What favorites of yours are tragically one-of-a-kind?

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#1 Edited by Howardian (213 posts) -

For me, 3 of the most outworldly experiences I ever had, which are S.T.A.L.K.E.R Shadow of Chernobyl, Max Payne 1-2, and Just Cause 2, feel so rare, nothing has come close to them since.

  • Just Cause 3 and 4 in my personal gaming agenda have nothing to do with 2, the world is too flat and the missions are straightforward and boring. JC2 felt like a colossal chaotic open world, with high dark mountains and mysterious jungles, I lost myself in its sandy deserts, fighting or evading the enemies.
  • The Metro games are fun but have nothing to do with walking through the Zone trying to survive. Even the ST.A.L.K.E.R sequels, while fantastic, fail to replicate the wild feeling of the first.

I would pay double the price to be able to have a similar but more contemporary experience to Just Cause 2 or Shadow of Chernobyl, but it doesn't seem like it'll happen.

It's not the end of the world, but it feels a little tragic knowing those experiences will never be replicated long as I live. What are your unique gems?

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#2 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7687 posts) -

Dragons Dogma...why we have not gotten Dragons Dogma 2 during this generation is beyond me. Dragons Dogma is the best alternative jRPG of last generation.

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#3 Edited by nutter (2394 posts) -

One of a kind is rough...

50 Cent: Blood on the Sand

- A special kind of stupid that I adore


- One of my favorite Ninja Theory games

Alan Wake

- My favorite Remedy game, and one that I think stands out from the pack

Freedom Fighters

- Crackdown 3 promised to give me a little taste of that Freedom Fighters goodness...I enjoyed Crackdown 3, but it didn’t deliver on that front...

Midtown Madness 3

- I hoped Burnout Paradise would have had the games of team tag, keepaway, cops and robbers, etc. that made me love Midtown Madness 3 so much. It didn’t, and neither has any other driving game (Onrush is a different beast).

Jade Empire

- Hey, an RPG that isn’t sci-fi or typical fantasy fare!

Alpha Protocol

- Hey, an RPG that isn’t sci-fo or typical fantasy fare!

Shadows of the Damned

- Fuck all, y’all, this game was a great time

Crimson Skies

- The feeling of adventure is gone from a lot of games...not this one!

Sunset Overdrive

- Another one that wasn’t popular, but it wore its heart on its sleeve and nailed fun traversal in a really cool way.

Virtual Pro Wrestling 2

- I know AKI made...6(?) N64 grappling games, but I’d kill for more, especially ones that age better than the cheesy WWF games.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

- This game was a GREAT beat ‘em up. You had to wear zombies and vampires and whatever down to stake them through their hearts or heads, but as I recall, if you were good, you could stake them early, without wearing them down. Lots of environmental stuff too. Fun game. Buffy 2 and the Indiana Jones game that came after Buffy were both substantially inferior (though I do love Dr. Jones...)

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#4 Posted by Karmosin (379 posts) -


A bossrush-game that creates a great hybrid between character action and bullet hell. Add to that a minimalist but satisfying narrative and the best video game music of the decade and you've got something very very unique.

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#5 Posted by stantongrouse (243 posts) -

From childhood, Flood was a game I played so much of, thought would get a sequel but just ended up getting lost to the memories. There's no shortage of shooter platformers but that one is one that I, probably wrongly, keep on a bit of a pedestal in my head.

More recently I can't see there being another game quite like Return of the Obra Dinn. That's a game I'd say has that "bottled lightning" quality.

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#6 Edited by militantfreudian (688 posts) -

If you had asked me 6 months ago, I would've said Hyper Light Drifter and Darkest Dungeon, which we've learned now that both of which are getting follow-ups. I feel pretty happy about that.

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#7 Posted by hermes (2637 posts) -




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#8 Posted by liquiddragon (3553 posts) -

The Last Guardian. It was really easy for me to buy into Trico. There is a part in the game where he jumps over a fence but I didn't know this and I jumped and grabbed him right as he did to get to the next area and it was so fucking magical. And just all the things he does like play in a puddle, the way he animates, and the way he looks at you, no NPC comes close in my eyes.

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#9 Posted by FLStyle (6722 posts) -

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#10 Posted by liquiddragon (3553 posts) -

@flstyle: Is Chaos Legion really a favorite of yours? We're all desperate for more character action games, especially in those days but you have strayed my friend.

