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As developers began to push technological boundaries and craft digital experiences once believed to be impossible, games grew larger in both scale and scope. As a result, it can take those with little free time months of on-and-off play to finally reach a game’s end credits, and some titles can offer upwards of a hundred hours of unique content to experience. Disqualifying certain titles that turn into thousand-hour time sinks thanks to their lack of a definitive end goal, here are thirty games that take an insane amount of time just to reach the finish line.
Updated on May 29, 2021 by Anastasia Maillot: There have been a lot of very long games released over the past few years. With that in mind, it seemed like a good time to update this list to reflect these titles (and include a few others that definitely belong in their ranks).
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While Nintendo’s Wii U was a bit of a flop which featured no exclusive Zelda title, the Nintendo Switch launched with what may be the best game in the franchise. That may be a bit of a polarizing statement, but there’s no arguing that Breath of the Wild is a fully-realized, eloquently designed game which strikes at the very heart of what series fans love. Plus, BotW may also be one of the longest Zelda games, as many players seem to clock in somewhere around fifty hours before all is said and done. New and innovative while maintaining franchise staples that helped make the early games great, this Zelda title is a blast for the entire 46 hour campaign.
While Skyrim is famous for its potentially endless gameplay and Daggerfall is notable for including one of the largest open worlds to date in a video game, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind shouldn’t be overlooked for the startling amount of playtime made available during a time in which fully-fledged 3D open worlds were still sort of a new concept. Morrowind may not be the most memorable entry into Bethesda’s hit high fantasy series, but, demanding slightly under fifty hours of total playtime on average to reach the end credits, it certainly deserves a place in the hearts of fans of the land of Tamriel.
2012’s Tales of Graces F is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the first of a significant amount of JRPGs slated to make this list. Though a major success in Japan, the series popularity among Western audiences has been unreliable when compared to other, more exemplary titles in the genre. Tales of Graces F was originally developed for the Wii, though it later found its way to Sony’s PlayStation 3, earning generally favorable reviews in the process. Much like many modern JPRGs, this anime-inspired title weaves a long and complex narrative which players aren’t likely to sort there way through until they near the fifty-hour mark.
Originally released in 2009, Star Ocean - The Last Hope is billed as a precursor to the mainline Star Ocean franchise and carries with it many of the sci-fi anime overtones for which the series is known. It is vaguely reminiscent to something like Final Fantasy VII blended with a space exploration title like No Man’s Sky, though it released nearly ten years before the latter game.
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JRPG fans had ought to get their money’s worth out of the roughly 48 hours it takes the average person to beat the main storyline, and those looking to get in on the interstellar fun can pick up last year’s remaster on the PlayStation Store and Steam.
Though Demon’s Souls was the first FromSoftware game to really introduce the concept of a fully-realized, immensely difficult dark fantasy RPG to the masses, 2011’s Dark Souls was the release which brought both the series and studio fame. Touted as being one of the most compelling RPGs of the seventh console generation, novice players can expect their first journey into Lordran to take up to and perhaps beyond fifty hours. While veteran gamers with extensive experience may be able to breeze through this game in a matter of hours, most will be in it for the long, failure-ridden haul. The release of a brand-new remaster of this title means that there has never been a better time for curious players to see how they fare in this cruel world.
The Final Fantasy series is known for its lengthy games, but the amount of content on offer in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is made all the more impressive by the fact that it was developed for Nintendo’s Gameboy Advance console. Notable for its extensive narrative and gameplay reminiscent of other GBA titles like the Advance Wars series, Tactics Advance remains one of the most talked-about classic Final Fantasy games in the modern era. This little gem proves that gamers don’t need larger-than-life boss fights or 700 square miles of plays pace to have a good time—the only thing we really need is a keen tactical instinct.
Darkest Dungeon is a tough-as-nails horror-fantasy RPG which is known for its unique, totally creepy Lovecraftian aesthetic. Players starting up a new campaign will find themselves faced with the totally overwhelming prospect of driving out an ancient, unknown eldritch force from the grounds of an ancestor"s old and storied manor. Failure and frustration are guaranteed for all who make it past the tutorial (which you could theoretically fail if you really didn’t know what you were doing), though the few veterans who make it to the final boss will have earned themselves some serious bragging rights. 2015’s indie Kickstarter darling Darkest Dungeon should take, on average, around fifty-odd hours to finish, though individual mileage may vary drastically.
Another recently-released indie darling, Stardew Valley merges all of the fun of farm management ala something like Harvest Moon and combines it with the action-packed dungeon crawling bliss of a title like Crypt of the Necrodancer or The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth.
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As relaxing and leisurely-paced as it is enthralling and time-consuming, this unique combination of gameplay will help to propel players past the fifty hour mark. Stardew Valley isn’t necessarily a game for completionists, though; it’s more about kicking back, relaxing, planting some crops and tending to the needs of your burgeoning farm.
Disgaea: Hour of Darkness is quite possibly the most Japanese game to ever see release in The West. Initially developed for the PlayStation 2, the Disgaea series has gone on to spawn a number of sequels, a manga, and even an anime series titled Makai Senki Disgaea. A turn-based tactical JRPG in some ways reminiscent of Square Enix’s Final Fantasy Tactics games, this title, which is the first in the Disgaea series, is a must play for fans of this style of gameplay. In keeping with unwritten Japanese RPG tradition, this title is incredibly long and takes players around sixty hours on average to reach the credit crawl.
