So, I used to think and beating a game was the be all and end all of a gaming experience. In truth, this is far from the truth now-a-days. Many games now come with higher difficulties that are only unlocked if you beat the game. This is supposed to add replayability, but what games really flesh out the next difficulty?
So many games push the AI to just be more aggressive and harder to kill, but why is that going to make the game fun to play through again? This is one of my biggest gripes with story-driven games. That is also why I have grown so attached to open world or choice driven games.
Good examples of these are Infamous or Fable. These games offer two unique story arcs to explore and will also offer you a bigger challenge if you so choose to pump up the difficulty. "Stranger" missions like those in RDR or Infamous, where people would just run up to you asking for help brought the world to life and brought you new experiences quite often.
Random maps and loot-fests are also incredibly appealing to me. Though Borderlands may have had a ridiculous story, it was entertaining and funny and looting was addicting. Also, respawning opponents in area you have already cleared made for a few surprise attacks as well as a great way to farm for levels. Also, not every quest needed to be completed to beat the game.
Finally, in my opinion the greatest game and working concept to date, the Diablo series. Here's why:
The game offered you a level cap that couldn't be reached without playing through each difficulty
Some unique loot and equipment that didn't even drop until your third play through
Randomly generated creatures in randomly generated maps.
You can play through the first section of the game and come across something new just about every time.
More loot than you could possibly comprehend. I have played the games for nearly a decade and can still come across something new.
Anyways, my love song for the Diablo series is over. If you haven’t tried it, go play it. If you didn't like it... then we don't like the same games.
The point is that beating games is fun and story-driven games have their place but when it comes down to it, replayability is a unique gift a developer can give, and not every game can have it.