Top 50 Single Player Games: Part Five (The Top 10)

So we’re finally here – the Top 10 single player games. The cream of the crop.

If you’re just tuning in here are the previous entries:

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PART ONE (50-41)

PART TWO (40-31)

PART THREE (30-21)

PART FOUR (20-11)

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Which brings us to the final part of the list. The last two times I did these single player lists the Uncharted games had a strangle hold on the top two positions… has anything come along that could dislodge them?

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10. BIOSHOCK (8)

Bioshock has a great story to tell and it does it well with some interesting objectives and brilliantly designed levels.

There are several twists and turns in the plot, most of which are not obvious and it’s no surprise to me that a film version is in the works (although I believe currently suspended due to budget concerns).

Dark worlds like Rapture aren’t to everyone’s tastes but you really would be missing out on an awesome story if you decided not to book a trip to the underwater city.

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9. GRAND THEFT AUTO IV (7)

One the biggest selling games of this generation GTA IV features the fortunes (and lack therof) of Niko Bellic – an immigrant arriving in the US at Liberty City to find empty promises and broken dreams from his cousin Roman.

As you work your way up the criminal ladder you’ll encounter all sort of dodgy characters and befriend even more.

Liberty City is a wonderful, if run down, place and Niko Bellic’s story is one you will enjoy playing through so make sure you pick this game up as soon as possible.

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8. MASS EFFECT 2 (NE)

Mass Effect had always been the one XBox 360 franchise that I’d wanted to play – Gears Of War? Alan Wake? Halo? All good games I’m sure but not tempting to me. Mass Effect? Yes please :smile:

I won’t discuss the story at all as I don’t want to spoil anything for people that haven’t played it yet. Needless to say it’s your standard save the universe fair and with the game set in space that’s literally the universe you’ll be saving!

I can safely say Mass Effect 2 is one of the deepest games I’ve played. In much the same way as Fallout 3 plays out different for each person that plays it, this is a game where your overall story will be the same but the variables between start and end are numerous. It says something that I had minimum frustration and didn’t really get bored at all with a game that clocks in at over 32 hours.

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7. FALLOUT 3 (6)

After a tough few hours at the start you will find yourself rewarded greatly for sticking with this awesome FPS / RPG.

The story line sprawls across the world depending on your actions and you’ll find yourself taking a break from main missions to explore the wasteland or help out other characters.

I could go on and on about various things that happened and how cool it was, how great the story was or whatever.

But Fallout 3 is a game that needs to be experienced first hand and your story will no doubt play out differently to mine.

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6. METAL GEAR SOLID 4 (5)

Hideo Kojima’s tale of Solid Snake’s final mission is a brilliant showcase of the Playstation 3′s power.

This is a game that often gives you three or four different ways of approaching things – whether you realise it or not.

Metal Gear Solid 4 rewards those patient enough to stick with it by giving them a great gaming experience, with some memorable boss battles, that they won’t forget.

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5. HEAVY RAIN (4)

Heavy Rain is the spiritual successor to Fahrenheit, a fantastic PS2 title, and it’s creators have used the lessons from that game to help form the experience that is Heavy Rain.

And I say experience because Heavy Rain is unlike anything I’ve played before.

Telling the story of the Origami Killer, who kidnaps young boys and drowns them in rain water, Heavy Rain sees you controlling four main characters and through their actions – whether everyday stuff like carrying in the shopping or a frantic fight for their life – you get a real feel for the characters.

It says a lot that as soon as I finished this game I wanted to play through it again straight away. I want to give the characters a slightly different personality, experiment to see what happens and find out how it changes the story.

Heavy Rain is by no means perfect but it brings a whole raft of new ideas and innovation to the table.

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4. DEAD SPACE (3)

Coming on somewhere between Event Horizon and Aliens, Dead Space is a third person survival horror game.

You take on the role of Isaac Clarke, a ship engineer who finds himself trapped onboard a stricken spaceship infested with an alien outbreak which is threatening to take over the ship.

