We all have those comfort games. Not multiplayer games. Not unstructured games. Those games that we play front to back repeatedly, whether it's for the story, for how they play, or for the times they remind us of.
For this week's community question, we ask this: What's your most replayed game, and why?
Surprisingly, I'm not all that huge on replaying games. Part of that is I'm not huge on redoing an experience unless I'm diving in to talk more about it and part of that is I don't really have the time to revisit games unless it's for work. Given that, my most replayed games are probably the games that I never stop playing, like World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV.
Outside of the games that never end, my most replayed game is probably Final Fantasy Tactics. I've purchased Tactics on the original PlayStation twice, PlayStation Portable, PSOne Classics, and Android. I rarely end up beating the game; It's the kind of game you need to complete only once or twice. But I do have fun trying out new strategies and building new squads.
Sure, I could roll hard with a mostly Monk crew, but I tend to go a bit off beat. Can I finish this fight with only Black Mages? Can I beat the solo fight against Wiegraf as an Archer or Chemist? How vicious is an entire team of Geomancers? (Very.) These are the kinds of things that are fun for me if I'm going to revisit a game. It's about trying something new, not experiencing the same thing again.
The runner-up is probably Disgaea. Whichever is the newest portable release.
Whoof. I suppose any RPG in my SNES library qualifies, but especially Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy VI, and Chrono Trigger. I sure knew how to make those things last! Here's the interesting thing about replaying those games as a kid, though: I basically picked over their bones over and over in hopes of finding any scraps of secrets or lore I might've overlooked. The internet wasn't widespread during the golden era of 16-bit RPGs, and the communities you did find were prone to spreading rumors for laughs and attention ("instructions" on how to revive General Leo in Final Fantasy VI were more plentiful on '90s Internet than transcribed Bible passages).
So I played my RPGs over and over in hopes of breaking through some walls and stumbling on some revelations. I wanted character arcs to close, and I wanted loose ends to tie themselves together. I don't think I found anything of note, which kind of sucked when you're a kid who's desperate to know what happened to Schala at the end of Chrono Trigger (Good thing we eventually got our answer, I guess).
In this line of work, I can't afford to replay games anymore. But I used to do it a lot. I've probably played Uncharted 2 a dozen times. I've played Persona 3 three times, which is a huge time sink. (Twice with FES, once with Portable.)
I think I've said this before on podcasts, but I think the game I've replayed the most is Kingdom Hearts, honestly. When I first got a PlayStation 2 as a kid (keep in mind that I'm 25 going on 80), for a long time the only game I owned was Kingdom Hearts. So I played it endlessly. I kept a journal of all its crafting components, and drop rates for said items necessary to synthesize keyblades. I mastered all the secret bosses, even the dreaded Sephiroth. (Who is actually pretty easy if you're good at dodge rolling.) Kingdom Hearts was the game I once knew front to back, and could speed through with relative ease, or savor for the runthroughs where I wanted to best my 100 percent completion times.
And then I played it again many years later on PlayStation 3, and it was like a rude awakening. Kingdom Hearts does not hold up like I hoped it would, but at least I have those memories of playing it over and over and over again, memorizing cutscenes by accident just from the amount of time I played it. It still stands as the best Kingdom Hearts game by a mile (though Birth By Sleep is a worthy second best), and a weird experiment of how far corporations can go with licensing hell. I don't regret the time I spent playing it when I was younger; I still think the biggest emotional beats hold up because of the game's overall earnestness. ("My friends are my power!!!") And heck, I probably narrowly missed out on a full-time hobby of speedrunning. I missed my chance!