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Editorial

Three Single Player Games to Look Out For in December 2018

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Single Player Games December 2018 GRIS Just Cause 4 Mutant Year Zero

December has arrived, and with it comes the final games of 2018—including some hidden gems. The final month of the year will be a busy one for OnlySP, with The Game Awards kicking off next week and the Australian Games Awards later in the month (vote for OnlySP for Gaming Publication of the Year!). However, nothing is more important than the games, so here are three of the best single-player titles to look out for this month.


Mutant Year Zero

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden

December 4, 2018 — PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Adapted from the Mutant series of role-playing board games, Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden couples XCOM-influence combat gameplay with a novel setting and real-time exploration. Bearded Ladies, the team behind the game, consists of former Hitman developers and the designer of Payday: The Heist.

Announced earlier this year, Mutant Year Zero is set in a post-apocalyptic world, but it is also decently far into the future, giving it more of a Fallout feel. The title includes a real-time stealth mechanic that adds a lot to a genre that could easily be worn thin, as well as RPG elements, exploration, and story. This mixture of RPG, story, and turn-based combat is setting quite the epic scale, especially considering this project will be the developer’s breakout.

Selected as a nominee of OnlySP’s Best of E3 2018Mutant: Year Zero is shaping up to be one of the most engaging games of this year, and is a must-have for any fans of tactical adventure games.


Just Cause 4

Just Cause 4

December 4, 2018 — PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Leaked just before its official announcement at E3 this year is the latest installment in Avalanche Software’s open-world action-adventure series, Just Cause 4. Series protagonist Rico Rodriguez returns, this time on a mission to rid the island of a paramilitary organisation called The Black Hand, while simultaneously uncovering new details about his own past. The key new feature of the game is the weather system, which introduces lightning storms and tornadoes that promise to shake up the gameplay experience.

Despite featuring a smaller map than its predecessorJust Cause 4‘s world features four separate biomes, according to the developers, and those appear to jungles in the south, swampland in the east, and desert in the west, all of which are kept apart by the snow-peaked mountain range and river system at the centre of the island.

Any fans of the series, or the action-adventure genre in general, would be foolish to miss Just Cause 4, which is available now.


GRIS

GRIS

December 13, 2018 — PC, Nintendo Switch

Nomada Studio’s debut title GRIS promises to be an emotional one. The game’s protagonist, Gris—which translates to ‘grey’ in English— is a young girl “lost in her own world” following a painful experience in her life. Gris’s experiences are manifested in her dress, which grows and grants new abilities as the game goes on, similarly to the main character’s outfit in 2012’s Journey.

The game is a left-field puzzle platformer, but the real appeal is its gorgeous aesthetic. The detailed and delicate art, accompanied by a soft original score, will certainly appeal to any fans of artistic titles. Similarly to Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, the project embeds itself in an obscurely “faded reality” to discuss mental health.

Announced earlier this yearGRIS is coming to PC and Nintendo Switch next week. Stay tuned to OnlySP for a full review of the title.


Of course, these are not the only games releasing in December—titles such as Super Smash Bros. UltimateKatamari Damacy Reroll, and Earth Defense Force 5 will also be keeping players busy until the New Year.

What are you most looking forward to in December? Let us know, and for the latest in single-player gaming, stay tuned to OnlySP on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube.

Rhain discovered a long time ago that mixing one of his passions (video games) with the other (writing) might be a good idea, and now he’s been stuck in the industry for over six years with no means of escaping. His favourite games are those with deep and captivating narratives: while it would take far too long to list them all, some include L.A. Noire, Red Dead Redemption (and its sequel), Wolfenstein: The New Order, The Last of Us, and the Uncharted series.

Editorial

Three Single-Player Games to Watch Out for in July 2019

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Three Single Player Games (July 2019) - Sea of Solitude, Fire Emblem Three Houses, Wolfenstein Youngblood

July, the middle of winter down here in Australia. Even in the bizarre New South Wales climate, the biting cold makes for a great excuse to stay inside and play games. 

Weirdly for single players, quite a few prestige games this month include additional co-op modes. With acclaimed designers behind them, such games will hopefully avoid the pitfalls of accommodating multiple players, as too many games have done in the past.

Sea of Solitude

Release Date: July 5, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

At first blush, Sea of Solitude looks like yet another story of a young adult struggling with questions of identity and mental health while exploring a beautiful but harsh fantasy world.