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#11 Posted by FLStyle (6722 posts) -

@liquiddragon: It was like Dante's 4 different fighting styles, but you could summon a bunch of dudes to do the style attacks for you. I loved it!

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#12 Posted by TheChris (550 posts) -

Persona 3, 4 and 5 - I feel like no other JRPG can quite measure up to the quality of the Persona games for me, after I played them it was hard to get invested in any other JRPG, hell even western RPGs. Thankfully, Larian exists and Nier was pretty damn good (The first one that is, second one was alright too)

Catherine - Another Atlus game with a really unique identity of its own that I've found myself rebuying for PC to replay.

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door -- Well, I guess this one is technically a JRPG too, right? And nothing definitely comes close to this one, an inherently unique game that not even its follow ups could measure up to.

Divinity Original Sin 2 - There are a lot of western RPGs, but none that quite fulfills all of the role-playing freedoms as Original Sin 2 does.

KOTOR 2 - This was actually one of the first western RPGs I've played because I like Star Wars, but I love this game because it breaks Star Wars conventions to tell a more mature dark story, where the morality of its universe is put into questioning. I love it, and I still love it to this day.

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#13 Posted by sparky_buzzsaw (8956 posts) -

Arcanum came immediately to mind, but if I'm honest, that's basically steampunk magic Fallout. Instead I'll say Grim Fandango, one of the most singularly unique adventure games out there and a real gem. Some recent picks would be Eastshade and Lamplight City, neither of which are wholly original in terms of their genre but which do some really fun and unique things with the standards to create a different-feeling experience. Other picks would be Jagged Alliance 2, Mercenary Kings, Metal Gear Solid V, Phantom Brave, Legend of Dragoon, Wii Sports, and Boom Blox.

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#14 Posted by Casepb (776 posts) -

Legend of Zelda Wind Waker and Metroid Prime. Both games were pretty special when they came out. Ocarina of Time is still my favorite, but WW felt so different. Prime 2 and 3 are really good, but didn't quite live up to the first game.

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#15 Posted by ArbitraryWater (15755 posts) -

I don't think there's an RPG as rigidly devoted to recreating its pen-and-paper counterpart quite like Temple of Elemental Evil. Its fairly slavish adherence to the specifics of D&D 3.5 rules and the original module is often its best, but sometimes its worst aspect, and I think that's what makes it so singular in my mind. What other D&D game lets you do things like ready actions, take 5-foot steps, or take a billion attacks of opportunity with a spiked chain?

The other game that comes to mind is Dragon's Dogma. While you could be reductive and say "The Devil May Cry team made a Skyrim" that really doesn't belie how weird it is. It's an open world game that defies a lot of open world design, with fantastic combat, a story that goes nowhere until it goes everywhere, and a bunch of small, charming/irritating quirks that I'd describe as "aggressively Japanese."

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#16 Posted by cikame (2949 posts) -

Just Cause 2 man, what a game, i tried to play 3 which is so buggy it broke my hard drive, and what i did play was a badly made console port with terrible FOV and the fov mod didn't work at the time so screw that game, i haven't tried 4 but i'm constantly tempted to play 2 again just to get my fix, people seem to like 3 more than 4 which is distressing.

I like entering threads like this so i can meet my quota of typing God Hand 100 times a year until a re-release happens.

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#17 Posted by soimadeanaccount (635 posts) -

40k Space Marine, I really hope something like that gets made again in the future.

Xenogears/Xenosaga, I am not getting the same vibe with Xenoblade, although I have yet to really dive in and play XB.

Persona 4, it is kind of scary how cliche anime it is, yet no game has done it as well as it had. I don't think it is possible to do something like that again without it feeling overdone.

Shadow Hearts, 1 and 2 are good, even 3 is already kind of overdone.

I feel like there's got to be more, but I am probably forgetting.

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#18 Posted by gunflame88 (398 posts) -

There's this nearly 20 year old game Majesty. I guess you could call it a RTS or city building manager (the game uses the subtitle "Fantasy Kingdom Sim"), but it's not like anything I've ever played in those genres.

Essentially, it's a reverse of the classic fantasy RPG formula. You build a town for typical fantasy heroes, with various shops, guilds, etc., but what really sets it apart is that the heroes themselves are totally AI-controlled and autonomous. They hunt monsters on their own, attack their lairs, explore the map, visit the shops and decide what gear, potions or spells they want to buy. What they may do at a given moment also depends on what type of hero it is. So, for example, a Soldier hero will likely patrol the town and defend construction sites, a Ranger will often go out exploring and planting healing plants, while a Healer will usually accompany other heroes. The only major way you can steer their behavior is by setting money reward flags for killing specific monsters or exploring certain areas, but it's still up to each individual hero if they will go for a reward.

