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Better
The Second Time
 

They might say that "the first cut is the deepest", but when it comes to video games there are many experiences where the second time through is the one that you really love. From games that intentionally offer a "New Game +" where you go again with more equipment and upgrades, to games that are more fun once you know what's really going on, this is a list of games that people love to play a second time.

There are different reasons to play a game a second time, once you have finished it. Maybe, like Somerville, you just enjoyed it so much that you just want to go again. Maybe there's a twist, like Bastion, at the end that subverts what happened at the start. Or maybe, like Oxenfree, the game unlocks items or narrative that requires more than one play.
 
This list includes 31 games from the last 26 years, with 726 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to get iteratively better.

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Journey

Release Date: 14/03/2012, updated in 2019

Out Now: PC, PS3, PS4 and iOS

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

Journey is an adventure game set in a desert. Exploring the eerie sandscape, you discover a world abandoned by the race that created it. The sense of space and scale evokes feelings of aloneness and being lost. But then the game pairs you with other...

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Release Date: 19/05/2015

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Open World and Weather

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an action-adventure game where you play monster-hunter Geralt in a vast open world as he searches for his missing adopted daughter. The game responds to your actions and has dynamic environments, weather and day–night...

The Last Of Us Part II

Release Date: 19/06/2020

Out Now: PS4

Skill Rating: 16+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Day and Night

The Last of Us Part II is an action-adventure game set five years after The Last of Us. You control two characters in a post-apocalyptic United States. Ellie is out for revenge after suffering a tragedy, and Abby is a...

Wayward Strand

Release Date: 15/09/2022

Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On, Cartoon and Hand-Made

Wayward Strand is a narrative game about Casey Beaumaris, an intrepid teenage journalist. You visit an airborne hospital, uncover the airship's mysteries, and explore the lives of its inhabitants. It's a Tintin-style point-and-click adventure with a...

Baldur's Gate 3

Release Date: 21/12/1998, updated in 2023

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS5 and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Dice and Open World

Baldur's Gate 3 is a role-playing game that recreates the Dungeons & Dragons experience in a digital world. You explore the world and fight enemies by rolling dice and weighing up your stats to see what happens. But...

The Pale Beyond

Release Date: 24/02/2023

Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, 2D Side-On and Day and Night

The Pale Beyond is a narrative simulation game where you captain an exploration ship stranded in the frozen Antarctic waters. You carefully manage and gather resources and keep your crew in good health to hopefully survive until the summer. It stands...

Barotrauma

Release Date: 13/03/2023

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Barotrauma is a cooperative space-submarine adventure set after humanity has fled to Jupiter's moon. You work with other players to steer your submarine, work the ageing machinery, fight monsters and fix the endless leaks. It's a game that revels in not...

The Last Of Us

Release Date: 14/06/2013

Out Now: PS3 and PS4

Skill Rating: 16+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Weather

The Last Of Us is an action-adventure where You play a father, Joel, whose daughter was killed during the early stages of a deadly fungal outbreak. It’s now 20 years later, and he has clearly suffered from the loss. When Joel is given charge of a...

Red Dead Redemption 2

Release Date: 26/10/2018, updated in 2019

Out Now: PC, PS4, Stadia and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Open World and Weather

Red Dead Redemption 2 is an adventure game with a wild west theme and a prequel to Red Dead Redemption. As you explore a vast and varied open world, you partake in shootouts, heists, and elaborate chases across the...

West of Loathing

Release Date: 01/06/2018

Out Now: Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

West of Loathing is a comedic adventure where you roleplay as a stickman cowboy. The quipping characters and intricate puzzles work best with teenagers, but the slapstick comedy will make anyone laugh. Traverse snake-infested gorges, punch skeletons...

Detroit: Become Human

Release Date: 25/05/2018

Out Now: PS4

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Detroit: Become Human is a branching narrative game from Quantic Dream, the studio behind Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls. This is the third game in the series and offers a more refined version of the filmic branching experience.

Oxenfree

Release Date: 14/01/2016, updated in 2016

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Oxenfree is an adventure game where a teenagers’ beach party spirals into a supernatural story. You guide the outcome with your choices as the well-written dialogue reveals characters coming to terms with family breakdown, death of a sibling, blame...

Beyond: Two Souls

Release Date: 08/10/2013, updated in 2019

Out Now: PC, PS3 and PS4

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Beyond: Two Souls is from the same developer as Detroit: Become Human and Heavy Rain. Although not a series, they follow a similar style and approach. They provide a filmic interactive experience of a story that branches in substantial ways depending on...

Heavy Rain

Release Date: 06/10/2010, updated in 2019

Out Now: PC, PS3 and PS4

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Weather

Heavy Rain is from the same Quantic Dream studio who made Beyond: Two Souls and Detroit: Become Human. It preceded these games but shared the same branching narrative and photo-realistic aspirations.

