Overlooked single player experiences


#1

I just finished the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare campaign. I felt it was positively gut wrenching and one of the best campaigns they have ever produced. I reflected on how poorly the game performed market-wise (at least by Call of Duty standards) and consider myself lucky to have even been recommended the campaign to begin with. Otherwise it likely would have been a great and well crafted story I never got to see.

So, I was wondering, what is one great single player experience you feel may have been overlooked or quickly forgotten? Whether it be due to it being a minor part of the experience, or simply being lost in a flurry of other releases.


#2

I’m not sure if I can really call it overlooked since it’s brought up a lot in discussions like these, but Titanfall 2 has one of the best single-player FPS campaigns I’ve ever played. The level with the time travel mechanic is particularly incredible but it’s all really fantastic—though the game is short (around 8 hours) it feels almost like a spiritual successor to the Half-Life series, but it gets overshadowed because of Titanfall being really known for multiplayer.


#3

One single player experience that comes to mind is the campaign of Ghostbusters: The Video Game (the one from 2009, not this year). It features the original cast lending their voices and likenesses in what is essentially a semi-canonical sequel to Ghostbusters 2, and it does a great job nailing the aesthetic. I’m a sucker for any game that has a good core mechanic that is executed well. In this case, the name of the game is crowd management while you weaken ghosts with your proton pack and wrestle them into a trap. Much like the combat mechanics of Alan Wake - another game that I considered nominating for this topic - you often need to track the positions and damage values of multiple ghosts while dodging and stunning to maintain just enough breathing room to be effective. It might get repetitive after a while and there are easily some less-than-polished sections (e.g. the Collector boss fight), but the overall brevity and obvious reverence for the license goes a long way here.

Although not necessarily overlooked as a whole, the single player experience of Overcooked is also worth mentioning. The single player introduces the mechanic of maintaining two characters that the player can swap between at will. Actions that normally involve direct interaction for a short period of time in multiplayer (e.g. food preparation and dishwashing) take several times longer to complete when playing by yourself. However, swapping away from a character does not interrupt this action, allowing the other character to do other actions while the first one completes the time-consuming task. Instead of the challenge revolving around communication as it does in multiplayer, the single player experience becomes a challenge of working out the best timing strategy in order to complete a meal. It becomes a sort of puzzle game that, while still stressful, is less about putting out literal and/or figurative fires and more about developing and executing an optimized plan of attack.


#4

Already mentioned it in another thread but Metro: Last Light is something else. It does the environment and atmosphere of the post-apocalypse better than any other game hands down. Also, they have digital sales for the remastered versions of it and Metro 2033 all the time. You get crazy value in the bundled version.


#5

Of all Sonic Adventure’s wildly different games it crammed into itself with different characters, there should really be more love for E-102’s story, an existential crisis that asks fascinating questions about robotic intelligence. In a game where one playable character is a big dumb Cat off fishing for his frog friend, you have a machine traumatised into rudimentary intelligence, forced to weigh the lives of it’s siblings and itself against the creatures within that power them. E-102’s storyline would feel absolutely tonally in line if it was a sidequest in Nier Automata.

It was also the first story to make me cry, so naturally I remember it pretty vividly.


#6

I remember that game being so much fun and there’s so little discourse around that sometimes I think I made it up.


#7

Hotel Dusk on the DS is a must play, if you can find it. I don’t know if it ever got an iOS/Android port or release on the eShop.


#9

No digital release, unfortunately. Nintendo owns the IP and former members of CiNG cannot get it back.

Also the sequel “The Last Window” is as worthy !


#10

I feel like Hyper Light Drifter was somewhat overlooked when it came out. When it launched, it was really difficult, had 0 invincibility frames on the dash, and it ran at 30fps. I didn’t have any problems with any of this, but I know a lot of people did. Since launch, they adjusted the difficulty, added I-frames to the dash, and released 60fps patches for both PC and PS4.

I think Hyper Light Drifter is the best combat-based 2D action-game ever made, full stop. The combat encounters and levels are exquisitely designed, and the interplay between the dash, the gun, and the fact that melee attacks recharge your gun is genius in its simplicity. The game is also gorgeous, both visually and aurally. It has some of the best pixel-art of all-time, and it is scored by the composer for FEZ and It Follows, Disasterpiece. It’s got secrets, it’s got atmosphere, and it’s $20.


#11

HELLO HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT

GHOST TRICK PHANTOM DETECTIVE

It’s one of the best adventure games ever made. It’s Shu Takumi’s(of Phoenix Wright 1-3 fame) best game. It’s delightful, inventive, weird, and gorgeous. It deserves a lot more recognition than it got when it came out.


#12

Honestly, I feel that Uncharted: The Lost Legacy was slept on this year. Granted it didn’t take any new leaps or strides compared to Uncharted 4 but, the campaign was awesome. It was emotional and heartfelt, like every other Uncharted. Chloe and Nadine were both great characters, so great that I hope one day we get another Chloe and Nadine story.


#13

I don’t know why, but that campaign never clicked with me. Always felt they tried too hard for me to care about my Titan and there wasn’t enough growth between the main character and my robot pal.


#14

This year, I personally felt that Night in the Woods and Pyre were pretty neglected. They’re both really wonderful single player experiences, but it felt like they only got a niche audience.


#15

I’m not sure if I played it before or after the change, but I agree that HLD is amazing. It’s this incredible combination of Souls-y combat and Zelda-like exploration, with stellar art design and music to boot. There’s not much in the 2D action/combat game sphere that really comes close to doing everything it does for me except maaaaaaybe Hollow Knight. It’s a truly singular experience.

@NoahGG It was definitely a bit short, and I can understand feeling like the character development was rushed, but the parts that hit for me (the time travel chapter, the sequence with the Smart Pistol, etc.) hit hard enough that they outweighed any issues I had with the rest. It felt like it was constantly introducing new but still inspired ways to play, and it never let any single mechanic start to feel stale.


#16

Ghost Trick is so good.


#17

So many good choices already mentioned! I completely agree with Infinite Warfare, Ghostbusters, Alan Wake, Metro… basically any game that’s been mentioned that I’ve actually played.

I think this time I’ll throw my hat into the ring for Republique. It started life as an episodic iOS game that has since come to Android, PC and PS4 (I played on PS4). The main character is a girl named Hope (subtle!) who is imprisoned in some sort of facility run by a totalitarian state. The player is an unseen, unnamed actor who has access to the surveillance and electronic systems within the facility. You communicate with Hope through manipulating the environment as you try to guide her out of the facility.