It’s hard to walk away from a game at your peak
It’s a simple question, but your answer might a bit more be complicated — do you typically do New Game+ runs? What do you need from them? Anything extra? Or are you generally looking for an excuse to continue existing in this world for just a while longer?
Over the weekend, I circled back to Rogue Legacy 2, a game I’ve finished. Except, well, I’m not finished. Not yet! There are permanent character-boosting upgrades to unlock and tougher as-yet-unseen variant bosses to seek out and destroy, so my work isn’t done.
I hopped back in this weekend for a few quick runs when I had some downtime, but I was spotted. As former Destructoid writer Brett Makedonski half-jokingly pinged me on Steam, “you’re done with the review bro, you don’t have to play anymore.”
But I must! In fact, I’m actually playing New Game+ in another game side-by-side with Rogue Legacy 2. I’ve also been chipping away at Nobody Saves the World, a form-swapping action-adventure RPG that is a whole game about making progress — checking off lists of combat challenges — in order to open up new mix-and-match character builds.
Like Chris, I’d recommend it. It’s been a lovely grind. That said, approaching the 20-hour mark, I was ready to hit the end. Little did I know there’d be a New Game+, though!
It could just be a completionist tendency
I’ll admit, part of the appeal is the platinum trophy and the ensuing I’m-completely-done game deletion that’s always so satisfying. Finishing Nobody Saves the World again on New Game+ will get me the “A world so nice I saved it twice” trophy, which is the only thing standing in my way. That’s a nice jolt of motivation to immediately hop back in.
It’s also just enjoyable to start again with all of these character forms unlocked, S-ranked, and kitted out with wacky active and passive abilities. I spent many hours just getting a lay of the land, and even more time mindlessly grinding out challenges to rank up. I was stumped in a few spots, for sure. Now, in New Game+, I get to come back around with all of that hard-earned knowledge — it’s fun to breeze on through as a missile-firing monk.
Of course, the ante has been upped to keep things interesting for round two. In New Game+, Nobody Saves the World scales up foes’ levels and revamps all of the dungeons to have modifiers that necessitate well-thought-out character builds. The screenshot above comes from an early dungeon boss fight that, in New Game+, lasted a second. With the new rules, I would take — and dish out — 9,999 damage. Everyone was a glass cannon!
Or the promise of enticing new content
Rogue Legacy 2, meanwhile, is as grindy as ever, which I’m into.
In New Game+, you’ll flip on various difficulty-raising “burdens,” and there are enough granular toggles that you can really set yourself up for success (or failure). If you’re a pro at avoiding spike traps and other obstacles, maybe crank up their damage output. If you aren’t feeling threatened by common foes, bulk them up or boost the speed of projectiles.
I’m not interested in making this game even harder than it already is, Hades style, just to fail a bunch and ultimately (hopefully!) come out on top after a ton of practice. I mean, if I can, sure, that’s cool. The higher your New Game+ “thread” goes, the better the gold grind, but better yet: you can also open up alternate new “Prime” bosses. That means more intricate boss attack patterns and even more lore, if you’re into these backstories.
Without saying too much, so far, the Prime estuaries have put up such thrilling fights, I know I have to see them all. I’m only (“only”) on New Game+3, so there’s a long way left.
Elden Ring says “hello” (in a creepy voice)
Weirdly, in an out-of-character twist, I mostly glossed over a good New Game+ candidate that a bunch of you are likely digging into right now, or planning to soon: Elden Ring.
I’ve always loved New Game+ in the extended Souls family as someone who enjoys squeezing as much out of games as possible before shelving them. That said, with Elden Ring, my first-playthrough clear took so much time and energy that when the NG+ option presented itself, I knew I needed some space. If not for me, then at least for my fiancée, who was starting to think this obsession-inducing game would never end. I did savor it.
To get the best of both worlds, I backed up my endgame save file, started New Game+, then steamrolled the mandatory bosses and hoofed it to a much-later zone to pick up a missable weapon that I had, like many other first-time players, totally missed. The deed was done, so I deleted that run. Now I can pick Elden Ring back up when the time is right — though I think a fresh run with a new Tarnished might be more fun? Thoughts on that?
In recent years, New Game+ has become a staple for certain players, and I am no doubt one of those folks. What about you? Do you need a NieR-style ongoing narrative carrot on a stick, or are you all about continuing your adventure for raw gains, like in Nioh 2?
Also, do you ever feel guilty about not moving on? You shouldn’t! But do you?