Bioshock

Release Date: 21/08/2007, updated in 2016

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

Bioshock is a first-person shooting game set in a fantastical underwater city. A dark story unfolds about the misuse of surgery and gene therapy, and what happens when a society develops with a power mad genius in control. It's an unusual combination of...

Dishonored (Series)

Release Date: 09/10/2012, updated in 2017

Out Now: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

Dishonored is an adventure game series set in the fictional, plague-ridden industrial city of Dunwall. You play Corvo Attano, bodyguard to the Empress of the Isles. But you are framed for her murder and forced to become an assassin.

Nier: Automata

Release Date: 23/02/2017, updated in 2018

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Components: 3D Third-Person

Nier: Automata is a role-playing game, that span off from the Drakengard series. It's set in an alternate future where there is a war between alien machines and human androids. But this isn't a game about winning the war. It's more focused on the plight...

Mass Effect (Series)

Release Date: 20/11/2007

Out Now: PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox X|S and iOS

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

Mass Effect is a sci-fi adventure where you role-play a soldier named Commander Shepard, who must save the galaxy from a race of powerful mechanical beings. The series started in 2007 and has fourth substantial instalments that take you from that first...

Somerville

Release Date: 15/11/2022

Out Now: PC and Xbox X|S

Components: 2D Side-On

Somerville is an atmospheric platform game about a family in a warzone. A man, a woman, their child and their dog work to survive and progress through the landscape.

Upheaval

Release Date: 03/10/2022, updated in 2023

Out Now: Android, Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: Day and Night and Text

Upheaval is a narrative game where you have 30 days in a village before a wizard arrives. In those days, you can stir up chaos, lay low, go adventuring or do countless other activities. With over 5000 possible endings, it stands out for the sheer...

Dark Souls II

Release Date: 11/03/2014

Out Now: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Dark Souls II is a fighting game with an emphasis on precise timing and extreme difficulty. You navigate through labyrinthine ruins and ancient kingdoms, defeating monsters with your weapons and magic. It pairs immense difficulty with a grand story and...

Catherine

Release Date: 03/09/2019, updated in 2020

Out Now: PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Switch and Xbox 360

Components: 2D Side-On, Blocks and Cartoon

Catherine is a narrative puzzle game about a young man torn between two lovers, struggling with the temptation and consequences of infidelity. During the daytime, you interact with characters in a visual novel that sets up the nighttime traversal...

Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo

Release Date: 08/03/2023

Out Now: Android, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo is a horror narrative game about a seemingly unconnected group of people in a suburb of Tokyo caught up in an ancient rite of resurrection. You search for clues and talk to characters all the while trying to...

Annalynn

Release Date: 29/01/2023, updated in 2023

Out Now: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Annalynn is a running, jumping, and collecting game that recreates a classic arcade challenge with more expansive levels. You work to collect every coin on the stage while avoiding enemies. While it appears easy, getting a perfect score requires...

Bastion

Release Date: 20/07/2011, updated in 2018

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead

Bastion is an action role playing game, where you explore a series of floating, fantasy-themed levels. What starts as a familiar exploration quickly becomes an engaging and interesting game. This change is driven by a mysterious and often hilarious...

Minabo - A Walk Through Life

Release Date: 02/06/2023, updated in 2023

Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

Minabo - A Walk Through Life is an adventure game about the path of life. As you move along the road your turnip character is born, grows and thrives (or not) in all manner of family and social relationships.

Stephen's Sausage Roll

Release Date: 18/04/2016

Out Now: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Grid

Stephen's Sausage Roll is a puzzle game where you push sausages around to grill them perfectly on both sides. It sounds easy but is actually really tricky. You can only roll sausages in certain ways and each level is limited in size.

Baladins

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Baladins is a narrative role-play game where you play a troupe of entertainers wandering through the countryside. You visit towns, talk to the locals and complete quests over your a short span of weeks, then start again and have a new adventure. It...

Penny's Big Breakaway

Release Date: 21/02/2024

Out Now: PC, PS5, Switch and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Penny’s Big Breakaway is a running and jumping game in which you also swing and roll your way through a colourful world filled with obstacles and enemies. Play focuses on your yo-yo powers that offer varied traversal and point-multiplying tricks. It...

Rush For The Ages (Punkcake)

Release Date: 23/08/2023

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On, Cards and Pixels

Rush For The Ages is a fast-paced strategy game where you play cards to build a civilisation faster than your opponents. Play involves choosing cards that build your civilisation and hamper your opponents. It stands out for the interlocking complexity...

Tinytown

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Blocks, Day and Night and Grid

Tinytown is a creative puzzle game where you build and refine a miniature living-breathing city out of tiles. Play is simple yet strategic: you must place each tile to maximise your score and make efficient use of the limited space until you fill up the...

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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