Weekend Hot Topic, part 2: Your favourite single-player game

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Weekend Hot Topic, part 2: Your favourite single-player game
Shadow Of The Colossus – deserving of a remake

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.

Shadow of a doubt

If they stopped making single-player games I’d stop buying new games, it’s as simple as that. Although I dabble with multiplayer on occasion I’ve no passion for it, what with all the cheating, and bigotry, and general unpleasantness it seems to encourage. And that’s before you start to talk about loot crates and microtransactions.

On a more positive note my favourite single-player game is Shadow Of The Colossus. A game that doesn’t have any of that stuff in it but is just a sublime experience from beginning to end. Nothing is explained at the start, and there’s no connection to ICO until the end, and you’re just left in this huge empty world where the only thing you can do is fight these monsters that you begin to realise have nothing done anything to harm you.

The slow realisation that you might not be a good guy after all isn’t handled in any cut scene, you have to work it out yourself which is so much more satisfying. For those that missed out there’s a remake coming next year and I can’t wait to play it again.

Which Mario?

The question here might as well just be which is the best Super Mario Bros. game, at least as far as I’m concerned. To me the Mario games are the pinnacle of gaming. No matter which one it is the good ones manage to show off everything that is great about video games at the time use the best technology and controls available.

Just narrowing it down is difficult, but I think the main contenders are Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, Super Mario 64, Super Mario Galaxy 2, and Super Mario Odyssey. Maybe Super Mario 3D World as well… see? It’s really difficult!

I still think the award goes to Super Mario Bros. 3 though. You talk about standing the test of time but this game has been the greatest since it was made and right up till now as far as I’m concerned. Just the perfect video game, with flawless level design, graphics, and controls. There’s sort of two-player mode too, but only taking turns.

Adult adventure

It’s almost impossible to pick just one but I think, certainly of the games from recent years, that it must be The Witcher 3. I’m a big fan of Skyrim and this is the only game that’s come anyway close to offering the same thing and outdoing it in many ways. I’d still prefer it was first person and had custom characters but other than that I think it’s pretty much perfect.

The dialogue and adult situations is the best in any game I’ve played, fantasy or not, and the game maps are absolutely huge, with so much to do. I’d never even heard of the first two games before, but this totally blew me away with its scale, its attention to detail, and the really interesting characters and stories that just seem to be everywhere.

I even liked the combat, which I’ve heard some people complain about, and of course it’s all single-player only. I don’t see how it could be any other way and the idea of it being filled with loot boxes sounds awful.
Cosmic Kanga

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Far enough

Tricky question this: how far do you go back? Because the further you do the more likely it is to be nostalgia talking. I’m tempted to say one of this year’s greats, like Zelda: Breath Of The Wild or NieR: Automata, but instead I’ll go with Shenmue and its sequel.

The question is ‘favourite’ after all, and these two games are at the heart of why I’m still a passionate gamer and why I became one in the first place. We all know their flaws, and to be honest they were pretty obvious at the time let alone now.

But back in those days I didn’t think of video games as anything other than an occasional timewaster. Shooters and fighting games were great but I played them for a few hours and never really gave them any real thought. But Shenmue showed me how things could be different, how games could transport you to a different world and let you play as different people with different goals and desires.

The only downside is that so few other games have ever been able to match that sense of freedom and immersion, but of course there’s always Shenmue III…

Single format

I don’t feel GC is too likely to argue with this one, but I say Bayonetta 2. Although I tend to think of the two games as one as there’s bits from one I like better than the other and vice versa. But whichever one you pick these games are the ultimate in imagination, deep combat, and outrageous characters. Nothing in Bayonetta makes a lick of sense and everything is better for it.

It’s complex if you want it to be but very accessible if you’re not used to games like that, especially Bayonetta 2. It may seem a shame that it’s a Wii U exclusive, but let’s face it… nobody would buy it whatever platform it’s released on. I do hope the rumoured double pack comes to Switch though, just so I can pack my Wii U up in the loft. I wouldn’t dare to do that now though or otherwise I wouldn’t be able to play my favourite single-player game whenever I wanted to.
Big Ape

From From with love

Favourite single-player game? Easily Dark Souls. Oh no Demon’s Souls, wait, Dark Souls III. Pick any one of them out. All fantastic games. Any game good enough to make me not play Skyrim for over a year is good one. The scale, the go anywhere you can manage to make it to, free-flowing nature of the Souls games make it stand out.

So pick one or pick them all and you can probably chuck in Bloodborne, which I won’t just yet as I am in the not liking it too much just yet stage, but you can’t go wrong with these games. Seeing as this is pick your favourite, I will go with Dark Souls III in terms of visuals and call backs to the previous games.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

It’s just a phase

My preference has always been for single-player games over multiplayer, as to be brutally honest with myself I’m not very good at games (other than Hotline Miami) and so get battered whenever I have tried venturing online, which isn’t much fun so I tend to stick to single-player. I could get competent in certain multiplayer games but I would have to put a lot of time into it before I did, and that time investment would not be much fun.

There has been a lot of concern about the death of single-player recently but I think it is a bit of an overreaction. There are plenty of indie devs that would continue to make single-player games even if all a AAA single-player game was never made again. I don’t think it would ever get to this stage though, I seem to remember the same concern a few years ago when a multiplayer mode was being tacked into most games that didn’t need it.

I also think that if the market suddenly became flooded with these online ‘games as a service’ games then inevitably some will fail and that will lead to publishers going back to single-player. Gamers only have so much time and I think some of these proposed multiplayer games chock full of loot boxes and microtransactions will fail, there will be a few majorly successful ones like PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds, Destiny, Call Of Duty, and maybe a couple more.

A final reason is that this year has been the best year ever for single-player games, we’ve had Zelda, Mario, Horizon Zero Dawn, NieR: Automata, Nioh to name just a few that have been successful.

Oh, and my favourite ever single player game is also my favourite game: Half-Life 2.
Truk_Kurt (PSN ID)/trukkurt (Steam ID)/Angry_Kurt (Twitter)

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