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The best single-player games

Even with an impressive field of co-op games and a growing list of cross-platform games on the Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox, we are in the golden age of multiplayer gaming. But in-depth single-player adventures are still at the core of what makes gaming great. Whether you’re looking to dive into a glorious open-world alone or just need something to hold you over until your friends are back online, we’ve put together a list of the best solo games that will keep you locked in for a long adventure.

From demonic, space-age shooters to slower-paced fantasy RPGs, these are some of our favorite single-player games to check out right now.

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Geralt of Riviea battling monster in The Witcher 3.

The Witcher 3 drops players into the boots of Geralt of Rivia, a gruff monster bounty hunter on a mission to track down his companions and prepare for a battle against the Wild Hunt — a troop of wraiths on undead horses hell-bent on enslaving the human race. To make a bit of coin while exploring the world, Geralt can pick up bounties to take out fewer world-ending creatures, hunting down werewolves, griffins, ghouls, and other deadly foes terrorizing the common-folk.

With an arsenal of weapons, a growing collection of abilities and magic, and a trusted steed named Roach, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt offers an estimated 100-plus hours of gameplay with all side quests included. Whether you’re jumping into the Witcher universe after binging the Netflix series or have played previous installments in the franchise, it’s a stunning fantasy adventure that will draw you in from the jump. If you’re playing on PC, you can also take advantage of some Witcher 3 mods to change the gameplay.

PS5 and Xbox Series X|S players can look forward to a next-gen version of The Witcher 3 set to launch sometime in the future.

Read our full The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt review

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch, Wii U)

Link riding horse in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Hyrule’s iconic hero is back and Princess Zelda needs rescuing again in the latest installment of Nintendo’s long-running flagship. All the classic elements of a Legend of Zelda game are still here — challenging puzzles, rupee farming, and duels both small and massive — but Breath of the Wild introduces new elements that make it the best Zelda game in the series to date and one of the best Switch games outright. The combat is more difficult than previous games, for instance, and Link must use a variety of weapons (that also degrade over time) to fend off foes in an environment that is often a detriment to the adventure. Needless to say, crafting potions and tools is a must.

Fans of prior installments of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be excited to dive into Nintendo’s reimagined world, but, thankfully, newcomers to the series can jump aboard and learn the ropes in no time. The great news is that Nintendo already has a follow-up in development, but we likely won’t get our hands on it until 2022.

Read our full The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild review

Marvel’s Spider-Man (PS4, PS5)

Spider-Man on a rail in Marvel's Spider-Man.

One of the best PS4 games to play right now, Marvel’s Spider-Man gives players the chance to explore New York City through the eyes of the world’s favorite web-slinging superhero. Swing through an incredibly detailed open-world take on NYC while on the lookout for muggers, storefront robbers, and high-speed car thefts, dropping down to save the day with some strategic webbing and acrobatic smackdowns. And don’t worry: There are a handful of bigger-tier villains to fight on this superhero game, meaning you won’t just be dealing with petty crime.

Fighting crime is only part of Marvel’s Spider-Man, however. There are also challenges that pop up throughout the city to help hone Spidey’s specific set of skills, and simply exploring Manhattan and taking photos of the sights is a blast when you need a break from playing police officer. You can also enjoy the follow-up, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, available for PS4 and PS5 right now.

Read our full Marvel’s Spider-Man review

Doom Eternal (Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Stadia, PC, )

Shooting a demon in DOOM Eternal.

In Doom Eternal, Earth is completely overrun by demons, and only the Doom Slayer can save the planet from complete, hellish destruction. The game offers a smooth, fast-paced demon-blasting experience with a heavy arsenal at hand — you can take out evil with rocket launchers, plasma rifles, advanced shotguns, and chainsaws, among other tools. Doom Eternal is a bigger, better version of the 2016 reboot, also from Id Software.

While Doom Eternal delivers the classic marathon carnage of past installments, it also includes some interesting exposition and background that users can dive into between brutal, end-0f-the world gunfights, giving you a chance to learn more about the Slayer and the creatures dead set on destroying humanity.

Read the full Doom Eternal review

Red Dead Redemption 2 (PS4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC)

Four character silhouettes in red Dead Redemption 2.

Sharpshooter Arthur Morgan might not be a lone ranger, but Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the best solitary games to be had right now. Whether you stick to story-driven quests as Arthur and the Van der Linde gang avoid the law, casually explore the massive open-world environment to hunt for rare animal pelts and fish, or go full-scoundrel and cause chaos shooting up local saloons, this immersive world will pull you into the Old West one way or another.

