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Best single player PC games 2019: the top PC games for playing solo

Best single player PC games
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Welcome to our best single player PC games list for 2019. In our humble opinion, single player PC games showcase gaming at its finest. 

Throw around all the numbers you want regarding the popularity of Fortnite, or how League of Legends fills out arenas all over the world, but a well thought-out and executed solo experience has the unequaled gift for sweeping you away to painstakingly shaped worlds and immerse you in unique forms of storytelling.

Even in the last few years, the best single player PC games have dominated with fresh narrative and technical frontiers, which is why we’ve rounded up 10 of the best single player PC games that you can play in 2019.

Be sure you check out our picks of the best PC games as well, for the very best single and multiplayer PC games from many different genres.

1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 

Best single player PC games: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

Four years after its release, millions of gamers are still carrying on their solemn journeys across the war-ravaged low-fantasy world of The Witcher 3. It remains to be the apex of video game storytelling. Everything – from side-quests with lowly peasants to political tinkering of lords and barons – seems to be treated to the same degree of love and attention from the writers.

This is the game that made surly, concrete-voiced hero Geralt of Rivia an icon (and soon to be star of a Witcher Netflix show). The world is not just astounding in terms of topographical scale and variety, but also impressive in its sense of history and life, as it seems that every village, castle ruins and cave has a story to tell. 

The fact that The Witcher 3 remains as remarkable an experience today as it was when it first came out is proof of its groundbreaking role in the medium.

2. Doom

Best single player PC game: Doom

(Image credit: Bethesda)

There’s something audaciously old-school about a game that forgoes meaningful and compelling plot in favor of vicious, driving violence. In 2016’s Doom, you’re somewhere between a human battering ram and artillery cannon, tearing apart and annihilating a familiar but vividly redesigned army of demons in the most satisfying ways you can imagine.

A key thing here is that in order to gain health and ammo, you need to charge headfirst into the enemy and pull off brutal Glory Kills, putting you always right up in the faces of shrieking Revenants and obese Cacodemon heads. 

Everything in the game – from that forward momentum to the clanging tech-metal soundtrack – propels you, leaving you winded after each scuffle like no other game…

… except maybe for the impending sequel.

3. Resident Evil 2: REMake

Best single player PC game: Resident Evil 2: REMake

(Image credit: Capcom)

A remake of one of the great survival horror games can be a poisoned chalice, but Capcom succeeded in creating a magnum opus both within the series and among all videogame remakes.

Like the original, RE2 REMake has two coinciding campaigns as Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield. While it follows the narrative beats of the original game, it’s also an archetype of modern level design, as you solve puzzles and open up shortcuts around the maze-y Raccoon City Police Department. 

Each zombie is a bullet sponge and mortal threat, resources are hardly adequate, and an unkillable blue man dressed like a hard-boiled detective marches after you through much of the game. Remake or not, this is one of the best horror games to date.

4. Celeste

Best single player PC game: Celeste

(Image credit: Matt Makes Games)

The makers of Towerfall, one of the greatest couch multiplayer games around, took some of the game’s best mechanics and transformed them into a winning 2D platformer about climbing a mountain. 

The core mechanic is the ability to rush in eight directions, but as you progress, you’ll find yourself confronting a constant and growing trickle of different obstacles and challenges. Ultimately, Celeste amounts to a tough old time.

Many levels can be played through in different iterations, and all that finger-cramping platforming is wrapped in a touching story about friendship and tribulation. Celeste feels as significant and seismic for the modern 2D platformer as Super Meat Boy was when it came out a decade ago.

5. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey 

Best single player PC games: Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Taking a year off in 2016 to rethink the Assassin’s Creed series was a clever move by Ubisoft, because with Odyssey that decision really paid off. Looking to RPGs for inspiration, it’s an inconceivably large open-world adventure set in the scorched azure idyll of the Hellenic peninsula.

It’s not just the backdrop and gloriously recreated Greek architecture that make Odyssey such a joy. It’s also in the way Alexios and Kassandra’s story weaves through history and myth, and in how it enhanced certain systems - like ship-sailing and level-based enemies - from earlier titles.

