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Just a couple of days ago, I started a new playthrough of Dragon Age: Inquisition, in preparation for the first slice of DLC that's hitting PlayStation consoles in May. Having already completed the game once, I was looking forward to slogging through the adventure again while making use of the knowledge that I had gained from my first run. So far, I'm enjoying BioWare's epic all over again, but after spending close to an hour searching bags for crafting materials and reading signs for small experience point boosts, my enthusiasm started to wane.

I had created a new character, and was looking forward to tackling the story in a different way to what I had done previously, but I had greatly underestimated how much content there is to simply pick apart and play with – content that you only realise is such a time sink because of the fact that you've already done it once before.

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As a result, it's far more tedious than it was the first time around. Rummaging through the undergrowth to find plants to make potions with, upgrading armour through clunky menu screens for minutes at a time – it's just a pain in the arse, and I would assume that it's even worse for someone who suffers from even a degree of obsessive compulsive disorder.

It did get me thinking, though – why the heck doesn't Inquisition offer a New Game Plus mode? A way to streamline the experience for those who have already spent close to 100 hours completing it before? Perhaps a way to carry over your best equipment, or a way to gain bonus experience points or ability points from the start? It's a bit maddening, really.

Of course, BioWare's no stranger to the concept of New Game Plus. Its Mass Effect series boasts oodles of replay value not just because of how the storyline can change, but because it allows you to carry over some of your progress when you begin a new save. I've played through Mass Effect 2 about 20 times, but I seriously doubt that I'd have bothered if I'd been unable to transfer Commander Shepard's abilities, upgrades, and arsenal to a new run.

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Unfortunately, the bottom line is that not enough games give us the incentive to play them again once they're completed. In particular, more linear titles could really see the benefit of boasting New Game Plus. Remember Uncharted 2: Among Thieves? It let you unlock guns, skins, and even ridiculous physics changes once you'd watched the credits roll, giving you a fresh reason to boot it up again – even daft little bonuses like these can be enough to hook us back into an experience.

In contrast, let's look at recent PlayStation 4 exclusive, The Order: 1886. A very linear game that lasts around six or seven hours, it can be a fun ride while it lasts, depending on what your idea of fun is, but once it was done, I felt no compulsion whatsoever to go back to it, and I still don't see why I would. Trophy hunters will want the Platinum, sure, and those who thoroughly enjoyed it might want to grow a moustache and do it all again, fair enough – but would it really have been such a hassle to incorporate a few extra skins, weapon selection, or even just facial hair customisation?

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Then, you look at a title like Bloodborne, and you can run through that nightmare as many times as you want, gaining power, and discovering mysterious new bits and pieces as you go. Entirely different genres, admittedly, but I still don't see why we can't be given more bang for our buck, regardless of what a game's trying to achieve.

Some titles are absolutely begging for New Game Plus, as well. Binary Domain, the underrated human versus robot shooter from the same studio that's behind the Yakuza franchise, featured an impressive amount of customisable, upgradable armaments, and it was virtually impossible to max them all out in one playthrough. Being a relatively linear shooter, New Game Plus would have turned the adventures of Dan Marshall into an immediately replayable gem, but alas, we're stuck with the same peashooters that carry next to no ammo from start to finish.

Some games handle it better than others, too. The superb Persona 4 Golden, for example, allows you to keep hold of your persona library when you begin a new save, granting you the ability to continue to grow your ever expanding army of spirits, demons, and creepy machinations of the mind. It works brilliantly because the whole title runs on a calendar system, meaning that you've got a limited amount time to get things done in the first place.

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Meanwhile, a release like Diablo III manages to incorporate the New Game Plus concept into its base structure, giving you the option of starting the story over whenever you want, as everything scales to your level. In turn, this creates a constantly rewarding sense of progression; it's a sense that you're participating in something that's always inviting you to sit down and enjoy the experience to any extent that you're comfortable with.

Anyway, the point is that we've all been there. We've all thought about replaying a game, and then hesitated upon realising that there's actually quite a bit of effort involved – effort that we've already invested once before. New Game Plus is an incentive, a reason, and even a reward – and we need more of it than we're currently getting.


Does Robert preach the truth? Should the way of New Game Plus be embraced more often? Begin again in the comments section below.

Should more games include a New Game Plus option? (68 votes)

  1. Yes, it makes me want to play again82%
  2. Hmm, I'm not fussed either way13%
  3. No, I only play games once anyway4%

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