By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use. Close

Forums - Gaming Discussion - Game length vs. replay value


Do longer games typically have less replay value for you?

Yes 38 74.51%
No 13 25.49%

I was watching the latest Jimquisition, and Sterling brought up and criticized the concept of "value = price/hours of gameplay in one playthrough," a metric that even gamers have been perpetuating as an absolute standard for years. While I'm not here to criticize that metric specifically, it did get me thinking about concepts of game length and value. Now, of course that metric only ever seems to apply to single-player titles, with multiplayer games being exempted for obvious reasons. But in any case, I think a single-player game's value can't simply be expressed purely by average playthrough length. Other factors have to be taken into account as well, namely replay value. And personally, I feel that playthrough length and replay value are as a general rule inversely correlated.

I grew up in the 80s & early 90s when most games that weren't JRPGs could reasonably be beaten in one to four hours. Most of my all-time favorite games are older games that I can beat in one to three sessions, and I have replayed them many times.  As an example, I can beat Mega Man 2 in about an hour, and that was a game that cost over $80 when it first come out when you adjust for inflation. Many gamers would consider that a rip-off today, and short, old-school experiences like that are often relegated to indie titles, rarely making appearances on store shelves. I've always felt that the shorter play time encourages me to replay these older games on a more regular basis because of the lesser time commitment.

Meanwhile, so many modern games are massive time sinks. When games transitioned to 3D, the adventures were scaled up. Now games could take 8, 15, 20 hours or more to complete, and especially with the rise of open-world games, the amount of time you can invest in a single game before finishing it has grown even more, with some games taking 40-50 hours or more. Given available free time, it can be several weeks between when I start the game and when I finish it. Games that I thoroughly enjoyed on a gameplay level still felt like they overstayed their welcome, often thanks to pacing issues and busy work that may or may not have been there to meet some arbitrary 20/30/40+ hours of gameplay per playthrough that so many gamers demand. There's been many games that I simply don't replay that often, or have never replayed, because of the time investment needed, even if I did enjoy them during my time with them. My time is finite, and I not only have the standard work and family/social obligations that take up a huge chunk of time, but even in my own personal "me" time I have to decide if I want to spend it on the internet, or watching TV or movies, or playing video games. And if I choose to spend that time with video games, I have to take into account how much time must be invested into a particular game. Given my finite time, I really would rather limit the amount of games I buy that would take me twenty or more sessions to complete and would rarely play again because there's other games I might want to play as well.

Honestly, I think we need more shorter games. I wouldn't mind at all if I had to pay $60 for a solid single player experience lasting 8 hours or less, so long as the gameplay was good (for example The Order 1886's problem wasn't that it was a short game by today's standards; it's problem was it was painfully mediocre). I can enjoy a game that I can beat in one or two sittings so long as it's a quality experience. Hell, the shorter play time means I'd be more likely to replay it on a regular basis because of the lesser time commitment.

Now, this isn't always the case for everyone. I know someone who plays through the Mass Effect games regularly despite how long they are. Even I have a couple of long games that I've replayed quite a few times, such as both Final Fantasy IV & VII. But I'd like to know how a game's playthrough time affects replay value for others as well. Do you regularly replay games that take a lot of time to complete, or do you replay them rarely or ever? Does a game being shorter make you want to replay it more? Or does the length of a playthrough have no bearing on a game's replay value for you?

Last edited by Shadow1980 - on 25 May 2018


In accordance to the VGC forum rules, §8.5, I hereby exercise my right to demand to be left alone regarding the subject of the effects of the pandemic on video game sales (i.e., "COVID bump").

Around the Network

Replay value is a factor for example action titles like Bayonetta, DMC, W101 etc... thrive on replay value as they have huge mechanical depth allowing multiple ways to approach the game. It comes down to the type of player the individual is at the end of the day me personally replay value is just as good as a decent sized playthrough.

To me it's about neither, it's about how much I enjoyed it. If I buy a game that only lasts 10 hours, and I never feel like playing again, well, if those 10 hours were great enough to make the short campaign and little replay value worth it, it's fine. In fact it's rare that I care much about the price at all or feel ripped off, because I usually make the most of every game I buy - which is to say, I often replay single-player games even when mostly everyone else thinks they don't have any replay value.

Thinking back, almost all of my favorite games are games that I can replay over and over and beat in a couple of days. Certain longer games, I often think "That's enough. You made your point. Please let me get to the credits!"

Twitter: @d21lewis

d21lewis said:
Thinking back, almost all of my favorite games are games that I can replay over and over and beat in a couple of days. Certain longer games, I often think "That's enough. You made your point. Please let me get to the credits!"

Link to the Past to me is the quintessential adventure game and completely beatable in a matter of days. All these 100+ hour games are sometimes overwhelming, sometimes having to dedicate months of time in order to complete. But it's par the course I guess

Around the Network

I'm personally not one to replay games, long or short, I like to beat a game and then move onto the next title. However, I do believe that having a mix of short and long titles helps manage the pace of all of the titles, and that it keeps me from getting fatigued.

I'm a busy man. Can't afford a bunch of timesinks. Lots of content is great if there's actual substance to it, but 'hrs/$' isn't a metric I normally mind.

I like them both. Depends on my mood.

I tend to gravitate toward longer adventures though.

Nintendo Switch Friend Code: SW-5643-2927-1984

Animal Crossing NH Dream Address: DA-1078-9916-3261

Remember when everyone bashed Star Fox Zero for being beatable in 2-3 hours? Well, I've beaten it over and over again for fun and now I'm clocking at more than 70 hours.

I agree with everything what OP says. I never feel ripped off if a game is short, but I get mad when the gameplay sucks.

Gameplay > Graphics

Substance > Style

Art Direction > Realism

If you like short games, have at it but don't try to convince me that it makes the game better or of a higher value. Replay value adds to game length/overall playtime. In general, short games have less content and total hours of entertainment than long games.