are sadly turned to stone in order to save their friends from certain death.  Rosa, who believes in Cecil and stands with him through thick and thin.  The characters of Final Fantasy II (IV as correctly named in the series) was one of the best tales and spun on the Super Nintendo.  Despite the graphical limitations compared with the new fancy PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of Final Fantasy, there is a certain story element behind the older Final Fantasy games that is no longer present in new releases.  The simple story of a man with a dark heart who changes his actions to become a better person; That is something I think all of us can understand and emphasize with.  A best friend who spins a web of betrayal?  Yes, I’ve been there- not only that but the last time I played this game I had not experienced this thus another reason to replay the game.  Have you ever read a book and gathered a meaning from the story that changed your life?  Then the next time you read the book another meaning is gleaned from the text?  That’s what Final Fantasy II is to me- a story which will never die and that I may return to whenever I miss my friends Cecil, Rosa, Palom, Porom, Tellah, Kain, and that spoony bard!

#9 – Chrono Trigger

Crono the traveler is waiting for us at the end of the world.  I am a huge sucker for time travel- I’ve seen the Back to the Future movies more times than I can count and read every book, watched every movie on time travel since I was old enough to absorb them.

Chrono Trigger brought new elements combat to the RPG and the fact that you can actually see and attempt to avoid your enemy was a first.  Most RPGs that came after this incorporated this new idea as opposed to a random encounter that just happened on the world map with no way around.  The world map- another good point to mention since the locations were so unique and “cute” (for lack of a better word), I actually would get excited when I found a new location that I could stand over while the white text appeared on the screen signaling that I could enter.  Chrono Trigger is an exploration game while at the same time a RPG with multiple choices and endings.  Throw time travel and the unique battle system into the mix and you get a classic that will never die and can be replayed over and over again with different results.  When Chrono Trigger happened upon my SNES I disappeared into my room for many days.  By the time I emerged I had traveled to the bleak future and battled robots as well as the prehistoric ages where cavemen helped me fight dinosaurs.  At the end I battled Lavos and actually now cannot recall the true end of this game or which ending I achieved.  Which leads me to believe that it’s time to play again!

#8 – Vandal Hearts

I can’t remember how many times I have played this game, but Diego and his friends still stick in my memory.  The one thing I do remember is that I had so much fun playing this game that I could easily pop it in my Playstation (if I can find it!) and play through it today.  The story line is perfect and the battles are so engaging.  I love how you get to choose which path to take as far as character class development goes.  This game paved the way for tactical games such as Final Fantasy Tactics (Square actually stole some plot twists straight from Vandal Hearts!  Sneaky devils!)  I don’t have much else to say about Vandal Hearts other than PLAY IT.

#7 – Final Fantasy Tactics

Final Fantasy Tactics threw us headfirst into the War of Lions.  Starting out as a child, you grow up in the Beoulve family which gets sucked into a battle for the crown while you track an evil presence which has emerged and is attempting to take over the world.  The battle system is very engaging and although some battles are so tough you must play them two or more times, overall the combat system has everything you need to suck you in.  The job system is akin to character class in D&D and adds not only a strategic element, but a customizable job system which grows into an addiction.  You get to steer each of your unique characters down the path of your choosing.  Eventually you feel a bond with some of these characters and it becomes hard in difficult boss battles later on when you may have to sacrifice one of your characters in order for the party to win a battle they would otherwise lose.  The job selection grows as you level up and gives you the chance to become all manner of classes from Geomancer to Monk.  The story line engages you all the while giving you purpose to fight and getting you riled up at just the right times to rev you up for combat.  Sometimes the story can be quite sorrowful, which gives you even more reason to keep on fighting to free the world of evil.  I have played this game at least 5 times through and will return very soon.  I wish they would re-release an exact replica of this game for DS.  (Just realized that they did a re-release of this game for PSP- time to buy one!)  *I’m going to write a tutorial on “How to Play Sony Playstation Games on your PC” after I’m finished writing this article so stay tuned and check back!*

Instead of naming off specific games in regards to Civ, SimCity, and the Elder Scrolls I will just briefly touch on each series.

#6 – Civilization

You pick a land to rule and the way you wish to rule working your way from the ground up.  You build entire civilizations (hence the name of the game) and strive for world dominance.  No two games are alike and there are many ways to win.  I have won through being a war mongering tyrant, sponsoring intellectual pursuits, and through simple accumulation of wealth and land.  This game can suck you in for hours so beware!

#5 – SimCity

Considered one of the computer gaming classics of all time, SimCity spawned the simulation craze and gave you the chance to be the mayor of your own city.  The newer versions of the game start with you playing god and shaping the land around you to suit your tastes.  I usually start by making a  nice flat place with lots of beach front property, then place a few distant hills and mountains filled with wildlife and start building close to the water’s edge.  Locating my sewer treatment, waste, recycling, and prisons in the same area together far from the city with access roads gives me a fresh city clean and clear from pollution with room to grow and excellent property values.  The coolest thing about this game is that one decision can either come back to bite you or cause your city to blossom into a metropolitan utopia.  It’s by no means an easy game, even if you cheat you are constantly pausing the game to try and fix things to the liking of the people while also trying to balance a complex city budget and taxes.  Although it sounds stressful, it is great fun and a game I will ALWAYS come back to!

