Replay Value, The True Value Of A Game?

I wrote an article about gaming length a while back, and this is kind of an expansion piece to it: replay value.

Often overlooked in the grand scheme of a person discussing how good or bad a game is, but something I feel is very important. The first game I remember playing, that truly made me want to play it over again after finishing it, was the original Silent Hill for the PS1. The fact that you could play it again, and by omitting certain things or doing other things in the game would give you a different ending, blew me away and totally hooked me. Literally, from that point forward, any game I played with multiple endings immediately got replayed after completion, so I could see the other endings. I probably played through Onimusha 2 at least a dozen times to get 100% completion of every storyline in game (that particular game had a clever timeline you could look at to see how much story you had yet to see for each character).

To me, having something like multiple endings or multiple character story lines is a brilliant way to add replay value to a game without needing to add a tremendous amount of content. Heavy Rain took this concept and ran with it, in a good way. Not only did you play multiple characters whose story lines intersected, but if that particular character was to die, so did the arc of the story involving them. Not only did you have the opportunity to see extra content, you also had a dynamic world that lived on if a character did not! A lot of people didn’t quite get that game. But, I fell in live with it for the fact that the world seemed alive and moving even when you “screwed up” and killed off a main character. That also made me want to play the game again so I could potentially see story line that I had not previously seen.

Now, I’m not defining replay value as a game that you finish but haven’t done everything available to you in the world. Usually, that just amounts to a lot of nonsense, like collecting 100 of this thing or finding a set amount of another thing etc. To me, that’s not replay value. I tire of things like that quickly. Hence, the reason I stopped playing Grand Theft Auto 4 and couldn’t get into Red Dead Redemption (Grand Theft Auto Horse). The whole “skin 10 coyotes for this achievement” got tired quickly. But, that brings up another point. Do you consider games full of achievements added value? In my opinion, these add-ons are usually just trinkets for you to collect. Sure, some achievements are worth getting, such as killing five enemies with one grenade, for example. But, most are usually something lame, like traveling a certain distance on foot, then a certain distance by car. Nothing about that makes me want to play a game until I achieve it.

Then, there is a different type of replay value, the MMO type of replay. This usually entails running around killing things until you find the ultimate sword or ultimate armor. I admit, I have fallen into this trap with several games, the biggest ones beingChampions of Norath for the PS2 and Guild Wars for the PC. I dont typically fall for games that require a ton of grinding, but if the story is good and the gameplay is compelling and fun, you could possibly hook me. That’s probably why I couldn’t get intoOblivion or Fallout. Neither of those games had fun gameplay to me. I couldn’t get into the story lines and the characters didnt interest me in the least. I know both of these games have huge followings, but I just didn’t get it.

So, what exactly is replay value? A bunch of achievements you get just to say you did? Multiple story lines you can play and watch to experience the game through different eyes? Maybe even something as simple as playing a game over again just because you enjoyed it so much the first time. Whatever you define it as, it is something that I feel should be used in calling a game good or bad. I have run the gamut of games throughout my life, great games with massive replay, great games with no replay, and everything in between. But, to me, having at least some replay value to a game ups the ante as to whether or not I want to play a game. What do you think?

Perreault out

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About Perreault

I have been an avid/hardcore gamer since the days of the intellivision. My reviews are unfiltered and unbiased and purely personal opinion. I believe people deserve at least one honest opinion of a game from a source not controlled by outside influence! Power to the people!