It’s fair to say that the Xbox One houses a plethora of great multiplayer titles from Forza to Halo and Rocket League to Fortnite. But what of the single player titles?
Many would say that this generation has seen a decline in quality single player experiences. But I disagree. Take a deeper look and you will see a smorgasbord of wonderful titles that offer a focused single player experience for all types of gamers. Many of these games have wonderfully fleshed out storylines, beautiful worlds and some genuinely engaging and sometimes revolutionary gameplay.
Here are my Top 5 single player only titles.
5. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition
Skyrim is a game that needs no introduction. Most of us will have enjoyed its vast world and “best in series” plot and loved the engaging and sometimes hilarious gameplay involved. It is a game that thrives on emergence which grants you the tools to play the game in whatever direction you want. You craft your own journey with so many pathways that you can truly sink 130+ hours either trading, adventuring or taking arrows to the knee and you may never end up in the same place twice.
Mods are added to the Xbox One version of Skyrim offering even more ways to play and giving you a near endless supply of new quests, storylines or wacky gameplay mechanics to enjoy. It is probably the best value offering on this list with just the vanilla content approaching 150+ hours.
Inside would probably be my favourite game of 2016. Playdead took everything they had learned from 2010’s Limbo and crafted a game that is probably as close to perfect as a game can get. They took the time to craft an oppressive feeling well grounded world with wonderfully subtle moments that stick with you long after you had moved on.
Gameplay is far more fleshed out, the puzzle solving is wonderfully mind boggling and it is challenging enough to keep you entertained without pushing into frustration. The platforming elements are punctuated by adrenaline pumping chase moments that keep you on the edge of your seat and stealth sections that are tense and well thought out.
The storyline plays out simply through the way you interact with the world and it leaves it up to you to interpret how it all plays out, never giving much away at all. In all, Inside is a wonderful game, if a little short on the playtime. The ending will have you scratching your head with your mouth agape.
3. The Turing Test
The Turing Test at first glance may seem like a knock-off of Valve’s seminal Portal series however if you dig a little deeper, you come across a wonderfully crafted puzzle thriller with a dramatic and tense story. Combined with some devilishly engrossing puzzles (and without giving the story away), it’s a twisted take on the age old debate of sentient AI.
The gameplay plays out over a series of puzzle “rooms” with sections in between for narrative. At first most of the rooms are simple puzzles but grow increasingly challenging with more complex elements as you progress. The creepy and edgy back story becomes more and more apparent as you further yourself into this rat maze, explaining why the colony went dark and leading you to the ultimate realisation of what has happened.
2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3, much like Skyrim, needs little introduction.
A game most will have played or at least know about, it continues the story of Geralt of Rivia this time as he tracks down his missing adopted daughter Siri on her escape from the Wild Hunt. A gorgeous game to begin with looks even better with the latest Xbox One X update and easily puts it up there with the best looking games available on the Xbox.
Unlike Skyrim, The Witcher approaches its subject matter with a much more mature tone; it doesn’t pull any punches with its language or moral ambiguity and frankly is a better game for it. The open world is beautifully coloured and full of life going about it’s business, feeling like a world that continues going even when you aren’t there.
Gameplay wise it’s a much more grounded RPG experience using tight melee controls, dodges and magic to claim victory over your foes. Added to this are interesting mechanics that allow you to coat your swords in various poisons to enhance combat against specific enemies or the brewing of concoctions to grant Geralt abilities both outside and inside of combat. All of these mechanics have been messed together so well that it’s hard to rely on one way of playing and you need to adapt on the fly in order to prevail over your foes.
1. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a game that has only recently debuted on the Xbox having previously been exclusive to the PS4 and PC; this release brings with it enhancements for the Xbox One X that leave us with the definitive experience of the game on consoles and it is all the better for it.
In a word, Hellblade is a beautiful game with incredible vistas and tiny details that jump out of the screen. The tiny team of 14 developers at Ninja Theory have really pushed the envelope on what is achievable with the Unreal Engine here. It brings to life a world of deep Norse mythology that really pulls you in. It’s a hard game to put down.
The plot begins as a simple one, Senua is on a quest to the Norse world of Helheim to reclaim her lover who has been killed and claimed by the Viking goddess Hel. As the story progresses, we learn of Senua’s dark past and the mental condition that she suffers with. Hellblade, you see, is not all about its underlying plot but a game built around a mental disorder known as Psychosis. This disorder affects the mind in a variety of ways; from hearing voices and sounds to full on hallucinations and is vividly portrayed. So much so, that the game has garnered praise from real-world sufferers on how well it delivers Senua’s character.
The gameplay is an interesting one, made up of both combat and puzzle scenes. The world pushes you through a mostly linear path with interesting and gripping stops to take on enemies and visual challenges. Whilst the combat is engaging and Senua is exactly the warrior you want her to be, you are constantly harassed by the multiple layers of voices in Senua’s head. This is a fresh gameplay mechanic that at first seems like simple narration but eventually you can clearly identify that these voices are all part of Senua. The voices can vary from deep insecurity, failure and mockery to leading and saving Senua’s life. It’s an extremely clever method to keep you on your toes and is very innovative. This combined with a complete lack of direction creates an edgy and creepy atmosphere.
The puzzles, much like the combat, are nothing particularly new but this has a different and new perspective due to Senua’s visions and voices. Hellblade’s deep and rich world creates an experience unlike anything before it and is a game that I would wholeheartedly recommend for you to try.
So there we have it! 5 of the very best single player experiences on Xbox One. What do you think of this list? Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.