This was one of the best games I played in the year it was released and it’s use of sound is immense. The fear of the unexpected they create is awesome.

I am not a big fan of horror movies or being made to jump all the time but Dead Space kept on the right side of all that by being unpredictable enough to be enjoyable as a ‘horror’ experience.

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3. UNCHARTED: DRAKE’S FORTUNE (2)

Uncharted maps the journey of Nathan Drake as he tries to find the lost treasure of El Dorado encountering, among other things, rival treasure hunters and mercenaries.

The graphics are unbelievable and the gameplay is well paced and well thought out. The characters and story and really well conceived and Nolan North, who voices Drake, is absolutely spot on with his irreverent humour and wisecracks.

At its heart Uncharted is an action adventure game much in the vein of Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider but, and I say this as a fan of both of these, it is better than either of them.

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2.  UNCHARTED: AMONG THIEVES (1)

Uncharted 2 is a complete gaming package. There is plenty of taking out bad guys, lots of puzzles and some wonderful dialogue.

Naughty Dog really have done a great job on the voice acting and the expressiveness of the character models. It is easily the best I’ve come across (though Heavenly Sword was a close second).

I won’t spoil the story but for those who don’t know, Nathan Drake gets pulled back into that murky world of treasure hunting for hire. I loved the story of this game – with a few twists I saw coming and a few I didn’t.

If you own a PS3 there is no reason not to own this game – if you only have an XBox 360 or Wii then get yourself a PS3 Slim and enjoy one of the most finely crafted games I’ve ever experienced.

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1. RED DEAD REDEMPTION (NE)

Red Dead Redemption tells the story of former gang member John Marston and how he is forced onto a quest to track down his old ‘buddies’ on behalf of the US government.

I don’t recall a sandbox game with such a fascinating and well realised world. The way the world around you continues regardless is reminiscent of GTA games but everything here just makes you feel a part of something larger.

The positives are numerous, for one the story, voice acting and characterisation in Red Dead Redemption is fantastic. This is up there with the Uncharted series for me and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment.

There is so much to do in the world that it is crazy. There are a whole host of side missions to undertake and mini games as well. I’m not a big player of cards but I found myself spending 40/50 minutes at a time playing poker or blackjack. Or horseshoes. Or arm wrestling. The list is huge.

It has been a while since a game had me smiling, eyes wide and with goosebumps on my arms at what was unfolding in front of me but Red Dead Redemption managed it. This for me is the best game I have ever played – not an accolade that I use lightly but one that is fully deserved.

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Well, it was always going to take something special to knock Nathan Drake and co. off of the top spot and cowboy John Martson takes home the plaudits this time around.

There have been some great games released even since I started compiling this list, with plenty more to come later in the year and beyond. Perhaps one of those will edge it’s way to the top next time.

Let me know if any of your favourites were missing from the list. Do you agree on Red Dead usurping Uncharted? Was there anything you were surprised made the Top 10? (or even Top 50!)

As always thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment.

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Top 50 Single Player Games: Part Three (30-21)

So we’re continuing the look at my Top 50 Single Player Games with Part Three (Click here for Parts One and Two). We’ve hit the Top 30!

As previously highlighted I’m mainly focusing on good story based experiences, so things like FIFA or Madden won’t be appearing on the list.

Let’s get going:

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30. FIGHT NIGHT CHAMPION (NE)

It was one of those announcements that prompted a double take – EA Sports latest instalment of the Fight Night series would contain a Rocky-esque story mode in which you take on the role of Andre Bishop, a former Gold medalist who finds himself wrongly sent to prison.

Story-wise, it’s a nice little tale – if a bit predictable – with some good voice acting and writing. The story mode isn’t just straight up fights all the time, it will also throw you into various scenarios (only use one hand, defend your cut eye etc) which helps add to the drama and spectacle. Well worth a play through.

