15 Incredible Games You Can Only Enjoy Once

L.A. Noire
Photo Credits: Rockstar Games, Team Bondi

We always talk about a game’s replayability as part of why it makes them great, but sometimes the games you can only enjoy once can be great, too. There could be many reasons why you only play a game one time and be done with it, and we’ll explore some as we list down the 15 best games you can only enjoy once.


1. Return of Obra Dinn

Return of the Obra Dinn
Photo Credits: 3909 LLC, Warp Digital Limited

Don’t get me wrong, this is an excellent game shrouded with mystery and unique visuals. However, once you’ve cracked the case, it loses its value. Your curiosity gets satisfied, and you start to lose interest. Without curiosity, there’s nothing much driving you to start playing Return of Obra Dinn again.

Mystery games are often played once and done unless you’re replaying it with friends or someone who has never touched the game. That could be done with Return of Obra Dinn, as it has a co-op option. 

Additionally, suppose you take a lot of long breaks between your runs. In that case, you may forget the various names and characters in the game. This way, multiple playthroughs would still be fun. After all, this game has way too many names to remember.


2. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy
Photo Credits: Nintendo, Capcom, Level-5

It is a fun and humorous take on court trials and being an attorney at law. A lot of decision-making and brainpower goes into this game, but that’s why it’s not fun the second time. You’ve got all the answers and figured out each case.

All the mysteries and intrigue that come with the first playthrough are gone as you know the answer to each case. The mystery is part of the bread and butter of the Ace Attorney trilogy. Things get boring and stale quickly once you take that out of the equation. However, it is one of the best games you can only enjoy once. The debates and characters make it a blast to play.


3. Subnautica

Photo Credits: Unknown Worlds Entertainment, Panic Button Games

One of the best underwater exploration games out there, Subnautica outdid itself in most aspects. However, another run of the game would make it feel boring and stale since you’ve already explored everything with curiosity and wonder the first time.

The only reason you would replay Subnautica is with a multiplayer mod, which allows you to play the game with your friends, making it a completely different experience. The best way to replay Subnautica is to leave it untouched and forgotten for years and then rediscover it with wonder again.


4. Far Cry 3

Far Cry 3
Photo Credits: Ubisoft, Ubisoft Montreal

The first playthrough of Far Cry 3 will have you taking in a lot of new information and content, so the second playthrough is not as exciting or fun anymore. If anything, it feels stale to replay. It is a fantastic game with a fun set of characters and an iconic villain, but that doesn’t save the game from being a fun, one-time ride.

The moment the credits roll and you’ve explored the entirety of the dangerous island, you’ll find yourself drained. It is not something you would pick up anytime soon to have another go at, that’s for sure.


5. What Remains of Edith Finch

What Remains of Edith Finch
Photo Credits: Giant Sparrow, Annapurna Interactive

You can finish playing What Remains of Edith Finch in one sitting, no problem. But the thing is, it has no charm when it comes to replayability. The first round will make you think this is the most excellent game you’ve ever played, but the second playthrough will make you bored as it loses all its novelty. 

It’s another case of knowing all the stories and solving all the mysteries, so it holds no novelty anymore. You’ve read, explored, and done everything the first time. Not to mention the emotions it evokes in you the first time. There’s no way you can top that experience the second time.


6. The Wolf Among Us

The Wolf Among Us
Photo Credits: Telltale Games

It is a relatively intelligent and creative adaptation of classic fairytales that is highly story-driven. Sure, there may be multiple choices for you to explore in more than one playthrough. Still, the novelty dies when you know all the characters and their motives. The Wolf Among Us is a game best played blind, or else it gets too predictable.

Even so, The Wolf Among Us is a great game where fantasy and fairytale characters come to life. Solving the string of murders by interacting with the objects in the story could easily pull you in. The characters are fun, the suspense in the storyline is excellent, and the gameplay is pretty straightforward. 


7. Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori and the Blind Forest
Photo Credits: Moon Studios, Microsoft Studios

Ori and The Blind Forest features a beautiful world with sleek gameplay. Still, storytelling is one of the game’s most essential parts. Once you’ve learned everything about the story, the second playthrough no longer holds as much weight. 

It’s almost as if you have no incentive to continue playing or replay the game, especially if you’re not a completionist who is hung up on trying to get every collectible. It was great while it lasted, and the visuals are mesmerizing, but once is enough to experience its delicate story.


8. L.A. Noire

L.A. Noire
Photo Credits: Rockstar Games, Team Bondi

Let’s be honest. A game about solving cases and crime would not be fun the second time around when you know all the culprits and solutions. It is one of the best games you can only enjoy once as you hone your deduction skills and get surprised by some twists. Not so much the second time, though.

