If Valve's Steam client were a woman, it would nag me about how much of my life I've wasted playing video games. I don't consider it to be a waste seeing as how it's a form of entertainment like any other. I could easily say that some people are "wasting time" by watching movie or television, but honestly, who cares how we choose to entertain ourselves?
There are a few games that have been released in the past 5 years that offer hundreds of hours of replay value and, thus, are worth more than you actually pay for them (especially if you buy them on sale). So for anyone who just wants a great game to play--a game that is truly worth the money--here is a short list of some of the games that have sucked away my attention in the recent past.
Fallout 3/Fallout New Vegas
Arguably two of the best games of our generation, both of these titles--developed by Bethesda and Obsidian respectively--are set in a post-nuclear war America. The cultural theme is 1950's sci-fi, and when that is blended in with vast open worlds, you have a recipe for awesome. The gameplay is a first person shooter mixed with elements of RPG with a level-up system that is engaging and extremely dynamic. Probably the best thing about the games is the variety in play styles available to the player.
Are you a crazy-ass bastard who likes to rush into a group of asshats, smashing in their heads with a sledge hammer? Are you more the careful, stealthy type who likes to pick off his enemies before they even knew what hit them? Or maybe you just enjoy firing mini-nukes in the middle of a town. Whatever your flavor, these games have it. Although the wastes of post-apocalyptic Washington DC is a surprisingly breath-taking setting (Fallout 3), I prefer fallout New Vegas for the simple fact that you can actually ally yourself with the "bad guys."
Both of these games offer hundreds of hours of gameplay. Just to give you an idea, one playthrough typically takes me about 80 hours. Be warned: the humor is dark, and you can be really, really evil if you so choose, so these games are not for the faint of heart.
Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition and Fallout New Vegas: Ultimate Edition can be purchased on Steam for $19.99 each. Each of these includes all of the DLC packs.
A turn based strategy game, Civilization V lets you build up a civilization from the stone age all the way into a futuristic era. You can play as a whole host of historical civilizations (I always opt for Rome). Throughout the game you direct your scientific discoveries, you choose your forms of government, and you even decide what your religion is like.
As time progresses, you meet other civilizations vying for precious resources. You can either befriend them or crush them. Are you more into economics? Well then you can focus on being a trade hub. Want to conquer the world? Build an army worthy of your glory! Or maybe you just like being all diplomatic--that works too! With the infinite variations and directions you can take, and with 6 different ways to win the game based on play style, this title offers limitless replay value.
Sid Meyer's Civilization V: Complete Edition can be purchased on steam for $49.99.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Honestly, any Elder Scrolls title is more than worth the money, but Skyrim is just the latest entry in this stellar series. From developers Bethesda, Skyrim offers just about anything the heart could desire. With a plethora of different classes/play styles, tons of quest content, and an awe-inspiring, winder landscape open world, this game is truly one of the great gaming masterpieces of our time.
Steam tells me that I have sunk 356 hours into the game since I bought it in 2011. To add to that, there are several DLC packs that add more quest lines, loots, and the like for even more content. The graphics are solid. The AI is decent. And the leveling system is a good mix between classic Elder Scrolls and the perks system common to the Fallout games.
As with many Bethesda games, if you take the time to understand how the game works, you can truly forge a hero of legend who has no problem one-shotting even the most hardened of dragons. The game offers a very hard setting and a legendary setting. Legendary is like a nightmare mode in which the game becomes insanely difficult. This is recommended for players who have already progressed quite far into the game.
Just like in Fallout, a single playthrough can take up to 80 hours assuming you tackle 90% of the content.
The Elder Scrolls V: Legendary Edition can be purchased on Steam for $59.00. This edition includes all of the DLC packs. The original game can be purchased for $29.99 on Steam.