I’ve never, ever been one to replay games. The act isn’t completely foreign to me — three immediate playthroughs of The Last of Us: Part II, I’m looking at you — but I’m almost always looking ahead to what’s next after rolling credits. That is unless the Platinum Trophy is somewhat achievable, of course. I generally feel like I’m retreading old ground if I return to a game sometime later as most of its story beats come back to me and gameplay feels familiar, to the point where it’s a detriment. I get the impression I’m wasting my time by replaying an older title when there are many new games released every week on PlayStation platforms, so much so that it sort of confuses me when I hear about someone doing so.
The most bizarre thing of all though is that I actually understand it, to a point, because I have reckoned with this allure so many times. Let’s take last night, for example, when I decided it would be a good idea to start playing Fallout 3. Having already played the Bethesda RPG back in 2008 (it was one of the first games I ever pre-ordered), I had a fun few hours taking a trip down memory lane escaping Vault 101, exploring the open world, and visiting Megaton. I originally booted the game up on my Xbox Series X (sorry) with the intention of seeing the game through to its conclusion, but shortly after powering down the console following my play session, I questioned why I was doing it at all. This happens to me all the time — I’ll decide to try and replay an old game, enjoy it for an evening, and then promptly question why I was playing it in the first place. I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve gone through this thought process.
What’s that? I’m playing Fallout 3 in the year 2021? You’re goddamn right pic.twitter.com/ZO3KsYHxkB— Liam (@_Liaam__) March 16, 2021
It was all the recent Bethesda chatter that fuelled my decision to try and replay the publisher’s classics, but before the day is even done, I’ve thrown the idea out the window. Maybe it’s my indecisiveness and a mental problem unique to me, or maybe there are others amongst the Push Square community who feel the same. Even if I know the newer title isn’t anywhere near as good, I’d much rather be playing it instead of returning to a game that has already taken me through its motions. That even goes for experiences where player choice allows the narrative to be taken in different directions.
This hesitancy is then extrapolated when the friends and colleagues around me are managing it without issue. RPG obsessive deputy editor Robert Ramsey is currently working through his second playthrough of Yakuza: Like a Dragon on PS5 — I couldn’t even manage one, but that’s another topic. And that’s a 50+ hour game! I just cannot wrap my head around why you would want to invest so much time into a title you’ve already seen through to completion instead of checking out something new. Yeah, we are in the middle of a PS5 release drought, but there are still enough games hitting the PlayStation Store each week and titles you probably passed on the first time around to find something new to play. This isn’t a dig at Ramsey or anything, it’s just an example of an approach to playing games I can’t identify with.
Help me work out whether this line of thinking is exclusive to me or not. I very rarely replay games, and when I decide to do so, I’m reminded of why I don’t. Experiencing the same questlines and narratives I’ve already seen through to their conclusions, I very quickly lose interest and question why I thought it was a good idea in the first place. The problem is that I guarantee you I’ll find myself in the very same predicament a few months down the line when I’m struggling to find something new to play. So, share your own experiences to aid me in understanding why someone would opt to replay a game over trying something new. Why do you replay games?
How often do you replay games and why do you do it? Are you looking for a quick dose of nostalgia or do you plan to finish the game once more? Place your vote in our poll and expand on your thoughts in the comments below.