Ten Games That Work Better As Rentals


Because, hey, sometimes great games are just short.

The other day I gave a little rundown of the three main options for game rentals. I suppose I should have included “Borrow from friends,” but that’s a given. Today, however, I’m giving you a list of games that work better as rentals. Ready? Here we go!

God of War III:

This is the last time Kratos stops to breath before going too fast to even think about the absurdity of his adventure.

I wrote a review a few months ago that went off on the game, mentioning how I beat it in one sitting in under ten hours. To me, this is the epitome of a rental title because, really, you can beat this one in the rental time and never need to play it again. The reason is because the story is all used up after one time around the block. Unless you’re a diehard God of War fan, you’ll find little reason to play this ever again, so a rental is all you need.

Ghostbusters the Video Game:

As if a third movie wouldn't be worth a rental in the first place?

While you could find a lot to like about this one, and for $10 or less I’d certainly recommend a purchase, you will get all you need out of this game in a standard rental period. The campaign mode is just short enough to be manageable, and the online component has a charm that only lasts for about a week unless you get addicted. If the addiction happens, consider buying it when you see it for cheap, otherwise you’re good for the five days.

Any Mario Party/WarioWare Title:

Hooray! You're stagnating as a franchise!

The Wii is a fun system, no contest. The Wii is also full of games that, for lack of a better term, are a one-time novelty at best. Let’s say you have a group of friends coming over for a night and you all want to play some fun game together, but your collective gameplay experience is relatively low. This would be a good time to explore the option of a minigame-heavy title such as any Mario Party or WarioWare title, such as WarioWare Smooth Moves. You’ll get about as much enjoyment from the titles in a rental period as you will over the course of a lifetime. Take your pick which sounds better.

Arkham Asylum:

Of all the cool images I could have used, I went with a handshake shot. Yup, I'm such an awesome editor.

I love me some Batman, and if I had to own any Batman game it would definitely be Arkham Asylum, but we can be honest here: There’s not a pressing need to own the game. A sequel is currently planned, so if it comes down to it and you can’t find a copy for under $20, the $9 rental choice isn’t a bad one. I managed to get all 1000 Achievement Points for Arkham Asylum in under two weeks, so although it’s amazing, you’ll run out of things to do pretty quick.

Modern Warfare 1 & 2 (Single Player Only):

"What? We don't have time for your namby-pamby story! Snowmobiles! WOO!"

Stop. Before you jump down my throat, take a look at the words in parenthesis there. If you want a multiplayer game, yes, BUY the Modern Warfare games. You’ll justify your purchase very quickly, discovering that you’ll be playing for months and months. BUT, if you want a deep single-player campaign, you’re going to come up short here. If your friends have been bugging you to play through the campaign, a rental should suffice. If they’ve been bugging you to play the game with them, you’ll have to buy it, bro.

Any Dragonball Z Game:

"Kakarot, I think your aim's off." "Yeah, it's because these controls keep changing."

I also love me some DBZ. And I own some seriously great DBZ games, my favorite being Budokai 3 for the PS2. But they didn’t stop with Budokai 3. For some reason they kept making new games for the new systems, and as a result, there’s not a lot to care about. A new title comes out about once a year, meaning you really aren’t getting much meat to these titles. If you have to, and I mean have a physical NEED to play every DBZ game, you will get everything of value from a single week’s playtime. The fighting system just doesn’t have as much depth as a title like Street Fighter, so you’re not going to gain much from honing those skills. The next year’s edition is just going to change things up again.

Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe:

Might as well say it's a pushing-match if there aren't Fatalities.

The same sort of holds true here. If you’re into Mortal Kombat, this game will be a bit of a disappointment since real Fatalities are MIA to accommodate DC’s wishes that you don’t see their beloved characters eviscerated, as much as we’d like to rip Superman’s face off and eat it. The fighting mechanics aren’t that bad, but once more, they’re not as well balanced as other fighting games that specialize as fighting games. This game specializes as a placeholder until a new Mortal Kombat or DC game comes out. You’ll find the most enjoyment in a single week, if even that.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed:

Killing Storm Troopers can and will get old, I assure you.

Kyle tells me that The Force Unleashed wasn’t the worst game he’s played. He also mentioned that yes, it was a disappointment to him, as most Star Wars fans have claimed. But it wasn’t without value, meaning it warrants a play. Just not a play at full price. The story will take you under a week to complete at a slow pace, but unless you want to replay it more than once, you won’t need to own it.

