20. Civilization 6
Forget the old “one more turn” adage – Civilization 6 makes us want to start an entire campaign over and over and over again. The formula is as addictive as it's always been: transform a civilization from a rabble of settlers to a superpower that spans the map by grabbing resources, forging alliances and building armies. But Civ 6 is the broadest entry in the series to date, and the breadth of its systems necessitates multiple playthroughs. With one of 20 leaders, each with unique traits and bonuses, you can pursue victory by diplomacy or espionage, trade or warfare, technology or cultural advancements. Randomized maps, extensive tech trees and flexible city building means no two campaigns play out in the same way.
Play it on: PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4
19. Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Is putting a collection on this list cheating? We say no, and we make the rules here. Plus, who can say resist replaying some of the best FPS campaigns of all time? Even the original releases of the Halo franchise, right back to 2001’s Halo: Combat Evolved, are worth replaying for the spectacle of their weighty combat on alien planets, but this collection enhances graphics and audio, making it the definitive Halo experience. Start with Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, and don’t stop until you see the credits roll on Halo 4. Note that the Xbox One edition is complete, while the PC collection only contains Combat Evolved and Halo Reach, with other games due later in 2020.
Play it now: Xbox One, PC
18. Resident Evil 2 Remake
Resident Evil 2 Remake is a double-whammy of replayability. If you’ve only ever played the 1998 original, then you simply have to take it for a spin, because with new puzzles, new locations, and new mechanics, it’s a completely different game. On top of that, you get a choice to play as two characters, Claire or Leon. Raccoon City stays the same either way, but the stories they experience differ, as does the characters they’ll interact with. Plus, on a second playthrough, zombies munch harder and take more damage, while puzzles are remixed to create new challenges. It means you haven’t really completed Resident Evil 2 Remake until you’ve played it twice.
Play it on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
17. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Sekiro gets better with every minute you play it. You start off hapless, getting sliced up by the weakest enemies in seconds. With each perfect counter and finishing move, your confidence, and sense of timing, improves. But it takes time to become a master shinobi, and you’ll still be making stupid mistakes 20 hours in. New Game Plus mode is a chance to show off just how far your sword fighting has come – it increases the already ridiculous difficulty across the board, but lets you keep all your previous upgrades. Basically, it’s you at your best versus enemies that won’t back down, and it’s the ultimate test of your skills. If that prospect doesn’t bring you back, remember that Sekiro has multiple endings, each with unique boss battles and unlockables attached.
Play it now: PC, Xbox One, PS4
16. The Stanley Parable
The Stanley Parable, one of the wittiest videogames of all time, was specifically designed to be replayed. Each run is short, unique, and leads to one of 19 endings. They’re uniformly unexpected. One transports you, for an instant, into Minecraft; another takes you to heaven, complete with a choir and 432 buttons to press (don’t ask). You’ll want to see each one, but what makes it so replayable is its legendary narrator, who responds in real time to your actions. Every time you boot it up you start in the same office cubicle, but every decision – whether to walk through a blue or red door, for example – turns into an adventure thanks to the narrator’s commentary. Something as simple as hiding in a cupboard will yield a five minute monologue about how determined you are to stay put.
Play it on: PC
15. Persona 5 Royal
Persona 5 Royal, like Resident Evil 2 Remake (see number 18) is more than a simple remaster. The Royal edition of the iconic 2016 JRPG somehow manages to improve on the surreal original, which many consider one of the greatest games of all-time. This 2020 rework includes a new character, a new school semester, a whole new location that’s bigger than any that existed in the original, new minigames, shops, armor, weapons – if you can think of it, developer Atlus has added it. Persona 5 was already an enormously replayable game, with 100+ hours worth of Tokyo to explore and a story that took a few goes to wrap your head around. The Royal version is the series’ crowning glory.
Play it now: PS4
14. Fallout 4
Whether Fallout 4 is the best game of the series is a matter of heated debate. But for us, it’s the most replayable Fallout game ever made, thanks to the scale of its map, the density of its quests and the ever-mounting number of systems you have to play with. With missions, crafting, settlements, economies, factions and companions, you’ll never run out of things to do, and that’s not to mention the hundreds of incidental details you’ll stumble across in its post-apocalyptic wasteland. If you’ve finished the story before, it’s worth jumping back in and wandering off in a random direction. Just go where the irradiated wind takes you.
Play it on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
13. Telling Lies
Telling Lies, from Her Story developer Sam Barlow, is a tale that you experience out of sequence. As former FBI agent Karen Douglas, you search through a database of video clips relating to an undercover operation. There are 170 clips in total, and you pull them up by searching for keywords. If you searched for the right word, you could pull the final, game-ending clip up on your first try. And while that’s highly unlikely, you will end up jumping forward and backwards between years. What we love about it is that the main plot beats are probably contained in a few dozen clips, with the rest adding flavour, and fleshing out the characters. Whichever clips you miss in your first playthrough, on your second, give new meaning to everything you know about the story, and perhaps make you interpret the game’s ending in a completely different way.
Play it now: PC, iOS
12. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s story isn’t full of choices, and it builds towards a singular ending. But it’s the vastness and richness of the world that makes it worth replaying. You won’t see everything it has to offer the first time around, and it’s worth returning to explore those shrines you didn’t get around to completing (there are 120 total), or that distant island you never ended up visiting. You’ll spot new details in places you thought you knew by heart, find new tricks for combining weapons, and if you visit locations in a different order than your first playthrough, it will almost feel like an entirely different game.
Play it on: Nintendo Switch
11. Nier: Automata
Nier: Automata boasts 26 endings, one for each letter of the alphabet – and remarkably, that’s not even the main reason you should replay it. The biggest reason to jump back in is that seeing the credits roll is only the start of your journey. A second playthrough is really an entirely new campaign that runs alongside the original story, but is told from another perspective, that of an android with a different hack-and-slash combat style to your first character. And once you’re done with your second playthrough, you guessed it, a whole other campaign opens up, continuing the events of the first two. Many of the 26 endings are silly jokes, but many offer meaningful differences and only trigger in specific circumstances. Add deep character customisation via “plug-in chips” you slot into your player characters, and you’ve got an action-RPG that’s worth a second (and a third, and a fourth) look.
Play it on: PC, Xbox One, PS4
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