Sometimes it’s better to go at it solo. Whether it’s trying to prevent WWIII, rescuing a Mexican princess or organising a series of blocks in such a way that they satisfyingly disappear, there’s still something quite magical about the concept of sitting down alone to enjoy some of the best single-player experiences on PC or console. That doesn’t mean that these gamers are necessarily unsociable, instead signifying an understandable need and desire to enjoy a focussed well-rounded journey that is both memorable as it engaging.
For this list of the top 10 single player experiences currently out there, we’ve narrowed down our top video game from each genre that we feel best encapsulates what makes it’s mechanics and gameplay great. These are titans in their field, with each video game being just as influential as the last when it comes to perfectly crafting the best single player experience.
Don’t expect to see entries related to such genres as sports games, MMOs and Dungeon Crawlers, with the types of experiences these genres provide being intrinsic to the social and multi-player experience. Now without further a due, here are IGCritic’s Top 10 single player video game experiences that you should’t miss out on.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
With well-thought out storytelling and pulse-pounding set pieces, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves acts as Naughty Dog’s most successful attempt to date at executing a thrilling globe-trotting third-person action adventure. In our opinion the perfect entry point to the series, Uncharted 2 seamlessly blends cover-based shooting with a story full of loveable and believable characters that genuinely make you want it to last forever. Thankfully four other main series entries should do the trick!
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
For many, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare singlehandedly revived the idea of the multi-player FPS not only on PC but on home consoles also. As well as this, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’s single player campaign flung players all over the planet in an attempt to overthrow a mad dictator who’s plans (as we later found out) could result in WWIII. It set the template for all of the future roller-coaster rides set to come in the CoD series, being on of the best single player games that blasts from start to finish and is a great way to spend a weekend!
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Commonly regarded as one of the greatest western-RPG’s ever made, Bethesda’s fifth entry into it’s popular Elder Scrolls series raised the bar in terms of what we expect from open-world RPGs, truly making the land of Skyrim your oyster. Overflowing with side quests, classes and mythical beasts to take down, one could happily buy Skyrim as their only game for the year and still be playing it 12 months on. An up-ressed Xbox One and PS4 remaster is coming, dare you roam the land of Skyrim once again?
Final Fantasy VII
Ask anybody’s most memorable single player experience with a J-RPG and more often than not, Final Fantasy VII is the answer they’ll give. With a fleshed out and beautiful setting with the world of Midguard, FF VII empowers you in the role of Cloud McStrife with a deep and thoughtful battle system that still remains to this day one of the best systems in the series. FF VII manages to invest us in its story unlike most other J-RPG’s in the genre and that’s saying a lot concerning that the majority is conveyed via text. Wildly regarded as one of the best single player games of all time, this entry couldn’t have featured any other game.
Although not the heavy-weight within it’s category, Rocksmith is a franchise that knows it’s audience and genuinely provides an understandable way for people to learn real guitar. Whereas both Rockband and Guitar Hero definitely cater to a different audience (those looking for a social experience), Rocksmith is a fine tuned way for any budding guitarist to take learning an instrument seriously and have fun whilst doing it. Throw in music from the likes of Muse and Nirvana, it’s every Rock guitarist’s dream.
Daunting, sprawling and just about every other kind of “ing” you can think of, GTA V is without doubt Rockstar’s Magnum Opus, an open world game that is full of polish and spectacle but most importantly, is filled with stuff to do! Too often are open world games found to be lifeless, repetitive or void of anything to indulge in, never with GTA V that still remains full of secrets with a devoted fan base that seems to equate to half of the world’s population. GTA V is the open world game that makes all others cower in fear, allowing players to take their time, take it all in and enjoy the tale of crime and betrayal.
Easily the most retro and skilled game on this list, Tetris is the puzzle game that all other puzzle games that have come after it strive to be. To date there are well over 50 variations of the popular block puzzler (and that’s just official releases), signifying it’s remarkable status as one of the world’s most addictively fun and satisfying single-player experiences and a titan within its genre. True patience and skill doesn’t get tested much more than this!
Oozing with character, personality and charm, Guacamelee is a 2D metroidvania that is a blast to play and fun to watch. Its story starts out as a simple one, tasking you to save the princess as a true test of Mexican manliness, before too long however you’ll be leaping, jumping and bashing your way through it’s colourful art-style as you level up your character and progress. Whereas some games uin the genre can sometimes feel obtuse and over complex, Guacamelee strikes the right balance between being deep and detailed whilst remaining readily accessible.
Super Mario Galaxy
This game would have made the list in terms of single-player soundtracks alone, but what we have with Super Mario Galaxy is a 3D platformer that is so refined and so polished, you cannot help but fall under its charming spell. We’d go so far to say that Super Mario Galaxy is the most Nintendo’s famous Italian plumber has innovated since the highly influential Super Mario 64, with tight mechanics, beautiful graphics and a single-player journey that doesn’t need narrative to keep players entertained.
The Binding of Isaac
The brainchild of the man that gave us Super Meat Boy, The Binding of Isaac is an equally twisted indie game that places a great emphasis on replay ability as all good rogue-likes should. Dark, twisted but one hell of an addictive game, each play-session’s randomised dungeons and items make for a wholly unique and different experience each time, constantly requiring players to think strategically. The Binding of Isaac is an ordeal as much as it is a single-player experience, but if you can master it’s weapons and bosses, it’s a game that will place you amongst the elite of the community.