Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: Your favourite single-player game
Readers name their favourite single-player video games, from Zelda: Breath Of The Wild to the Dark Souls trilogy.
The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Franky, and follows growing concern about the future of single-player, story-based games. Given the current situation we also wanted to know how your enjoyment of gaming would be impacted if single-player games became less common.
But while most couldn’t imagine multiplayer taking over completely, many readers were genuinely worried. Especially as they lionised games like Portal 2, Metroid Prime, and Shadow Of The Colossus as not only personal favourites but some of the best games of all time.
This is a tricky one… so many great games, especially this year, but I’ve just got to go for Portal 2. I hadn’t played the original at the time and the sequel to me was just a revelation. I’d never played anything like it before still (and still haven’t really) and it was just incredible to me from the very first second to the last. Apart from the original I’ve never played a game that had even half as good dialogue as this. Not just funny but amazing voice acting too.
And of course the gameplay is amazing too. It took me a long while to realise it was never going to be a shooter, despite being first person, but once you get a feel for the puzzles it’s just mesmerising. Especially the way you solve impossible looking rooms almost to your own disbelief.
The co-op is excellent too, and a really nice bonus that removes any question of it not being good value for money. It also shows that tacked-on multiplayer can work in the proper context. With the way Valve are nowadays, and all the main people having left anyway, I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like it again. Which in a way I’m almost glad of as it just adds to the magic.
I know it’s a new game and I haven’t got the proper perspective yet on it, or whatever, but for me the best single-player game, and the best game, of all-time is Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. You know a game is good when it actually manages to outdo your expectations after all the amazing reviews and anticipation, but it really did.
It also seems the perfect choice for this Hot Topic because it so totally and utterly a single-player game. There’s no co-op or tacked-on multiplayer, no loot boxes, in-game currency (well except in the normal sense) or any of the modern trappings. There is a season pass but in typical Nintendo fashion it looks to be going above and beyond and is definitely not withheld content.
Zelda has been able to hold my attention for hundreds of hours so far, and has resulted in so many late nights I can’t even tell you. But the thing I think I love about it the most is how much it involves other people even though it’s only single-player. I’ve had my girlfriend, parents, in-laws, friends, and people of all ages watch it in fractionation and all have been impressed. Some even bought a Switch on the back of it. It really is that good.
It has to be Skyrim. The game was released six years ago now and it had one remaster last year and has two this year! This is the game that made role-players cool again and had so many people saying, ‘I don’t usually play this sort of game, but…’ Skyrim is just that good and I’m not surprised there hasn’t been a sequel yet because I don’t know how you begin to follow it up.
Playing the game is like stepping into another world. One where you can build yourself up to be whatever kind of character you want and it’s like a cross between the holodeck and dream. The game can be tricky at first but once you start to turn yourself into a Conan style badass you just feel unstoppable and turning the game on and starting to play it is the perfect way to relax.
I haven’t got a Switch or a PlayStation VR but I love Skyrim so much I’m genuinely considering buying one or the other just to play a game I’ve already put hundreds of hours in already.
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Peas in a pod
A difficult question this given the lack of limitations in what you can choose. I imagine a lot of people will go for recent games, especially as there’s been so many good ones this year, but I’m going to choose Metroid Prime. With Super Metroid as my back up. The amazing thing about these two games is that although the seem very different Prime is a perfect 3D version of Super Metroid and manages to hit all the same notes and have the same appeal while playing very differently.
Even the atmosphere, that tense sense of loneliness in a place where everything wants to kill you, is the same, which is an amazing feat considering it’s not even the same people doing them.
I’ve already used the perfect but I would say that the two games are literally that and I’ve heard many others describe them that way too. I’m actually quite worried about how Metroid Prime 4 will turn out as the other sequels got progressively worse and the original developer doesn’t really exist anymore in terms of the people that work there. Also, you know, it’s hard to better than perfect.
I don’t imagine this is going to be a particular popular choice, because it’s very old now, but my favourite singe-player game is the original Deus Ex. The new games are fine but I think younger gamers would be shocked to find out just how much more complex and deep the original game was. More so than even modern role-playing games, which gave you so much freedom to do things your way that I can still play levels today and find new ways to beat them.
Or you can play it as a first person shooter. Not a very good one to be fair, but it really is the ultimate version of what today is called an immersive sim (a stupid name, I’ll admit). Obviously the graphics are old now but the only thing that really ages it is the conspiracy theory story and characters. The X-Files and The Matrix were very big at the time and it’s a bit embarrassing how the game tries to copy it.
Although it’s kind of interesting to me how a game can be so well-crafted in terms of gameplay but so amateurish in terms of its story. Something that is often still true today I find. But anyway, warts and all the question was what was your favourite, not the best, and this is mine.
More to come
I rarely play multiplayer as I enjoy games more for their stories and characters, so if single-player games died out I would be lost! Thankfully there still seems to be some good quality single-player games due out next year, including God Of War and Spider-Man.
My favourite single-player games are Uncharted 1 to 4 (with their beautiful worlds, loveable characters, and awesome set pieces I never get tired of playing them) and Resident Evil 4 (I’ve played it many, many times since its launch on GameCube and it still remains the most perfectly paced game i’ve ever played with so many amazing boss fights, set pieces, and thrilling gunplay).
LastYearsModel09 (PSN ID)
Trust no one
The trailer for next year’s Lara Croft film inspired me to retry the Tomb Raider reboot. I bought the PlayStation 3 version of the game when it was released in 2013, but the Shanty Town level exhausted me and I gave up on it.
Playing the Definitive Edition on Xbox One I’ve advanced further into Tomb Raider’s single-player campaign and I’ve been struck by its overall brilliance. Every aspect of the Tomb Raider reboot works so beautifully. The single-player mode plays like a well-oiled machine.
I’m loving the combat this time around, the game’s numerous fights are both tense and thrilling. Having upgraded Lara’s moves I now prefer not to use guns, beating up the bad guys feels immensely satisfying.
I never really touch multiplayer modes of primarily single-player games. Single-player campaigns seem to last so long these days, who needs a tacked-on opportunity to play with others?
I hope single-player campaigns prevail, they offer guaranteed enjoyment. Your fun with multiplayer games is too dependent on the manners and behaviour of your opponents.
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