Red Dead Redemption 2 remains one of the best open-world experiences on the market, so it’s worth diving into even if the 1899 cops-and-robbers setting isn’t usually up your alley. Although fans are still waiting for DLC while the game’s online multiplayer mode gets attention — and the PC release was a bit shaky — it’s still hard to beat.

Read the full Red Dead Redemption 2 review

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC)

Kal Cestus facing off against foe in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

While Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order doesn’t offer much in terms of a fresh take on the Star Wars universe, fans of the ongoing laser-fueled battle between the dark side and the light will be happy with this action-adventure journey. Fallen Order takes place between the prequel and original Star Wars film trilogies, aka after the mass execution of Jedi but before Luke Skywalker ever picks up a lightsaber. You play as Cal Kestis, a force-sensitive scrapper in hiding who picks up his Jedi training once the Sith start hunting force-sensitive children.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order combines elements from many previous Star Wars games and does so well. Don’t expect anything outside of the norm, but hey, hacking, and slashing through Empirical troops with a lightsaber and throwing baddies around with Force abilities never gets old. There’s even reportedly a sequel in the works.

Read the full Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order review

The Outer Worlds (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Protagonist facing off against creature in The Outer Worlds.

A Fallout-Borderlands hybrid, Obsidian’s space-age RPG was in the running for plenty of best-of awards in 2019. The Outer Worlds is a light-hearted, choose-your-own-path adventure full of oddball creatures to battle, futuristic quests that force players into moral quandaries, and, like any RPG, a ragtag group of misfit companions to choose from. While combat is a big component of the game, the story is plot-heavy, requiring you to scavenge supplies and chat with NPCs instead of always gunning down challenging adversaries.

Your companions have their own stories that are fun to get into, too, and the environment and creature design will leave you ignoring side quests to gaze at the planetary landscapes. The Outer Worlds is a perfect RPG for someone who wants to get into some space adventures but doesn’t want to tackle Deathclaws or gun down waves of enemies, a la Borderlands. It’s a simple game to get started in, with a story-driven DLC that adds even more content.

Death Stranding (PS4, PS5, PC)

Sam Bridges and Fragile in Death Stranding.

Death Stranding is the latest game from Hideo Kojima, the visionary behind the Metal Gear Solid franchise. The game is set in the United States during the aftermath of a cataclysmic event known as, well, “the Death Stranding,” which allowed destructive creatures from a realm between life and death to begin roaming the Earth. You play as Sam Porter Bridges, a courier tasked with delivering supplies to and connecting the scattered human colonies that remain.

While the gameplay may be slow for some — Bridges does a lot of trudging around beautiful but repetitive terrain to make deliveries, making the game an advanced hiking simulator — it remains a narrative masterpiece that has been lauded for its commentary on America’s political divide and the way it handles a post-environmental disaster.

Death Stranding launched as a PS4 exclusive, but later came to PC, along with the Director’s Cut for PS5.

Read the full Death Stranding review

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Main character facing off against enemies in Sekiro.

Sekiro may look like a hack-and-slash samurai thriller on the outside, but its absolutely brutal combat system makes it one of the most challenging single-player adventures out there. Set in Sengoku-era Japan, Sekiro puts you in control of the One-armed Wolf, a fallen warrior resurrected by a supernatural force and dead set on vengeance. While powerful bosses like the Guardian Ape and the Demon of Hatred certainly put players through the wringer and will take multiple attempts to take down, no enemy in the game can be taken lightly. A simple miscalculation and taking an extra blow can mean sudden death for the World, even from common creatures.

Not for the easily frustrated gamer, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a tough game to get through and doesn’t have a difficulty slider to help anyone out — that’s actually sparked a lot of debate concerning accessibility for the game. But armed with some serious strategy and with enough practice, all the big fights in the game feel so much sweeter to win once you finally finish them.

Read the full Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice review

Fallout 4 (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Power armor suit in Fallout 4.

If Fallout 4 wasn’t packed with content when it launched in 2015, a handful of DLCs, numerous add-on packages, and an abundance of third-party mods have fleshed out the experience since, making for some serious gameplay and multiple playthroughs. After the protagonist escapes from a cryogenic sleep following a nuclear blast, they explore the post-apocalyptic Commonwealth in search of their infant son, fighting super mutants, deathclaws, raiders, and all sorts of other edgy dangers along the way. The game’s DLCs have you explore the dark and stormy island of Far Harbor, a Nuka-Cola-themed amusement park, and give you the means to create your own robot combat companion. You can also hole up with your own band of survivors and work on building a settlement for your people and gather the best Fallout 4 weapons to survive.

Fallout 4 still makes for a phenomenal, in-depth playthrough, one that pairs nicely alongside Bethesda’s newer online offering, Fallout 76.

