You just beat the final boss and are watching the end credits, wondering if you skip them will you miss anything important, like a hidden cut-scene or Easter egg. The credits finally finish and you bask in the glory of another completed video game experience. Now what? Do you start another game from your backlog or do you play something you have already finished? Or do you restart the game you just completed and try to find all the things you missed the first time around?
One of the things I always look for when purchasing a game is replay value. But what is replay value? To some people, it’s something as obvious as a New Game+ feature, where you can play the game again with your character already leveled up, which allows easier exploration, but makes the battles a cakewalk. This is especially handy when games like Chrono Trigger have many different endings.
Speaking of endings, does the drive to see all of them make you replay a game again and again? Or do you create saves at different points in the game, so you don’t have to replay everything in order to make the different decision and reach the new ending? Or do you just jump on Youtube and watch the endings online, laughing at the fools who did all the grunt work while you reap the rewards?
Some people I have spoken to on message boards claim that harder difficulty levels equal more replay value, but I really disagree with this. Playing the game again but with (usually) cheaper AI does not constitute a good time for me. I am going to attempt this with Bioshock as an experiment, but I don’t have high hopes. And even if I do enjoy myself, I don’t think this is something that works with every game.
What about Trophies or Achievements? I know for many this causes more replays than they would normally go through, but I can’t get behind it. During the course of a game, I may take the time to do a few things in order to get some more Trophies, but once I am done, I am DONE. I may come back to the game later and get a few new Trophies during a replay, but I don’t really go out of my way too often to get them. I know some people think it’s like getting a high score, but it’s not. People who have the most money to play the most games will get the most Trophies/Achievements, which takes all the fun out of it for me. Some people play games just to get the easy ones and boost their Level/Gamerscore. Not impressed.
For me, replay value stems from a game that was such a joy to play that, given enough time has passed, I will want to play again. There are games I was sure I would want to play again, but once I started them, I just did not have the drive to do it. What makes you replay a game? Are there any factors I have left out that appeal to you when deciding if you want to play a game again?