Alone on Valentine’s: Four Games to Immerse the Single Gamer

<p>Courtesy of Bethesda</p>

Courtesy of Bethesda

For many gamers, February 14th is a staunch reminder that being single is very lonely. Instead of romantic dates, Valentine’s night often devolves into solitary gaming sessions. Yet for single gamers, Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to become immersed in some of gaming’s incredible worlds.

Often, the key difference between a dull game and an immersive experience is a riveting story. For many console gamers, the “Metal Gear Solid” series emphasizes the power of storytelling. “Metal Gear Solid” spans across the 20th and 21st centuries and focuses on the trials of Solid Snake and Naked Snake: two high caliber stealth agents fighting to protect the world from the byproducts of political warfare. The series is noted for its focus on tense, stealth-based gameplay mixed as well as its thrilling, diverse plot. For instance, while “Metal Gear Solid” focuses on an Alaskan counter-terrorism infiltration by Solid Snake, “Metal Gear Solid 3” focuses on Naked Snake’s journey within the USSR’s Spetsnaz-infested jungles. Each individual game instills new life into the series’ critically-acclaimed gameplay, while simultaneously expanding the series’ overarching plot. For fans, “Metal Gear Solid’s”narrative represents a classically addicting experience.

For gamers that feel like they want a more social experience, however, Valve’s free-to-play action role-playing game “DOTA 2” can entice for hours. Based on the “Defense of the Ancients” ARPG mod for “Warcraft III,” “DOTA 2” pits five-man teams of “heroes” against each other to destroy the opposition’s base. However, “DOTA 2’s” true appeal rests within its complex gameplay stages. An average match of “DOTA 2” lasts at least 45 minutes, with 20 minutes spent in “metagame,” preparing the player’s hero for the game’s middle-game and late-game stages. Furthermore, “DOTA 2’s” addicting nature often leads players to stick around for three or four matches, which can kill at least three hours without a break. Likewise, “DOTA 2’s” skill curve remains a steep, time-consuming climb. This creates the perfect experience for newcomers on Valentine’s Day, and allows single gamers to escape into hours of practice matches.

In regards to single-player RPGs, Bethesda Softworks’s “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” mercilessly robs players of their free time. Following the critically acclaimed “Morrowind” and “Oblivion,” “Skyrim” places gamers in an open-world fantasy setting populated with hundreds of dynamic quests. As players perform these quests, their characters level up, improve their skills and abilities, and earn perks. Like Bethesda’s “Fallout” series, “Skyrim” remains an immersive game through its addicting gameplay and open-world exploration. Gamers searching for an hour-consuming experience will find endless possibilities waiting when they place “The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim” into the disk tray.

As the gaming industry continuously creates immersive experiences, single gamers do not necessarily have to feel miserable on a day synonymous with heartbreak. After all, Valentine’s Day isn’t just about dating – it’s about enjoying the things in life that make life worth living. And if gamers can find that sort of happiness through achieving Level 50 in “Skyrim,” or surviving “Day Z’s” zombie apocalypse, then maybe that’s not such a bad thing at all.

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