Whether it’s high school or college that demands your attention, unless you’re planning on flunking, you’re going to have less time to play video games come September. It might be a good idea to finish up games from earlier this year so that you can spend your precious gaming time on the Fall releases that are about to flood your PC, consoles, and the rest of the your free time.
Today, we’re focusing on four RPGs and a dungeon crawler. These might seem like obvious choices due to the length of the gameplay, but it isn’t only about time to completion. RPGs encourage getting into a rhythm as we learn the combat mechanics. The longer you put the game down in between play sessions, the more likely you are to lose the story thread and not remember what’s going on.
Here are five games we think you ought to get cracking on and finish before going back to classes, homework and projects.
We’re thinking about the players who have multiple Commander Shepards they’ve taken through the first two Mass Effect games, and who want to see the story in Mass Effect 3 from both the Paragon and Renegade angles. The experiences can be different enough to be worth the time, but the Mass Effect 3 campaign can run as long as long as 45 hours if you’re doing all the side quests.
Even if you’re all set with the campaign, the co-op multiplayer is deep and has over two dozen different class/species combinations to rank up, not to mention the Reinforcement Pack system which requires a lot of earned credits to unlock and level up all the different weapons. You’ll probably have time during the school year for the DLC packages that BioWare keeps releasing. If you still have big chunks of this game left to finish, now’s the time to save Earth.
Diablo III is a rinse-and-repeat game. You run through the story on Normal, then you run through again on Nightmare and it starts to get challenging. Hell is really tough and you’ll need max level characters to stand a chance on Inferno. You’ll get better loot the tougher the game gets, but it’s going to come down to skill, not your gear, if you’re looking to take down the big man waiting for you at the end of the game.
Considering there are five different character classes, if you want to get the most out of Diablo III you’re going to need to run each class through four different playthroughs. Add the time you’re going to want to spend in the Auction House keeping your gear up to date and selling your excess stuff to make more gold to buy those expensive weapons and armor pieces, we’re talking about a substantial commitment here. There’s also a PvP release at some point in the future that you’ll want to get max level and well-equipped characters ready for.
When people talk about the size of this open-world fantasy game, Skyrim comes up pretty often, which should tell you everything you need to know. Dragon’s Dogma can take up to 70 hours to beat if you go for all the side quests, so there’s plenty of game even before we look at the pawn system.
Pawns, or hirelings, are sometimes given to you by the game. Other times, you can pick up the minions created by other players if you happen to be online. This means experimenting with pawns and checking out what other players have done with them is part of the fun. You can take up to three pawns with you, so you can mix and match different classes to see what works best or is most interesting. Respecs are also easy if you want to change up your own style.
Dragon’s Dogma may ask for a lot of your time. But the creature animations are so good and the epic feel of the battles is conveyed so well that you’re going to have every motivation to try different pawns and class styles, and really sink your teeth into those fights. This is one game you’ll want to thoroughly enjoy, not burn through just to get to the end.
Risen 2 might take you around 30 hours to beat - at the easiest difficulty setting. Some players have referred to the combat as “sadistic.” It can take you half that time just to get your character up to a skill level where fighting becomes a little easier to handle, and it also gets interesting with voodoo magic and varied combat techniques.
That might not make the game sound very attractive, but the unique pirate theme, the varied environment, the island explorations, and the amusing voice acting have made Risen 2 worth it for a lot of players. If you’re going to tackle this game, it’s going to require a little dedication and attention. Start on this game before the school bell rings.
It might take up to 50 hours to complete a playthrough of The Witcher 2, and then you’re probably going to want to return to Act 1 and make some different choices. Story decisions in this game can be more meaningful than in most RPGs, and the repercussions of those choices can lead to vastly different experiences. The complexity of the story in The Witcher 2 at times can especially make this a game you want to dedicate yourself to versus putting it down for long breaks, and losing track of what’s going on.
This is also another game with punishing combat that adds to how long your playthroughs take and how much patience you need to marshal. Making different choices on a second playthrough can lead to such a different experience that it’s not about an altered nuance to a scene or a new line of dialogue but getting entirely new scenes altogether and a completely different campaign. The replay value of The Witcher 2 is extremely high, so it’s worth putting the time in.