Immersion is the best experience
When a developer builds a single-player game, its creative team can craft a deeper back story and slow down the pace to allow the gamer to enjoy all the tasty details.
It can cater to an audience of one, instead of engineering frenetic action designed to keep groups of people entertained. When you play alone, horror games deliver more scares, action sequences are more intense. It's also much easier to surrender to the experience when someone isn’t screaming in your headset, “Dude, you just got pwned!”
Check out this list of some of the most immersive and enthralling single-player gaming experiences you'll ever have. We'll start with a good ol' zombie apocalypse.
The Walking Dead
You might be playing alone, but that doesn’t mean you need to take on the zombie hordes all by yourself.
The Walking Dead gives you a host of non-player characters to interact with—although some are a little more helpful than others.
Telltale Games is known for its point-and-click adventures, and this is one of the most intense, engrossing, and fun examples of that genre.
You play as Lee, a man with a checkered past, as he connects with various survivors and a little girl whom he's sworn to protect. You alone make decisions that determine the game’s outcome, and these are often a matter of life and death.
FTL: Faster Than Light
Deep space can be a lonely place. Fortunately, FTL: Faster Than Lights leaves you little time to ponder that notion, because you'll spend the entire game running for your life.
You’ll also command various crew members through the turbulent experience, assigning them jobs such as repairing the ship, firing weapons, and navigating away from danger.
The unthinkable might happen at any moment: You could be blasted to bits, run out of air, or be boarded and killed by marauding space pirates. Good luck!
Antichamber is filled with visual paradoxes. It’s a game the Dutch artist M. C. Escher would have appreciated—if he'd lived another 40 years and owned a PC.
Your solo journey through the game will take you through a maze of thought-provoking puzzles, mind-blowing visuals, and physics-bending corridors.
You might discover yourself moving through the same rooms over and over, but the experience will be intriguingly different each time. Struggle to find an exit or just enjoy the journey.
Having been framed for the murder of someone you'd sworn an oath to protect, you’re left with just one way to restore your honor and reputation: Prove your innocence by murdering those who are truly guilty.
Dishonored's Steampunk vibe makes for a phenomenal game. Make your way through the city using supernatural powers to teleport short distances, see through walls, slow time, and more.
It's up to you how you'd like to play: You can be vengeful and destroy anyone who stands in your way, or you can spare the loyal guards who attempt to stop you, and assassinate the evildoers in silence.
Lara Croft wasn't always the bold, confident, ass-kicking woman who made her debut in 1996. She's a naive rookie in the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot. But all that changes fast.
Shipwrecked and marooned on an uncharted island, Lara and the crew of a research vessel soon encounter a strange group of people with a penchant for violence.
If Lara is going to save herself and rescue her friends, she'll need to toughen up and learn a few combat techniques. It's a rough ride, but you get to experience it all from the driver's seat.
Fallout: New Vegas
Fans of Glitter Gulch won't recognize their beloved city years after nukes turn it—and the rest of the United States—into a wasteland. And yet the city survives, after a fashion, in the post-apocalyptic role-playing game Fallout: New Vegas.
You play a courier who some mobsters have left for dead. Being a resilient fellow, you quickly dust yourself off and set out to seek your fortune.
Choose to forge friendships, or embark on a murderous rampage. Take revenge on those who wronged you, or join in an epic war to control Hoover Dam.
There's plenty to see and do. And if you get lonely, you can find a trusty companion to join you.
Half-Life 2 (and Episodes 1 and 2)
Nearly a decade has passed since its release, yet Half Life 2 remains one of the most enjoyable single-player experiences ever created.
This game, and the two bite-sized episodes that followed, are set in a dystopian future. You play scientist and hero Gordon Freeman, who's on a mission to defend the human race and destroy the alien force occupying the planet.
Wake up and smell the ashes Mr. Freeman.
Perspective is everything, and in Fez, you get to twist it.
Don’t be fooled. This game world only looks two-dimensional. Don your magical fez and gain the power to shift the perspective 90 degrees, so you can explore it in a third dimension.
The universe is being glitched and torn apart, and it's up to you to collect all the fragments of the mystical Hexahedron to make it right again.
Gone Home starts out like a horror game, and you might never shake the feeling that something is hulking in the shadows. This mystery needs solving.
It's 1995, and you've been traveling abroad for a year. When you finally return home, your family is gone. But they haven’t disappeared without a trace.
Explore your surroundings. Check every drawer, closet, and file cabinet. Read notes and reports and piece together the clues to discover just where they’ve gone. Unravel the mystery by exploring the game at your own pace.
Columbia: A utopian city in the clouds reserved for the intellectual elite. But the Edison and Einstein types in Bioshock Infinite are hiding dark secrets. Your character, Booker DeWitt, doesn't belong in this world, but he must rescue the girl held in the tower and return her to New York to wipe away his debt.
A simple enough task, until the entire city becomes convinced that you’re the evil "False Shepherd" foretold in prophesy.
Navigate the floating city, battle hordes of zealots, and liberate the fair maiden—who’s actually a pretty tough cookie herself.
Portal 2 makes a ton of our lists for its fun multiplayer component, but it has an independent and completely engrossing single-player campaign, too.
A personality core (an AI robot, that is) named Wheatley wakes you from deep stasis years after the terrifying tests and cakeless trials of the first game. It seems Aperture Labs is in a state of decay, and Wheatley wants to work with you to effect escape.
There’s just one problem: Wheatley's actions accidentally wake GLaDOS, the murderous AI that you conquered in the first game. And boy, is she pissed.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Lively towns and intricate quests make you feel less alone as you spend countless hours in the dragon-infested world of Skyrim.
You might spend the better part of an hour customizing your character before taking a step. But once you're in, it's non-stop action.
Whether you focus on becoming headmaster of a school for magic, or a fearless warrior in a rebellious army, watch your step: Thar be dragons afoot!