One and Done

Mark D. Stroyer

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Apr 12, 2011
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Deus Ex: HR is a game I went through once, and despite how I liked it, I haven't touched it since, because I haven't, for lack of a better term, worked up the emotional energy to play it again. I was quite satisfied with how Jensen ended up, failures and faults all.

Meanwhile, Mass Effect I've played through over a dozen times, because I can craft an entirely different character each time and it's fresh each time.

On the other hand, I've played through the Uncharted games quite a number times each, because while it may not have the sheer fresh impact of a first time, going through a familiar story has emotional impact all the same.
 

James Duval

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Aug 14, 2012
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"emotional energy" is the perfect term, at least as far as I understand it.

I really enjoyed the retro FF re-releases for PSX but I could never bring myself to play any of them again. Too much emotional investment in those old characters, I'd have to make myself care that much about each one again.

Sadface.
 

Fappy

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I don't see any problem with a game utilizing a multiple playthrough philosophy, but I don't think they should use it as a crutch. You should get the full experience of a game from one playthrough and play it again only if you want to. There are great games I have played literally dozens of times and others I have yet to give a second playthrough. I played ME1 like 13 or 14 times but only beat Wither 2 and Deus Ex: HR once each knowing full-well that there was plenty of stuff I had yet to see. I can see the appeal of both approaches to gameplay, but if I truly adore a game it is not possible for me to play it only once.
 

Xersues

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Dec 11, 2009
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It's important that some games provide a relatively unique experience each time, or at least a customized one. Many games that focus on multiplayer such as Unreal or Quake could be played over and over again with no real incentive to reach THE END. MineCraft is another example.

I completely agree about story driven games. Once I've seen it, I rarely care to go through it again. That's why I wait to buy them on sale and take my time. Leaves lots of room for options.
 

putowtin

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Jul 7, 2010
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I've just finished Dragon Age: Origins for the 20th time, and the character (Syn, female, warrior, noble, romanced Alistair, hardened him and made him king with me at his side) is 99% the same as my last playthrough (only difference? Last character was called Zorah)

Why do some of us not only play games through countless time, but play them nearly identically?

For the sheer enjoyment of the story, it's characters and the journey.
 

StriderShinryu

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I'm in pretty much complete agreement with this article. There are very few examples of any type of media that I find compelling enough to experience more than once, and that doesn't really bother me either. Replay value is nice and all, and I admit to valuating a game lower if it's short and doesn't have replay to make up the missing play time, but I really do judge my experience based on that first play.
 

Dastardly

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Apr 19, 2010
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wandrewhughes said:
One and Done

An argument against replay value.

Read Full Article
Really great article.

I've really soured to the idea of games being marketed based on their "replay value." That can either mean you're able to "go on past the ending" (Skyrim, Just Cause 2, etc.) or that you have reason to literally replay with a different character or path (Skyrim again, or Mass Effect).

The first type, you're usually hunting collectibles of some sort, and it becomes mind-numbingly repetitive. As much as I enjoyed getting around in Just Cause 2, I would never have the sheer force of will to trudge through to 100% (which is why I appreciated that they awarded the achievement at 75%).

The second type, particularly when it's "different path through the same story," feels a bit trudgy as well -- so many sections are repeated as you just try to shove your way through to the various crossroads to make the other choice.

But in both cases, I've begun to notice that the more a game depends on this replay value, the less satisfied I've been with my first playthrough. I don't want to have to play through three times to feel I got my $60 worth. If I pay $60, I want to feel I got my money's worth on the first play... or I'd like the game to be less than that.

I guess for me it's less about feeling that I've cheated the narrative, though I feel some sense of that, too. It's more that I'm beginning to feel the depth drained from my first playthrough because the game is saving that extra room for a second (usually less fun) playthrough.
 

Anachronism

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I tend not to do this for gameplay-driven FPSes, but for story-focussed RPGs I thoroughly agree. Not to say categorically that I don't play them again, but that the first playthrough is my playthrough, my story.

I'll still go back and replay old favourites like Baldur's Gate II, naturally, but it's my first run that sticks with me. To me, my BGII party will always be Minsc, Jaheira, Imoen, Mazzy and Aerie, and those will always be the characters I remember the most fondly.
 