Actually, that’s what it is. ‘Quirky, life affirming indie adventure’ is a whole cottage industry these days, but the fact that such games are now more prevalent should never dismay.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was a masterpiece of refined design and storytelling, and Sea of Solitude appears be something similar—this time dealing with a fantastical vision of depression that turns ordinary people into literal monsters.

Players take charge of Kay, who has sought out the eponymous Sea—or rather, a flooded city based on Berlin—in the hope that there is a cure for monstrosity. However, despite its name, she is not the only person in the Sea. Avoiding the other monsters of the Sea seems to be a major part of the gameplay. These tense encounters are likely to provide rhythm and variety to the adventure and keep it from being a just walking simulator. (Not that being a walking simulator is inherently a problem.)

Although published by EA Originals, one would do well to remember that EA the company does not actually profit off the Originals that they publish. With a focused story and themes that still are not often explored in bigger games, Sea of Solitude should be of great interest to single player fans in a month otherwise dominated by multiplayer titles.

 

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Release Date: July 26, 2019
Platform: Nintendo Switch

Almost certainly the biggest single player release of the month, and tied with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 as another massive Switch exclusive, Fire Emblem: Three Houses might be exactly what single players need right now.

Lately the Fire Emblem franchise has exploded in both its popular profile and sales success, buoyed by a hunger for both deep anime RPGs and polished tactics games. Three Houses seems to have doubled down on exciting trends and features in both genres: particularly a Persona/Harry Potter inspired magic school setting and an even deeper tactical battle system that ditches the rock-paper-scissors for more nuanced character progression options. As with many Japanese RPGs, the story is also a major focus and hinges upon a time-jump.

The early part casts the player as a teacher at the Officer’s Academy, situated in the center of the game world and attended by students from the three most powerful nations. Five years later, the second and likely larger part concerns the drama between the player’s teacher and their former students, whose nations are now locked in a massive three-way conflict.

As is to be expected for a series finally coming back to consoles after a long time on the 3DS, Three Houses is a massive technical leap over its predecessors. The game boasts better realised battlefields, more detailed armies, and a slick animated style that appears much more consistent compared with the three or four different art styles on the 3DS.

With such improvements, as well as the overall pedigree of the Fire Emblem brand, Three Houses should have no trouble satisfying single player fans looking for a meaty middle-of-the-year RPG.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Release Date: July 26, 2019
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One

The recent Wolfenstein revival series is such a remarkable achievement in traditional shooter design and great, if goofy, sci-fi worldbuilding that the co-op focus of this latest instalment is somewhat disappointing.

Yes, as with F.E.A.R. 3 and Dead Space 3, following a well-received second chapter the Wolfenstein series now pivots to a co-operative focused chapter. Though the game is not a mandatory multiplayer experience, combat encounters and puzzles have been redesigned to accommodate the two player mode, giving single players an AI-controlled partner and bullet sponge enemies.

However, all hope is not lost for Wolfenstein: why else would it be the third game on the list? The narrative has been pushed forward in time, as B.J.’s twin daughters are now in their adolescence, now giving players a glimpse at the 1980s of Wolfenstein‘s skewed universe. Additionally, the level design itself is more freeform thanks to development assistance from Arkane, the developers of the Dishonored series.

Will Wolfenstein: Youngblood successfully deliver more of the series’s goofy charm and crazy alternate reality? Almost certainly. On the other hand, will the game be as fun to play alone as in multiplayer? That remains to be seen. Last month’s E3 demo that raised such concerns was naturally only a snapshot of a game in development, so MachineGames and Arkane have had plenty of time to resolve these potential downsides to a co-op focused game.

Those are our three big single player games to look out for this month. Other interesting titles coming soon include Stranger Things 3 on July 4 and Attack on Titan 2 on July 5, both games hitting Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

On July 12 we will see the sequel to an almost-fantastic Minecraft-like RPG spinoff, Dragon Quest Builders 2 on Switch and PlayStation 4, as well as the Switch port of “anime Monster Hunter”, God Eater 3

The week after, July 19 brings us Switch-exclusive Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, and at an undetermined time during the month Klei Entertainment’s anticipated survival-sim Oxygen Not Included will finally leave early access on PC.

Have we missed anything that you’re looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below and be sure bookmark OnlySP and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You can also join the discussion in our community Discord server.

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