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Editorial

10 Single Player Games to Look Out For In October

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Run for the hills, there are officially too many games.

Rather than short change the smaller titles or disqualify the triple-As, we’ve expanded the list to ten single player games to keep an eye on this month.

Autobots, roll out.

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ARAGAMI

Here at OnlySP we’ve been excited to play Aragami since before it was called Aragami. This Japanese-inspired adventure combines beautiful cel-shaded art with strict stealth — you’ll find no combat system here; you have to run and hide.

Fans of Dishonored or Tenchu games should certainly give it a look, but if you grew up with the PS2 or even the original Thief games, this is one to keep an eye on. We’ll have our full review of the game up very soon.

Aragami launches for PS4 and PC on October 4th.

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PAPER MARIO: COLOR SPLASH

The last big Wii U exclusive of 2016, maybe even forever, Paper Mario: Color Splash promises to be a lot more interesting than the series’ 3DS low point, Sticker Star.

Borrowing the concept of returning color to the world from Epic Mickey, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse and De Blob, Color Splash also continues the trend of Paper Mario becoming more of an action-adventure series than an RPG. Combat is simple and less stat-based, and the cast is made up of the Mushroom Kingdom standards, rather than new characters like in the N64 and GameCube games.

Still, despite the genre change and overly familiar faces, the visuals and typical Nintendo charm are likely to make this a decent send-off for the Wii U, at least until next year’s cross-generation The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Paper Mario: Color Splash comes to Wii U on October 7th.

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MAFIA III

It may not be the most anticipated open world game of the season, or the longest awaited, but Mafia III has a lot on its side if it can stick the landing.

First, the licensed soundtrack is outstanding, very appropriate to the game’s time period and mood. Second, Mafia III is the crest of the wave when it comes to open world games borrowing from Shadow of Mordor‘s Nemesis System.

The relationship between player character Lincoln Clay and the various factions of the mob that he tries to take down in Fake-Orleans is governed by a power structure not unlike that of Mordor‘s orcs. For instance, interrogating an underling can yield useful intel, like where to find and eliminate his boss.

Finally, being set in the 1960s, Mafia III has an opportunity to tell a historically informed story that goes where many games have been too blunt or unwilling to go in the past: the uncomfortable but all-too-real politics of a bygone era. If Mafia III can just begin to explore such territory, it opens up the possibility of even more mainstream games tackling difficult subject matter.

Mafia III releases for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 7th.

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DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS

How do you get younger people interested in your long-running series?

You make it like Minecraft.

How do you get older gamers interested in Minecraft?

You throw in one of the oldest, most beloved JRPG properties.

Beginning after the end of the original Dragon Quest – more precisely, the alternate ending where the player joins the Dragonlord, who then destroys the world – Dragon Quest Builders tasks you with rebuilding it block by block.

The game adopts the micro-formula of Minecraft almost to the letter, with a wide open sandbox, a blocky aesthetic, wandering monsters and lots of crafting. But Builders distinguishes itself by being a more guided adventure, including a traditional narrative, side-quests, and tons of DQ lore. Perfect for older fans who might find Minecraft a little too aimless.

Can this unlikely combination attract both new and old audiences, and renew interest in the Dragon Quest brand over all? Early indications are that Builders‘ combination of a classic JRPG with Minecraft is the chocolate and peanut-butter that we were all hoping for, so maybe it can. It’s definitely earned a prominent spot on our collective radars.

Dragon Quest Builders releases on PS4 and PSVita October 11th.

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GEARS OF WAR 4

Gears of War might not be as venerable as Dragon Quest but it’s up there in importance, particularly to the Xbox brand. Although the original 360 trilogy wrapped up the Locust conflict, this fourth official (fifth overall) game in the series brings in a new generation of characters to combat a new threat, the Swarm.

The original Gears revolutionised third-person action games by combining the over-the-shoulder view of Resident Evil 4 with a slick cover system that has since been endlessly imitated. The chances of Gears 4 being quite so revolutionary are slim, but just having another Gears game is a great excuse for another trip through the series’ interesting universe.

