Editorial

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

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November this year is not as unbelievably stacked as most years, with a notable missing feature thanks to the delay of Doom Eternal. However, the month still has a few scarily huge drops from talented Japanese mainstays (the irrepressible Pokémon and Kojima Productions’s Death Stranding), not to mention the three games we have picked out for you below.

Stick around at the end for some more notable releases and a few other dates to keep an eye on, and if you are interested in seeing more content from any of these games, let us know through the social channels at the end of the post, and we will do our best to oblige.


PLANET ZOO

Release Date: November 5, 2019

Platform: PC

Ah, the tycoon game: another of many peak 1990s genres that almost disappeared in the age of PlayStation and Xbox. Though they never truly left (the Tropico series in particular has been chugging along for quite a while) the last five years have seen tycoon games—and the sim genre in general, including city builders and god games—properly reach a level of mainstream presence once again.

Frontier Developments (original creator of RollerCoaster Tycoon) revitalised the theme park tycoon game in the well received Planet Coaster, and for its next trick will take the bones of Microsoft’s Zoo Tycoon series in a deeper and more detailed direction with Planet Zoo. Not only are the overall personalisation options greater than in Zoo Tycoon or the similarly not-bad Jurassic World Evolution, but, according to the developers, the animals themselves will be the most realistic depiction of such in gaming to date.

Animals in Planet Zoo are given unique personalities and genomes, both of which must be paid attention to keep individuals, and the park as a whole, healthy. Inbreeding too much could result in sterile and sick offspring, and poor management of the enclosures will likewise impact the animals’ behaviour and health.

Additionally, Frontier Developments promise to take the political reality of zoos themselves and the broader efforts of conservation head on, with a family-friendly, educational bent sure to delight animal loves of all stripes. Thankfully, achieving the bare minimum efficacy will not result in the sorts of horrors that the worst real life zoos have sunk to. Rather, the players who do apply that extra effort to take care of their guests (human and non-human) will be rewarded with a beautiful virtual tribute to mother nature.

Although the game is currently only scheduled for PC, gamers can almost certainly expect console ports down the line, as the developer is no stranger to multi-platform releases.


GOLEM

Release Date: November 15, 2019

Platform: PlayStation VR

Not to be confused with the 2D action game of the same name, Highwire Games’s Golem is an epic adventure announced way back in the early days of PlayStation VR. Perhaps most notable as the latest project with music by composer extraordinaire Martin O’Donnell (of Halo and the original Destiny), Golem is the next innovation in single-player VR games, particularly for movement control.

Rather than relying on controller functions or arm waving, players control eponymous golems by tilting their head in the appropriate direction. Most importantly, this is said to limit the irritation of motion sickness that plagues other VR games that have free movement, allowing the developers more freedom to instead spend their time designing interesting worlds to navigate. 

Beyond simply offering the most promising salve for those of us with motion sensitivity, this VR experience is a capital-G Game with familiar elements of the adventure genre—mysterious levels to explore in a semi-open-ended fashion, a mixture of puzzles and combat, and a clever narrative about a young girl who, though confined to her room, is offered an opportunity to see the outside world by operating several distinct golems with various abilities.

Of course, the original score by Marty O’Donnell is sure to be a highlight, but the rest of Golem promises an exciting, old school action-adventure in brand-new virtual reality skin.


STAR WARS JEDI: FALLEN ORDER

Release Date: November 15, 2019

Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One

From an old-school action-adventure in a new format to a similarly traditional franchise in new clothes, Respawn Entertainment’s Jedi: Fallen Order is the Star Wars game that single-player gamers have been waiting for. After half-hearted nods to single player and the outright cancellation of multiple Star Wars stories, the score seemed unfavorable for anyone hoping EA would learn from its mistakes. 

Happily, though, the independent (at least at inception of development) studio behind Titanfall and Apex Legends had been developing a stand-alone, offline, single-player title under Stig Asmussen, director of God of War III, all along. Seemingly avoiding drama on all sides, even in spite of Respawn being bought by EA, the development of Jedi: Fallen Order seems to have resulted in a product worth being excited for—not every day do AAA studios even boast about their game going gold (that is, being in a releasable state on disc) in an age of day-one patches.

So development was unusually smooth for a Star Wars game, or for an EA game at all. But what about the game itself? The team behind Jedi: Fallen Order has been unusually frank by all accounts, stating Metroid and Dark Souls as core inspirations: a twisted map full of secrets and shortcuts, gated by powers and stalked by enemies that must be defeated in tricky, defensive lightsaber combat. In 2019 terms, Jedi: Fallen Order looks like “Sekiro in space”, and we could not be happier. With multiple difficulty levels and a story penned in part by the great Chris Avellone, the title’s accessibility is sure to be much broader than Sekiro, giving us all a chance to properly enjoy a single player Star Wars story for the first time in many, many years.


NOTABLE MENTIONS

Doubtless, the biggest games of the month are Death Stranding and Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield—both of which utilise a blend of single player and multi-player. The former, from industry superstar Hideo Kojima, is made to support a Dark Souls-esque online mode where players can passively help one another as they play their own single player game.

The Pokémon games, on the other hand, have always straddled the line, being primarily single player up to a point when they transform into an MMO-like structure, encouraging trading Pokémon between players to ultimately ‘catch them all’. With the new metastructure of Pokémon Home, these multi-player aspects are almost entirely online.

Regardless of these online features, Death Stranding and Pokémon are both single player first. I wonder how far one can get in either, before an Internet connection is required.


EVEN MORE RELEASES

November 5

Blacksad: Under the Skin

Just Dance 2020

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

Red Dead Redemption 2 (PC)


November 8

Need for Speed Heat

Romancing SaGa 3 (remaster)


November 12

The Legend of Bum-bo

Rune II


November 14

Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory

Sparklite


November 15

Tokyo Ghoul: re Call to Exist

Woven


November 19

Shenmue 3


November 22

Civilization VI (PlayStation 4 and Xbox One)

Lost Ember

Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts


Have we missed anything that you are 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. Thanks again, and until next month!

Mitchell Ryan Akhurst
Mitchell is a writer from Currawang, Australia, where his metaphorical sword-pen cleaves fiction from reality daily. When he's not writing, he plays video games and watches movies. While thinking about writing.

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