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29. RAINBOW SIX VEGAS (20)

If you like your first person shooters with a bit of brain behind the brawn then Rainbow Six Vegas may be the game for you.

With a good old fashioned SAS vs Terrorists style plot and lots of fun set pieces Rainbow Six Vegas is definitely worth a shot.

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28. RESIDENT EVIL 5 (19)

For all it’s faults Resident Evil 5, taken as a whole, is a brilliant game and one that I would recommend. Graphically it’s stunning and while it isn’t a hugely difficult game you’ll enjoy playing through and unravelling the story.

It survives the huge expectation of following Resident Evil 4… just. This is a game that everyone should play as Resi comes to the new generation of consoles.

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27. DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS (18)

Dragon Age: Origins sees you create a fantasy character to take on an epic journey – starting with your very own prologue.

After playing the backstory your character is enlisted to become a Grey Warden – an elite group of fighters whose main role is to destroy the Darkspawn – evil creatures that have begun to overrun the world.

I really enjoyed the storyline of Dragon Age: Origins and it was nice to see characters develop over such a large amount of time – of course I understand that this may be the norm for you regular RPG players but for me it was a nice change of pace.

This is a mammoth game (over 25 hours) but it is certainly worth your time if you’re willing to lose yourself in it.

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26. KANE AND LYNCH: DEAD MEN (17)

You take control of Adam ‘Kane’ Marcus, a criminal on his way to death row for crimes committed in Venezeula. Kane is busted out of his prison van by a mysterious group called The7 who he worked with previously. They think Kane stole the money from their last job and stashed it somewhere.

If he doesn’t get them the money back in three weeks his wife and daughter will be killed. Kane claims he doesn’t know where it is but he does know who took the cash and will hunt them down. And so begins a thoroughly enjoyable ride into the desperate life of Kane…

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25. ALPHA PROTOCOL (NE)

Alpha Protocol is a glitchy mess of a game on the whole – bugs, enemies not loading or getting stuck in walls, it’s all here.

And from reading those initial negative points you may be thinking you’ll give Alpha Protocol a miss, that it may be too annoying to play through? Well in my opinion that would be a mistake. And here’s why.

The game Alpha Protocol reminds me of the most? Heavy Rain.

Unlike a game such as God Of War 3 or Mafia II where you character’s destiny is pre determined and you are playing through *their* story, with Alpha Protocol you are creating your own version of Michael Thornton’s life. And if you stick with it and can see past the glitches you’re in for a treat.

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24. BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2 (16)

The single player campaign is a wonderful blast through several impressive set pieces and the feeling of being in ‘B’ Company really adds to the experience.

That sense of community and closeness to the characters is a big bonus and probably the main reason Battlefield’s campaign stands head and shoulders above Modern Warfare 2.

Clocking in at around 8/9 hours it’s also almost double the length of Infinity Ward’s offering but it occasionally lacks the polish of Call Of Duty – perhaps down to the fact that everything is destructable in the environment. Overall though this is a great single player experience.

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23. HEAVENLY SWORD (15)

Another game that didn’t garner the respect it deserves, primarily because it didn’t live up to the pre-release hype.

If you like God Of War you will like this game as it’s similar in style but it looks gorgeous in HD and I believe did a few bits (combos/blocking etc) better than the first two God Of War games

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22. GHOSTBUSTERS: THE VIDEO GAME (14)

Ghostbusters: The Video Game’s plot is essentially the third movie – set in 1991 you’re a rookie who’s been drafted in to help with the ever increasing ghost workload. A huge paranormal blast sets off a chain of events that only one group of guys can deal with…

For me Ghostbusters was a short (5 hour) game that had me chuckling and geeking out despite it’s flaws – it won’t be to everyone’s tastes but it has a good single player storyline.

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21. PORTAL 2 (NE)

Portal 2 is essentially a puzzle game – a series of rooms that you have to work your way out of using a gun that shoots portals. Once you have shot two portals you can use them to travel between and (hopefully) escape the room.

