You’ve just played through a hell of a game. You’ve had a lot of fun along the way. Perhaps you’re just not ready to stop playing yet. But what’s this? There’s a wealth of post-game content that you can take on! Games like these are always a treat, as sometimes, it almost feels like a smaller version of the game you just played awaits after the credits have rolled. These are my picks for the best of these types of games. To be clear, though, I’m not including New Game Plus modes, nor am I including DLC. This has to be stuff you can do on your old save file, without having to buy anything new.
What’s this? What the hell kind of first entry is thi-ANIMAL CROSSING?! REALLY?! You might be saying “You can BEAT that game?” Why, yes. Yes, you can. You can eventually pay off your humble abode to that rat bastard Tom Nook, and when you do, the game gives you, all things considered, a pretty heartwarming little post-game: you can just live your life. Your town doesn’t go away, you can still interact with all your neighbors, or you can just stop playing the game since you’re probably sick of it at this point. That, or… you’ve become too obsessed with the profits you rake in from your racket of fruit sales, and you can never leave.
No doubt some people were disappointed when the sequel to the smash-hit PaRappa the Rapper didn’t star PaRappa… it starred some random lamb girl and it was about rock music instead. Well, at least biggoted, rock-loving rednecks could finally get their fix. But even they weren’t safe since after completing the game proper, you got the option to play the songs again, remixed, for PaRappa’s rapping style. I guess technically you could call it “PaRappa the Rapper 1.5: You Have to Play as an Entirely Different Character First”. Not that it was bad. UmJammer Lammy is actually my favorite of the series, and the inclusion of everyone’s favorite, whiter-than-styrofoam rapping dog sure helps.
Phoenix Wright had been shouting “Objection!” …or “Igari!” if you wanna be all “sushi sake used-panties” about it, since the Game Boy Advance. Americans wouldn’t be able to experience this courtroom drama until 2005 when it was re-released on the DS. So, what do you do to spice up a visual novel game with absolutely no gameplay that uses the DS’ unique features? You add an entirely new episode to the game, that’s what! “Rise from the Ashes” is the 5th extra case for the original Phoenix Wright, which added 3D item-investigation, touch screen and microphone-based activities, better graphics, and a bunch of characters we wouldn’t get to see again until Apollo Justice, the first and only true Ace Attorney game made for the DS, came out. Also it’s really tough, but resist the urge to flee to GameFAQs! It’s a really good epilogue!
I know I said New Game Pluses are out of this list, but this technically isn’t a New Game Plus. Title Defense has you going back to fight all the previous boxers, but now things get even more twitchy since your opponents have new tricks up their sleeves (or they just downright cheat). Finding the patterns to bring about their downfalls is half the fun of this clever extra mode, and if you’re extra-masochistic, you can unlock “Mac’s Last Stand” after beating Title Defense. This mode is basically Title Defense, except the opponents are in random order (and you get the chance to fight Donkey Kong), and if you lose three times, the Career mode is locked on that profile forever. How much do you hate yourself?
Batman: Arkham City is stuffed to the bat-nipples with things to do and chances are by the time you reach the ending, you won’t have done it all. There’s a lot of sidequests to tie up, various upgrades to purchase, a whole epilogue with Catwoman, and the Riddler. Jeez, don’t get me started on the Riddler and his nefarious trophies. These little babies will have you toying with every gadget in Bats’ arsenal or itching to look up a guide, and there’s also the large amount of Riddler Challenge maps as well… and those are technically separate from the story, so have fun getting three medals on each of those!
Similar to the previous entry, only on a much grander scale, Just Cause 2 has the Mercenary Mode, which challenges you to 100% the game. Normally that wouldn’t be too tough but when you’ve got 400 square miles of tropical paradise playground, you have your work cut out for you. Over a hundred different locations in the game (notice how I avoid the word “unique” because they all reek of the copy/paste function) that all have percentages, and that doesn’t even include the bastard extra items that are just laying around fuck-knows-where. Like… oh, I dunno… a tenth of a mile under the fucking ocean, maybe?! At least this game is a blast to fuck around in, so completing the 100% mark will never get boring.