Read the full Fallout 4 review

The Last of Us Part II (PS4)

Ellie surrounded by enemies in The Last of Us Part II.

The recent release of The Last of Us Part II has captivated a large portion of gamers, delivering an incredible story, memorable characters, and gameplay that feels evolved from its predecessor. When it comes to single-player adventures, not many studios do what Naughty Dog does — the team has come a long way since its Crash Bandicoot days.

Narrative is The Last of Us Part II‘s focus, and it tells the tale of revenge, intertwining its story from the points of view of two characters. While its narrative seemed to cause some controversy among fans and critics, you can’t deny the high level of quality put forth by Naughty Dog and Sony.

The Last of Us Part II is tough to get into the nitty-gritty of what makes this game so special without spoiling its story, but just know that it’ll be hard to put down after things get going. There’s a reason this game was so controversial when it came out, but we applaud it for subverting expectations.

Read the full The Last of Us Part II review

Ghost of Tsushima (PS4, PS5)

Jin Sakai surrounded by flowers in Ghost of Tsushima.
Kaitlyn Red Wing

The PS4’s last major first-party game sent the system off with a bang, thanks to Sucker Punch’s latest single-player adventure, Ghost of Tsushima. Critics and players fell in love with its open world, deep combat, and stunning visuals. Ghost of Tsushima is a major departure for Sucker Punch, as the developer had previously spent the better part of a decade working on the inFAMOUS games — but it’s a welcome change of pace. In it, you play as a samurai who is tasked with saving his home of Tsushima Island.

In Ghost of Tsushima, there’s no shortage of things to do, from going around the map to find collectibles, to clearing out enemy bases (sort of like Far Cry), and even spending hours in its robust photo mode. Its combat can be a little daunting at first, but after a few hours you should get the hang of it — and when you do, you’ll feel like an unstoppable warrior, capable of taking anyone out. It does a lot of things we’ve seen before, but also features some new surprises and free multiplayer content, so this is not one to miss.

The Director’s Cut of Ghost of Tsushima is available for PS4 and PS5 now, featuring all-new content and quality of life improvements.

Read the full Ghost of Tsushima review

Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4, PS5)

Cloud wielding sword in Final Fantasy VII Remake.

What Square Enix was able to accomplish with Final Fantasy VII Remake is nothing short of impressive. The way it effectively blends its foundational source material with new mechanics to make it feel modern has set a benchmark for how remakes should be handled going forward. It features a unique combat system that combines real-time action with a simple menu-based system that makes it feel like an evolution of the 1997 original.

You can easily spend 40 hours in this game, though it’s a lot more linear than many games on this list. This is great for those who want to focus on the game’s story and characters, without having to worry about traversing a huge open world. There’s a time and place for that, but linearity works tremendously in this game’s favor. In short, this is a remake that works better than you might expect. And while it does have some shortcomings, it’s overall one of the PS4’s best single-player games. Better yet, we have more Final Fantasy VII Remake to look forward to, as part 2 (or whatever it will be called, officially) is in the works as we speak. You can also go back and play some of the best Final Fantasy games from the past if you’re so inclined.

In 2021, an enhanced version for PS5 called Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade was released, featuring improved visuals and extra content.

Read the full Final Fantasy VII Remake review

Resident Evil Village (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC)

Lady Dimitrescu from Resident Evil Village.

Taking place directly after Resident Evil 7, Village (you don’t need to play previous RE games to enjoy it) takes things for a nearly medieval turn, invoking werewolves and vampires along with its usual forrays into genetic abominations. Village is a showcase about how much the developers have learned about making a very good Resident Evil game over the years. It does a particularly good job of capturing that atmospheric horror that has always been a standout in RE games — without going too scary or too guns blazing.

The plot also benefits from focusing on the terrible secrets and varying bosses of the titular village, giving you some clear goals as you go — and often embracing the ridiculous aspects that long-time fans will remember from older games. And if you show up just for Lady Dimitrescue, well, she certainly plays a role, but the game is much larger than even her.

Read the full Resident Evil Village review

Returnal (PS5)

Selene battling enemies in Returnal.

Roguelike games have been working to find attractive, mainstream identities for years now, with varying amounts of success. Returnal is an example of just how successful they can be for single-player modes, and one of the few current games that really benefits from a new console upgrade.

The problem is that it’s difficult to talk too much about Returnal‘s story or bosses without spoiling things. You play a character using guns and gadgets (it’s primarily a shooter when it comes to controls) to traverse a beautiful — and creepy — alien world filled with dangers, and you quickly discover that every time you die, you are returned to the same time and place to do things again. Play over and over to discover the game’s fiendish bosses, and attempt to beat them all while discovering clues about this mesmerizing game. Patience is required … but the effort is certainly worth it.

