With how long some games can be, it can be a relief when they’re finally over. Sometimes though, you don’t want the fun to end and wish there was more. A number of games leverage that in various ways, opening up some new optional content, opening up the “real game” (so to speak) or some mixture of the two when you thought you finished the story. Let’s take a look at 15 such titles here. Story spoilers follow for some games so be warned.

God of War (2018)

Much of the God of War journey involves, well, a literal journey to honor Kratos’ wife Faye (with a dash of smacking down Baldr). But even after making the trek back home and seeing the “dream” with Thor, there’s still plenty to wrap up. Outside of collectibles, you could kill of the Valkyries including Sigrun, the toughest boss in the entire game; partake in the Impossible Trials of Muspelheim and master Niflheim’s poisonous arena; free all of the dragons; and reassemble the Gauntlet of Ages to wield Infinity Stone-esque power. New Game Plus adds even more content with new armor, talismans, enchantments and stronger versions of current armor.

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Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver

Pokemon HeartGold

The original games surprised everyone by including the entire Kanto region from Red and Blue, allowing players to face off against all eight Gym leaders and eventually battle Red on Mt. Silver. This was on top of having to collect 493 Pokemon but the remakes also add the Battle Frontier with additional battles culminating in boss fights with Frontier Brains. Certain Pokemon are also not allowed, increasing the challenge involved. Completing certain side quests also lets you obtain Ho-Oh and Lugia, the two new Legendary Pokemon.

Borderlands 2

Borderlands 3 may have introduced plenty of different end-game systems but it never quite found the appeal that Borderlands 2 did. After completing the base and DLC stories, there are raid bosses, providing some of the toughest challenges in the game, and Digistruct Peak, a gauntlet of high-level enemies and bosses. Entering New Game Plus aka True Vault Hunter and Ultimate Vault Hunter is when things get spicier as enemies were tougher and gave more XP, making it easier to hit the max level cap. More Badass enemies will appear, loot drops are far better (with Pearlescent weapons added to the mix) and leveraging Slag to deal tons more damage becomes necessary. And this is all with just one class – there are six in total, each offering differing play-styles to master.

Hades

While it will no doubt take numerous tries to escape the Underworld and finally beat Zagreus’s father, the rogue-lite nature of the title seamlessly intertwines with the narrative. You’ll need to escape several more times in order to see the ending (with the Pact of Punishment opening up new challenges in each run after the first). But past that point is the Epilogue where you build relationships and ultimately reunite the entire family. Zagreus can also reunite Orpheus with Eurydice, smooth things over with Achilles and Patroclus, upgrade all weapons and Keepsakes, attempt to best Charon and try to hit higher Heat Levels.

Dark Souls 3

Dark Souls 3

After stomping the Soul of Cinder, besting the Nameless King, venturing to Ariandel to defeat Friede and finally defeat Midir in the Ringed City, you’re finally finished with Dark Souls 3. Or are you? The series has been built for repeated playthroughs thanks to New Game Plus, especially if you haven’t joined all of the Covenants, obtained every drop from every NPC, or collected every boss weapon in the first playthrough. Enemies become tougher and hit harder in each NG+ but you can also collect upgraded rings, thus allowing your carried over character to become even stronger. The ultimate goal is to hit NG+7 which is when enemies are at their toughest…and then you can keep going and getting even stronger, just to utterly annihilate all of the bosses that previously tortured you.

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Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

Monster Hunter World Iceborne_Alatreon

The Monster Hunter series has never really been known for its “story.” The more recent titles have amended that in various ways but there’s no denying that the story in Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is still just a tutorial for the real end-game. It’s here that you’ll venture to the Grinding – sorry, Guiding Lands, where all biomes intersect and rank up each one in order to spawn tougher monsters. New updates have added monsters like Stygian Zinogre, Master Rank Kulve Taroth, Alatreon, Furious Rajang, Raging Brachydios and much more, each with their own weapons and armor to craft. If there could be an “end” to it all, it’s to eventually face and defeat Fatalis (maybe even beat him solo if you’re crazy enough).

Mega Man: Battle Network 3

While its predecessor had the Undernet and facing Bass to eventually collect all of the Chips, Mega Man: Battle Network 3 offers a bit more. Chips have been divided into separate categories with Standard, Mega and Giga chips; the Undernet has been expanded even more; new post-game bosses await including Darkman and Serenade; and collecting all of the Bug Frags lets you eventually take on Bass GS, a tougher version of the infamous superboss. It’s easy to spend a couple of dozen hours just trying to clear everything.

Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age

Final Fantasy 12 The Zodiac Age

The Zodiac Age adds a number of new features and content on top of the base Final Fantasy 12 experience, making it the definitive version. Key among these is Trial Mode which provides 100 stages of enemies and bosses to clear. You can also collect all of the best weapons and armor, partake in higher-level hunts, locate and capture the eight hidden Espers (some being exceptionally tough, like Zodiark), and fight some hidden bosses including Yiazmat and Omega Mark XII.

Path of Exile

Path of Exile - Ultimatum

So you’ve slain Kitava, securing the future of Wraeclast. This opens the player up to the end-game of Path of Exile – the Atlas of Worlds – where you travel to different maps of varying rarities and tiers to earn powerful loot en route to taking down the Elder and the Shaper. But this has also changed overtime – now you’re also battling the Conquerors, and earlier this year, a powerful cosmic being called The Maven showed up who likes to organize battles with multiple bosses. The Atlas is also the place where many previous League mechanics will pop up, including Legion, Harvest, Heist and more, each with their own unique lore, mechanics and bosses.

Disgaea 5 Complete

Every Disgaea game follows the same pattern with the story being almost secondary to the post-game grind. Disgaea 5 Complete is the most, well, complete out of all this with its subclasses, Expeditions, Item Worlds and so on that we could spend a while going over pretty much everything, from the importance of Statisticians to the Land of Carnage. The level cap is 9999 and you’ll be breaking the game in all sorts of ways to hit it. It’s ultimately necessary for subduing the toughest superbosses, hitting max stats and achieving the much-desired 10 billion in damage.

Super Mario Odyssey

Much is made about how easy Super Mario Odyssey can be and honestly, platforming fans will probably breeze through to the ending. It’s the post-game that will put your skills to the test, from tougher races and boss rematches to unlocking Peach’s Castle (which is a nice callback to Super Mario 64’s version). You’ll reunite with various NPCs who give you new tasks and eventually travel to the Dark Side of the Moon to partake in a boss rush without any checkpoints and only one life. This unlocks the Darker Side with an extremely tough platforming sequence, again with no checkpoints or continues. Collecting all of the Power Moons and outfits will also keep you busy for a while.

Nioh 2 – The Complete Edition

Nioh 2 - The First Samurai_02

It’s almost kind of absurd how much content there is in Nioh 2 – The Complete Edition, which includes the base game and three story expansions. The story content could take 50 hours or more overall depending on one’s skill level, but then you throw in multiple New Game Plus runs with new mechanics, loot tiers, Ethereal Graces, Cursed enemies, new attacks for enemies and much more. Twilight Missions provide tougher challenges while The Underworld provides 108 floors to conquer in addition to 30 randomly generated floors.

NieR: Automata

Anyone who’s played the first NieR or any of the Drakengard games will have a sneaking suspicion that NieR: Automata’s story isn’t over after Ending A. Following the credits, you can hop back in for Route B, which has 9S as the main character, experiencing all of the events from the first route. Completing this unlocks Route C where A2 becomes playable and the rest of the story unfolds. Eventually, the player will have to choose between A2 or 9S, unlocking different endings in the process, before one last shoot ’em up battle to help save the core cast.

Enter the Gungeon

Enter the Gungeon

Considering how tough Enter the Gungeon can initially be, it’s not odd for someone to celebrate when beating the High Dragun. Alas, the journey has only begun because now you need to gather four components to create the Bullet That Can Kill The Past. Do this with all four base characters to complete their base stories and unlock Bullet Hell, where the Lich, the true final boss awaits. Once you’ve done that, you can set about unlocking more characters, including The Gunslinger for the true final ending; battle the Resourceful Rat and exact revenge; attempt to unlock every gun and passive item along with unlocking each shop; and attempt to beat the game in various modes like Turbo, Rainbow, Challenge and Double Challenge.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a massive game. It’s very easy to lose track of what you’re doing, even when playing through the main story. Even with the entire family of Kassandra/Alexios reunited, you can continue to hunt down the Cult of Kosmos members, eventually unearthing their true leader. You could explore tougher islands, beat up all of the mercenaries and attempt to become number 1, take down the Mythical Creatures (which is necessary for the true ending) and take on the arena to prove your might. Or you could just wander the world, completing treasure hunts, customizing your ship and trying to build the perfect loadout.

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