The opinion that single player games are dying rose to popular last year in the wake of EA shutting down one of the many development studios under its tutelage, Visceral Games. The studio was working on an unnamed Star Wars themed game. It was to be a purely single player affair borrowing heavily from the action-adventure genre epitomized by monumental releases like Uncharted 4 and Deus Ex.
Many gamers lamented the abrupt end to the studio that birthed remarkable titles like Dead Space, claiming the news was the harbinger of things to come. Triple A studios pressured to deliver evermore impressive games, be it graphical or in terms of game play grandiosity, wouldn’t be able to fund games that met these lofty demands. As a consequence, the games-as-a-service model would rise to ubiquity across the industry marring every game in a lucrative swamp of micro transactions, loot boxes, and obnoxiously-priced DLCs.
The reality is it couldn’t be further from the truth. Triple A single player games are thriving, experiencing a renaissance even. Here are five games that prove single player is well and truly alive.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild
If there ever was ever a reason to buy a console then the instant classic The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild sits confidently atop the podium. Not only does it trigger convulsions of nostalgia in Zelda connoisseurs who had spent their youth playing Ocarina of Time, it appeals to fresh-faced gamers who are drawn in by the scope of Hyrule’s landscape. The amalgamation of a non-linear story line, puzzles of ideal difficulty, and a set of collectables that are exciting enough to warrant collection, coalesce into a perfectly digestible single player experience where experimenting and roaming are rewarded.
God of War
Does it really need an introduction by this point? The gripping adventure of a father and his son battling enemies spawned from various lore and mythology is this year’s stand out game, if not one of the best games of recent times. Purely single player, you get what you pay for and therein lies the beauty of God of War. The hours spent in-game feel earned and rewarding, a feeling very few loot box-maligned multiplayer games even remotely attain.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Though yet to be released, there’s little doubt in most people’s minds Red Dead Redemption 2 is set to live up to expectations. Red Dead Redemption is a benchmark for open-world games and to this day stands up in terms of narrative depth, character development, and the sheer wonder of the world Rockstar were able to conjure up. We fully expect Red Dead Redemption 2 to deliver very much the same outstanding experience and more. We can’t wait to slip on our cowboy boots and get involved.
Detroit: Becoming Human
A mostly-mature and intelligently designed commentary on the rise of technology, AI sentience, and the politics of inequality, Detroit: Becoming Human is the most recent entry into our list. The game approaches truly fascinating subjects from an insightful – if at times slightly misfired – perspective backed up by a world crafted with dedication to the point that the choices of the player become central to the story line and have a direct impact on the social dynamics of near-future Detroit. Gaming doesn’t get any more single player than this.
Assassin’s Creed Origins
Carried away by its own success, Ubisoft churned out successive more disappointing titles, losing much of what made the series initially so appealing to fans. Time to reflect, regroup, and refine bore fruit in the form of Assassin’s Creed Origins. There’s something uniquely immersive about the open-world inspired by the landmarks of Ancient Egypt. A compulsive desire to return to Bayek’s mission makes Origins one of the most thrilling single player experiences in recent years. A return to form in many ways, Origins is also an example of how reinvention can dramatically transform the prospects of a fatigued franchise.