Occasionally I like to veer of the MMO track of discussion. After all, something needs to keep me busy between MMO launches. I don’t like to drive too far off course though. NG+ (New Game Plus) is a game mode that many MMORPG players should find enticing. In it, players can restart a single player game, keeping all or the majority of levels and equipment acquired in the previous playthrough. Though many action and adventure titles also offer NG+ modes, RPGs are the single player genre most appealing to MMO/MMORPG fans. The persistent nature of NG+ RPG characters (and sometimes world states) draws alluring parallels to MMOs of all kinds.
The NG+ RPG List
8. Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen (PC/PS3)
Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is an amazing open world action-RPG that combines fantastic party based combat (using the AI’s help) with a minimalist story that actually works. NG+ doesn’t change much but the carryover of levels and gear will give you the strength necessary to travel to Bitterback Isle. This is an expansion dungeon with a wealth of new, difficult challenges. The new abilities further enhance your character’s epic feel and makes for a well rounded new game plus experience. The core game world’s difficulty remains the same but challenges such as dropping party members in favor of solo play can keep difficulty in tact. NG+ in Dragon’s Dogma is largely enjoyable because character advancement and combat is so fun that you won’t want to stop. With 200 levels of RPG goodness, NG+ ensures you won’t have to.
7. Chrono Trigger (SNES/PS1/DS/iOS/Android)
I’d probably be killed if I didn’t include Chrono Trigger, but luckily I think it’s a worthy addition. As the first RPG to implement NG+ in a meaningful way, Chrono Trigger set the bar high. Chrono Trigger’s thirteen unique endings play on the game’s time traveling plot to show various ‘what if’ scenarios. Some of the endings also add additional backstory, and all of them can be easily accessed after beating the game. Chrono Trigger isn’t particularly difficult to begin with so NG+ ends up trivializing the game’s combat. Normally I’d count that as a negative. But after fighting tooth and nail to save the world, taking your time traveling warriors on a timeline perfecting romp is pure fun. Chrono Trigger’s New Game+ never gets in its own way like many RPGs and simply lets the player continue on its memorable journey.
6. The World Ends With You (Nintendo DS)
I’ve never felt this game earned enough praise. There’s so much great about it that makes this DS experience wholly unique. The new game plus mode is just another testament to it’s well thought out design. First, the difficulty of TWEWY can be finely tuned to the player’s discretion more than any RPG. Seriously, the sliders are ridiculously awesome and incentivize harder levels with better rewards. It ensures that while you’re constantly evolving, the game is too. Second, there are little bits of backstory that can only be found with NG+. It doesn’t diminish the base game and serves to enhance the full experience. The World Ends With You is such a fun ride, I’d honestly recommend buying a Nintendo DS just for it. With TWEWY’s NG+ mode, you might lack the time to play anything else on it anyway.
5. Rogue Legacy (PC/PS3/PS4/XB1)
Rogue Legacy is a tough as tails rogue-lite action-RPG. The game can technically be beaten in one go but is pretty damn difficult to do so. Instead, the players relies on acquiring gold each playthrough to enhance their offspring’s abilities (i.e. subsequent playthroughs). This eventually gives the player adequate strength to succeed. NG+ in Rogue Legacy gives players access to new gear. The game also grows harder with each playthrough so this new gear is much appreciated. What I
enjoy appreciate most about Rogue Legacy’s new game plus is that each subsequent “plus” increases the difficulty. Unlike a lot of RPG games, NG+ and NG+10 in Rogue Legacy mean very different things. At some point, character growth halts, but the enemies perish such a thought. Thus, in Rogue Legacy, a high NG+ level is legitimately a badge of honor.
4. Dark Souls 2 (PC/PS3/X360/PS4/XB1)
Dark Souls 2 generally gets a bad rep in the Dark Souls community, unfairly so in my opinion. At the very least, it’s new game plus is clearly the best of the series. After defeating the game’s final boss, the player can move to NG+ at any time. Like Rogue Legacy, multiple new game pluses are available (up to NG+7). The most relevant are NG+ and NG++. In Dark Souls 2’s NG+, new enemies are added so that repeat dungeons remain perilous. Additionally, other enemies grow stronger, boss fights change, and new gear becomes available. NG++ adds more rings to collect with again higher damage/health enemies. By the end of NG++, the player should feel more than equipped for all subsequent NG+ plays. From there, the player can focus less on staying alive and more on exploring the game’s rich lore. It’s not as developed as Dark Souls 2’s predecessor, but there is still plenty to discover.
3. Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter (PS2)
Cursed as a pariah in the Breath of Fire series on release, Dragon Quarter has since gained a strong niche following. It integrates rogue-lite gameplay with turn based RPG combat that makes new game plus part of the actual story. Like Rogue Legacy, it’s pretty difficult to finish in one play. Luckily, after dying, the player carries over accumulated items, equip, and skills (so everything but levels) to a new game. What separates Dragon Quarter is how these playthroughs integrate with the plot. Elements of the story continually expand based on the player’s D-Ratio, which grows via previous “new games”. Unlike most RPGs where new game plus means slogging through identical events, Dragon Quarter gives the player a legitimate reason to experience the same content by constantly presenting it in a fresh manner.
2. Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (PSP)
Tactics Ogre is technically available on other systems too, but Let Us Cling Together is the far superior version. Most relevant as to why is its new game plus mode named the WORLD system. After beating this tactical RPG once, the player can access key story points to change history. You see, Tactics Ogre is a politically charged RPG where your decisions dramatically impact the storyline. Choices have major long term consequences and the WORLD system lets the player fully experience the ramifications of each choice. Additionally, a brand new set of events become available (again, depending on what choices were made in the base game). How long does all of this take? 188 hours according to How Long to Beat. Tactics Ogre: Let us Cling Together offers a helluva lot of NG+ content for an RPG without falling into the trap of getting repetitive.
1. Nier (PS3/X360)
If you haven’t played Nier and you own one of these systems, change that. Now. Each NG+ play of Nier will change how you view the story, lore, and major characters. In fact, after beating the game once, NG+ skips you past the first half of the game because that part of story becomes fully told. Nier will challenge you emotionally and physically as enemies grow more powerful and characters grow more personal. Finally in Nier’s NG++, the player gets to experience a new ending that brings the story to a full close. I can’t say more than that. The beauty of Nier lies in its story and characters and how they integrate into the game’s clever use of NG+ and NG++. To discuss more would only risk ruining it.
How’s that for a list of the best NG+ RPGs? Do you agree with the order? Did we missing anything? Is this type of single player focus acceptable for our fellow MMO Bros? I’m feeling pretty good about, but comments are always welcome.