9 very long games that are actually worth it

Persona 5 characters
(Image credit: Atlus)

Ask a Final Fantasy 14 player and they will probably tell you that suffering through the first 100 or so hours of the MMO is worth it because eventually it gets good. I've put in that time and let me tell you, that is an exaggeration. There's no reason not to skip straight to Heavensward, the expansion that most people think rules, unless you want to feel duped.

The games below are the ones that earn a recommendation despite taking an absurdly long time to enjoy. There are some caveats, though. You won't find games here that are designed to be played endlessly, which means MMOs, idle games, and live service games are out. There are exceptions to this, of course, but unlike those games, this list can't become my hobby.

Singleplayer story games are easy to include, but strategy and sim games can fit here too. Gaining the mental strength to pry open the many, many systems of Dwarf Fortress is different from logging into Genshin Impact to stay on top of your dailies. And weird challenge runs that extend a game's length don't count either.

The hour counts on these games are obviously extremely relative to how you play, but I've also chosen games where it's recommended to do almost everything in them. Take a deep breath. Try not to think about how these hours could be applied elsewhere in your life, and follow me as we find the longest games that are actually worth playing.

Divinity: Original Sin 2 

Divinity: Original Sin 2

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

How long? ~100+ hours

Every Divinity: Original Sin 2 player talks about the party-based RPG like it's the best recreation of playing a tabletop RPG in videogames. It's packed with characters and quests and has turn-based combat that is truly open-ended. Our review praised its intricacy and commitment to a truly dynamic world where your actions come into play more so than many other RPGs. And on Steam, the game has over 100,000 reviews, which has earned it an "overwhelmingly positive" rating. 

The kicker is that this game is extremely long, even more so if you decide to play it in co-op. It has a slow start and can be overwhelming in its opening hours, but once you find a groove, the hour count fades into the background. Divinity: Original Sin 2, by all accounts, is exceptional, and worth every minute.

Crusader Kings 3

Crusader Kings 3: Royal Court art

(Image credit: Paradox Interactive)

How long? ~160 hours

It can be tricky to gauge the length of strategy games. A campaign can take up a single day or weeks, depending on how deep you want to go. Crusader Kings 3, and, frankly, both games before it, takes the lead on the strategy game that can become as time-consuming as a day job.

The pitch for getting into a Crusader Kings game has mostly remained the same: start in Ireland and see what unfolds from there. It can be a little worrying to hear such open-ended advice, but the joy of Crusader Kings is to watch your dynasty progress through the years and to see the drama that happens all around you. It's a game that can create the most outlandish stories of rogue royalty, desperate assassinations, and surprise sieges. It just requires you to accept that you won't know how everything works right away and to embrace whatever fascinating events take place.

Persona 5 Royal

Persona 5

(Image credit: Sega)

How long? ~100 hours

The Persona series taunt JRPG-curious players with how ridiculously long each one takes to complete. Persona 5 is the quintessential JRPG, taking lessons learned from the genre's history and incorporating modernized tactics. It exudes style, has an outstanding soundtrack, and a weird, but charming cast of characters. But to see all of that, you have to commit over 100 hours of your life to it.

"It might not be what you'd expect from quite possibly the longest JRPG you'll ever play, but each of those many hours is filled to the brim with inventiveness that—quite frankly—can make it hard to go back to other games in the genre," Oscar Taylor-Kent wrote in our review of Persona 5.

It also has surprisingly dynamic turn-based combat that tasks you with keeping momentum to clean out your enemies efficiently, which rewards clever tactics and sharp knowledge of your characters. And outside the combat, you get to explore both the mundane hallways of the main character's high school and the warped labyrinths in its dream-like dungeons. Persona 5 is a long journey, but a journey that's worth it.

Dwarf Fortress

Dwarf Fortress defenses

(Image credit: Bay12Games)

How long? ~100 hours

Much like Crusader Kings 3, Dwarf Fortress is a game that needs you to meet it halfway. There are people who have been playing it for years now and still find new features and stories to share. It's a game that continues to give you new ideas and things to play with as you put more and more time into playing it.

There just isn't another game that can create legendary scenarios like Dwarf Fortress. Your crew of dwarves are subject to an endless list of procedurally generated adventures and dangers. There are factions and wars and history and prophecies that all come into play as you poke through its systems to try to survive. Despite its nearly endless length, Dwarf Fortress spends every minute building an experience you won't get in any other game.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

witcher steam deck

(Image credit: CD Projekt)

How long? ~100 hours

Maybe this one is a given considering you're reading the website that runs an annual Twitch stream with bathtub Geralt, but let me just say it: The Witcher 3 isn't a minute too long. This dark fantasy epic is a brilliant RPG with a stunning open world.

Its combat might feel loose at the start, but it has all kinds of depth if you want to really dig into it. There are tons of quests to do and many of them have a level of writing that you'd typically see in the main quest of another game. The Witcher 3 is so cohesive that it's easy to lose hundreds of hours in it exploring places like Novigrad and Skellige, slaying monsters and fixing problems along the way. Few other games ask you to spend this much time in them and then go out of their way to pay off that commitment by the end of your playthrough.

