Summer is here, and like any normal person, I plan to spend it cozying up inside and playing video games. But not just any video games. I like narrative single player games that last a long time, long time. These are in contrast to non-narrative (or narrative simple) video games that you can play basically forever, e.g. Stardew Valley. No, these are games that reward you for your effort with a story that’s at least as satisfying as reading a book, but with more quick button-mashing sequences.
Here are 11 super-long, super-cool single-player games that have seen me and others through various warm summers. They are listed in order from shortest to longest*.
*Calculating the “length” of a video game is more difficult than it seems. We all play at different speeds, and whether or not you’ve “finished” a game really depends on your own definition of the word. So I set the time it takes players to complete the main plot (removed from howlongtobeat.com) and averaged it with the time needed to complete everything for a rough estimate of “game length”. This is more math than I’m comfortable with.
Desert Bus VR (2017) 4 p.m
Desert Bus VR’With a 16-hour game time, it might not seem like it belongs on this list, but time is relative, man, and when the only action in the game is driving a bus between Tucson and Las Vegas and back in real time, 16 hours feels like eternity. The path is straight. There are no enemies to distract you and no plot. You can’t just let it run either because the bus pulls slightly to one side. Crash and you’ll be towed back to the start in real time. But you can listen to the radio.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla (2020) 99 hours
To complete Valhalla, you’ll spend around 140 hours pillaging the European countryside as a mighty Viking warrior. Not enough time if you ask me. I want this game to be longer please. If you want to run it, you will be in Viking mode for 60 hours.
Platforms: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Google Stadia, Microsoft Windows, Amazon Luna
Fallout: New Vegas (2010) 91 hours
If the world New Vegas they were real, after 10 minutes you’d want to leave and in 20 you’d be dead. But as a video game, the nuclear-scarred hellscape that used to be Las Vegas is endlessly entertaining. The main story takes about 36 hours, and the run of everything can be completed for 150, give or take.
Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Stardew Valley (2016) 102 hours
It’s easy to forget that this laid-back, gentle game even has a plot, but it does, and it will take you about 52 hours to complete. If you want to do everything in the valley, it will take you about 153 hours because there are lots of crops to grow, meet friends and fish.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Android, PlayStation 4, macOS, Xbox One, iOS, Windows
Final Fantasy XII (2006) 110 hrs
I’ve never really enjoyed the Final Fantasy games, so I asked a friend about this entry in the series. He said: “It’s really cool, but the first 20 or so hours are pretty boring.” Yeah, I’m out of line, but if you like the unique feel of these games, there is lots of atmosphere here. The main story alone will take you 61 hours of life, and you’ll need another 100 hours more if you want to finish everything.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Red Dead Redemption 2 (2018), 112 hours
This is the best video game on this list and probably the best video game ever made. It’s so good, riding your horse from one location to another – which is how you’ll spend most of the 50 or so hours required to complete the main story – is never boring. It’s so good, when you beat it, you’ll think it was too short. Anyway, it takes about 175 hours to collect all the collectibles, complete all the side quests, and play all the minigames. It takes 12 hours speedrun Red Dead 2!
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows
Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn (2000) 117 hrs
How much sword and sorcery gameplay is enough for you? How about the almost 70 hours? Lack? How about 70 hours of main story Plus 77 hours of side quests, loot collecting and whatnot? That’s what you get with this epic, top-down fantasy, action RPG.
Platforms: Android, Microsoft Windows, Classic Mac OS
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017) 119 hours
Breath of the Wild it immediately captures your attention and forces whimsy and wonder deep into your adoration gland until you give in and dedicate your life to it. Next thing you know, a week has passed and your family has moved. you could play through the BOTW story in about 50 hours, but you’ll want to take your time with this one. A full “do everything and collect all Korok seeds” run should take around 189 hours. That’s more than a month of full-time work! The average between them is just 119 hours. You can polish it up until March!
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Wii U
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015) 123 hours
Widely regarded as one of the best RPGs of all time, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt can easily become your life. Its do-whatever-you-want open world feels like a pen-and-paper RPG, except you don’t have to count or interact with other people. Just completing the main plot takes about 55 hours, but the full run, killing every monster and picking up every weapon, takes almost 200 hours if you’re playing the Game of the Year edition.
Platforms: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011): 133 hours
All the Elder Scrolls games are big, but Skyrim is the biggest (probably.) While the main story of this epic RPG can be completed in “only” 34 hours, the real draw is everything else. Skyrim it feels like a full world, and like the real world, there’s a lot of useless stuff to do – 233 hours worth if you do literally everything.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and S, Xbox 360, Windows
Persona 5 (2016) 135 hrs
Persona 5 is the perfect game to escape into if you prefer being a stylish but deadly Japanese teenager to whatever your real life is. This RPG is massive. You’ll need close to 100 hours to complete the main story alone, and around 173 hours if you want to complete everything – all including working on a crappy virtual job, reading novels, and more.
Platforms: PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows
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