The story that runs alongside the puzzles is interesting and while it’s a device to get you through puzzle rooms I found it to be enjoyable, especially considering the small amount characters in the game. It has a great sense of comedy, with a fair few jokes that had me chuckling out loud.

Further down the line you’ll have plenty of other elements thrown into the mix and you’ll need to use everything at your disposal to get out of the rooms. Definitely one to try.

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So there we go, another installment finished.

Please feel free to leave comments below and we’ll hit up the Top 20 next week!

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Top 50 Single Player Games: Part Two (40-31)

So here we go with Part Two of my Top 50 Single Player Games, appreciate the comments on the first part (which can be found here) so keep ’em coming. As I said before I’m mainly focusing on good story based experiences, so things like Gran Turismo 5 won’t be appearing on the list.

Let’s get started:

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40. BIOSHOCK 2 (NE)

Bioshock 2 brings you back 8 years after the events of the first game (1968) to take control of a Big Daddy who has no memory of the last decade and wants to find the Little Sister he was originally paired with.

A sequel to such a unique title was always going to be tricky to pull off. However 2k Marin have done well to recreate the atmosphere of the original game while keeping it different enough that you can tell time has passed.

At the end of the day this is definitely a title that revels in the world created for it by the previous game. You don’t have to have played the original to enjoy this game but you’ll probably get more of it if you have.

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39. BULLETSTORM (NE)

Telling the story of Grayson Hunt, a space pirate in the 26th century, who crash lands his crew’s ship on an alien planet following a (failed) drunk attempt at revenge on a huge spaceship. As you try to battle your way off the planet all hell breaks loose, with various factions taking each other on as well as fighting with you.

The game mechanics work well and some of the ways you can dispatch foes have to be seen to be believed.

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38. BORDERLANDS (24)

Borderlands has a distinctive cartoon, tongue in cheek style that is perfectly suited for the game and while the story isn’t particularly amazing, the colourful characters will have you chuckling along.

Borderlands is all about the loot. The game creates random weapons as you go along so it’s unlikely two people will ever get the same set of weapons throughout a playthrough, which is pretty cool.

It’s one of the longer games I’ve played recently – clocking in more towards 20 hours for a first playthrough – but it’s definitely a universe that should be experienced.

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37. MORTAL KOMBAT (NE)

After a fair few lacklustre versions, culminating in the widely derided Mortal Kombat Vs DC, Nether Realms Studios decided to go back to basics for this, the ninth Mortal Kombat game.

For the first time in a long time the storyline of a fighting game ties together nicely. Rather than choosing a fighter and playing through their story, in Mortal Kombat you play as various characters (usually for 3 or 4 fights each) as the story progresses.

This is a great idea. Firstly because it means the overall story is the focus as opposed to one character, and secondly becuase it forces you to use characters you may never have chosen and therefore before a better all round player. Recommended, even for people with only a passing interest in fighting games.

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36. VANQUISH (NE)

From the makers of Bayonetta, Vanquish tells the story of Sam Gideon, a member of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), who is tasked with rescuing a scientist that was working on the O’Neill Cylinder Space Station when it was hijacked by Russia. Russia are holding the USA to ransom, destroying San Francisco and targeting New York next unless the Americans comply with their wishes – total surrender.

Got all that? Right now forget all about it and SHOOT THOSE ROBOTS! 😆

Vanquish is certainly an experience I’d recommend and for a few sessions of a couple of hours each it is a blast to play. It doesn’t quite have the same depth as Bayonetta with regard to the characters but it can hold it’s head high in terms of a single player experience.

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35. RED FACTION: GUERRILLA (23)

Red Faction: Guerrilla is a bit of an underrated gem. It’s your basic David vs Goliath battle with the Red Faction resistance (you guys) taking on the evil Earth Defence Force who have taken advantage of their position in power on Mars.

But the main part of the game is the destruction. Buildings fall realistically and weakening them structurally can often mean a delayed collapse.