Regardless, it is a beautiful game packed with cases for you to solve in the city of angels. Plus, it uses high-tech facial animation technology, which helps players figure out if a character is lying. Playing it once is exciting enough.


9. Limbo

Photo Credits: Microsoft Game Studios, Playdead

Arguably, it is one of the best atmospheric games out there, ahead of its time. However, once you’ve experienced everything in Limbo for the first time, the second time doesn’t feel the same. You might even find yourself bored, which is a travesty.

However, Limbo is one of the best games you can only enjoy once. While playing it, you will be enamored and engrossed in its challenging puzzles and trying to stay alive. The creepy environments and death-filled gameplay create a whole lot of adrenaline. If anything, the stress is not worth the replay.


10. Portal 2

Portal 2
Photo Credits: Valve Corporation, CyberFront Corporation

It might be a shocker to see this one on the list since Portal 2 is a highly creative game that graces the Hall of Fame. But when everything is solved, it feels like that’s where it should end. It is a fitting end, and there’s no reason to return and do it again. 

It would be different if you find someone new to join you in multiplayer, but it ain’ts worth it if you do it solo. Plus, if you play it solo the second time, you’ll probably breeze through it, as all the puzzles are familiar to you now. Perhaps speedrunning Portal 2 would be the next big thing? Who knows.


11. Outer Wilds

Outer Wilds
Photo Credits: Mobius Digital, Annapurna Interactive

It is a genuinely gorgeous exploration game that is best enjoyed once. After exploring everything and turning every rock, going back in a second time only dulls the experience. The original curiosity, wonder, and excitement have all worn out. When you hit the maximum level cap, the game has nothing left for you.

Many people would agree that this is one of the best games you can only enjoy once. Its visuals are breathtaking, and the sense of wonder it gives you is exhilarating. Here’s to hoping they release more DLCs like Echoes of the Eye so we can all continue experiencing its beautiful world.


12. Persona 5 Royal

Persona 5 Royal
Photo Credits: Atlus, P Studio

Truthfully, most modern Persona games don’t have that much replay value unless you’re a completionist. Persona 5 Royal can be incredibly draining to experience as you read through walls of text that you’ve read through before and go through all the same experiences. Plus, the Persona games always seem to be extra long. 

The journey, characters, and gameplay are incredible, but the long dialogues are draining. If there is a way to shorten the game by a bit, then replaying it could be worth the time and brainpower. If not, then this is a one-time play.


13. Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman: Arkham Asylum
Photo Credits: Rocksteady Studios, Eidos Interactive

This is a 2009 game, so perhaps you could replay it now if you haven’t already. Report back and let us know if the nostalgia works and the experience is refreshed. We would consider Batman: Arkham Asylum one of the best games you can only enjoy once. Simply because it presents a linear storyline and doesn’t have the open-world feature as the other games that came later.

Hence, all of its twists and turns get predictable. You know what happens next and what’s waiting around the corner. This gets boring after a while, making the game lose all the excitement, anticipation, or surprise. 


14. Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
Photo Credits: Marvel Entertainment, Eidos-Montreal

This is one of the best Marvel-related games out there, filled with its own identity and chaotic weirdness that most people would enjoy. Even so, a second playthrough makes it feel stale. There are multiple choices for you to create, but they need to be enticing enough for you to play it through a second time. 

As with all story-driven games, when it ends and everything is resolved, it feels like that’s where you should also lay the game to rest. Maybe nostalgia will hit you 5 or 10 years later, or a new Guardians movie will come out that will make you want to pick the game up again.


15. Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Photo Credits: Monolith Productions, Warner Bros. Entertainment

A simple case of repetitiveness, playing through Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor the first time is a unique and memorable experience that is hard to replicate the second time around. In the second round, everything feels repetitive and annoying. Even if the world is breathtaking.

As you near the end of the game, this hits especially hard as everything feels repetitive and a tad bit long. One of the only reasons you would dive into this title again would be because you are a completionist. Either that, or you want to torture some ogres and have some reckless, mindless fun. But it’s just not worth it.


So, do you agree? In the comments below, let us know the best games you can only enjoy once. Honestly, some super gamers don’t mind replaying the same games repeatedly, no matter how predictable it gets. Props to them! We prefer trying new games instead. 

Anyway, here’s another list you might be interested in: 14 Games Best Played on the PlayStation Portal.



  • Sarah Paul

    I dip my toes in all things nerdy. I started writing and never looked back! I'll write about anything under the sun if you give me the chance, but my loyalty currently lies with nerd culture.

Sarah Paul

Written by Sarah Paul

I dip my toes in all things nerdy. I started writing and never looked back! I'll write about anything under the sun if you give me the chance, but my loyalty currently lies with nerd culture.

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