This week’s social media question asks, “What’s the most important aspect of a single player game?” So, Robbie Landis shares his top 10 of single player games.
#10 – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
It’s difficult to argue the success of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It’s perhaps the most accessible game ever created and available on more platforms than humans have fingers and toes. There’s even someone’s grandmother who has made a career streaming it. What that tells us is that Skyrim has at least a little bit of something for every type of person.
#9 – The Last of Us
I got to this party a bit late in the game, but in an industry that is constantly trying to innovate and change the game, The Last of Us taught me a very important lesson as a gamer. You don’t need to be the one inventing the wheel. The Last of Us used tons of tired and cliche tropes, but still delivered a devastatingly powerful narrative, and in the end that’s what I want, a game that I know was worth my time and money.
#8 – Bioshock
People play games for different reasons. For me, it’s all about the narrative and the messages. The power of games rivals movies, television, books and music. To that point, very few moments in any of those mediums hit me the way Bioshock did for the first time. If you haven’t played it yet for unknown reason, would you kindly go give it a try?
#7 – Horizon Zero Dawn
When the gameplay trailer for Horizon Zero Dawn first debuted at E3 everyone had the same confused expression, “Robot Dinosaurs?” No one thought this game would do anything new, and for the most part, it didn’t. Yet, it was still a breakaway success for the year and has a highly anticipated sequel somewhere in the works. While it didn’t create any new molds, it set a new bar and introduced a kick-ass female protagonist in a world dominated by Nathan Drake’s.
#6 – Undertale
This is a strange addition to my list, because I’ve never actually played it. Mostly just to spit spite in the face of fellow co-host Joe, but that doesn’t blind me to what the game has accomplished. With limited development resources and manpower Toby Fox gain the same level of acclaim as triple A studios and games. It’s a massive testament to the power and influence of games.
#5 – Mass Effect 2 or 3 (Reader’s Choice)
The Mass Effect trilogy is a different kind of animal. While each game is great on it’s own, the true gem of this series is the journey the player is taken on through the entire saga. You forge bonds with characters until you’ve ever done in other games. You watch as they grow, change and evolve into entirely new entities from one game to the next. Anyone who tries to refute that fact or compare another game hasn’t actually finished these ones. Endings be damned.
#4 – God of War 4
God of War was a series that had nearly faded into obscurity as a mythologically driven hack and slash game of no real merit. I had played a handful of them to varying degrees and remember nothing of value. God of War 4’s resurgence and success lends more merit than ever to the fact that gamers yearn for heavy, deep narrative experiences in a single-player game. Period.
#3 – Red Dead Redemption 2
As the debate of whether or not games are art rages on, Red Dead Redemption 2 pushes that envelope for the gaming industry more than any other game. While there are indie games that may seem more “artsy,” it says more about the medium that a triple A game can be such a huge success and still stay true to the source and deliver the same impactful moments that this game does.
#2 – Persona 5
This was a game I did not plan on playing or enjoying. Had it not been gifted to me, I likely would’ve never picked it up and my life would have been lesser for it. Once again as with others on this list, it goes to show how powerful narratives can be. The fact that I overlook (and maybe even enjoy?) the anime setting says so much more about this game than I could type. It also proves that the idea of “turn based combat” is somehow outdated or dead.
#1 – Final Fantasy VII
I’m sure this entry will cause the most uproar, but despite what your favorite Final Fantasy may or may not be, one fact is undisputed. Had it not been for this game, JRPGs as a genre may have never made it stateside in the force that they did. A majority of the golden-age of RPGs in the mid 1990s to early 2000s is because a vast majority of gamers got a taste of what happens when you put amazing characters and a top notch narrative into games. Had it not been for this one? I might’ve never picked up a PlayStation controller.
Featured image: Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images