#4 – the Elder Scrolls

The greatest games ever to grace my life.  Yes, I’m one of those crazed Bethesda Softworks fan boys- tough, I’m the one writing the blog so you have to read!  😛  If you have never played Morrowind or Oblivion you are doing yourself a great disservice.  These games honestly changed my life in the way I think about gaming.  I had always wanted to play a computer game that would react like Dungeons and Dragons or the other role-playing games we played growing up.  I wanted to be able to do anything I wanted in a game- steal from a store, kill a guard, climb on top of building and shoot spells madly about- and a few good things as well.  I just wanted to test the limits and Bethesda finally made it all possible.  I think there’s still a long ways to go and there are always glitches when you attempt to cover such a broad spectrum of gaming and make almost anything possible, but I can live with that!  I have played Morrowind and Oblivion over and over again as different races, classes, and sex.  You can be good, evil, or somewhere in between- explore ruins or become a deep sea diver searching for lost treasure.  You can take as many or as little quests as you like and explore the world that was so meticulously detailed in your honor.  Bethesda truly creates masterpieces which I will continue to revisit until the day I die.  (Hell, I’ll be playing Oblivion for the 50th when I’m all wrinkly in a retirement home in 2050.)

#3 – Goldeneye: 007

In college we used to either get drunk and play guitar on the roof or play Goldeneye.  Some of those games would cause players to leap out of their seats and start screaming the screen or other players.  A few times I had people get in my face threatening to actually physically kick my ass over using too many proximity mines!  Ha, ha, ha!  I still laugh out loud thinking about how absurd we would get over this game.  I am also snickering at my ridiculous usage of proximity mines which could only be defined as “profane”.  I would run through the levels throwing them everywhere, getting more and throwing those all over the place.  Then I would hide somewhere and laugh my ass off while others ran over them time and time again giving me all the kills.  Ah, the good old days.  If a game is so intense that it causes people to leap out of their seats and threaten to kill each other in real life- it’s got to be good, right?

#2 – Halo 3

This one is personal for one of our NERD TREK bloggers since he worked on this game (and Reach) and is in the credits!  What a great game it is too!

I tried playing the story line, but as always I ditched that in favor of hopping online to combat my friends and random people via the internet.  It actually means a lot that two of the top 3 of my most re-playable games are first person shooters.  If you know me I am a 100% RPG guy.  I live for good RPGs and always prefer story to combat.  That said, I cannot deny that some of the most re-playable games on the market are first person shooters, strategy, and puzzle games.  They have the most appeal because they are different every time you play them, and the more you play them the better you get and the more they suck you in.  Halo 3 is just such an example.  After playing Reach for months I honestly can say that Halo 3 is better- at least in my opinion.  I like the levels more, the vehicle placement, everything- it feels more natural, although that might have to do with some of the levels and vehicles being fashioned as exact replicas from Halo 2.  Hey, if it ain’t broke- don’t fix it applies here too.  My brother and I logged hundreds of hours playing Halo 2 on Xbox, mostly yelling shit into the mic in LIVE and messing around with other players.  While doing this though we actually did get sucked into the game and slowly it grew on us.  We later moved into Halo 3 on Xbox 360 where we became fairly competitive, and despite me owning the game- my brother has always obliterated me.  How this is possible, I will never know- he’s just better at competitive games than I, something I can accept being a hardcore RPG-er!


The king of re-playable games of course is a puzzle game.  Since it came out for the NES all those years ago, TETRIS has been a part of my life.  When I need to zone out and just let things happen, when I need to get away from the stresses in my life, when I need my mind to feel refreshed- I turn to TETRIS.  I am trying to remember how old I was the first time I played TETRIS, I think I was probably around 12-14 years old and played on a gameboy.  You know the old school monochrome bricks that took 4 AA batteries and you could drop and would put a dent in the concrete but keep playing?  I worked my way up and when Microsoft unveiled Xbox LIVE and TETRIS WORLDS I went crazy!  Everyday after work I would play for hours against people all over the world.  I got so good that the pieces would literally come flying down and land perfectly in place one after another, launching me ever higher into unthinkable levels of madness.  Before I knew it I was playing against some of the best TETRIS players in the world.  I finally achieved one of the top 100 TETRIS players in the world at place #99 and held my coveted position for a couple weeks until the pieces came crumbling down and I discovered a game called Morrowind.  I never did return to see how far I could reach on TETRIS WORLDS, but it’s probably for the best!  As far as re-playability goes in my book: TETRIS IS KING.  Thank you Alexey Pajitnov, you created this game in 1984 and it’s still going strong!





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About Jonathan G. Nelson

Jonathan G. Nelson is the editor-in-chief and owner of NERD TREK. He is also owner/publisher at AAW Games /, a tabletop gaming company based in Snoqualmie, WA. Connect with Jonathan via Facebook.