New Game Plus is, at the very least, an interesting feature designed to keep players grinding after their favorite games have come to a conclusion. Some gamers love being able to keep their equipment and go in for another run. Others see it as a boring diversion with little value. The question posed to the staff of TPG – what do you think of New Game Plus? We give our answers and then ask for yours.
If a developer wants an easy way to pad their games, this is the method I prefer. I don’t care for half-hearted multiplayer modes or unlocking new characters who have slightly different gameplay mechanics. New Game + is almost like a nice reward for completing the game. Especially in one with RPG elements such as skill trees and upgrades, it is fun to replay without having to stress your perfect build all over again. There has also been a growing trend of games that offer a super difficult “nightmare” mode as an additional challenge. I don’t find these game modes quite as satisfying. If the game is already very difficult or long to begin with then a harder game mode kind of detracts from the initial accomplishment of completion. This might be okay for a mindless shoot’em up or platformer, where the challenging gameplay itself is the main focus. However, for titles with memorable levels or a half-way decent and interesting story line I think New Game + is the way to go.
If you asked me this a year or so ago, I’d have given you a different answer. Back in those days, I never bothered with New Game Plus. I’m the kind of person who tries to always move forward, and never look back, so whenever I complete a game, I would delete it and find something new. Back then, I saw New Game Plus and its ilk as mere padding, as something to artificially increase play time and provide the illusion of more content that there actually is. Recently, however, I’ve been losing interest in games. Titles that would, a few years back, have excited me now leave me feeling empty inside.
Everything just seems like it’s the same. Run around shooting aliens or brown guys. Or maybe you’re stabbing them with a sword. Or lopping heads off with an axe. I’ve done those things many, many times before. There’s no need for me to pay 60 bucks or whatever, just to do the same things I could do in any game I already own. Instead of buying new games these days, I’m returning to the old ones in my collection, and seeing some value in New Game Plus. I still consider it to be padding, though. NG+ doesn’t add anything new to a game, so you can’t say its presence is a meaningful one. But it does give old coots like me somewhat of a different experience in a game that we’ve completed already. Not that I need it though; I’m perfectly happy replaying my old games as they are, with or without New Game Plus or anything like it.
I find New Game Plus to be nothing more than padding. It would be one thing if enemies became smarter or used better tactics, but most are simply bullet sponges. With so many games available in the marketplace today, unless you are an absolute fanatic of a particular title or series, New Game Plus does not have very much appeal.
Truth be told, I usually don’t bother with New Game+. Playing through a game’s campaign once is enough for me; there’s a huge backlog of other games waiting to be played, after all. Come to think of it, I couldn’t probably even name five PC games that do have such a gameplay mode off the top of my head. However, the ones I do remember are quite excellent and definitely worth playing. There’s Nihilumbra, which we reviewed only recently. This game tricks the player into thinking that the main campaign he has been playing is all there is, and then presents him with its version of New Game+, called the Void mode. Here, you replay each level once again, but the puzzles are so much more devious. I still haven’t made it through the whole thing, but I keep trying.
Another New Game+ worth experiencing can be found in tower defense/RPG hybrid Defender’s Quest. NG+ ups the challenge once again, while introducing a lot more content, such as side-quests and a diary that fleshes out the story some more. Having experienced the additions that NG+ brings to both games, I can definitely say that they wouldn’t feel complete without a way to tackle the whole game once again. Of course, if NG+ is only used as padding to extend your playtime, it’s certainly less exciting.
New Game+ sounds great. It can be great even, but it almost leaves me hesitant about the game as a whole. Typically what we get is a version of the game “jazzed up” (kids still listen to jazz, right?) from what the original was. But what if I thought the original version needed more spice to it? I can appreciate the variety that such things add, but perhaps try integrating it into the base game over time? Games are already stretched mechanically by the third act, sometimes they are down to just one or two tricks up their sleeve during the second.
Why not introduce some variations on a theme once the player’s ability to execute the game’s required skill set has been proven? Give me the element resistant enemies now, with the higher occurrence of mini bosses and similar. When I am done with the game, you can freely stray beyond the scope of the game’s tone. Take a cue from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare with the cheat menu that let you play the game in a grainy film view at 1.2x speed, with the audio being strictly ragtime music, or perhaps with MIRV grenades and enemies turning into tires on death. Give me a juicier game now, and I might not even desire a New Game+, I might just like your game a lot more than I had.