I heartily recommend Red Faction. It’s not massively difficult but it has a good solid story and is insanely fun. You can pick this up for about £15 pre-owned in most places and it will be money well spent.

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34. RESISTANCE 2 (22)

After saving England in the previous installment Hale is back in business to rescue the U S of A – since his incapacitation the Chimera have launched a full attack on America and Hale, as part of the Sentinal squad (made up of soldiers injected with the Chimera virus but kept under control), have to step in and stop them in their tracks.

A hard hitting but fun first person shooter.

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33. MAFIA II (NE)

Mafia II tells the story of Vito Scaletta, a returning war veteran who comes home to find life has changed while he’s been away and soon fins himself mixed up in the world of the Mafia.

This game is an interesting beast, as during a lot of the promo leading up to its release we were led to believe it would be open world (ala GTA) at least in some parts. In reality this is a very linear experience and that has led to some negative feedback.

Personally while that discovery came as a disappointment if you can look beyond it then you will find a strong, solid single player experience with a well crafted and immersive story.

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32. JUST CAUSE 2 (NE)

Just Cause 2 is like the evolution of Mercenaries 2 – it excels in many ways and also has the added bonus of the carnage you can create with Rico’s grappling hook, which can hook enemies as well as grappling to walls etc.

With a story featuring rebels and dictators, Just Cause 2 doesn’t tread any new ground in terms of narrative but you probably won’t care as a mountain of explosions gather behind you. As well as the main story missions you’ll need to complete lots of side missions to create as much Chaos as possible.

As an example of how crazy this game is one of the side missions involved me stealing a fighter jet 😎 and then using it to shoot down a recently launched SPACE SHUTTLE 😯

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31. MIRROR’S EDGE (21)

Mirror’s Edge wowed everyone with it’s crisp, clean graphics and it’s unique first person perspective. The view takes a while to get used to and it had a few really annoying parts where it was difficult to time jumps etc because of the view but Mirror’s Edge is certainly worth playing through as it offers a style of gameplay that is totally unique in the current games market.

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So there we go, another part down and we’re hitting the Top 30 next!

As always thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment on the games so far and whether you’d have placed any of them higher/lower.

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Top 50 Single Player Games: Part One (50-41)

Despite a huge increase in multiplayer focus over the last few years I am still an absolute sucker for a top notch single player story.

For me single player is a totally different gaming experience and I enjoy both on and offline play.

It’s been almost a year since I last compiled a list of the best single player experiences (on PS3). The list came in at 30 titles strong and when I decided to update it a year later I made another list and found I had over 50 titles. I whittled it down to a top 50 and here we are 🙂

I’m posting them up in parts of 10 games at a time so as not to overload everyone. Also I had to close off the list at the end of May, otherwise I’d have been going on forever! Last year’s position is in brackets – with (NE) indicating a new entry.

Let’s kick off with a game that I overlooked last time but just about makes the Top 50:

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50. MERCENARIES 2: WORLD IN FLAMES (NE)

Mercenaries 2 takes place in Venezuela and sees you take control of Chris Jacobs, Jennifer Mui or Matthias Nilsson. It’s only a cosmetic choice as the story/dialogue all remains the same. You’re tasked with taking down Ramon Solano, the man behind the current military coup.

While this game has a few glitches (one a game breaker unfortunately) it remains a resolutely fun experience. Being a Mercenary you can call in all kinds of crazy weapons and firepower.

At times you won’t believe the destruction you can wreak on the world around you – whether it’s guns, cars or helicopters you’ll find yourself smiling insanely as you blow up as much stuff as possible. Not a great game then but certainly a fun one.

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49. ARMY OF TWO (28)

Salem and Rios are guns for hire – private contractors that go in and sort out the crap that the army or whoever can’t deal (or can’t be seen dealing) with.

There is convoluted conspiracy theory plotline but to be perfectly honest the story isn’t really the main attraction here – it’s all about the carnage.

