Best single-player games on PC 2023
Want to play the best single player games on PC? There’s nothing quite like a solemn solo adventure that lets you explore, interact, fight, and strategise to your heart’s content, with no one there to interrupt the immersion. No, you really don’t need a squad to have tons of fun, and these games prove it.
Some of the best PC games of all time are single player experiences with carefully crafted stories, and you’ll find the cream of the crop in this list, including some of the best story games and the best RPG games. There are a couple of curveballs in here too though that don’t usually enter discussions around the best single player games, because story isn’t necessarily their selling point. These are the best single player games on PC.
These are the best single player games on PC:
Generally considered one of the best PC games of all time, fantasy RPG The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has everything you could possibly ask for: a gorgeous open world, tons of different questlines, fascinating characters, and a way-too-addictive minigame (up for a round of Gwent?).
What truly sets The Witcher 3 apart though, is its narrative depth. Far more than just simple fetch quests, even the side objectives are little storylines of their own, often starring intriguing characters who present you with difficult choices. As if the main game wasn’t enough, The Witcher 3 has two equally brilliant expansions with storylines that’ll make you reach for the tissue box once again, and you can also install some of the best The Witcher 3 mods to improve your playthrough even further. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait too much longer for The Witcher 4 release date.
If you’re done slaying monsters, swap Geralt for Arthur Morgan and discover the lively wild west-themed open world game of Red Dead Redemption 2. Together with your trusty steed, you’ll discover incredibly detailed landscapes, meet wacky outlaws, and go on risky missions. A particularly entertaining gameplay element in this RPG is the Honor system, which affects the way NPCs react to you. Arthur Morgan can be a kind, law-abiding citizen… Or a gun-wielding bandit who robs every person he encounters.
Don’t mistake Red Dead Redemption 2 for a fast-paced action game though. Sure, those guns aren’t just for show, but you’ll also spend a lot of time brushing your horse, playing poker, and riding from point A to B. More than just an open world RPG, this game is somewhat of a wild west sim, and you’ll probably love it – there’s a reason we gave the PC port a 10/10 in our Red Dead Redemption 2 review.
Those of you who appreciate a challenge should visit the Lands Between, slaying monsters (and being slain) while exploring. Elden Ring offers hours upon hours of fun, with a vast open world, a huge amount of different opponents, and hidden secrets galore. Trust me, you might think you’ve unveiled every secret in Stormveil Castle… But you probably haven’t.
Elden Ring may seem a tad intimidating to solo players, especially those who struggled with Dark Souls, but worry not; becoming Elden Lord is hard, but it’s manageable, especially with the best Elden Ring builds. While sticking to the classic ‘learn your opponent’s move patterns and attacks then try again’ formula from earlier Souls games, the open world and fast travel system make it easy to save a difficult foe for later. Elden Ring values exploration and combat over clear-cut questlines and a cluttered UI full of icons, which lends itself much better to discovery and wonder. You can read more of our 10/10 thoughts in our Elden Ring review.
Here’s one for the Metroidvania fans; Hollow Knight, the 2D indie platform game that mixes souls-like combat with a gloomy tale about an ancient insect kingdom. Taking on the role of the heroic Knight, a tiny bug armed with a sharp needle, you’ll drop down into unknown caverns and mysterious ruins as you try to uncover the whole map.
As is to be expected from a souls-inspired game, Hollow Knight has a large collection of different enemies, all with very unique looks and attack patterns. The process of improving your skills and returning to areas that you couldn’t conquer before feels very rewarding, but perhaps the greatest appeal of Hollow Knight is its stunning visuals and creepy, fairytale-like atmosphere.
It’s not easy being the son of Hades, God of the Underworld. In this role-playing roguelike game, you take on the role of Zagreus as he tries to leave his cold-hearted father’s depressing realm of the undead,with the goal of joining his mother on the Olympus. In true roguelike fashion, it’ll take more than a few attempts to reach your goal, with plenty of unknown rooms and unexpected enemies to keep the experience interesting.
Different from your typical roguelike – and what makes it “a roguelike to remember” according to our Hades review – Hades has a strong narrative focus with a large cast of NPCs, including Greek Gods and famous residents of the Underworld, such as Eurydice. It’s great fun for every type of player, but if you’re into mythology-inspired games, this is an absolute must-play, and the Hades 2 release date hopefully isn’t too far off either.
With its turn-based Dungeons & Dragons-like combat, Divinity Original Sin 2 is quite unlike any other RPG on this list. Set in the high fantasy world of Rivellon, you’ll be travelling through magnificent landscapes, questing and fighting along the way. Of course, it all starts with a highly detailed character sheet, allowing you to craft the hero of your dreams.
Some would argue Divinity Original Sin 2 is better in co-op, but here’s the thing; if you play solo, you don’t have to wait your turn in combat, potentially miss parts of the story, or debate which way to go or which quest to pursue. Plus, you get to team up with intriguing characters such as Beast, Sebille, or The Red Prince, uncovering their stories as you progress.
