While playing with others is great, single player games remains the bedrock of the gaming industry. Every year we’re presented with an array of experiences, both large and small, that put you and only you at the centre of the action, offering the chance to become someone else and sink into their world and their story. 2018 has seen more than its fair share of great solo games, and with other categories in mind, we had a hard time narrowing it down to three, let alone one overall winner.
Assassin’s Creed has been a good series for a long time, but it felt at one point like it had lost its way and Ubisoft sought to reinvent it over the last few years. While Origins took the series in a new direction, it didn’t go quite far enough for some people. Odyssey had us taking on the role of Kassandra – the canonical and correct protagonist – or Alexios and spartan kicking our way through ancient Greece.
The ability to play your own way has always been good in AC, but here it really feels fleshed out. If you choose the right skills and make sure you have the correct equipment, then you can be whatever you want. The skills themselves are great fun; teleporting next to an enemy to drive your spear through them is hugely unrealistic, but is also incredibly satisfying.
Odyssey feels like it does away with needless realism in favour of pure fun, and it works brilliantly. When you add cultists to hunt, mythical creatures to take down, and being able to ride a unicorn that leaves rainbow trails, well then you have a clear winner for single player game of the year. Plus you can sleep with everyone if you want to, which is very historically accurate.
Red Dead Redemption 2 – Runner Up
It’s safe to say that Red Dead Redemption 2 is an incredible achievement. Amongst the most compelling game worlds of all time, and with a fantastically presented narrative to match, anyone who’s spent time with Arthur, Dutch and their motley crew will wax lyrical as to why it should be the winner here, and perhaps on a different day they’d be right.
In the end Red Dead’s triumphant return is the kind of game you can utterly lose yourself in, and with a million things to do you can legitimately choose to do nothing, and simply ride into the sunset instead. No matter what, it’s the kind of game that everybody should check out.
God of War – Runner Up
Who could have known that Dad of War would be quite so good? The shift to Norse mythology, alongside the changes to the franchise’s combat meant that this was God of War, but not as you know it. Remarkably, Kratos made the transition from permanently angry bald man to reticent and troubled father in convincing fashion, and Cory Barlog and his team did an amazing job of humanising and tempering the iconic, but traditionally one-note character. Single player games don’t get much better, and besides the amazing visuals and fantastic score, the game’s updated combat system – by which I mean that sweet sweet axe – had you thinking you really were a god.
Honourable Mentions (in alphabetical order)
- Dead Cells
- Into the Breach
- Marvel’s Spider-Man