Army of Two is like playing an ultra violent cartoon and overall I would say this game is a fun 5 or 6 hour blast. While it does become repetitive at times it makes no excuses – in fact Army Of Two is likely to hand you a  rocket launcher, spawn 20 new enemies and tell you to ‘get the f**k on with it.’

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48. THE SABOTEUR (27)

The game takes place in and around Paris in the 1940′s with the Nazis occupying the majority of the city and it’s surrounding areas. You control Sean Devlin, an Irishman, who gets involved with the French resistance following a traumatic experience at the hands of the Gestapo.

The Saboteur is a game that I feel should be played but if you are looking for a high quality experience, this isn’t it. The odd bug here and there and a general unfinished feeling hamper the gameplay but if you’re willing  to give it a shot The Saboteur is worth a playthrough.

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47. CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS (NE)

With each iteration Call Of Duty has refined and improved upon it’s single player experience. Black Ops sees you taking on the role of Alex Mason in several covert ops set in 1960’s.

Those of you looking for a realistic interpretation of the special forces would probably be better served by Medal Of Honor (see below) or if you fancy something older Rainbow Six Vegas (keep an eye out further down the list) because this is Hollywood war plain and simple. Fun and over the top.

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46. MEDAL OF HONOR (NE)

The Medal Of Honor series has been around for decades and had usually focused on conflicts in World War II. However when EA announced it was rebooting the franchise we discovered players were heading to modern day (well, 2002) Afghanistan.

The gameplay itself is generally good and while missions were mainly brief, there were some good set ups and set pieces to get stuck into.

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45. LITTLEBIGPLANET 2 (NE)

LittleBigPlanet 2 is the sequel to the hugely successful user creation based original. There has been a fairly big improvement graphically and several new materials have been added into the mix, all of which look great.

The single player experience is decent enough and while some of the new puzzle ideas are clever there wasn’t much that really taxed me. Definitely worth checking out as this is one of the most charming games I’ve played.

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44. CRYSIS 2 (NE)

Crysis 2 takes place in New York in 2023. The city has been overrun by aliens and a military group ‘CELL’ has been drafted in to try and police the anarchy that has erupted.

You end up wearing a Nanosuit, which allows you to use abilities – such as stealth or armour for a short period of time. As the game goes on you’ll be fighting both CELL and the aliens that have landed.

You have a lot of choice with regards to how you approach the game in Crysis 2, if it had been reigned in a little bit this could have been a classic – as it is it’s an enjoyable and solid shooter campaign.

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43. SOCOM 4 (NE)

In SOCOM 4 you take on the role of Cullen Gray, a Spec Ops Commander and leader of a 5-man NATO special forces squad. Your team is dropped into Malaysia to help deal with the rising threat of both local rebels, the Naga, and a mercenary group called Clawhammer.

While the story is standard Spec Ops fare I found most of the characters likable and it was one of the more enjoyable stories I played through in 2011.

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42. BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY (30)

Chock full of explosions and with some really impressive destruction of buildings etc, Battlefield: Bad Company is like a huge big budget Hollywood blockbuster.

It’s a great, mindless blast of a game. Add some memorable characters into the mix and you’ve got yourself a very enjoyable, and playable, package.

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41. PROTOTYPE (25)

In Prototype you take on the role of Alex Mercer as he awakens during his autopsy ,wondering what the hell is going on. He quickly escapes, realising he now has various superpowers.

Mercer needs to find out what the hell has happened to him and why New York is infected with a virus that has turned half the population into zombies.

Prototype is definitely a game worth playing despite it’s various faults – it was a blast to play through if a little frustrating at times.

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So there we have it – part one done and dusted.

Have you guys played all these games? What did you think of them? Any you were considering playing?

FURTHER LINKS

Top 50 Single Player Games: Part Two (40-31)

Top 50 Single Player Games: Part Three (30-21)

Top 50 Single Player Games: Part Four (20-11)

Top 50 Single Player Games: Part Five (The Top 10)

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