In the ever-evolving world of gaming, one thing remains constant: the allure of epic adventures that span hours, days, or even weeks. Long video games, while demanding a substantial investment of time, have a unique charm that keeps players hooked and invested in their virtual worlds.
The idea of embarking on a journey that unfolds gradually, offering rich narratives, complex gameplay, and a sense of accomplishment like no other is something that has captured the hearts of gamers for generations.
In this article, we’ll dive into the world of these enduring gaming experiences. We’ll present a carefully curated list of long games that not only justify the time you dedicate but also stand as prime examples of what the medium can achieve. These are the titles that have pushed the boundaries of storytelling, exploration, and strategy, and have left an indelible mark on the gaming landscape.
So, whether you’re a seasoned gamer seeking your next epic conquest or a newcomer looking for the perfect adventure to immerse yourself in, join us as we explore nine very long games that are truly worth every second of your time.
What are Long Games?
When it comes to the world of video games, the notion of “long” isn’t merely a matter of a few hours of gameplay. Long games represent a category of digital adventures that require a significant investment of your time and commitment. But what exactly qualifies a game to be considered “long,” and why are they so appealing, despite the considerable challenges they present?
Qualifying the Length: Defining a long game often centers around the amount of time required to complete its core content and experience all that it has to offer. While the precise number of hours may vary from player to player and game to game, a long game is generally one that extends well beyond the 20-hour mark. These are the titles that won’t be conquered in a single sitting, and they often boast expansive worlds, intricate narratives, and a multitude of quests and challenges that keep players engaged for an extended period.
The Appeal of Long Games: So, what is it about long games that makes them so enticing? The appeal lies in the depth and complexity they offer. Long games are a canvas for developers to craft intricate stories, detailed open worlds, and diverse gameplay experiences. They provide a sense of immersion and continuity that shorter titles may not achieve. Gamers who invest in long games often become emotionally attached to the characters and the virtual worlds they inhabit. The feeling of embarking on an epic journey, witnessing character development, and uncovering hidden secrets can be deeply rewarding.
The Challenges of Long Games: Despite their allure, long games come with their own set of challenges. The most apparent one is the sheer time commitment required. Balancing a long game with the demands of everyday life can be daunting. Moreover, the risk of burnout or losing interest midway through a lengthy adventure is a real concern. Long games need to maintain a player’s engagement and enthusiasm throughout, which can be a delicate balancing act for developers.
As we go into this list of exceptional long games, we’ll explore why they not only meet the definition of length but also conquer the challenges, emerging as experiences that are truly worth every moment of your time.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, developed by CD Projekt Red, is a name that echoes through the halls of gaming with resounding acclaim. Released in 2015, this role-playing masterpiece quickly became a benchmark for long-form gaming experiences. Set in a dark and expansive fantasy world, The Witcher 3 has earned its reputation as one of the most popular and critically acclaimed titles of its era. With countless awards and an ardent fan base, it’s a game that epitomizes the very essence of what long games can offer.
Gameplay Features: What sets The Witcher 3 apart is the sumptuous blend of its open-world design, captivating narrative, and immersive gameplay. At its core, you step into the boots of Geralt of Rivia, a grizzled monster hunter with supernatural abilities. The game’s open world, known as the Continent, is teeming with life, packed with towns, cities, forests, and mountains, each harboring its own stories and secrets. This open-world design is not just vast; it’s meticulously crafted, making exploration a genuine adventure.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, often referred to simply as “Skyrim,” is a colossal and iconic role-playing game developed by Bethesda Game Studios. Released in 2011, it has left an indelible mark on the gaming world and remains a beloved classic. Skyrim is a game that invites players to step into a sprawling and breathtaking fantasy realm filled with wonders, danger, and boundless opportunities.
What sets Skyrim apart and makes it an exceptional long game is its expansive open world. The land of Skyrim is a vast and diverse place, stretching from towering snow-capped mountains to dense forests and ancient ruins. The world is brimming with life, inhabited by various races, creatures, and factions, each with their own stories and quests to explore. The sense of scale is staggering, and the freedom to explore it all at your own pace is a defining feature.