So you’ve beaten The World Ends With You, the quirky, J-pop and fashion-centric DS action-RPG, the credits have rolled and… what’s this? Oh, the game is suddenly telling you that you’ll have access to every episode from here on out, and there are something called “Secret Reports” that you can collect. What could they mean…? I dunno but if they stand in the way of my 100% completion, they’re mine. Turns out you can go back and replay all the episodes of the game with your current stats and pins, choosing any partner you desire, and if you fulfill certain requirements, you unlock these Secret Reports page by page. The catch? They reveal a ton of unexplained backstory, making replaying the game that much more fun, allowing you to notice details you missed now that you know the whole story, as well as revealing the hidden layers and pawns behind The Reaper’s Game. Not technically a New Game Plus, and rewards players who want to know the entire story behind the game. Truly awesome.
So, a lot of people liked Persona 3. And the guys at Atlus were like “You know what’ll shut these fuckers up? …30 extra hours. We slap a couple random letters on the box, sell it for 40 dollars.” And that’s exactly what they did. Persona 3 FES (whatever that means and/or stands for) contained an extra mode called “The Answer”, which promises a good 30 extra hours of gameplay supplementary to the main story. And while I still haven’t beaten Persona 3, I know it’s a Groundhog-Day-type-story where you repeat the same day over and over. Have fun with more randomly-generated dungeons, kids!
So you played Chain of Memories because you figure it’s gotta give away some juicy details about Kingdom Hearts 2, right? Right. But after beating the game you have the ability to play an entirely different story… as Riku, no less. “Reverse Side/Reverse Story” allowed you to play through the game as Riku, with his own unique storyline and cards, which revealed details about him, King Mickey, and a few other members of Organization XIII that were missing from Sora’s story. If you wanted to know everything the uber-complicated story of Kingdom Hearts 2 would hold, you had to beat this too.
You’d done it. You’d bested the Elite Four (again), and the credits had rolled. You woke up in your house in New Bark Town only to discover you got a ticket for the ship S.S. Aqua. “Oh, cool.” You might think. “I wonder what this is all about.” So you go on the ship, you battle a few trainers and you step off in… waitaminnit Vermillion City?! Yes, that’s right. You get to go through the entirety of Kanto, the region from the original Pokemon games, and battle all of those Gym Leaders, for a grand total of 16 Badges. Considering this was only the 2nd set of games in the series, and Red/Green/Blue/Yellow had very little in the way of a post-game, this was unprecedented. When the credits rolled, they might as well have said “YO DOOD YOU ONLY HALFWAY DONE”. Going through a re-made Kanto and fighting the Gym Leaders in a completely batshit-insane order was awesome back when I was 10. It was like anarchy. The icing on the cake was that if you got all 16 badges, you could go to the top of Mt. Silver and fight Red, the player character from the original Red/Blue/Green/Yellow, and his insanely-overleveled Pokemon. The original Game Boy version gave him a Pikachu at level 81. The DS remakes bumped it up to 89. It was an absolutely crazy surprise for any kid who’d played the original games, and ever since, every main Pokemon game has had some sort of area you could travel to after the game proper was completed. Black and White almost made the list for the fact that half of the main portion of the map was unexplored by the time you’d bested the Elite Four. But Gold and Silver didn’t just hold half of the map hostage until you’d beaten the game, it held half of the fucking world (known to us at that time). I’m waiting for the day they finally give us a Pokemon game where we can go through all of the lands from the previous generations and collect like… I dunno 56 or so badges, but until then, I’ll always love how awesome it was to conquer Kanto all over again.
Got a problem with the games I chose? Write your own damn list, then. I didn’t write this to impress any of you motherfuckers.