Lokoloshe

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Fappy said:
only beat Wither 2 and Deus Ex: HR once each knowing full-well that there was plenty of stuff I had yet to see.
You just reminded me that I do want to play the Witcher 2 again. Played it at release and finished it and was left curious as to what that different 3rd act included. I figured I'd wait a while to let the first play through sink in and here we are a full year later and I'd forgotten all about it...

I appreciate the reminder.
 

Elf Defiler Korgan

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Apr 15, 2009
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I prefer games I can play over and over and over, and triple a big titles, don't usually deliver that.

I've long been playing the total war games, for the chance to make a new story each time. Likewise I am in Dark Souls at the moment on ng+, and really have got the feel of the game. Now the mp has opened up for me, whereas I avoided it the first time round. Even deleted my first char because I didn't like the choices I had made. Onwards I go, still dragged into the game.
 

Elf Defiler Korgan

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Anachronism said:
I tend not to do this for gameplay-driven FPSes, but for story-focussed RPGs I thoroughly agree. Not to say categorically that I don't play them again, but that the first playthrough is my playthrough, my story.

I'll still go back and replay old favourites like Baldur's Gate II, naturally, but it's my first run that sticks with me. To me, my BGII party will always be Minsc, Jaheira, Imoen, Mazzy and Aerie, and those will always be the characters I remember the most fondly.
Edwin, Korgan, Viconia, Yoshimo/Anomen.
 

Iyon

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May 16, 2012
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I used to replay games all the time but now, with a shortage of time and no real shortage of games to play, I find I rarely come back to a game once I've finished it. Nonetheless, replay value is still pretty important to me and I don't have a problem with it being a selling point for games.

The most recent game I replayed was Red Dead Redemption and I loved it just as much as the first time, if not more. Also, since I plan on finally picking up Mass Effect 3 soon, I'll be playing the first two games again and can't wait.
 

Danceofmasks

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The problem is when a game paraphrases for you, or otherwise gives you an inadequate prompt which then misinterprets your intent.
Damn you LA Noire.

Even Mass Effect.
Wait, I wanted to say what the choice I picked actually was, rather than give a speech that means something completely different.
This inability to assess actual possible outcomes is, IMO, one of the reasons most players auto-pick paragon or renegade options.
 

edos63

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Apr 5, 2012
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The only games I haven't been motivated to replay are Borderlands and Kingdoms of Amalur.

On the other hand I'm fanatically in love with Dragon Age: Origins and I've played through the entire game, it's expansion pack and all its DLCs nearly five times already. ME2 and The Witcher 2 are the only games that come close.
 

Biodeamon

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I still say the most riveting decision in heavy rain was:EAT THE DONUT, DON'T EAT THE DONUT

<youtube=xcJGoWQzVCs>
 

Baldur Moon

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Aug 4, 2012
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Replay value is fine so long as the narrative in the story or the core game play is enthralling enough to bring you back for a second play through. For example I've played through the Mass Effect series multiple times in order to see how different decisions effected the outcome, the game play to me felt more like a hindrance the second time around but i trudged through for the story. On the other hand I've played through Dark Souls 4 times because the game play and variety is so damn solid, but I didn't give a piss about the story.
 

TallanKhan

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Aug 13, 2009
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I enjoy replaying a good game however I dont think games should ever be designed with that replay in mind. When i think of games i have replayed its because i enjoyed them so much i wanted to experience it again or explore choices i didnt make. Without execption all of these games were excellent single playthrough experiences and when i finsihed them I didnt feel like i had missed anything. If the game was designed specifically to be played more than once then after a single playthough i wouldnt feel like i had really finished it which would significantly deminish my satisfaction which in turn would make me far less likely to go for a second playthrough.
 

ben---neb

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Apr 22, 2009
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I find this with the Half Life series. The first play through is a tense affair as you never know what's going to come at you around the next corner and you have to be ready to adapt tactics on the fly.

But the second playthough, that's to get through it as swiftly and easily as possible because you know what's around the next corner. That's the time to really think stuff out and plan the best way/route through sections.
 

number2301

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Apr 27, 2008
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Loved this article, I am exactly like that. My Mass Effect playthrough is Mass Effect to me, anything else wouldn't be *real*.