An adaptation of a polish series of high fantasy novels of the same name, The Witcher series of video games, through spawned of humble origins, has gone on to include some of the most compelling gameplay experiences of the last ten years. Anyone even remotely interested in fantasy RPGs needs to give the series third entry, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, a try, and there’s enough content on offer in the base game and its two expansions to keep invested players returning for years to come. The series has become so popular that Netflix created a show based on the books—an unmitigated testament to the title’s quality.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is a bizarre mix of Japanese high school student-centric anime and tactical turn-based RPG combat ala something like Valkyria Chronicles. Focused on a group of students intent on defeating some sort of oppressive regime, Trails of Cold Steel probably wasn’t intended for total newcomers to the JRPG genre. That said, this title, and the entire series of which it is part, is highly acclaimed and absolutely packed with content. That said, it has been pegged as the type of title that “only gets good around the 20 hour mark,” so impatient players had best beware.
Heroes of Might and Magic III is a turn-based strategy RPG which was a foundational title in the expansive Heroes of Might and Magic series of games as well as holding seminal influence over many similar games today. Players of Heroes III are given control over a set of titular heroes who act as generals in a campaign to accomplish one of several predetermined goals. Players can spend dozens of hours enacting fabulous campaigns of conquest and resource acquisition, all set against a backdrop of surreal high-fantasy. An average playthrough seems to take upwards of sixty hours, though this is definitely the sort of niche title which inclined players may find themselves continuing long after their first campaign comes to an end.
18 Dragon Quest VIII: Journey Of The Cursed King (66 Hour Average)
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King was the first in the longrunning Dragon Quest series to actually feature fully 3D environments and character models, a major graphical advance from the 2D and isometric pseudo-3D techniques employed in past titles. Yet another JRPG, this entry into the Dragon Quest series involves a fantastical mission to break a spell which has turned the royalty the Kingdom of Troidan into trolls, horses, and plants.
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That is, of course, only scratching the surface, and interested players will find themselves investing well over sixty hours into this game before all is said and done. Series fans are abuzz thanks to the recent release of Dragon Quest XI, though players unfamiliar with these games may want to give this one a try first.
A traditional, pen-and-paper-esque RPG adventure first released in 2014, Divinity: Original Sin is almost overwhelmingly complex and should be met with a bit of apprehension from genre newcomers. It is, nevertheless, a fantastic title brimming with content and adventure, and even seasoned RPG players may find themselves approaching the seventy hour mark before they see all of the content on offer here. Gripping, fun, and thoroughly addicting, this title may be one of the best classic RPG titles to be released over the last decade. Plus, a fairly accessible set of modding tools are sure to keep the community thriving for years to come, not to mention its sequel Original Sin 2, which provides even more amusement with better graphics.
An Xbox One launch title, Forza Motorsport 5 offers perhaps the most depth and complexity available in a game of this nature to date. Offering around 200 vehicles to race, tinker with, and drool over, Motorsport 5 delivers just shy of seventy hours worth of pure, next-gen racing bliss, though hardcore fans of the series are likely to spend much more time with the title. That said, Forza Motorsport 5 was a notable downgrade from the series previous title, which boasted an impressive 500-odd cars. At the end of the day, though, this Xbox One exclusive still provides plenty of content for the average fan to sink their teeth into.
A successor to the fantastic yet relatively overlooked Wii exclusive Xenoblade Chronicles, 2015’s open-world sci-fi JRPG Xenoblade Chronicles X was an evolution for the series in every sense of the world. Jaw-dropping in terms of both size and graphical fidelity on Nintendo’s comparatively under-powered Wii U console, X invites players to hop into a mech suit and explore the desolate and often inhospitable landscape surrounding New Los Angeles. A fanciful and decidedly Japanese take on space colonization, the title’s weird and wonderful world, though entirely detached from prior franchise titles, should keep players engaged for quite a long time.
The 2013 remastering of the 90’s RPG classic Baldur’s Gate II introduced a few quality of life features and generally improved what was quickly becoming a relic of a bygone computing era. That said, in keeping with RPGs available at the time, Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition is remarkably complex and a Dungeons and Dragons-esque romp intended for players at home with titles of that sort. Featuring character creation and customization options thorough enough to put the likes of Bethesda’s Skyrim to shame, players will likely invest at least seventy hours in conquering the content present in Baldur’s Gate II, its Throne of Bhaal expansion, as well as a few new pieces of content exclusive to the remaster.
A beautiful world and a beautiful story, Red Dead Redemption 2 delivered what it promised upon release. It provided an immersive Western gameplay experience with great gunplay, meaningful stories and various other quests and activities to make Arthur"s time on the frontier more pleasant.
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Given how vast the world is and how roaming around, discovering all the details is so rewarding, it"s no surprise that players spend on average 73 hours or more playing it.
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2015’s mainline Fallout release, despite serving as a fantastic visual upgrade, disappointed many longtime series fans. Stemming from hardcore isometric RPG roots, the Fallout series seems to have emphasized its shooting mechanics and gradually stripped away many core RPG elements since Bethesda Softworks began producing franchise titles back in 2008. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Fallout 4 is necessarily lacking in content. With an adequately sized slice of New England and a smattering of DLC locations to explore, the Game of the Year edition of Bethesda’s second in-house developed Fallout title can take gamers around 78 hours to explore on average.
Before Grand Theft Auto V modernized the series and included the beloved yet often critiqued Grand Theft Auto Online, series fans by-and-large looked to 2004’s Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as the greatest example of the open-world mayhem sandbox formula. Though 2013’s iteration may have offered a visual upgrade, San Andreas still has the newer title beat in terms of sheer gameplay possibilities. Leisurely players can quite easy pass the 80 hour mark before wrapping up the game, and some hardcore fans have yet to put the game down fourteen years after release.