XCOM 2 The Long War mod


(Image credit: Take-Two)

How long? ~120 hours

The Long War 2 mod for XCOM 2 is a little bit of a cheat for a list like this, but this mod is absolutely unparalleled. It takes Firaxis' solid tactics game and folds in complexity to give it much more weight than the base game.

The single caveat to The Long War 2 mod is that it's primarily aimed at people who are already experienced with XCOM 2. The mod doesn't go out of its way to explain itself, so you'll have to rely on existing knowledge of the base game. But the tweaks it makes to units, enemies, and the overall structure of each mission, forces you to approach it with an all-new strategy.

Missions come in various degrees of severity and you have to juggle your squads to survive them. There are far more dice rolls, but, as Tom Senior wrote in his piece on the mod, it retains the excitement of chance by flooding the game with smaller, but still impactful decisions. And each mission requires you to build out a resistance camp in each area by gaining intel and defending it from aliens. That's right, they injected a little 4X into XCOM.

If you missed XCOM 2, play XCOM 2. But if you find it's not enough for your strategy-hungry brain, install The Long War 2 and start your campaign. It's worth it.

Elden Ring

Elden Ring bosses -

(Image credit: Tyler C. / FromSoftware)

How long? ~133 hours

I remember playing Elden Ring for review before all the walkthroughs and guides were out there. I was around 60 or so hours in and had reached an area that had been teased for most of the game. The boss of the area took a number of tries, but when he fell, I was certain it was over.

There might as well have been a late title card because I soon discovered that more than half of the game was still in front of me. But I didn't react to that discovery with distress, I was thrilled to see what else was tucked away in this monumental open world action RPG.

Elden Ring was our 2022 game of the year for a reason. It takes the weighty combat of the Dark Souls series and has you face off against the sometimes beautiful and sometimes horrific beasts of the Lands Between. You explore dungeons and caves and cities and speak to a cast of wise and absurd characters. It has almost everything you'd want in a dark fantasy RPG.

Depending on your desire to explore and your skill at its punishing combat, Elden Ring can take hundreds of hours to thoroughly complete. The more time you spend in it, the more you start to run into the deep, forbidden parts of the world that genuinely feel like you shouldn't be allowed there. Elden Ring routinely rewards the effort you put into it with beautiful landscapes and items that can completely change how you interact with the game. Elden Ring is an invitation to one of the greatest, most creative fantasy worlds in games.

Stardew Valley 

Stardew Valley

(Image credit: Eric Barone)

How long? ~150 hours

It's safe to call Stardew Valley a classic at this point. It's the ultimate life sim game that will consume your life. And that's even before you get into modding.

Stardew Valley is a charming pixel-art game where you grow a farm, meet people, and help rebuild a town. It's flexible in that you can choose to play it leisurely or go hard and whip through its challenges at a fast pace. But at its heart, it's a game meant for you to luxuriate in and work through over the course of many, many hours. 

There are plenty of other games like Stardew Valley on Steam, but few of them manage to make their activities not feel like boring chores the way Stardew does. The joy is seeing the progress you've made and slowly branching out to new projects, and the pacing keeps it just shy of monotonous. So, don't let the hour count intimidate you, Stardew Valley is the perfect game to play if you want all your efforts to be reflected in a meaningful way. 

Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous 

An armored paladin with a sword

(Image credit: Owlcat Games)

How long? 130+ hours

Party-based RPGs in the Baldur's Gate tradition tend to go long, and Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a perfect example. The Pathfinder games know how to rack up the hours too, with leveling systems that expect you to min-max a growing band of wildly different characters and management systems that bolt an entire separate game on top.

In Wrath of the Righteous that management tier has you command a crusade across a demon-infested land as you work toward your ultimate goal of sealing the Worldwound. You decide what to build in liberated settlements, respond to the requests of their citizens, and send out armies who do battle in a completely different combat system than the one you have to master as the hero leading a party of adventurers.

Fortunately there are a lot of settings to tweak if you're not into the crusade management side of things, and there's no shame in turning the difficulty down. That'll let you concentrate on the other side of Wrath of the Righteous, where you slowly become a Mythic Hero with godlike powers, choosing between paths that might let you become an angel, liche, cosmic time judge, fairy-powered superhero, or something even stranger.

Associate Editor

Tyler has covered games, games culture, and hardware for over a decade before joining PC Gamer as Associate Editor. He's done in-depth reporting on communities and games as well as criticism for sites like Polygon, Wired, and Waypoint. He's interested in the weird and the fascinating when it comes to games, spending time probing for stories and talking to the people involved. Tyler loves sinking into games like Final Fantasy 14, Overwatch, and Dark Souls to see what makes them tick and pluck out the parts worth talking about. His goal is to talk about games the way they are: broken, beautiful, and bizarre.

With contributions from