Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Aug 212023

Sometimes you buy a new game and put it in your backlog.

Sometimes you buy a bundle and put multiple games in your backlog all at once.

And sometimes you buy a game, play it, and enjoy it so much that you decide to pick up the rest of the series right then, regardless of when you intend to play them.

While talking about Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name and the possibility of catching up on the series before November, it occurred to me that even though Yakuza was one of those cases, I only have a handful of them left to play. That got me curious about what games are taking up the most space in my backlog.

So here we go, the top 10 longest series waiting in my backlog.

(This was supposed to be a top 5 list, but I have so many series with exactly 8 entries in my backlog that I had to expand it to at least the top 7, so I decided to just go for it and make it a top 10.)

10. Dragon Quest

Dragon Quest takes the first spot on the list, with 6 entries in my backlog. I’ve had Dragon Quest III for a long, long time (the box art calls it Dragon Warrior III; I bought it for the GBC as a kid), although I intend to pass on it in favor of playing the upcoming remake. Dragon Quest IV, VII, VIII, and XI are also in my backlog, along with the spin-off Dragon Quest Treasures.

I really ought to get around to playing these, especially Dragon Quest XI – I’ve heard so many good things about it.

9. Tales

The Tales series is a great example of what I mentioned at the start: loving a game and buying the whole series as a result. After I played Tales of Xillia, I was interested enough to finally play Tales of Symphonia, which went on to become one of my favorite games of all time. I loved it so much, I went a little crazy and started buying every Tales game I could find.

Which means that even though I’ve played a good number of them, I still have 7 in my backlog: Tales of Destiny, Tales of Legendia, Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, Tales of Vesperia (and the Xbox 360 version was in my backlog before I replaced it with the Definitive Edition), Tales of Graces f, Tales of Xillia 2, and Tales of Hearts.

Why in the world have I been impatient for a new Tales announcement?? How about playing those 7 games first, and then I can want a new one.

8. Shin Megami Tensei

Let’s add another situation to the earlier list: sometimes a developer puts all their games on sale ahead of a digital storefront shutting down. During Atlus’s last big 3DS sale ahead of the eShop closure, I picked up Shin Megami Tensei IV, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, Devil Survivor Overclocked, Devil Survivor 2, Soul Hackers, and Strange Journey Redux, while also picking up the recent Soul Hackers 2 for PS4 in a separate sale. That brings us to 7, or 8 if you count Tokyo Mirage Session #FE, which I picked up day one for the Wii U and still haven’t played. Oops.

For the sake of this list, I decided to count Shin Megami Tensei and Persona separately. If I combined them, they’d easily take the top spot.

This might be the most heinous entry on the list, because not only are these games in my backlog, but I don’t even know if I’ll enjoy non-Persona SMT or not. Still, those sale prices were too good to resist.

7. Pokémon

I didn’t expect Pokémon to make the list, since I played each generation up until the last two, which I skipped. Indeed, Pokémon Ultra Sun is the only… mainline Pokémon game in my backlog.

But I also have Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, New Pokémon Snap, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team DX, Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky, Pokémon Ranger: Shadow of Almia, and Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs.

Yep. 8 Pokémon games. Clearly I shouldn’t have been disappointed about the lack of new game announcements in the last Pokémon Presents, either.

6. Persona

How do I have 8 Persona games in my backlog? There’s Persona 2: Innocent Sin, Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, Persona 3 Portable, Persona 5 Royal… and then the return of the spin-off curse, with Persona Q, Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight, Persona 4: Dancing All Night, and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight.

To make matters worse, I still haven’t decided whether I want to play Persona 3 Portable, the upcoming remake, or both.

5. Sherlock Holmes

This might be the funniest, because I never actually set out to buy all of this series like I did with the others.

At some point, I got a bundle of adventure games that included a whole bunch of Frogwares’s Sherlock Holmes games. And then, somehow I got more. I was surprised when I looked at my Steam library and realized I had nearly accumulated the entire series without ever actively setting out to do so.

The Case of the Silver Earring, The Awakened, the newer reimagining of The Awakened, Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis, Sherlock Holmes versus Jack the Ripper, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, The Devil’s Daughter, and Chapter One are all in my backlog. (I also have the first game in the series, but tried it and didn’t enjoy it. I have, however, played and enjoyed two of the more casual spin-off entries.)

8 Sherlock Holmes games, randomly skipping over one in the middle of the series, and I still haven’t finished any of them. Maybe the next mystery month should just be a Sherlock Holmes month.

4. Metal Gear

All right, this one can be explained. I recently picked up Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection on PS3. This is an amazing bundle that includes 8 games: Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2, Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions, Metal Gear Solid 2, Metal Gear Solid 3, Metal Gear Solid 4, and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.

