Sure, multiplayer-heavy video games, like Fortnite and Call of Duty, tend to monopolize the buzz and attention. But the past few months and years have given us some truly incredible solo experiences, too, like Stardew Valley and Red Dead Redemption 2. If you’re getting bored of competitive online gaming, or that’s not your cup of tea in the first place, you have plenty of great single-player games to choose from these days.
Which games should you get if you’re looking to go offline for a while and enjoy some solo time on the couch or during your commute? Here are the best single-player video games you can play right now:
The PlayStation 4’s Entire First-Party Lineup
Take your pick. God of War, Spider-Man, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End are all incredible single-player games on the PlayStation 4. Spider-Man and Horizon: Zero Dawn are open-world action games with large maps and dozens of activities to choose from. Uncharted 4 is like an interactive movie, while God of War is a father-son adventure story that trades in the series’ trademark button-mashing action for slow, considered, and careful combat. Each have an incredible story, and you can’t go wrong with any of them.
All of these games are exclusively available on the PlayStation 4.
The Violent, Vibrant Worlds of Rockstar Games
There’s nothing quite like Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2. Sure, there are other open-world games, but none feel as reactive as Rockstar Games’ flagship titles. Both tell the stories of doomed criminals trying to make their way in a wicked world. Grand Theft Auto V is set in modern-day Los Santos, a fictional take on Los Angeles. Red Dead Redemption 2 happens in the old west. They’re both excellent.
The world is a busy and complicated place. City and suburban life is a frenzied rush of pressure and constant demands. Wouldn’t it be nice to retreat to the country and run a farm? That’s the promise of Stardew Valley, a pleasant game in which you run a farm and participate in small town life. Don’t wanna farm? That’s fine. You can spend your days fishing, exploring the local caverns, and uncovering the mysteries of your new home.
Stardew Valley is available on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox One, Android, and iPhone.
Into the Breach
A bit like chess with kaiju, giant robots, and time travel, Into the Breach is one of those games that’s easy to learn and hard to master. To save the world from giant bug monsters, you use mechs to kill and manipulate the beasts on a 2D plane. Every mech and bug operates a little differently, and the joy of Into the Breach is discovering combinations and playing efficiently. Time is limited, and if it runs out you have to step into a wormhole into an alternate universe to try again. When you do, the clock resets and anyone who died during your journey is lost forever. Rounds are fast, but it’s possible to lose yourself for hours strategizing. It’s a particularly great game for enjoying on the plane, train or bus.
Into the Breach is available on the Nintendo Switch and PC.
Dark Souls 3
The Dark Souls franchise is foundational. Today, it feels like every action-RPG takes its cue from FromSoftware’s masterpiece. The game has an intimidating reputation — it’s hard, you’ll die a lot, and the bosses will frustrate you. The truth is that the game isn’t hard so much as obtuse. It doesn’t explain itself, but thankfully the internet can help the curious player smooth out the opening hours. Once you’ve learned your way around an estus flask, there are few experiences as satisfying as finally killing a boss in Dark Souls.
Dark Souls 3 is available on the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Critics often debate whether or not games are art, but sometimes a video game comes along that removes any doubt to the positive. On the surface, Nier: Automata is a simple action RPG about robots trying to find humans on Earth after an extinction event. Its aesthetic is pure anime, but its heart is all western philosophy. Running through Nier: Automata’s various endings (there are 16!) is like taking a survey course in philosophy. By the time it’s over, you’ll wonder how a video game could make you question the nature of existence. And you’ll be asked to make a personal sacrifice that bestows a feeling impossible in any other medium. That’s art.
Nier Automata is available on the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Sometimes you just want to scare yourself stupid. Alien: Isolation is the perfect game for that. Taking place after the events of the 1979 cinema classic, Ripley’s daughter takes to the stars chasing rumors of her missing mother. She encounters a derelict starship, hostile androids, and — of course — an Alien. Few games make the player feel as powerless and afraid as Alien: Isolation. This isn’t about mowing down xenomorphs, it’s about hiding from a deadly predator before it rips you apart.
Alien Isolation is available on the PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Disco Elysium is one of the best games in the past 10 years. You play as a cop who’s just woken up from a bender. You don’t remember who you are or the nature of the case you’re on, you’ve got a killer headache, and you can’t find your gun or your badge. The story that unfolds is strange and beautiful. The best part is that the player gets to build the kind of cop they want to be. Will you blow off the case and search for drugs and booze? Will you clean up your act? Will you listen to the evil necktie that keeps chattering in your ear? It’s up to you. There’s a dozen ways to end your career in Disco Elysium, and only a few actually involve solving the case.
Disco Elysium is available on the PC and coming to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One soon.
Sometimes you just want to slip into something comfortable and familiar. Octopath Traveler is Square Enix’s love letter to Super Nintendo-era RPGs. The graphics are delightfully low resolution, with a 3D pop that creates a unique storybook feel. The combat is turn based and laborious, just like the old days. The story is a delightful tale of clashing loyalties and medieval attitudes. If you’d rather replay Final Fantasy III than the Final Fantasy VII Remake, then Octopath Traveler is for you.
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