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If you hope to one day garner respect in convention showrooms and internet forums, there are a few you should say you’ve played. These titles are pillars of the industry, and are nearly unanimously referred to as some of the best of all time. However, there’s a big difference between playing these and actually finishing them.

If you’re hoping to experience the best games of the last two console generations, be prepared to devote well over 100 hours to a single title. The hefty commitment can make some players feel the need to fudge the truth a little bit, as there are only so many hours in a lifetime.

A number of different factors compel people to lie about beating videogames. Some titles are so challenging that they’re almost impossible to beat, whereas others demand literal weeks of a player’s life. This has only become more true as games have grown in size, as modern blockbusters offer countless hours of content to keep players hooked.

 

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Photo:  Bethesda

Even after defeating Alduin, the World Eater, there’s still so much to do in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Players can embark on a plethora of side quests, guild missions, and other tasks that will keep them exploring for well over 200 hours.

After the game was released, Bethesda put out three expansions packs — Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn — that add even more content to an already sprawling game. Hearthfire gives players the option to build houses and adopt children, which means that one could theoretically live a virtual life in the game forever.

To top it all off, Skyrim’s Radiant Quest System — which generates quests for you based on your progress in the game — insures that there will always be something to accomplish in the game.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Photo:  The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt/CD Projekt

Even in an age where the average blockbuster game clocks in at around 80 hours, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is still abnormally massive. Speedrunners have been able to reach the credits in about 25 hours, but this feat requires a completely bare-bones playthrough. Factoring in the countless side quests, contracts, and hidden events strewn throughout the game, the average player will spend around 200 hours making their way to the end (and that’s optimistic).

Discounting all the planned encounters, another big factor in The Witcher 3’s unbelievable length is how vast the game’s world is. The continent is separated into several different regions with cities, towns, and villages spread throughout. Every town has an eclectic population of NPCs to interact with, and the wilds are filled with hidden treasures and treacherous caverns.

To 100% the game, you must explore every last corner of this gigantic world.

Dark Souls II

Photo:  Dark Souls II/Namco Bandai

Disregarding Dark Souls II’s crazy length and plethora of achievements/trophies, the sheer number of boss battles in this game makes completion a near-impossible task. Some bosses are optional, which is a small reprieve, but perfectionists won’t be able to accept the easy way out. You have to be a straight up masochist to deal with the game’s insane difficulty, and there’s no tutorial to explain the franchise’s many systems and statistics (if you want to get good, you’ll have to consult a fan-made wiki).

The task of completely finishing this game is one of biblical proportions.

Fallout 3

Photo:  Fallout 3/Bethesda

Fallout 3 is basically impossible to 100%, as many of its missions have multiple potential outcomes and some companions can only be obtained if you have a specific karma level. Additionally, you have to find all of the bobble heads that are hidden throughout the ruins of the DC area. Once you’ve completed all the base game’s story missions, side quests, and other interactions, there are five hefty DLC packs that add in a whole lot more content.

All but one of these add-ons increases the size of the map, so that players can explore parts of Pennsylvania and Maryland once the nation’s capital starts to feel samey.

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Photo: Dragon Age: Inquisition/EA

According to developer BioWare, it can take a player anywhere between 150 to 200 hours to complete all of the content in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Even if you stick to the main story, it’ll still take you around 20-40 hours to reach the end. However, once you reach this point, chances are you’ll be so immersed in the continent of Thedas that you’ll spend countless more hours exploring the rest of the world.

While the base game is massive, there are also five expansion packs that add new storylines, missions, regions (among other things) to the core experience.

Grand Theft Auto V

Photo: Grand Theft Auto V/Rockstar Games

In order to 100% Grand Theft Auto V, you need to do a lot more than simply finish the story, which is very long to begin with (there are 69 story missions in total, all of which feature optional bonus objectives). You also need to complete 20 strangers and freaks missions, 14 random events, 42 hobbies and pastimes, and 16 miscellaneous tasks.

Then there are the collectible in-game challenges, such as time trials, stunt jumps, hunting missions, and hookups with random strangers. If you’re hoping to complete the game, you better start sharpening your virtual tennis skills.

Batman: Arkham Knight

Photo: Batman: Arkham Knight/Warner Bros.

In case you’re not aware, the true antagonist of the Batman: Arkham series is its collection of Riddler trophies, which are strategically hidden all throughout Gotham. While you can choose to ignore these collectibles in the first few games, Arkham Knight forces you to find all 243 of its Riddler trophies to reach the true ending, which is still a cliffhanger.

The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

Photo: The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild/Nintendo

According to Kotaku, the first successful 100% speedrun of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild took 49 hours to complete, which should tell you something about the game’s length. For players in less of a hurry, it will take even longer time to see and do everything this massive Nintendo game has to offer.