Technically, I also have access to Metal Gear Solid V, if I resubscribe to PlayStation Plus. So in short, if I ever actually get into the Metal Gear series, I have pretty much everything I need.

3. Final Fantasy

I didn’t expect Final Fantasy to earn a spot on the list at all, much less one this high up. After all, I only have Final Fantasy XII and what else? Oh. Final Fantasy IV Interlude, Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, Final Fantasy XIII-2, Lightning Returns, Final Fantasy Tactics, Stormblood, Shadowbringers, and Crisis Core. Thanks to sequels, expansions, and spin-offs, I somehow have 9 Final Fantasy games in my backlog.

At least I’m currently playing Stormblood, so that’s something.

2. Trails

I debated for a while about where exactly to put Trails on this list. Technically, I only have 7 Trails games in my backlog. Trails in the Sky SC, Trails from Zero, Trails to Azure, Trails of Cold Steel, Trails of Cold Steel III, Trails of Cold Steel IV, and Trails into Reverie.

However, it’s functionally 9 games. Skipping entries isn’t a good idea, so I won’t be able to play through those 7 without also playing the 2 missing from my backlog. And each one of these games is going to take a long, long time to finish. I really need to attack the Trails series with the same devotion I showed the Yakuza series.

And at last, that brings us to the final entry on this list, from the developer that never sleeps…

1. Atelier




All right, there’s a reason for this! While the newer Atelier games go on sale regularly enough, the older ones do so rarely enough that if you see a sale, it might be years before the next one. So when the Atelier trilogy packs went on sale a while ago, I… picked up the Arland Trilogy and the Dusk Trilogy…

…and Atelier Sophie because I wanted to play it ahead of Atelier Sophie 2, which I preordered… and of course I got Atelier Ryza 2 because I expected to play it right away… and I picked up Mana Khemia when I thought the Vita store was shutting down… and I was lucky enough to find a good Ebay price on Atelier Iris… and I ordered the Atelier Marie remake because it just looked so cute…

In short, I should take the next mainline game being a gacha game as the reprieve it is – a rare opportunity to catch up on my backlog and play some of these games that I’ve apparently been hoarding.

What a terrifying glimpse into my backlog. I think I liked it better when I just looked back at the oldest ones. Still, if the Yakuza series can escape the backlog, there’s hope for all these series as well! Which series do you have the most unplayed entries of?

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  4 Responses to “Top 10 Longest Series in My Backlog”

  1. The thing about Shin Megami Tensei is that the games can also be further relegated into spin-offs and sub-series games, so it’s hard to tell what you would count as a mainstream vs. not, even with Persona being relegated to its own category due to its sheer popularity. The mainline SMT games are fairly different from the more strategy-focused Devil Survivor games, for example.

    At least Tales of the Abyss got off the Tales backlog last year hahaha…

    … you never played the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games??? I never expected a Pokemon game to make me cry until those, especially the second one 😭 And the Ranger games and even XD, those bring me back…

    On the Persona front, if it helps, Persona 4 Dancing is the only one with a focused story. The Persona 3 Dancing and Persona 5 Dancing are mostly just cute fluff.

    You know, I wouldn'[t really count game bundle games like Sherlock Holmes as being in the backlog unless you are trying to make a focused effort to actually, y’know, play them! 😂

    I wonder what order you would find if you plugged the numbers into a website like “how long to beat” and ranked it that way! Some of these would be lower on the list if the spinoffs are shorters or if the main games are especially long…

    • I know, the sheer size of Persona is what made me split it off while keeping the others grouped together, but it doesn’t help that Atlus seems to drop the SMT title from the individual subseries sometimes but not always.

      Yeah, Mystery Dungeon has been in my backlog for quite a while now…

      Haha, I usually keep my backlog on HLTB organized by time (based on main story + some side content, since that’s how I normally play). It helps if I just want to pick something quick. The difference can be huge. For Persona, Persona 5 Royal is ranked highest at 123 hours, while Dancing in Moonlight is ranked lowest at just over 11 hours.

      Trails would probably be at the top, though, since the longest are listed at over 100 hours and the shortest at around 70.

  2. The only non-Persona SMT games I played were Digital Devil Saga 1&2 + Nocturn. All three were really good games, you’ve probably got some brilliant titles waiting for you there.

    I used to love Atelier games, but they come out so fast! It was too much to keep up with.

    Resident Evil is probably my series of sin. I own a bunch of different versions of them and a few random side games.

    • I’m definitely curious about trying the SMT games sometime.

      Yeah, Gust releases games yearly, sometimes more often, which is crazy.

      Resident Evil is great! The remake of the first game is one of my favorite survival horror games.

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