There was a sequel with a bevy of DLC made by different people than the original, and while I liked it, it really failed to replicate that autonomy the heroes in the original had. Never played anything else like Majesty, and it's a shame because the formula is pretty fun. I still fire it up every once in a while.

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#19 Edited by Teddie (2162 posts) -

I was gonna say Journey, but then I looked at what thatgamecompany is working on now and it looks like a follow up to Journey in everything but name.

I also wanna say Assassin's Creed 4, if that counts. Loved the pirate setting, it's amazing how underutilized it is in video games. I've tried to get into other AC games but none of them hit the same notes for me, even the ones that brought the ships back. The closest anything has come to reigniting the spark was the Pirates of the Caribbean level in Kingdom Hearts 3, which was essentially AC4 Lite.

A few more mentions because the memories are flowing now:

  • Tokyo Jungle
  • The World Ends With You
  • Fragile Dreams
  • Resonance of Fate
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#20 Posted by SuperJoe (1271 posts) -

Order Up - This was a cooking game for Wii that approximated the act of cooking (the wiimote acted like a knife, pan, spatula, etc) unlike Cook Serve Delicious which is mostly about prioritization & time management. It had a lot of personality with quippy customers and cooks. There's potential for VR to make a great cooking game or simulator based on this template.

Super Mario Bros 2 - When Super Mario Bros 3 was released I was the most disappointed kid in the world.

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#21 Posted by pweidman (2870 posts) -

Dragons Dogma...why we have not gotten Dragons Dogma 2 during this generation is beyond me. Dragons Dogma is the best alternative jRPG of last generation.

Agreed, especially and even more so when you add on the absolutely fantastic Dark Arisen DLC.

For me, Too Human came to my mind immediately after reading the thread title. Loved that game and was really bummed when no sequel came to fruition.

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#22 Posted by redcream (909 posts) -

Subnautica blew my mind and continues to leave a lasting impression on me due to its unique gameplay loop.

Papers, Please and Return of the Obra Dinn comes to mind all courtesy of the talented Lucas Pope.

Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines - This is the game which completely nails role-playing immersion for me and few games ever come close. I'm still in shock and completely pumped that there is a sequel to this game. It's the most improbable thing to ever come true.

Mercenaries for the PS2 has never been replicated yet even though it's fun as hell to blow up tall buildings and erasing targets.

I also second The World Ends with You, Alpha Protocol and God Hand previously mentioned.

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#23 Posted by NTM (11903 posts) -

Maybe someone can point to something similar, but for me, it'd be Valiant Hearts.

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#24 Posted by TheHT (15890 posts) -

Remember Me

It's got Uncharted climbing and Arkham-esque combat, but it's much more than the sum of its parts.

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#25 Edited by Onemanarmyy (4583 posts) -

Black & White was a whimsical godgame with RTS & citybuilding elements & creature mentoring options. Nothing comes close to that.

No One Lives Forever is a very funny FPS with amazing enemy dialog and a thick 60's spy flavor on top.

Sacrifice was a cool third person action + godgame.

Giants Citizen Kabuto had you play 3 totally different styles as you switched between the 3 playable characters.

Drakan: Order of the Flame had you do on foot action adventure combat (somewhat RPG-ish with all the weapons & armor you could gather), while also being able to fly around on the back of a dragon and fight that way.

Messiah was a cool game that was all about you possessing enemy units and use them for your own gain. I feel like there's value in revisiting that idea.

Gabriel Knight 3 is a funny but also realistic point & click adventure game that really makes it feel like you're on vacation in a small french town, solving an actual real life mystery. Still looking for other adventure games that scratch a similar itch.

There's not much out there that resembles Viva Pinata at all. Zoo tycoon maybe?

Ghost Master was a game where you used all sorts of different ghosts & supernatural forces to scare humans out of a building. The game wasn't great, but i feel like that idea is pretty intriguing.