Read the full Returnal review

Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC)

Eivor overlooking hill and buildings in Assassin's Creed Valhalla.

The AC games have become excellent sandboxes to explore specific times and places — and then do pretty much whatever you want. Valhalla is the latest and perhaps boldest effort along these lines, a stunning, rich Nordic world to explore as you carve out a destiny for yourself and your people. More than ever, the game is packed with interesting activities and even more interesting ways to hack, slice, and dispatch your enemies with violent skill.

With something new always around the corner and a very free style of play that encourages exploration instead of linear story paths, Vahalla is an excellent choice for any fan of single-players, and you don’t need to worry if you haven’t played any Assassin’s Creed games before. The only downside is that it’s such a broad work it can barely be called an AC game at all, and a lot of the famed stealth gameplay isn’t even available here.

Read the full Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla review

Demon’s Souls (PS5)

Tower Knight in Demon's Souls.

Quite possibly the greatest launch title of all time is the Demon’s Souls remake, which came out for the PS5 in 2020. This was a tremendous treat, especially for those who played the original game in 2009. Rebuilt from the ground up, Demon’s Souls was an improvement in every single way, with better visuals, quality of life improvements, and slight alterations here and there, which made for a better experience.

Despite the differences with the remake, it’s one of the most faithful recreations in all of gaming. Developer Bluepoint Games somehow managed to strike the perfect balance of preserving the integrity of the original, while ensuring it plays well in a modern context. Even certain exploits and glitches were kept intact with this remake, proving the staff at Bluepoint knows their stuff when it comes to recreating older games.

Metal Gear Solid V (PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC)

Cover of Metal Gear Solid V with Snake and other characters.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is an interesting piece of history in the acclaimed series, as it serves as renowned director Hideo Kojima’s last game with Konami. A dispute between Konami and Kojima led to the director’s departure from the company, and thus Kojima Productions was born. As for Metal Gear Solid V itself, it’s one of the most incredible gaming experiences ever, featuring a massive open world, tons of gameplay systems, and no shortage of things to do.

Interestingly, the story — which is one of the only downsides of this game — was left partially unfinished, so if you’re looking for a cohesive narrative, you might not love this game. However, there are still a lot of fascinating story beats that feel like Metal Gear. Beyond that, the gameplay is the true reason to experience The Phantom Pain, as it’s the most open-ended entry in the series, allowing you to practically do whatever you want.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC)

Main character of Skyrim.

As cliche as it may sound, it’s hard not to love The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, even a decade after its initial release. It’s the quintessential action RPG, offering many different combat styles, from ranged, to melee, and everything in between. While many other RPGs have replicated what Skyrim has done — arguably better — many players keep finding their way back to Bethesda’s 2011 classic.

You can play how you want by making decisions, exploring, and building your character in a wide variety of ways. Some areas of Skyrim haven’t aged as well, but it’s remarkable just how well this game holds up in 2021. Better yet is that you probably own a system that can play this game.

Read the full The Elder Scrolls V: Skrim review

Grand Theft Auto V (PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC)

Trevor from Grand Theft Auto V.

Grand Theft Auto V is arguably one of the most popular games of all time. It went on to sell over 150 million copies and is the most profitable piece of entertainment in history? Most of its financial success has to do with Grand Theft Auto Online, but its single-player mode is worth checking out as well. It features three playable protagonists, Franklin, Michael, and Trevor — all of whom can be switched to on the fly.

The story is wild and bonkers, as you’d expect, with some of the best writing and performances the series has seen. The gameplay has been expanded upon from the previous iterations, with a first-person mode available for the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game. Speaking of enhanced versions, a next-gen version of Grand Theft Auto V will launch for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S in 2022.

Read the full Grand Theft Auto V review

Metroid Dread (Nintendo Switch)

Samus poses after killing a boss in Metroid Dread.

It’s surreal to have a brand new 2D Metroid game to play on Nintendo Switch. Metroid Dread is the first new 2D game in the series since 2002’s Metroid Fusion, so you can imagine how much hype there was surrounding its release. The best part? It somehow lived up to 19 years of waiting, with some of the best visuals, gameplay, and mechanics the series has ever had.

Metroid Dread has a prominent sense of atmosphere, with a rewarding gameplay loop that makes it hard to put down. As you explore the beautiful stages, you unlock new powers and items that are used to reach previously inaccessible areas. Sprinkled throughout are challenging, yet fun boss battles, and the new E.M.M.I. robots, which stalk you like a horror villain. Simply put, this game is in the upper tier of Nintendo Switch titles, alongside Beath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey.

Read the full Metroid Dread review 

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