The 10 best-value games you can buy and play for months

A serious dedication to gaming often means a tough time for your wallet. Keeping up with the latest games, not to mention the hardware to play it on, is an expensive effort. Sometimes, you need to invest in a game that will guarantee you at least a hundred hours of entertainment to get you through the lean months. Fortunately, there are some excellent games that deliver this promise many times over. These ten titles have some of the best bang for your gaming budget’s buck. Here’s how we’ve figured it out. This list only covers games that are available on a console or mobile devices. It’s also assuming that you will play the entire game. No shortcuts, no skimping. Finally, the calculations are based on a single play-through, but many of them encourage revisiting, which means the true value is even better.

1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

  • Formats: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360
  • Release date: Original - 2011, Special Edition - 2016
  • Average play time: 241 hours
  • Average cost: Original - $19.99, Special Edition - $59.99
  • Cost to player: Original - $0.08 per hour. Special Edition - $0.25 per hour

Just one pass at Bethesda’s sprawling open-world saga can easily eat up more than 100 hours depending on how many side quests you opt to do. That’s a solid value for starters, but then you have many options for how to replay it. Will you be a Redguard stealth archer? A Nord brawler in heavy armor? A Khajiit wielding fireballs or a poison-making Argonian alchemist? The skill trees in this RPG present so many options, and each really does offer a unique flavor on the chilly world of Skyrim.

2. The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

  • Formats: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Release date: 2015
  • Average play time: 174 hours
  • Average cost: $49.99
  • Cost to player: $0.29 per hour

The Witcher presents a different take on what a modern RPG can be. It’s a world that’s easy to get lost in. Roam around and talk to the locals - you never know who’ll send you off on a fascinating quest line, or what desolate pocket of the country might have hints to solving the game’s many mysteries. Even without the extra content of the expansions - Heart of Stone and the excellent Blood and Wine - finishing everything in The Witcher 3 will take you about 30 hours if you’re going at top speed. Take your time to explore and finish every last bit, though, and you’ve got at least 160 hours of adventuring ahead.

3. Persona 5

  • Formats: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3
  • Release date: 2017
  • Average play time: 158 hours
  • Average cost: $49.99
  • Cost to player: $0.32 per hour

The main story of Persona 5 takes about 100 hours to complete. That’s without spending time to really luxuriate in the details of how this massive RPG recreates life at high school. It might seem counter-intuitive to pay money to go back to your teenage days, but it’s a lot more fun to do so with these friends. Plus the powers and fighting off supernatural enemies make it way cooler. This game is wonderfully strange and, considering you could spend upwards of 200 hours in this world if you really take your time, Persona 5’s value is gold.

4. Diablo 3

  • Formats: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360
  • Release date: 2012
  • Average play time: 182 hours
  • Average cost: $29.99
  • Cost to player: $0.16 per hour

Replayability is the name of this game here. The character classes and scaling difficulty levels alone mean you could revisit the main story over and over without getting bored. Diablo 3’s end game also adds many hours to the experience, with seasonal competitions, bounties, and rifts supplying a constant challenge even to the most skilled demon-slayers. Then there’s the option to team up with your friends for the fight against evil. The wise-cracking and fun you have with those people keep the game fresh, even on your 12th crack at it. 

5. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

  • Formats: Nintendo 3DS, Wii U
  • Release date: 2013
  • Average play time: 693 hours
  • Average cost: $29.99
  • Value to player: $0.04 per hour

Across the entire Monster Hunter franchise, you’re probably looking at thousands of available hours for role-playing, creature-slaying fun. But to make the best investment in just one title, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is the way to go. Any game that draws comparisons to World of Warcraft is bound to take a big chunk of your time. Kill loads and loads of monsters, gather impressive gear, and have a heroic good time.

Anna Washenko
Freelance Writer

Anna is a freelance writer who has written for the likes of GamesRadar, Ars Technica, Blizzard Watch, and Mashable. She's also created games as part of various game jams. Anna likes games about solving puzzles and/or shooting things. She wishes she could trade zingers with GLaDOS and have beers with Garrus Vakarian in real life.