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#26 Posted by Damodar (2189 posts) -

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective. Clever and unique puzzle mechanics that are kept fresh throughout, a really interesting mystery story with a whole bunch of twists and turns which ends up actually being impressive for its coherence and scope when the pieces all eventually fit together, FANTASTIC audio/visual presentation. Easily one of my favourites from the past 10 years. Having said all that, it's such a complete package that I don't know that I say it being one of a kind is necessarily tragic. I don't think I want a sequel or anything, I'm perfectly happy for it to stand on its own.

I think Catherine is really underrated.

Vagrant Story is a pretty weird and wonderful thing with a lot that sets it apart. A lot of unique and interesting systems, pretty one of a kind combat, a staggeringly good localisation and still just super impressive art direction and everything. For as much as Metal Gear Solid set the bar for cinematic presentation in games, I don't think it ever matches Vagrant Story at its best. Admittedly, Vagrant Story is more evocative of the framing of the panels of a graphic novel than cinema but for the time, it's in a class of its own. Amazing blending of incredible art direction with some really ingenious use of very limited hardware.

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#27 Posted by BoOzak (2681 posts) -

I am surprised more action games havent replicated God Hand's create a combo string thing. Remember Me & Absolver had some of that stuff but it was awkward.

I'm having trouble answering since most of the answers in this thread fall under 'which games do you think are under-rated' instead of one-of-a-kind experiences.

For me it's probably Morrowind. It was my first big open world RPG, and yes there have been more in that vein since but I feel like Morrowind was less restricting than it's sequels.

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#28 Posted by inevpatoria (7487 posts) -

@boozak said:

For me it's probably Morrowind. It was my first big open world RPG, and yes there have been more in that vein since but I feel like Morrowind was less restricting than it's sequels.

This is a great answer. Morrowind's systems lacked all the safety guards and low ceilings instituted by later Elder Scrolls games, but it did so in a way that--at least in my opinion--never felt overwhelming to the detriment of the experience. Bethesda will never make a game like Morrowind again.

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#29 Posted by aerithlives (37 posts) -

Actraiser - weird combination of world building sim with side-scrolling action

Little King's Story - weird action strategy game with kingdom building aspect

Zack and Wiki - point and click puzzle game with cute style

Drill Dozer - nifty little puzzle platformer with action elements

Mole Mania - Miyamoto block-pushing puzzle game

Ghost Trick - interesting puzzle / adventure game

Ghost in the Shell (ps1) - climb vertically in a 3rd or 1st person shooter

Einhander - unique scrolling shooter where you grab and use enemy weapons

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#30 Posted by Luchalma (554 posts) -

Beyond Good and Evil. Yes there is actually (insanely) a sequel coming but from what I've seen it's not going to be what I was looking for. The setting, characters and story were just something else. And the music. Man, what a game.

Jet Set Radio Future. The original JSR was a great arcade style game, but Future opened the game up and should have set the template for the franchise going forward. Man, really everything Sega was doing around this time. People grieve for Sega's exit from the hardware space, and rightly so, but they were fucking killing it with games even after they went third party. And now they're just....like what do they even do?

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#31 Edited by Brackstone (959 posts) -

There's nothing quite like Kingdom Under Fire: Crusaders. The perfect mix of hack and slash with RTS, the way it told it's dark fantasy story through factions on both sides of the war, and of course the soundtrack. No other game has even really done what this does all that effectively.

Stalker Shadow of Chernobyl has had a lot of games come close, even direct sequels, but nothings ever managed to do what it does better. Even though open worlds are all the rage, there's something about SoC's series of semi-open environments that made progression so much more meaningful than in the sequels.

To add another one, there's no game out there like Pathologic.

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#32 Posted by acharlie1377 (149 posts) -

I don't think there's ever been a game like King of Dragon Pass, and I doubt there ever will be again. You play as a leader of a tribe in the fictional world of Glorantha, but whatever you're picturing in your head is not how the game is played. It's a weird mix of economy management and multiple-choice questions, where every decision you make echoes through the entire game, and you never feel like you're pushed down any one "right" path. Add to that this weird system where you have to actually read through the in-game myths and legends in order to correctly perform miracles, and it results in one of the most engrossing experiences I've ever played, despite being essentially a series of images and dialog boxes.

It's not a game for everyone, but if I could force a game into someone's hands and tell them "this is what video games can be," King of Dragon's Pass would be it.

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#33 Posted by ShaggE (9312 posts) -

Maybe not one-of-a-kind in the way you mean it, but it's a very dead genre that I can't see ever being revived outside of maybe some one-off art project: Weird-ass multimedia CD-ROM games.