Looking for a deeply immersive storyline, with loads (seriously, there are so many) of different characters, plus the power to shape those their fates? Although medieval murder-mystery Pentiment doesn’t feature any combat, it’s an amazing single-player game for those who like choice-based adventures. As the cherry on top, the late-medieval and early print-inspired 2D art style is absolutely gorgeous.
While Pentiment’s murders and subsequent investigations form a central part of the game, it’s actually much more about befriending the locals and learning about their lives. It’s both incredibly entertaining and educational to wander around the sixteenth-century town of Tassing. You came to play detective, you leave as an expert on feudal society.
In this legendary space game, you take on the role of Commander Shepard while travelling the galaxy, fighting Reapers, and making new friends, each with their own history, goals, and romance options. As a third-person shooter, Mass Effect Legendary Edition is a fine game, but it’s the unforgettable story and characters that make it one of the greats.
Of course, as we’re listing the best single player PC games to play right now, it may feel a bit weird to recommend a game series that started fifteen years ago. Luckily for us, the pure gaming gold that is Mass Effect was remastered in 2021, merging all three games in the Mass Effect Legendary Edition. This updated version of the trilogy greatly enhances its visual and technical aspects, renewing its status as an essential PC game series, especially when you throw the best Mass Effect Legendary Edition mods into the mix.
Another oldie by videogame standards, Fallout New Vegas may look visually outdated, but that doesn’t change the fact that it features incredibly rich world-building and fascinating storylines, with new quests and lore to discover around every corner.
To bring it closer to modern videogames, we highly recommend you install some of the best Fallout New Vegas mods. Not only can they enhance your experience with weird gameplay changes, such as making every NPC want to kill you, but they can also fix technical issues and provide visual upgrades.
If you’ve ever dreamed of escaping the hustle and bustle of the city, fleeing to the countryside, and starting a new life as a farmer, Stardew Valley is here to fulfil that fantasy without the permanent commitment. This indie farming game is the perfect place to grow parsnips, make friends in the local town, explore the nearby caves, and enhance your fishing skills as the seasons go by.
Although Stardew Valley can be played with friends, it was originally a single-player only game. That’s the best way to experience the story of moving to an unfamiliar town and setting up a farm all by yourself, enhanced even further with the best Stardew Valley mods.
A list of the best single player PC games wouldn’t be complete without one of the best survival games. Set in a post-apocalyptic world that is almost completely flooded, the player is dropped on a tiny raft, relying on flotsam to survive. But make no mistake, more than just a raft-builder, the game features a surprisingly compelling storyline that has you travelling to massive islands, each with their own secrets.
While it can be played with friends, nothing captures the feeling of being lost and alone in the middle of the ocean quite like playing Raft by yourself. It’s just you, your driftwood home, and a rather persistent shark. Will you ever see another soul again? That depends on your survival skills…
Nothing is quite as relaxing as building your own Cities: Skylines metropolis while the in-game radio is blasting top-notch tunes, only interrupted by exceedingly silly advertisements. Cities: Skylines is the best city-builder out there, if not the best simulation game, and it’s perfect to lose a few late-night hours in, especially with Cities: Skylines mods thrown into the mix.
The main draw of Cities Skylines is the insane amount of creative freedom it offers, while never losing sight of realism. Not just the infrastructure and buildings, but also your policies have a major impact on city growth. It’s incredibly satisfying to watch your city change over time, and interesting to see how certain decisions (raise taxes? Ban trucks? Build a stadium?) shape your little empire. You can build a futuristic utopia… Or remove all police stations and watch as the world burns. There’s no better time to get involved either, as the Cities: Skylines 2 release date is confirmed to be on the way.
When it comes to survival horror games, Resident Evil 4 was already considered one of the best, but the remake cements its status as one of the greats. Resident Evil 4 marked a change in direction for the series as it focused more on the combat mechanics, switching from a locked camera to a third-person over-the-shoulder angle. You play as Leon S. Kennedy years after the events of the zombie outbreak in Racoon City. No longer working for the police, Leon has become a confident federal agent whose mission is to rescue the U.S. President’s daughter from a mysterious organisation.
Featuring one of the most iconic set pieces in gaming history, the seemingly never-ending barrage of angry villagers should have you sweating in no time. Before you know it, you’re being chased by a man wielding a chainsaw as you desperately search for somewhere safe to hide. Just like the original, the game has been designed for multiple playthroughs in case you start to feel like you’ve mastered the combat. If you’re venturing into the game for the first time, check out our Resident Evil 4 tips guide to make your adventure slightly easier. Don’t forget to check out our Resident Evil 4 Remake review to learn about our thoughts on Capcom’s second attempt at their 2005 classic.
On the flip side, if you’ve read this list and decided you’d rather play something with pals instead, check out our list of the best multiplayer games or the best co-op games. We also have the best FPS games if you fancy doing some of the ol’ shooting.