Skyrim offers a level of player agency that is a rarity in the gaming world. The game doesn’t impose a linear narrative or restrict you to a specific path. Instead, it encourages you to forge your own destiny. You can choose to be a heroic dragon slayer, an enigmatic thief, a powerful mage, or a combination of these and more. Your decisions influence not only the story but also the world itself, leading to a multitude of possible outcomes. The freedom to be who you want and play how you want is a hallmark of Skyrim.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2, developed by Rockstar Games, is a masterpiece that takes players on a journey to the fading days of the American Wild West. Released in 2018, it’s a prequel to the original Red Dead Redemption and offers an intricately woven narrative that’s as compelling as the vast open world it unfolds within.
Set in 1899, the game follows Arthur Morgan, an outlaw and member of the Van der Linde gang, led by Dutch van der Linde. The gang is on the run from law enforcement and struggling to survive in a rapidly changing world. As Arthur, you’ll navigate the moral complexities of the gang’s activities, forming bonds and making choices that shape the destiny of both Arthur and the gang itself.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is renowned for its exceptionally immersive and expansive open world. The game transports you to the American heartland, featuring a meticulously crafted map that encompasses prairies, swamps, snowy mountains, small frontier towns, and bustling cities. The attention to detail is staggering; every inch of this world feels alive and authentic.
The wildlife, the changing weather, and the interactions between characters add to the sense of immersion. You can hunt, fish, engage in gambling, rob trains, stagecoach heists, and even just sit by a campfire and enjoy the stunning scenery. The world is not just a backdrop but an integral part of the experience, with its own set of challenges, adventures, and hidden stories waiting to be uncovered.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Divinity: Original Sin 2, developed by Larian Studios, is an acclaimed and beloved role-playing game that has taken the RPG genre by storm. Originally released in 2017, it has continued to gain recognition for its depth, complexity, and the richness of its storytelling. This is a game that invites you to step into a vibrant, high-fantasy world where your choices hold real weight.
Original Sin 2 apart from other RPGs is its intricately woven narrative and its innovative gameplay mechanics. The game offers not just one story but a multitude of them, shaped by your choices, party composition, and interactions. You’ll find yourself embroiled in political intrigue, facing moral dilemmas, and engaging with a diverse cast of characters, each with their own ambitions and agendas.
The game allows you to create your own character or choose from a set of diverse pre-made characters, each with their own unique stories and quests. This diversity extends to the richly developed world where a myriad of factions, races, and histories intertwine. The narrative encourages exploration and curiosity, letting you uncover the lore of the world at your own pace.
Dark Souls Series
The Dark Souls series, developed by FromSoftware, has earned a reputation as one of the most challenging and unforgiving gaming experiences. Known for its intricate level design, punishing difficulty, and atmospheric storytelling, these games have become a hallmark of the action RPG genre. Released over several installments, including Dark Souls, Dark Souls II, and Dark Souls III, the series has left an indelible mark on gamers worldwide.
The defining characteristic of the Dark Souls series is its unrelenting difficulty. These games are designed to push players to their limits, demanding precise timing, strategic thinking, and unwavering determination. Enemies are formidable, traps are deadly, and death is a common occurrence. The term “you died” has become synonymous with Dark Souls, yet it’s this difficulty that sets the series apart.
In Dark Souls, players must navigate intricate and interconnected worlds filled with towering bosses and relentless foes. The gameplay is methodical and requires players to learn from their mistakes, adapt, and overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. The brutal difficulty isn’t a hindrance; it’s a defining feature that challenges players to persevere.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, developed and published by Nintendo, is a masterpiece that redefined the action-adventure and open-world gaming genres. Released in 2017, it swiftly garnered widespread critical acclaim and became a staple in the gaming world. As the latest installment in the iconic Legend of Zelda series, it managed to strike a perfect balance between tradition and innovation, captivating players with its vast open world and creative gameplay.