You know, shit like Total Distortion that was a "Look at how much space we have to shove assets in!" showcase as much as it was a game, but plain old FMV just wasn't weird enough for them. Obviously there's no place for stuff like that in this day and age (there barely was then, not that everybody and their mother didn't try), but I definitely miss games like those. Even when they weren't good, which was most of the time, they were just so fucking insane and deeply "of their time" that they appealed to me just the same. Much like garden-variety FMV games, really.

I guess the only vestige of that experimental CD-ROM era left other than occasional modern FMV is You Don't Know Jack. Who knew that an instantly-dated-by-nature series of trivia games (excellent and endlessly replayable as they may be) would be the one still kicking in 2019?

Am I crazy here, or does anyone else get the warm n' fuzzies thinking about that weird little footnote in PC gaming?

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#34 Posted by Quantris (1326 posts) -

Agree with several of the ones mentioned in the thread already; here's one that hasn't been:

Trauma Center

OK so there were was more than one game in the series...but that series is pretty one-of-a-kind and sadly dead afaict. I absolutely loved every entry including the weirdness that was Trauma Team.

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#35 Posted by Thursday1977 (127 posts) -

Startopia. An amusing space station development simulation with a fine sense of humor from the early 2000s, this is one that my wife and I continue to revisit from time to time. You're in control of a doughnut shaped space station with three floors to it.

First floor, the airport of sorts. Arrivals, cargo, hospital, science, habitation, security. It's the main hub of activity where meeting species needs takes place.

Second floor, Entertainment. Rides, simulations, totally-not-prostitution. This floor could use the most work if there were ever a follow up. It just never seemed to be used very much by the citizens. Especially if you have a great version of the top floor which was....

The bio dome. I adored this level. Raise and lower the land to make grasslands, deserts, snow capped mountains. Create natural areas to meet the needs of the various species and see them interact in very cool ways. It was peaceful, where the first floor could be hectic. It was just as much a place for the player to relax as it was for the game's citizens to relax.

I haven't seen any other game match it. It juggled a lot of elements, and mostly got it all right. Every now and again some rumor or another pops up about some former Mucky Foot developers working on a follow up, but after so, so many years I will not hold my breath.

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#36 Posted by fisk0 (6966 posts) -

Two games come to mind, Maxis' SimIsle and X-COM: Interceptor. Both games certainly have flaws, but I'm not aware of any other game than SimIsle really trying to model how deforestation of rainforests, tourism and industrialization impact ecosystems - i.e., not just in a climate sense like what Civ VI's Gathering Storm focuses at - but stuff like the disruption of entire food chains and stuff like that.

X-COM Interceptor's mix of the original X-COM's base building with first person space combat is such an amazing idea, though the execution was fairly bad. I just wish anybody would try to do that again.

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#37 Posted by Kingloo (112 posts) -

Slee. Ping. Dogs.

No more pork buns. :(

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#38 Edited by lib3r4t3 (2 posts) -


The game really eases you into the difficulty and the flow is incredible. The way you can load any replay and see how others did it helps drive you to naturally improve. I adore this game and I wish there were more like it.

Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, and the Timesplitter games.

They really don't make shooters the same way anymore. These games had big objective based maps that were shorter and bite sized and made for engaging loops of action and fun. I know it's a cheat, but I desperately look for the next kind of game.

F-Zero X and GX

I've tried a few of the games that pay homage to these games, but I feel like they're more going for WipEout and Extreme G because they all have some weird fishtail to them. It's quite frustrating and I haven't been able to find another racer to nail that itch.

Pikmin Franchise

It's not about the strategy, it's about the wonder. I haven't found a similar feeling game and I am patiently waiting for Pikmin 3 to be ported to switch. Each RTS game I've played otherwise, wonder aside, tries to be really difficult and overwhelming, even Tooth and Tail, while not trying to offer anything else. Hey Pikmin was a mistake too.

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#39 Posted by Howardian (213 posts) -

@kingloo said:

Slee. Ping. Dogs.

No more pork buns. :(

This one hit deep

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#40 Edited by cloudymusic (2137 posts) -

The Way of the Samurai series. They're designed for short, repeated playthroughs, and there's tons of branching story paths so each playthrough can be almost completely different than the one before. Not enough games like that (not counting visual novels) out there, IMO.

I would've also said Nier, but hey, we actually got a sequel to that.