By: John Wahl
We’re all very busy people. My usual routine is to get up at about 6am, go to work, get home about 4pm, get the kids doing their homework, do a little housework and get dinner started. Then my wife gets home and we eat, spend time with the kids a bit, get them ready for bed, and then spend a little time together before she goes to bed. That kind of busy schedule doesn’t leave me a ton of time for long gaming sessions or 100 hour RPGs.
Thankfully though, it seems like there are more and more developers taking the schedules of busy adults into consideration and creating games that require a much smaller commitment. Games for folks like myself that love to play as much as we always have, but just don’t have the time that we did when we were in our 20’s. Games that with the aid of some pre-planning and the minor miracle of the kids actually going to bed on time, can be completed within a single weekend or so.
So to assist our fellow busy grown-ups, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite games from the last few years that can be finished in less than 8 hours. Games that get our hearty recommendation for those of you trying to squeeze in some game time in between helping with math homework and trips to Home Depot. All of the times listed come from the folks at HowLongToBeat.com and are for finishing the main campaign, not taking into consideration all of the side quests, collectibles, or multiplayer modes. Enjoy!
(PS4) – The Uncharted series features white knuckle action, charismatic protagonists, and stunning visual showpieces. The games can also be a bit long though, with Uncharted 4 weighing in at over 15 hours. This spinoff title, however, offers a self-contained story featuring the characters of Chloe & Nadine, two supporting characters from the series who now get a chance to shine in their own adventure. and it can be completed in roughly half the time. Don’t think though that developer Naughty Dog skimped on the game because of its abbreviated nature. Lost Legacy features all of the explosive thrills you’d come to expect from the series.
(PS4, XB1, PC) – The original Titanfall was an excellent multiplayer game that thrilled Xbox owners but left them wanting to explore the world and characters more. So for the sequel, developer Respawn not only added a single-player campaign, but they created one of the most unique and entertaining FPS campaigns in recent memory. A compelling story, brilliant level design, and the fun of being able to switch between your Titan and Pilot created some of the most fun you can cram into half a dozen hours.
(PS4, XB1, Switch, PC) – Most of the games on this list can be completed in one weekend, but how about a game that you can complete in a single sitting? Now we’re talking! What Remains of Edith Finch is a fantastic story, divided up into a number of short vignettes that tell the tales of those who have lived within the outlandish and towering Finch home. Each short bit of story feels different and unique, weaving together a narrative that will have you hooked and unable to put down the controller until you reach the end. It’s bizarre, compelling, and surprisingly poignant.
(PS4, XB1, Switch, PC) – One of my personal favorite games of all time, Firewatch tells the story of Henry, a man trying to run from the ghosts of his past by taking a job as a fire lookout at Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming. While there, he forms a connection with a woman in another tower and stumbles onto a compelling and tragic mystery. Ultimately he discovers that he can’t escape from your past, the only choice he has is to turn and face it head-on. Filled with stunning scenery and a beautifully simple soundtrack, it’s one of my favorite game stories of all time and it’s a great way to spend a quiet weekend at home.
(PS4, XB1, PC) – Based on the groundbreaking film series, Blair Witch has players entering the Black Hills Forest in search of a missing child with the help of your canine companion, Bullet. At a brisk 5 hours, the game does a fantastic job of pacing the story, beginning with the initial unsettling trek through the woods and slowly building up to the chaotic and tense final hour. It’s not for the faint of heart, with chilling moments that will leave your heart racing, but for fans of the movies, this will be a terrifyingly great way to spend a few evenings. And yes… play it with the lights down and sound up.
(PS4, XB1, Switch, PC, iOS) – When a group of teens take the last ferry out to Edwards Island for a weekend of fun and partying, they end up embroiled in a supernatural mystery that they might not all survive. The cleverly written dialogue and well-implemented conversation system are what propel this game and make it stand out among other narratively focused adventure games. Funny, captivating, and at times downright creepy, it’s one of the best-written indie games of recent years.
(PS4, XB1, Switch, PC) – One of the best surprises to come out of this generation is the amazing story of Senua and her journey to the afterlife to save her love. This game is an absolute audio/visual showpiece, with some of the best performance capture I’ve ever seen and brilliant audio design that absolutely demands that you play the game with a good pair of headphones. As if the nightmarish creatures she faces along the way weren’t difficult enough, she must also battle her own mental illness which manifests in hallucinations that blur the lines between reality and fantasy.
(PS4) – This remake of the classic PlayStation 2 title delivers the amazing action and scenery that you remember from the original while updating the visuals to modern levels. The thrill of coming across one the unbelievably gigantic colossi is still of the best moments in gaming and it was so much fun to discover them all over again. The game remains a masterpiece and a great example of how less can be more when it comes to storytelling.
(PS4, XB1, PC) – When developer Infinity Ward decided to reboot what is arguably the most popular series of games in the Call of Duty library, there was reason to be skeptical. How could they live up to the spectacle of the original trilogy? Thankfully they were smart and didn’t try and one-up the originals, instead opting to retell the story in a more grounded and contemporary way. The result is a thrilling barrage of action set pieces and intense gunplay. And after the credits roll, you have the option of jumping into some of the best COD multiplayer in years.
(PS4, XB1, Switch, PC, iOS) – Weighing in at just a touch over 3 hours, you could get through the entirety of Inside in a single evening, which is a pretty good way to experience this bizarre and curious story. The storytelling may be ambiguous, but the atmosphere is top-notch in this puzzle platformer. One moment you’ll be running from armed guards through the dark woods, the next you’ll be using mind control to take control of your enemies. The game gets crazier as it goes leading up to a finale that is as head-scratching as it is mesmerizing.
If you’d like to find more games that you can complete in a short amount of time or to find out more about the games we’ve listed, visit HowLongToBeat.com.