Punch-Out!! Wii:

Stop dancing. Your game's too hard to accept you dancing in my face!

I rented this title last year and thought it was really excellent. I also realized that I got all I could out of the game in my rental title because if I played any more I’d hurt myself and everyone else around me. The reason is because the game is insanely difficult, albeit fan-freaking-tastic. I just don’t have the patience to hone my skills past the breaking point. I nearly destroyed a Wiimote due to the stress the game put me through, so the only people that would find the need to own Punch-Out!! on the Wii are gamers far above my skill and patience level.

Prince of Persia (2008):

Shown: Rental Material.

As a friend of mine (Dennis) put it via Facebook: “I also found that Prince of Persia (2008 game) was short, but pretty fun. But pretty short.” Well, that sounds like as much of a recommendation for a rental title as you’re gonna get. I even remember playing the “good” Prince of Persia game on the GameCube, the one Gus wrote about, and while it was good, it was super short. Apparently the newer Prince of Persia games adhere to the same pitfalls (ha!) that pledged the first 3D affairs: Short single-player adventures. Done, Rental Title, branded.

There are ten games that more or less work better as rental titles. But I promised a few that DON’T work as a rental title. Want to know which ones?

Final Fantasy XIII:

What? Like you had a life to live, really?

You can’t finish the tutorial levels of this game in under twenty hours on your first playthrough, most likely, so you’re not beating this game in five days, no matter how dedicated you think you are. Maybe if you literally have nothing to do for the next 120 hours, but most mortal humans need sleep, so buy this, or any Final Fantasy/Dragonquest/JRPG games if you have the desire to play them.

Mass Effect 1 & 2:

Mordin is enough to make me want to own Mass Effect 2.

You aren’t playing Mass Effect 2 unless you’ve played Mass Effect 1, and you aren’t getting anything less than twenty hours of gameplay from either, so slow down Tex and savor the experience. I’ve been meaning to go into how much there is in these two games, but suffice it to say, you’ll prefer owning these ones.

Super Smash Bros Brawl:

It's pretty much like this. You can't really deny it.

This game is best as a multiplayer experience, but wait just a second when you think you’ll just rent it for a party. While there are nearly 40 characters and dozens of levels, you don’t start with all those unlocked. And there is no way to unlock them all quickly. You have to work at this one, so unless you’ve rented it previously, you’ll have some work cut out to get it up to maximum multiplayability. Just own this and do yourself a favor.

Little Big Planet:

This game has too much content to consider it a light snack, so make it a feast.

Don’t think I’ve forgotten the little wonder on the PS3. I know enough to know that Little Big Planet is a game you don’t just play, enjoy, and then move on with your life. If you like it enough to play it, you’ll want to own it since you’ll get into creating your own content and improving your skills. If you really think you’ll like a game that makes level-creation relatively simple and rewarding, there’s no reason to rent this one first.

And that’s my little bit about rental titles. Now I’ll just sit back and wait for the hate to file in… “What’re you talking about? God of War III is a MUST BUY…” Yup, just sit back and wait.


About Author

Chris was the former Head Writer/Editor of Toy-TMA. He did a great job overseeing the site and getting new content published regularly. Always more than willing to respond to a comment or two, but pitiless with trolls! He has since moved on from TMA, and we wish him the best.


  1. Good article! Agreed with all the rental ones I’d played. However, I hastily scrolled down to see the others and did a double-take when I saw FF13. It wasn’t until I read the text above did I realize it was a counterexample.

    Smash Bros. did a great job with making you WANT to own it. If you rent it, you can have some fun, but everyone wants to unlock their favorite characters. And once you do, you’ve put work into that save file, so you want to keep it. It’s pretty ingenious.

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  3. I feel a great swell of pity for the poor sole who rents a Fainal Fantasy game.
    I did rend Arkam Asylum. Probably the best comic book game I played since the origional 3D Spiderman game on the PS1.
    You are absolutely right about Little Big Planet. I just love having that game so I can always go back to it and look up user-made-content online. The sequel’s comming up soon, and it will have all the levels made on the first game crossing over to it’s network.

    I also thought the Lego games made by Travelers Tales would be good rents. However I hear Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 is actually pretty lengthy.

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