Looking to kill a few hours? Look no further than the oldest staple of gaming: the role-playing game. Here are a few to pass a couple of afternoons.
Many gamers today are finding their free time to be much more expansive than they initially thought, a growing concern that they can’t resolve until they remember the holy grail of time sinks in gaming: The Role-Playing Game. With the ability to be played at a breezy pace in a weekend or slowly picked apart over multiple sessions, RPGs offer an excellent method of stepping into the shoes of a fictional character but living their lives as you would yourself.
Yes, when it comes to killing time with video games, the RPG is king. Regardless of whether you’re choosing to hunt towering beasts, cuddle a few monsters from out of your digital pocket, or venture through the stars, the following titles will make sure to pass the sudden amount of free time in your day quickly.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake
The easiest one to put on this list, Square Enix makes its triumphant return to the pop culture lexicon with its remake of the 1990’s smash hit. With its epic fantasy beasts ripped and a heavily industrial aesthetic, the Final Fantasy VII Remake is the definition of incongruent- and it’s beautiful.
With updated sound, gameplay mechanics, and graphics, the FFVII Remake is sure to be the perfect time sink for anyone needing a little more JRPG in their lives. New players will enjoy a long and emotional story filled with laughs, action and a little trauma. Returning players will also have a bit more to look forward to, past just a visual facelift. FFVII Remake, which covered the first 10 hours or so of the original game, is a massive expansion with new segments, characters and story beats added to keep them enticed.
At a time when Nintendo was reported to have lost faith in Pokemon’s longevity, the second generation of the now storied franchise was supposed to be the last in the series. Because of this, the developers put out all their ideas as best they could. Fortunately, this ‘Pull out the stops’ mentality would drive the franchise through the next twenty years. The games would be so popular that Pokemon Gold and Silver would get a second life remake via Nintendo DS a decade after their original games dropped on the Game Boy.
While lacking the abundance of gameplay hours featured in other titles on this list, Heartgold and Soulsilver more than make up for this shortcoming by allowing players to catch an extensive collection of Pokemon. Featuring a campaign that was twice the size of its predecessors, these games managed to deliver an enjoyable and deep story worth playing multiple times. The surprise reveal that the apparent end of the game is the halfway point and includes a battle with the player character from the previous title provide a perfect nostalgia trip down memory lane. If you’ve never engaged in this beloved classic, prepare yourself for a voyage into the roots of a game that led to the juggernaut franchise we have today.
Monster Hunter: World
Monster Hunter: World’s gameplay loop is relatively straightforward: Grab a weapon, suit up with armor, hunt a monster and upgrade your gear using its parts. Despite the simplicity, however, the game may lead to newbies feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of gameplay customization options present. Not to worry, though. The latest iteration has plenty of introduction and hand-holding for beginner players, in addition to easily understandable skill trees assigned to each weapon. Failing that, players are encouraged to send up a flare and call for some online assistance with any difficult prey.
The strength of this franchise lies within the diversity of play styles available to the player for any given mission. Whether you’re into high flying acrobatics or a knock-down, boom and bust style of play, there’s an armor and weaponry set to perfectly match your hunting philosophy. Be prepared to lose days roving the beautiful scenery as you grind up for your next ultra-rare upgrade.
Mass Effect (Original Trilogy)
Despite its shortcomings at the finale and in Andromeda, the Mass Effect series has had some of the best science-fiction storytelling in over a decade. Players looking to get lost exploring a galaxy will enjoy this romp across the stars. Much like the previous game on this list, Mass Effect’s strength lies in its customized gameplay, only this time, its not just your player character. Mass Effect’s customization takes place within the story itself as the player determines the fate of not only their crew but also planets and eventually, the galaxy.
Wonderfully voice acted and still visually appealing, the series takes follows Commander Sheppard as they attempt to save the galaxy from a mysterious foe bent on wiping out all organic civilization. If you’re in the mood for deep conversation trees and in-depth character development, Mass Effect is a can’t miss – just be prepared for an emotional journey.
South Park: Fractured But Whole
Weighing in at 360 pages of script, and over 20,000 lines of recorded dialogue, players looking to pass the time should look no further. But don’t worry, underneath all that content is also an exciting and run game. Building upon its predecessor’s (South Park: Stick of Truth) groundwork, South Park: Fractured But Whole provides a deep tactical combat system that allows for a party to mix up combat depending on who its members are.
For fans of the show, the game is filled with Easter Eggs as well as the trademark crass sense of grotesque humor, complete with voice work from series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. For new players, however, most will find the surface layer of genitalia jokes and superhero film lampooning enough to fill roughly a day’s worth of gameplay. Throw in some DLC, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for an extended playthrough worth running several times over.