Work, school, kids, family... With everything going on in life, we all deserve a break every now and then. Something simple, relaxing, where you can sit on the couch and curl up while you're immersed in another world. Books and movies often satisfy these needs, but every once in a while you need something to interact with, where people are changed by your direct actions—but not in the way that can potentially get you fired from work.
With these single-player games, you'll never need to worry about any of that. The satisfaction of playing these ten games will more than make up for both that hard day and the fact that you'll be staring at the screen for 20 minutes in total disbelief at the end.
Warning: These games are rated M and tend to contain blood/gore. This setting can be turned off in some, but not all.
1. "Nioh" (2017)
Devices: Windows PC, PS4
Genre: Action-adventure, RPG
While the close-combat action may be a bit clunky, Metacritic's rating of 88/100 speaks for itself when it comes to this 2017 hack and slash game. Rather than being given an easy tutorial, "Nioh" thrusts you straight into what you think is standard game play—only to make you regret not appreciating those overpowered paladins in the beginning. Fighting yokai and other beasts in this Sengoku-era hack and slash has never been more fun.
2. "NieR: Automata" (2017)
Devices: PS4, Windows PC
Genre: Action, RPG
But as all challenging games do, you don't have that time. Instead, you're thrown into an almost Star Fox-like combat before you land and emerge as android 2B who must use both her gun and blades to proceed. With multiple endings that revolve around topics such as war, mechanical autonomy, self-sacrifice, and an Adam and Eve created by machines, "NieR: Automata" is a must for lovers of both action and plot alike.
3. "Persona 5" (2017)
Devices: PS3, PS4
I'm the kind of person people hate to play with; I rush into battle, I kill everything in sight, and good luck if we have friendly fire turned on. "Persona 5" changed that.
I never play turn-based combat games for fairly obvious reasons, but the 93/100 Metacritic score convinced me to at least give it a try. The beginning starts off incredibly slow, introducing a high school-aged boy falsely accused of assault with a phone app he cannot delete, but things quickly escalate as you uncover evidence of greed, abuse, and sexual assault at the hands of the school's volleyball coach. By enlisting the aid of those around you, you begin to take down bigger and badder bosses until you become unstoppable in the eyes of the universe. This 100 hour game is well worth your time.
4. "Dark Souls III" (2016)
Devices: PS4, Xbox One, Windows PC
Genre: Action-adventure, RPG
Prepare yourself for pain and punishment. "Dark Souls III" is the final game in the "Dark Souls" franchise and undoubtedly the hardest. Despite the fairly cliched plot of "hero is risen from the dead, hero fights villains, then hero fixes the issue threatening the world," the detailed game play and challenging battles make "Dark Souls III" stand apart from all the rest. Like "NieR: Automata," several endings are available to the player.
5. "Jaws Unleashed" (2006)
Devices: PS2, Windows PC, Xbox
Were you that weird kid who was always rooting for the shark in "Jaws?" Then "Jaws Unleashed" is the game for you. An admittedly horrific game riddled with weird side quests and awful graphics, there's something about smashing boats, terrorizing innocents, and eating anything that gets into your path that makes up for it all. Like your favorite blanket, this bloody and often cannibalistic game will always be here for you at the end of a long day.
6. "God of War" (2018)
Unlike the previous "God of War" games, the eighth installment, aptly named "God of War," sends Kratos and his son, Atreus, on an adventure to spread his wife's ashes. As they make their way through the nine realms, they're attacked by beasts from Norse mythology.
7. "Shadow of the Colossus" (2018)
Devices: PS2, PS3, PS4 (remake)
Unlike the standard action-adventure game with dungeon crawls built in, "Shadow of the Colossus" is a nice throwback to when games were fairly linear. With no NPCs, dungeons, or even small monsters to hone your skills with, you play as a young man set on resurrecting a shrine maiden, Momo, by defeating the sixteen colossi in a forbidden land. Whether he succeeds or not isn't the problem—once you identify the colossi's weak points, that is. Instead, it's what you become afterwards.
8. "Attack on Titan 2" (2018)
Devices: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows PC
Genre: Action, JRPG
Based on Hajime Isayama's Attack on Titan manga, the second installment in the Attack on Titan game franchise, Attack on Titan 2, starts off with dozens of people getting devoured by giant, mindless, humanoid creatures and little preteens deciding to join the military... Isn't that fun?
Playing as a secondary character fighting alongside the primary cast, much of your survival depends on the bonds you form, the weapons you create, and figuring out how to maneuver on a three-dimensional plane rather than a two-dimensional plane.
9. "Dishonored" (2012)
Devices: Windows PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Action-adventure, stealth
A former bodyguard falsely accused of murdering the Empress, you set off to seek revenge against her true murderer and clear your name. Whether you choose to disarm everyone quietly or go in guns blazing is up to you, but those decisions will influence the degree of "chaos" your ending will lead you towards. With a combination of steampunk, fantasy, and hack-and-slash elements, what would be a niche game quickly becomes worthy of its BAFTA Games Award for Best Game win.
10. "Rise of Nightmares" (2011)
Devices: Xbox 360 (with Kinect)
Genre: Survival horror
If you ever had the pleasure of using the Xbox 360 Kinect, you know that it had some incredible potential for exercise and fighting games. When the tracking mechanisms aren't making you do the macarena, Rise of Nightmares is simply the best game to turn to. While trying to save your wife from an evil scientist, the jump scares, difficult villains, and attempts to not fall off the train within the first five minutes of the game is something all horror lovers could enjoy.