Dead Rising and its sequels built NG+ into the fabric of the game. Dying and starting over with the levels you’ve acquired isn’t just a bonus feature, it’s a gameplay mechanic you’ll need to survive. At the start of Dead Rising, reporter Frank West is completely unprepared for the deadly outbreak at Willamette Mall. A few zombie bites will do him in, and the killer machine-gun sporting prisoners in the courtyard will kill you in seconds.
To survive the entire ordeal, you’ll have to fight to make progress, die, restart, and try again with your leftover levels. You’ll lose any items you were carrying, but your levels will carry over — each level unlocks new HP bars, weapon slots, and new moves. Some of the moves are ridiculously useful, like being able to imitate zombies or climb over entire crowds.
Another game that cleverly puts NG+ to the forefront. In Bravely Second, you’ll face off against a seemingly unwinnable boss battle right at the start of the game.
Playing through the four beginning acts, you’ll encounter a world-ending event — but you’ll be able to restart the game with all your levels intact. Using your newly acquired skills, it’s possible to beat that unbeatable boss and continue through the story. It’s a clever mechanic, and one of the few to use an inherently game-y system to enhance its fantasy story.
Those are some of the best NG+ games you can find, but there’s a whole lot more to discover. Let us know what your favorite NG+ games are.