Some will balk that it’s no longer the cloak-and-dagger assassin game the series is known for, but the reality is, it’s now become so much more.

6. Total War: Warhammer 2

Best PC games: Total War: Warhammer 2

(Image credit: Creative Assembly)

While the Total War series stagnated with Rome 2, Creative Assembly made up for it by taking on for its next project one of the most inspired possible fusions of videogame genre and IP: epic-scale strategy and Warhammer.

Total War: Warhammer 2 embraces the asymmetry of its source material, with each faction offering a distinctive tactical and narrative experience. If you also own Total War: Warhammer 1, all the major factions of the vibrant grimdark world are represented in the sequel. 

Skaven lurk in city ruins and skurry through an underworld, Vampire Coast pirates embark on treasure hunts, and Dwarves hunker down behind heavy armour, ready to fight any infantry charge.

Each campaign lasts dozens of hours, delivering endless clashes between the most well-crafted, inventive armies seen in a strategy game.

7. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Best single player PC games: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

(Image credit: From Software)

Sekiro is a tense, tough, and visually striking samurai game set in a more mythical feudal Japan, and it's one of the best single player PC games you can buy.

If you’ve played Dark Souls or Bloodborne, you’ll know what awaits, and already have an idea of whether its unforgiving style is for you or not. Some see the severe combat as sadistic, others see it as a highly challenging, high rewarding experience that has no equal. Whichever way you lean, you can’t question the meticulousness of Sekiro’s mechanics.

Where Sekiro differs from its spiritual predecessors is that it’s less obtuse, with a linear, articulate narrative and the addition of more mainstream action-game elements. 

You leap around vertically oriented levels in quest of shortcuts and secrets, while combat is about finding the right angle and timing for that legendary killing katana blow. It’s never easy to land, but once you start doing so consistently, you begin to understand what all that suffering is for.

8. What Remains of Edith Finch

Best single player PC games: What Remains of Edith Finch

(Image credit: Giant Sparrow)

A breath of fresh air from the big-money behemoths that dominate this best single player PC games list, Edith Finch is so poignant and exquisitely crafted that it will soften the hearts of even the most resolute walking-simulator naysayers.

As the titular character, you meander about in her sizeable but recently abandoned family home set on a haunting, crepuscular island in Washington State. You explore the richly detailed house, visiting the still-furnished rooms of each family member where you get swept up in the dreamy haze of surreal vignettes that show you how they died.

It’s a meditative game about piecing together the story of a family that seems to be afflicted by a merciless curse.

Edith Finch is the kind of thematically heavy, highly curated experience that doesn’t seem to be quite done justice by the word ‘videogame’.

9. Hollow Knight

Best single player PC games: Hollow Knight

(Image credit: Team Cherry)

Of all the genres to have re-emerged since the indie revolution nine-odd years ago, Metroidvania has been the biggest benefactor. The kinds of games that have come out haven’t just been throwbacks to the good old days of the 90s, but profound evolutions in their own right.

Hollow Knight feels like the pinnacle of the last several years of Metroidvania design, and it's certainly earned its place in this list of the best single player PC games. You traverse an enchantingly forlorn subterranean kingdom as the titular knight, incrementally gaining abilities, which then let you go down deeper into the world.

It’s both cute and brooding, magical and daunting, filled with thoughtful touches like the fact that Hollow Knight physically pulls out a map whenever you look at the map screen. 

10.  Dishonored 2 

Best single player PC games: Dishonored 2

(Image credit: Arkane Studios)

One of the tragedies of single-player gaming is that the immersive sim – sprung from cerebral first-person games like System Shock, Thief and Deus Ex – has seldom been a big seller. The future of masterpieces like Arkane’s Dishonored, therefore, has always seemed tenuous.

Dishonored 2 casts you as a preternaturally skilled assassin on a revenge mission in the sun-kissed steampunk city of Karnaca. Each large area lets you explore apartments, shops and cluttered rooms from all angles before you swoop in on your objectives.

It’s both visceral in its black-magic-and-blades combat, and ingenious in its level design, with the ever-shifting Clockwork Mansion and the time-travelling Crack in the Slab giving you some of the most memorable gameplay sequences you’ve ever played.