Open-World Exploration and Innovative Mechanics: Breath of the Wild’s defining feature is its colossal, open world that invites players to embark on an epic journey through the land of Hyrule. The sheer sense of scale is awe-inspiring, with towering mountains, lush forests, expansive plains, and ancient ruins waiting to be explored. The world is teeming with life, and the environment is as much a character as the legendary hero, Link.
One of the game’s most innovative aspects is the freedom it bestows upon players. Unlike its predecessors, Breath of the Wild allows you to venture almost anywhere from the moment you begin your adventure. There are no boundaries or hand-holding; you can climb, swim, and paraglide across the vast terrain, making exploration feel limitless.
The gameplay mechanics are equally groundbreaking. The game introduces a dynamic physics system that allows players to interact with the environment in inventive ways. You can solve puzzles by rolling boulders, manipulate metal objects using magnets, and set the world ablaze to create updrafts for gliding. This flexibility in problem-solving gives players a tremendous sense of agency and creativity.
Monster Hunter: World
Monster Hunter: World, developed and published by Capcom, is an action RPG that transports players into a captivating world filled with massive, fearsome creatures. Released in 2018, it’s the latest installment in the long-running Monster Hunter series and has garnered widespread acclaim for its thrilling gameplay loop, depth, and cooperative elements.
At the heart of Monster Hunter: World is a thrilling and addictive gameplay loop that revolves around hunting and battling colossal monsters. Players assume the role of a Hunter and are tasked with tracking, studying, and ultimately facing off against these formidable beasts. The game offers a diverse array of weapons and armor, each with its own unique mechanics and playstyle, allowing for a highly customizable and dynamic experience.
The complexity lies in the variety of monsters and their intricate behaviors. Each creature presents a unique challenge, from towering elder dragons to agile wyverns. To succeed, players must not only master their chosen weapon but also adapt their strategies to exploit the weaknesses of their prey. The hunt involves careful preparation, crafting items, and learning the monsters’ attack patterns, creating a deeply engaging and strategic experience.
Stardew Valley, developed by ConcernedApe (Eric Barone), is a charming and addictive simulation game that invites players to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and embark on a journey to restore a dilapidated farm. Released in 2016, it quickly became a beloved title, praised for its simplicity, depth, and heartwarming experience.
At its core, Stardew Valley is a farming simulation game. Players inherit a run-down farm and are tasked with transforming it into a thriving agricultural and community hub. The game offers a wealth of activities: planting crops, raising animals, mining, fishing, and engaging with the local townsfolk. The simulation aspect extends beyond just farming; it delves into life’s nuances, such as building relationships, participating in festivals, and exploring the caves that lie beneath the valley.
The passage of time, changing seasons, and the ever-evolving nature of the game world give Stardew Valley a sense of realism. Players must strategize, plan their days, and decide how to allocate their resources efficiently. It’s a game where the simple act of planting and harvesting crops becomes a satisfying and addictive routine.
Hollow Knight, created by Team Cherry, is a masterful example of the Metroidvania genre, fusing together elements from the Metroid and Castlevania series to create a uniquely captivating experience. This critically acclaimed indie game, released in 2017, has enthralled players with its dark and mysterious world, challenging gameplay, and captivating storytelling.
Hollow Knight’s Metroidvania style revolves around exploration, intricate level design, and non-linear progression. The game introduces players to the subterranean world of Hallownest, an eerie and beautifully crafted realm filled with secrets and dangers. You control the titular character, the Knight, on a quest to uncover the mysteries of the underground world, confronting various enemies and bosses along the way.
The game’s non-linear structure encourages players to backtrack and explore previously inaccessible areas as they gain new abilities and tools. Each location in Hallownest is interconnected, allowing for a sense of immersion and discovery as you navigate the labyrinthine tunnels, hidden passages, and interconnected areas.