Best Replayable Games
There are a few games in your collection that you play through once and never touch again. However, you can also point to other titles that you play multiple times because of the story or mechanics. Some of these games shaped your childhood experience or opened your eyes to a new subgenre in video games. Years after their release, you still revisit these games.
The following are 15 games picked by you, the Tom’s Hardware community, as the most replayable games of all time. We’ll show the selected titles from the bottom of the list to the number one slot.
While you're here, you can cast your vote again in new categories in our ongoing Tom's Hardware Definitive List of PC Games threads in our forums. Be sure to head over to our PC Gaming forum page and contribute to the conversation.
Update, 8/6/2017, 8:00pm PDT: Corrected inaccuracies in the descriptions for Rise of Nations and Age of Empires II, and added a new image for Diablo II.
#15: 'Thief: Deadly Shadows'
Previous games in the Thief series featured only missions, but Thief: Deadly Shadows finally allows you to explore the City between missions. Aside from offering a glimpse into the lives of the other residents in the City, you can use the exploration time to further hone your thieving skills by taking on additional side quests or looting as many items as possible from select houses and storefronts. When you’re done emptying the coffers of City residents, move on to the next mission and try your luck as you sneak past enemies in search of extraordinary treasure.
#14: 'Metro: Last Light Redux'
The remastered version of Metro: Last Light features more than just graphical and gameplay improvements. It includes the four previously released downloadable content packages, which add new missions and challenges. You can choose to play the game in one of two modes: Spartan Mode provides you with more resources in order to get a more action-packed experience, and for a tougher challenge, try Survival Mode, which is more akin to the game’s predecessor, Metro 2033, due to the scarcity of supplies and ammunition.
At its heart, Factorio is about gathering resources and creating items. With an army of machines at your disposal, you can automate the gathering and production processes from start to finish. As you continue to gather more resources, you make constant adjustments to your production line by adding new machines or a labyrinth of conveyer belts. What starts out as a simple way to gather coal or iron can eventually turn into a massive facility to manufacture hundreds of products. If you’re not playing in Peaceful Mode, enemies will attack your facility, so you need to create defensive structures to protect your expensive machines from local residents.
#12: 'Dwarf Fortress'
The main attraction for most fans of Dwarf Fortress is Fortress Mode, where you manage seven dwarves of varying skills. These dwarves will construct a fortress based on your chosen biome and starting equipment. Afterwards, you need to keep them happy with food and alcohol. Your dwarves can take on different jobs within the fortress, such as mining, woodcutting, masonry, and jewelry.
The goal is to survive for as long as possible, but at some point your game ends when all of your dwarves die from a hostile encounter, illness, or old age. With the lessons learned from your latest group of dwarves, you can start the game anew and attempt to keep your dwarven population alive for as long as possible.
If you want a change of pace, try Adventurer Mode, which allows you to create a single character and travel the game world to take on quests and fight enemies.
#11: 'Halo 2'
Bungie’s highly-anticipated sequel to the hit 2001 game features a different approach to the campaign. You still follow the journey of the Master Chief, but you also play as the Arbiter, a former commanding officer within the hostile Covenant force. These two characters are your window to the conflict between humanity, the Covenant, and the ever-present and mysterious Halo rings.
Aside from the campaign, you can test your shooting skills online against other players. Joining a playlist lets you try different game modes such as the free-for-all chaos of the Rumble Pit or the team-based combat of Team Skirmish.
#10: 'Wing Commander'
As a pilot onboard the Tiger’s Claw, you head out on multiple sorties in the ongoing fight against the Kilrathis. Succeeding in missions brings you and your allies one step closer to the Kilrathi high command. However, you might also lose some battles, and you’ll need to defend your ship against the incoming Kilrathi fleet. This idea of constant progression in the campaign, regardless of victory or defeat in combat, results in one of two different endings for the story. If your forces are overwhelmed by the Kilrathis, you will need to play the entire campaign again and improve your flight skills in order to claim victory over the hostile aliens.
Blizzard’s competitive first-person shooter has a massive roster of characters (aka “heroes”), and each one has its own set of unique abilities you can use in combat. It doesn’t take long to learn the nuances of each character, but if you want to be proficient with a specific hero, you’ll need to play with them for more than just a few hours. Depending on your skills--and those of your teammates--matches can be an exhilarating experience or a crushing realization that you need to refine your skills with your chosen hero.
#8: 'Rise Of Nations'
Rise of Nations is a strategy game that puts you in charge of one of 18 civilizations, and you have to lead your people to victory through territorial conquest. In order to increase the size of your territory, you need to construct Forts, or even another city, near your border. In addition, you have to create multiple buildings that gather resources or produce civilian and military units. With enough territory and a large army or workforce at your disposal, you can conquer the world.
Minecraft continues to be a popular title because of its simplistic but engaging gameplay. By gathering blocks of different resources, you can create any structure, from a simple house to an elaborate castle. If you don’t want to build alone, there’s always the option to join other players to start a massive building project. If the creative aspect doesn’t suit you, try out Survival mode, wherein you have to protect yourself against zombies who come out at night.
#6: 'Counter-Strike: Global Offensive'
Just like Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is easy to learn yet hard to master because you need to improve your reaction time if you want to kill an enemy. With each match, whether it’s a win or loss, you learn more about the different game maps and the best places to pick off your enemies with pistols, assault rifles, or sniper rifles. Most of all, you improve your reaction time with each kill to the point where aiming down the sights and pulling the trigger is second nature. In addition to taking out the enemy, be sure to work with your teammates to plant the bomb if you’re on the terrorist team, or disarm it if you’re playing as the counter-terrorists.