Christmas is here yet again and people are bound to be scrambling for gifts. Games make for good presents but in this economy, also incredibly expensive. So, here’s a list of games—both old and new—that justify the amount you spent on it in terms of content and replay value.    




1. Fire Emblem Three Houses (Nintendo Switch)



I am always a harlot for Fire Emblem—so much so that I made sure to get a Switch before July, which was when the game was released. The game puts you into the shoes of a professor who supervises—you guessed it–one of the three Houses. Part strategy RPG, part dating sim, and part resource management game, I’ve been playing this game to this day and have spent more than 150 hours on it. I’ve finished 2 routes so far, midway on the 3rd, with one more route to go. With a lovable cast of characters, newbie-friendly mechanics, great story, and TONS of replay value, Three Houses is well worth the price tag.    




2. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey (PS4)



I’ve never played an Assassin’s Creed game prior to Odyssey so I had no idea what to expect. Admittedly, I bought the game for the prospect of homosexual romance but I was taken in by the multiple story lines, vast open world, wonderful graphics, and Kassandra. After spending more than 100 hours on this game about long-lost family and the hubris of man, I decided to call it quits despite the trophies I’ve missed and some side quests I didn’t do. With the game constantly updated with online side quests, you can virtually play this game forever. What’s more, Ubisoft goes on sale pretty regularly so you can get this game for cheap if you’re patient enough.  




3. Persona 5 (PS4)



Everybody’s heard of Persona—it’s one of Atlus’ biggest titles. I’ve never played Persona prior to P5, though, so I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn’t know I would be having the most engaging 90-plus hours of my life. Part social sim and part turn-based RPG, P5 is about a bunch of rebellious teenagers who want to fight the system and the oppressions of society. With a rich storyline full of social commentary, tons of demons to collect, and social interactions to pursue, you can easily lose yourself into the game. Lucky for you, more P5 games have been announced for fans of the franchise.    




4. NieR:Automata (PS4)



I’ve talked about this game at length on this website but I would like to make it clear that I have spent 80-plus hours on this game for each playthrough. And I have played this game multiple times. It’s worth it, guys. It’s really worth it.    




5. Rune Factory 4 (3DS)



Aptly dubbed “a fantasy Harvest Moon”, the Rune Factory franchise took everything players loved about Harvest Moon and then added everything players loved about other video games: dungeons, weapons, boss fights, adventure—the whole shebang. What you get is a really fun game with tons and tons of replayability. You can farm, craft, take care of your monster pets, go on a date, conquer that one dungeon, farm for materials, and a whole lot more. My sister and I have a cumulative 300+ hours on this game and honestly, it’s never not fun.




6. Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4)



Horizon will always have a special place in my heart as the first game I played on the PS4. With its stunning environment, really good lore, and simple but fun gameplay, it was easy to get attached to the protagonist Aloy as you guide her in her journey to discover where she came from and to save the world. It’s so easy to get lost in Horizon’s vast open world. You can literally choose to ignore the storyline and just do side quests. Or just hunt machines. Or look for collectibles. Or climb a Tallneck and enjoy the view. Horizon does a good job of making tasks and quests nonintrusive to your playstyle; the tasks are there but they won’t be bugging you to do them, thus giving you the freedom to enjoy the game as you’d like. With the addition of its expansion, The Frozen Wilds, I spent a good 80 – 90 hours on this game.    




7. Stella Glow (3DS)



I don’t see this game as talked about as the others in this list. It’s easy to dismiss Stella Glow as some typical harem game (it is, don’t get me wrong) but there’s really more substance to it than it looks. Stella Glow is kind of just Fire Emblem, really, but more anime both in aesthetic and tropes. That doesn’t make it any less fun, though. I spent 150 hours on this game and that’s just straight story so that’s a LOT of content.




8. Overcooked 2 (Nintendo Switch)



Looking at it, Overcooked doesn’t really have that many stages, especially when you’re not playing alone. However, I’m putting this game on this list for the sheer hilarity and chaos it causes, and the fact that it encourages cooperative play, which can be kind of rare in games nowadays. Overcooked has a super simple premise which doesn’t make a lot of sense so we’re really just here for the fun gameplay.    


Honorable mentions:

  1. The Nonary Games franchise (PS4). Stupendously intelligent visual novel. One of my favorites. Around 80 hours, overall. Maybe more if you don’t cheat on the puzzles.
  2. Any Etrian Odyssey game (3DS). First-person dungeon crawler. Multiple classes. Map making! 80 hours at the very least, depending on the kind of player that you are.
  3. The Mass Effect trilogy (PS3). Remember when Bioware made great games? Around 90 hours overall but can be more if you’re going to be a completionist about it.
  4. Octopath Traveler (Switch). Retro NES-style sprites. Classic JRPG turn-based gameplay. I haven’t actually finished this so I can’t say for sure, but with the amount of map, it’s pretty massive.
  5. Any Pokemon game (Nintendo systems). I’ve played Let’s Go! Eevee recently and it took me around 30 hours to complete the main story. But I know people have spent more than 200 hours on Pokemon—it’s virtually and endless game.


And, there you have it, kids. You now have a list of games that are worth every buck. You won’t be seeing your friend for a few days, though.