Look forward to great action, silly but enjoyable characters, and a return to its grungier, scarier roots — no Lambent required.

Gears of War 4 releases on Xbox One and Windows 10 come October 11th.

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EXIST ARCHIVE: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SKY

Co-developed by tri-Ace and Spike Chunsoft, this side-scrolling JRPG could be a real treat for PS4 and Vita owners who want in on the hardcore dungeon crawling trend that’s been hitting the 3DS lately.

Exist Archive follows a group of modern-day youngsters who are immediately killed in an explosion and find themselves on another world that is distinctly more fantasy than reality. Gameplay is heavily influenced by tri-Ace’s Valkyrie Profile series, and the development team even includes several of the staff who worked on the original, making this somewhat of a spiritual sequel.

The bright, stylised graphics are a far cry from “realism”, instead going for an early-to-mid 2000s look that also brings to mind tri-Ace’s better known series Star Ocean. If the Gears and Battlefields of October are too dark and gritty for you, you might want to give this one a try.

Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky comes to PS4 and PSVita on October 18th.

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BATTLEFIELD 1

The single player campaigns of the Battlefield series have been a bit hit-and-miss over the course of the series. While Bad Company was a lot of fun, Hardline‘s single player was very divisive, and Battlefield 3 is downright boring in places.

However, Battlefield 1 has a lot in its favor: the sheer novelty of a game set during the Great War comes with terror and intrigue, and the recently announced structure offering episodic War Stories rather than a single linear plot could be one of the more original ideas in shooters for the last few years.

I think we are all keeping our fingers crossed that it works out for the best, not least because DICE are also working to bring a single player campaign to next year’s Star Wars Battlefront. In the meantime, like with Mafia, it would be nice if one of the worst conflicts of the twentieth century weren’t trivialised by a poorly conceived story mode.

Battlefield 1 comes to PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 21st.

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CIVILIZATION VI

Civilization V was by all counts a fantastic reinvention of the series, but this puts the sixth Civilization in a difficult position. Neither the leap of technology over Civ III that the fourth entry was, nor the drastic change in rules that the fifth was from the fourth, Civilization VI instead appears to deepen and refine the series, building on what’s already there.

There are subtle but substantial changes to the mechanics, including the “unstacking” of cities on multiple tiles, making the types of nearby terrain more influential over the development of your civilization. This should reduce the effectiveness of using the same routine again and again, by having the procedurally-generated maps change which growth strategies are open to players.

The same attitude toward unstacking cities can be seen in the tech trees, such as limiting technologies like sailing from civilizations that start in the middle of a continent. Along with these tweaks are a slew of new AI rules and upgrades that aim to make computer players more interesting as opponents — perfect for us single players.

Civilization VI releases for PC and OSX on October 21st.

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WORLD OF FINAL FANTASY

Now that XV has been delayed, World of Final Fantasy marks the first big Final Fantasy release of 2016, and it remains to be seen if coming first will help or hinder this ambitious spin-off.

Like Dragon Quest Builders, World is aiming to introduce its series to a new audience, and the gameplay and style are potentially more interesting even than XV. The return of the turn-based battle system and a collection of chibi-fied classic characters offer a comfortable level of fan-service, while the two lead characters look like they’ve stepped right out of Kingdom Hearts.

The simple story of two kids exploring a fantastical world is easy enough for new players to grasp, as is the lack of an increasingly large numeral in the title, so hopefully the game is successful at creating new fans. Either way, it looks like a lot of fun whether you’re familiar with Final Fantasy or not.

World of Final Fantasy releases for PS4 and PSVita on October 25th.

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TITANFALL 2

Since the release of the original, multiplayer-only Titanfall in 2014, fans have been waiting to explore the game’s sci-fi universe in a proper single player story mode. We know the subject of the story — an unlikely alliance between man and machine — we also know that alongside the large-scale battles of the first game the campaign will include a lot of environmental exploration and death-defying platforming.

Quickly, the single player mode of Titanfall 2 has became the most tantalising aspect of the new game, far outshining what was already excellent multi-player (though you didn’t hear me say that). As long as the story itself doesn’t crash and burn, the campaign of Titanfall 2 could be one of the best single player adventures of the year.

