The holidays are often a double-edged sword for gamers. You’ve got plenty of free time to game, but in many cases, you’ve off at a relative’s house without your trusty desktop, or at grandma’s house where dial-up internet is still in vogue. At times like these, you need a solid stable of single-player games to fall back on. If you’re looking for a game to play by yourself, we humbly recommend these eight for your consideration – just make sure you download them before leaving home.
Tell us what your favorite single-player game is in the comments!
It’s hard to believe that it’s been eight years since Bioshock was released. When you’re dropped into the ocean amidst the ruins of a crashed plane, you immediately know that you’re about to experience something different, and the world of Rapture doesn’t disappoint. There’s mystery and intrigue galore. The story will pull you into the world, and the fantastic art design will keep you there. An excellent story and solid gameplay round out a stellar title.
Dishonored combined stealth and action into a cohesive whole, and it made for a game that was pretty damn impressive. As bodyguard Corvo Attano, you see your charge (the Empress of the Isles) assassinated, and you’re framed for the crime. After escaping from captivity, you set out to prove your innocence by taking out the people who carried out the hit. You can choose to be stealthy, kill everyone in your way or spare them, and even use supernatural powers. It’s a great game in a beautiful setting, and it allows you to do things your way. In short, it’s a must play.
The Walking Dead
If you’re looking for a game with a little less twitch response needed, you can’t do better than Telltales’ The Walking Dead. While it’s a much slower-paced game than many on this list, you can’t beat it if you’re looking for an emotionally engaging storytelling experience. Great characters and story combine to make a game that was well-deserving of the praise it received when it released in 2012. Best of all, it doesn’t tie into the TV show, so you can play it independently without spoiling anything in either experience. Just know that if you don’t play it, Clementine will remember that.
After a nuclear war in 2013, the people of Moscow now live in the metro tunnels beneath the city. A young man named Artyom sets out from his home station to try and get help defending it against attacks by strange creatures. Along the way, he’ll meet more survivors, fight even stranger creatures, and eventually make a choice that will determine the future of the Metro. It’s a post-apocalyptic game that takes place largely underground, with a few brief events on the surface that show just how bad things are outside. The atmosphere of the Metro is phenomenal, and the game really sells its setting. As a bonus, you can also play the sequel if you have more free time.
Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn
Baldur’s Gate 2 is the game you play if you have lots of free time on your hands. You’ll struggle to walk away from it once you start, because it’s just that good. Set in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, the game begins with your character being held captive. Shortly thereafter, you escape, only to see one of your companions captured. Your battle to rescue her, and take out the evil wizard who is holding her captive, is the main plot of the game. Baldur’s Gate 2 is one of the quintessential isometric RPGs, and it’s a must-play for any fan of the genre. You can play the original Baldur’s Gate first if you like, but it’s not required. Still, that would be a great time.
Gordon Freeman may be one of the most recognized characters in gaming, but when you think that the people getting their drivers licenses this year were barely one year old when Half-Life released in 1998, you’ll realize that there’s a good chance many probably haven’t played it. That’s a shame, because both Half-Life games were groundbreaking in the genre. They combined shooting and physics puzzles with a story that played out without the protagonist ever saying a word. Both of the game still hold up fairly well today, so if you haven’t played them, now’s the time.
The Witcher 1/2/3
If you’ve been as into The Witcher 3 as I have, but you’re one of the people who didn’t play the first two games, now’s a great time to remedy that. They’re inexpensive, and although the mechanics have changed substantially since the the first Witcher game hit the market, the games still have a ton of value both as RPGs and as story experiences. Sure, your laptop may not run The Witcher 3 on Ultra, but you should be able to play the first two games with relative ease. Fair warning – the combat in the first Witcher game is radically different than it is now, so be prepared. Still, if you’re enjoying the end of Geralt’s story, you should really see the rest of it.
Knights of the Old Republic 1/2
If you can’t get enough Star Wars now that you’ve seen The Force Awakens, these two games will help whet your appetite. Set 4,000 years before the events of The Phantom Menace, both games let you create a character, and then choose how you progress. Will you choose to embrace the Light Side and be hailed as a savior, or will you turn to the Dark Side and become the new Dark Lord of the Sith? The choice is yours in both games, and both will send you exploring around the Star Wars universe. They’re stellar titles, and any fan of the series should have played them already, If you haven’t, what the hell are you waiting for?