Forget the story areas and side quests, the biggest challenge of all is staying focused on one specific task. After all, Breath of the Wild encourages players to simply explore the world, without leading them by the hand to the next objective. As a result, it’s easy to find yourself walking around aimlessly, admiring Hyrule’s natural beauty without a care in the world.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Photo: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain/Konami

The second chapter of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain begins 31 missions into the story. To reach this point, you’ve spent dozens of hours sneaking around, kidnapping goats, hanging out in a box, and jamming out to ’80s cassettes. Now, the game requires you to replay the majority of the levels on a much harder difficulty. To be fair, the story does continue with new, previously unseen cinematics, so the second half of the game is only a moderate rehash.

Beating the second set of missions unlocks the game’s true ending, which reveals the shocking truth about Big Boss, and details the events that lead to the first Metal Gear Solid game. While this is definitely a worthwhile payoff, holy Hell is the journey to get there tedious.

Stardew Valley

Photo: Stardew Valley/Chucklefish

Stardew Valley isn’t really about “winning,” which is why you’ll never finish it. Once you’ve played for three in-game years, you’re given an assessment that gauges your success up until that point. After you’ve been analyzed, the game continues on indefinitely, and players unsatisfied with their score can be reevaluated at any time.

The seasons roll on without end, and that’s actually a good thing, as planting turnips, exploring caves, managing resources, fishing, and interacting with NPCs is absolutely addictive. Once the theme music gets stuck in your head, you might even wish to become a permanent resident of Stardew Valley.

NieR: Automata

Photo: NieR: Automata/Square Enix

Okay, first off, NieR: Automata features 26 endings in total. While you can achieve multiple endings in a single playthrough, if you’re hoping to see how the story concludes, you’ll be required to beat the entire game three times over.

The first playthrough will take you somewhere between 12-16 hours, and does feature a semi-satisfying ending. Once the credits have rolled, a slightly altered version of the story mode unlocks that allows you to experience the narrative from a different perspective. After you finish that playthrough — which clocks in at around eight hours — you have to complete a third pass through the game to unlock the true ending.

Oh, and if you want to see the fourth ending, the game requires you to permanently delete all of your save files, forcing you to restart from scratch. Have fun!

Assassin’s Creed Origins

Photo: Assassin’s Creed Origins/Ubisoft

Ubisoft is still releasing DLC for Assassin’s Creed Origins, but the size of the main game suggests that the final experience will be gigantic. The game’s map is a patchwork of regions than spans Egypt, and each region contains several cities, smaller villages, and other landmarks. On top of that, there are additional secret areas and tombs players can discover throughout the desert.

The map is so large that it takes three hours to traverse on foot in real time. With a campaign that offers 20+ hours of gameplay (even without the mass of side quests), Origins is the series’s largest game.

Super Mario Odyssey

Photo: Super Mario Odyssey/Nintendo

If you played Super Mario 64 back in the ’90s, you might remember being finished with the game long before you collected all 120 power stars. If that’s the case, you’ll have a rough time completing Super Mario Odyssey, which features 999 collectable power moons.

Like its N64 predecessor, Odyssey does not require you to collect every single power moon to progress through the game. To face off against Bowser, the player only needs to stockpile roughly 150 power moons, a small fraction of the available total. However, for completionists, beating Bowser isn’t the end of the game.

As soon as Princess Peach has been rescued, it’s back to business as Mario steps off to find the remaining 849 or so moons. If you were excited about collecting 150, it’s time to buckle up, because you’re one sixth of the way to the 100% mark! Good luck with your insane scavenger hunt, you masochist.

Mass Effect 3

Photo: Electronic Arts

Mass Effect 3 inspires controversy for more than just its dumb endings. Players hoping to enjoy a single-player RPG are out of luck, as participation in the multiplayer component is required for 100% completion. Even if you don’t have Xbox Live Gold or Playstation Plus, the amount of time you spend playing online directly affects your solo experience.

While playing through the story, one has to keep track of the “Effective Military Strength” stat, which basically measures how prepared the galaxy is to take on the Reapers in a final showdown above Earth. This stat is calculated through your accomplishments in single-player (decisions from the previous two titles are also factored in, hope you held onto your save files) as well as your multiplayer progress.

If you don’t play hours of multiplayer, you won’t get the best ending.

Persona 5

Photo: Atlus

Persona 5 offers dungeons to explore and demons to battle, as is the norm for many RPGs. However, there’s a a lot to do in this game that isn’t related to fighting. Some players have reported spending more than 100 hours with Persona 5, just because they became engulfed in the life of the high school student protagonist.

His relationships, studies, and downtime are all controlled by the player, and a huge chunk of the game is spent role-playing as a teenager.

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