Titanfall 2 comes to PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 28th.

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There are so many other great video games and experiences coming to consoles and PCs this month, not to mention the long-awaited drop of PlayStation VR on October 13, bringing with it a whole other bunch of exclusive games.

What are the games you are most excited for? Let us know in the comments below.

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.

Editorial

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

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May

May offers no respite from the big, bold games that have released so far in 2019, bringing with it a host of games almost certain to appeal to gamers of every stripe.

Close to the Sun

Release Date: May 2, 2019
Platforms: PC, consoles later in the year

May’s first major release may also be its most intriguing. Close to the Sun has regularly attracted comparisons to BioShock for its art style and premise, though the relationship between the two titles is, at best, spiritual.

Players take the role of journalist Rose Archer as she steps aboard Nikola Tesla’s ship, the Helios in 1897. Like Andrew Ryan before him (or after him, depending on perspective), Tesla has created a microcosm in which scientific freedom is unrestricted, with disastrous outcomes. Rose’s first impression is of a quarantine sign at the entrance to a still, dead ship, but she presses on regardless in search of her lost sister.

With Close to the Sun, developer Storm in a Teacup aims to provide an intense horror experience. The Helios holds none of BioShock’s shotguns or Plasmids. Instead, players have no means to defend themselves, with gameplay focusing on hiding from and escaping the threats on board.

Check out OnlySP’s final review of the game here.

RAGE 2

Release Date: May 14, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

For anyone to whom the slow, meditative approach does not appeal, Bethesda is busting out the big guns with the long-awaited, little-expected sequel, RAGE 2.

This time around, id Software has tapped Just Cause and Mad Max developer Avalanche Studios for assistance in developing an open-world game. The result, if the trailers are any indication, is a breakneck, neon-fuelled experience that focuses on insanity and ramps up all the unique aspects of the earlier game.

One focal point of development has been ensuring the interconnectedness of the game’s structure, and the teams have promised a greater focus on narrative this time around. Perhaps in keeping with that, RAGE 2 is being distanced from its predecessor, taking place 30 years later with a new protagonist and a whole new story, though some callbacks will be present.

Although id’s legendary first-person gunplay is a driving force throughout the game, it will be supplemented by some light RPG elements, robust vehicular combat, and post launch challenges and support (though the developers deny that RAGE 2 is designed with a games-as-a-service model in mind).

A Plague Tale: Innocence

Release Date: May 14, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Out on the same day as RAGE 2 is the vastly different A Plague Tale: Innocence. A historical adventure, the game challenges players with overcoming obstacles with brains rather than brawn.

Players become Amicia, an orphan girl struggling to survive in a plague-infested medieval France while also keeping her younger brother safe. With the landscape rife with rats and members of The Inquisition, one of the core tenets of gameplay is reportedly the need to use these threats against each other. As such, though Amicia has a sling to use, the gameplay is designed more as survival puzzles than combat ones.

Developer Asobo Studio is not a household name, though it has a lengthy history of adaptations and support on major titles, including Quantum Break and The Crew 2. Furthermore, even though A Plague Tale is yet to release, publisher Focus Home Interactive has displayed remarkable confidence in the project by extending its partnership with Asobo.

Honourable Mentions

Although RAGE 2 is the incontestable action-blockbuster of the month, gamers in search of another kind of frenetic may want to wait until May 21, when Curve Digital drops American Fugitive, which has a more than passing resemblance to the earliest Grand Theft Auto games. Alternatively, PlayStation VR owners may want to look into Blood and Truth come May 28.

Sega also shines this month, dropping Team Sonic Racing on May 21 and Total War: Three Kingdoms two days later.

Anyone looking for an RPG has indie’s answer to The Outer Worlds, Within the Cosmos, to look out for on May 30, while those looking for slower stories get the latest episode of Life is Strange 2 on May 9, Observation on May 21, and the fjord-noir Draugen at a yet unspecified date.

Have we forgotten anything that you’re excited for? Let us know down below or on our Discord server.

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