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The best single-player games (August 2020)

Even with an impressive field of cooperative game modes and a growing list of cross-platform-enabled titles, 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 new 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)

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 less 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, this game 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.

Read our full The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt review

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

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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 game in the series to date. 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 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 for a while.

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

Marvel’s Spider-Man (PS4)

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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, meaning you won’t just be dealing with petty crime.

Fighting crime is only part of the game, 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 look forward to the follow-up, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, which will release for PS5 later this year.

Read our full Marvel’s Spider-Man review

Doom Eternal (Switch, Ps4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC)

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)

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.

RDR2 remains one of the best open-world experience 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 content 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, Xbox One, PC)

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.

The game combines elements from many previous Star Wars titles 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)

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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. This is a perfect RPG for someone who wants to get into some space adventures but doesn’t want 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 set to be released sometime in 2020.

Death Stranding (PS4, PC)

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 maybe 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.

The title is PS4 exclusive for now, but is set to be released for PC gamers this summer.

Read the full Death Stranding review

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

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Sekiro may look like a hack-and-slash samurai thriller on the outside, but its absolutely brutal combat system makes it one 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 Wold, even from common creatures.

Not for the easily frustrated gamer, this 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)

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.

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

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.

It’s 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. It’ll likely be in the running this year for Game of the Year, so we’ll have to see how games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Ghost of Tsushima stack up against it.

Read the full The Last of Us Part II review

Ghost of Tsushima

Ghosts 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 absolutely 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, so this is not one to miss.

Read the full Ghost of Tsushima review

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Final Fantasy VII Remake Cloud

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 Final Fantasy VII Remake, 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 in this game’s favor, tremendously. It’s 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, is that 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!

Read the full Final Fantasy VII Remake review

Resident Evil 2 (2019)

If horror is more your thing, look no further than the excellent Resident Evil 2 (2019). This remake takes the 1998 PS One original and turns it into a tight, third-person survival horror adventure for current hardware. Capcom nails everything in this game, from its stunning visuals, the pacing, the way the characters’ stories intertwine throughout, and one of the best uses of an in-game map we’ve ever seen.

We highly recommend playing this one with headphones so you can enjoy the game’s superb sound design — which will increase the horror factor by a huge amount. Speaking of which, this game is absolutely terrifying. Whether you’re maneuvering around viscous Lickers and zombies or getting through the heart-pounding chase sequences with Mr. X, there’s no shortage of scares in Resident Evil 2. Throw in lots of puzzles, multiple stories with different endings, and a satisfying upgrade system, and you get one of the best single-player adventures of the entire generation. Oh, and when you’re finished with this one, don’t forget to give Resident Evil 3 (2020) a try, as well.

Read the full Resident Evil 2 (2019) review

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