Ah, Steam. You used to be great, but now you’re filled with crap. It becomes harder and harder to find games that are actually good in amongst the 20+ games a day that are released onto the store. Still, over the years I’ve picked up some games that I’ve genuinely enjoyed and put a lot of time into. So here are those games that I’ve spent the most time on over the years. It may not seem like a lot to some people, but I’ve never really been one to put 100+ hours into games (well, apart from World of Warcraft).
Oh, and try not to judge me too harshly for some of them,
10: BattleTech (36 hours)
Oh yes, the game I only got a few weeks ago after Kickstarting it in 2015. I’ve managed to put a day-and-a-half into it during the campaign over the course of three weeks, which is a lot for me. BattleTech is one of those games that I was constantly looking forward to playing more. I’d find my mind wandering to what adjustments I could make to increase heat efficiency, or to allow a heavier mech to heavy greater mobility. The fact that it had a solid campaign with the option to take randomly generated contracts to earn more money and salvage meant there was a lot of content if you wanted it.
There’s so much depth too! I spent a lot of that 36 hours tinkering with Battlemechs in the ‘mech bay, trying to find a way to get an extra laser onto a Battlemaster, or to protect the vulnerable Gauss Rifle on my Highlander with additional armour. If I’m honest, I did need to replay one or two missions after catastrophic failures, but those added hours were enjoyable all the same.
9: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 – Multiplayer (40 hours)
Honestly, this one surprised me. I remember playing a fair bit of this at the time (I picked it up on sale) but I had no idea I’d reached 40 hours. I know the Call of Duty series gets a lot of stick, but the multiplayer suite tends to be very solid and easy to get into. Sure, you can get destroyed by 13-year-olds who all claim to have spent the night with various members of your family, but you can also drop in for a couple of quick games and have a bit of fun. It’s easy to get into, fairly well polished, and unlike more recent entries, doesn’t have too many complex systems to get to grips with.
Whilst I may not remember spending all this time playing it, I do remember enjoying the games I did play. I’ll never claim to be good, but I will say that those who claim that Call of Duty‘s multiplayer is terrible are spouting hyperbole. It may not be great, but it’s pretty damn solid, with depth if you want it, and simplicity if you need it.
8: Civilization V (42 hours)
This one also surprised me, but for the opposite reason. How have I not spent longer playing Civ V? A standard game of this can easily take 10s of hours. I’ve played it through a few times, but I often set the game speed to quick, meaning technologies come around faster and games are far shorter. To be honest though, if I had set the game length to epic, then 42 hours would probably be the duration of a single game.
If you’re not aware, Civ is all about leading a civilization through the ages with the aim of world domination, scientific discovery, cultural superiority, amongst others. Games take a long time as you move from living in tiny villages all the way to sprawling cities as you develop your technology down a path to your intended method of victory. With so many different nations to play as, a number of different map types, and different numbers of enemies (amongst many other variables), there are a ton of different ways to play this game. I theory you could never get bored of it if light 4X games are your cup of tea.
7: Darkest Dungeon (45 hours)
If you counted the time spent on the Xbox and Switch (yes, I triple dipped on this one!) versions as well, this would be near on 100 hours if not more. I love the Lovecraftian horror, I love the gothic visuals, I love the challenging gameplay, Having to beat the same boss multiple times is a bit irritating, and there is something of a grind when you lose a powerful character, but other than that I’m a huge fan of this.
Starting at the hamlet outside your family estate, you’ll dive into the halls within and the tunnels below to uncover the horrors your ancestor released on the world. The ragtag bunch of warriors you hire become more powerful as you invest time and money into them, but there’s always the risk of them being driven mad by the horrors they encounter. I really liked the stress mechanic as it made you think more carefully about the actions you take and gave you another meter to manage over the usual health bar. There’s a ton to like about this, and it’s very easy to pour a lot of time into it.
6: Team Fortress 2 (47 hours)
I haven’t played this for quite a long time, but there was a while during which I’d keep coming back to the crazy colourful multiplayer shooter. I started to fall out of love with it once all the different weapons and items started cropping up. Whilst there wasn’t an all powerful weapon that would dominate opponents, having to spend time studying which weapons and items would have what effect isn’t what I wanted from Team Fortress 2. I just wanted the fun.
