The games you always come back to sooner or later

I've got a bigger backlog than I know what to do with. There are games--from this year--that I still want to play and discuss.

And yet there are some games that I always find myself drifting back to. Sometimes they're games that I deliberately make a point of playing regularly, but sometimes I just want to play something, and these are the games I find myself choosing.

Valkryia Chronicles

I love this game. I love it sooo much. I wish I could go back to a time before I had played it, so I could play it for the first time again. Valkyria Chronicles is one of those games I make a point of playing through at least once a year, revisiting familiar comrades like Audrey, Alicia, Vyse, and Musaad. Sometimes I'll flex a bit and go through the skirmishes and DLC missions. Other times I'm alright with just retreading the plot.

Batman: Arkham City

The only game I love more than Valkyria Chronicles is Batman: Arkham City. I've talked at length about this game so many times before that it's hard to put a new spin on all the praise I've given it. But when in doubt, there's nothing like getting lost in Riddler's Revenge for a few hours, or gliding aimlessly around the world.

Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War

While I'm extremely fond of the series at large, no game got to me like Ace Combat 5 did. Like Valkryia Chronicles, there are times when I just want to fly with Nagase, Chopper and Grim as Wardog Squadron and ultimately, the Demons of Razgriz.

Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II Retribution

While I like Dawn of War II in general, from the campaign to the multiplayer, it's The Last Stand that keeps me coming back. There's something incredibly addicting about this co-op mode that has you and two comrades weathering hordes of Eldar, Tyranids, Orcs and Space Marines. It's sometimes surprising how exhilarating The Last Stand can be, where you really feel like you're on a battlefield, and things could go spiraling out of control at any moment.

The Sims 3

I've always enjoyed the Sims, but mainly for the architectural, landscaping and interior design aspects of gameplay. For me, a day spent shaping an empty plot of land into a structure of some sort--be it a home, a neighborhood park, or even a gym--is a day well spent. And while some people despise the business model EA uses for the Sims--iterating on a base game with lots and lots of DLC primarily in the form of expansions--to me each expansion is an invitation to come back and see what fancy new things I can cook up with the new features.

SSX 3

Playing SSX 3 is kind of like slipping on an old, but really comfy pair of boots. It's like going back in time; back to a time when a certain DJ Atomika would push hip tunes while you hit the slopes, other boarders would text message you to trash talk, and you could visit lodges to put on silly outfits and customize your tricks. Everything's so familiar, but also so satisfying. I just wish EA would do an HD remaster.

What about you guys? We all like to play the latest and greatest I'm sure, but what about those games that you can fall back in during the dry spots? Those games that are like "comfort food" for you? Tell me about the games you find yourself returning to time and time again. What it is it that gives them their longevity for you?

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