Whent it didn’t have all that extra complexity though, it was tremendous. I couldn’t get enough of it, and “just one more game” was cemented in my head for a long time. The presentation helped a lot, but the well balanced gameplay and the fact that every class felt different and had something to offer kept it constantly fresh. I’d happily keep going back for another round of capture the intelligence.
5: CS:GO (49 hours)
For a lot of people, 49 hours is a paltry length of time for a game of this stature. It should be noted though, that I started playing this around the time of 1.4 (I think), so perhaps 49 hours isn’t a real representation of the time I’ve spent playing this. At any rate, I don’t think there’s anyone who plays PC games who doesn’t know what Counterstrike is. An incredibly serious competitive online FPS where people go so deep as to analyse bullet spray patterns. I’m terrible at it.
But it’s very compelling. Every game has the potential to be different to the last, and every time you play you genuinely feel as though you’re improving. It’s just a shame that it’s become a haven for weapon skin farming. The plus side about this version is that you don’t really need to worry about being super serious about it. There are quick game modes to just have a bit of fun, and the casual playlist is always a good option without having to set aside a full hour to play it.
4: Clicker Heroes (56 hours)
Look, just don’t judge me for this. Clicker Heroes is my gulti pleasure game. At least it was until I finally concluded that I wasn’t really doing anything. The high hours on this is down to the fact that I would just leave the game running.
If you aren’t aware, Clicker Heroes is an idle game. In this instance, you click on monsters to kill them and earn money which can be spent on additional characters to fight for you. You literally leave the game to play itself. So yes, I’m a little ashamed of this one.
3: XCOM 2 (69 hours)
I do like me some XCOM 2. 69 hours is the result of 2 campaigns so far, andI’ll happily go back for a third later on this year. Honestly, if I could get away with awarding this game Game of the Year every year, I would. Serious turn based combat in which every action matters, and mistakes can result in the loss of even your most powerful soldiers. This is coupled with an overworld of sorts, in which you need to develop new weapons and decide how to take on the aliens for maximum impact with minimum loss.
And it’s hard. Even on the easiest setting it can be a stiff challenge at various points during the game. Thankfully, there are plenty of in game options and mods that allow you to tailor the game’s challenge level to suit you. Taking a group of soldiers (named after your friends of course) into a covert mission, setting up the perfect ambush, before taking out a squad of aliens is incredibly satisfying. Of course, you may not have noticed that other squad just behind a nearby building who come running once you start opening fire. I hope you’re adaptable.
2: Borderlands 2 (81 hours)
This is another one that really is much longer due to having finished it one PC and on XBox seperately. The thing with Borderlands is that I find it a terrible grind at times. There are certain sections of the game(s) in which the enemies are insane bullet sponges, making some parts take far longer than necessary. But still I wanted to carry on. Sure the humour was great at times, but I’ll be honest. It was all about the guns!
There’s just so much loot! Every encounter has a good chance of you finding an exciting new gun. Around every corner is another chest that may contain a hugely powerful weapon. Every enemy explodes in a shower of loot giving you plenty of chance to discover something new. Plus you have multiple characters with plenty of different builds to keep things interesting. And then there’s that most important of features (for me) in an FPS: split screen co-op! Lovely.
1: XCOM: Enemy Unknown/Within (132 hours)
If this surprises you in any way, welcome! You’ve clearly not been here very often and deserve to know the truth: XCOM is the best game series. As reboots go, this is pretty impressive, as it took everything from the original games and streamlined them. It was a case of cut out the fluff and maintain the soul of the classics.
I suspect the only reason I’ve spent longer on this version than the sequel is because it’s been out longer meaning I’ve gone through the campaign 3 or 4 times (plus I’ve tinkered with the Long War mod that expands the game even more). The Enemy Within expansion added a lot more options for your soldiers, as well as a situation in which the aliens launch a counter offensive against your base which can be pretty tense when you don’t know when it’s coming. The follow up is (in my opinion) superior, but this is still an absolute belter.
Some near misses include One Finger Death Punch which I played for a surprising amount of time considering how simplistic it is. Sunless Sea which could really go on forever, and Danganronpa should also get a mention as they took up a lot of time when I played them. What have you played most on Steam? I bet you’ve spent a lot longer on some of yours than I have on mine!