Why Fighting Games with Single-Player Modes are What I Will Always Love
When I was at my first press conference, I discussed fighting games with someone. They offhandedly said that single-player modes in fighting games are only for people who don’t want to play them within a month. This sentiment has stayed with me for almost five years and is hard to disagree with. A fighting game’s main attraction is its social component. This can be done by stomping on another person because you’ve played Tekken for a decade or by sharing your knowledge of new tech and combinations.
Let me, however, defend single-player fighting games.
Fighting games found their homes in arcades as well as home consoles. This allowed for 1v1 replayability and competitiveness to flourish. It’s hard to find a better experience than fighting against another person. However, that was not something I had access to as a child.
Being an only child, growing up on the main street making it difficult to play on the streets with other children. I was also bullied at school and was plagued with self-doubt anxiety, and there were not many people who wanted to play multiplayer games in my household. Although I loved fighting games, hooking up the second controller for beating up an inactive opponent lost its appeal after a while.
Although they weren’t masterpieces, I can say that the PS2 Mortal Kombat (Deception and Armageddon in particular) allowed me to indulge my passion for fighting games while also giving me enough content to keep me occupied. When there was no one against whom I could play, hitting practice mode and using jabbing combinations didn’t matter.
This period allowed me to develop a greater appreciation for fighting games. The link was a guest character in Soulcalibur 2, but the Weapon Master mode, SC3’s Chronicle of the Soul and SC3’s Chronicle of the Soul, kept me captivated for hours. Virtua Fighter 4’s Quest Mode was a random game with Japanese arcades. However, it inspired me enough that I played for over 100 matches.
Super Smash Bros. Melee is perhaps the most prominent inclusion on this list of solo fighting games. I unlocked all the characters by playing Classic, Adventure, All-Star, and Event modes. It was difficult to open the final characters without playing 1000 matches versus matches, rather than letting it happen naturally with a friend. But I succeeded. I did it more than once. To make the games last longer, I like to delete saved files and start over.
This nostalgic value has continued today, and I am grateful for a fighting game that appeals to single-player gamers. Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate is still a great example of this, with compelling Story Modes as well as random content that ensures there’s always something new to explore. It’s great to have content that doesn’t end, and Soulcalibur VI has many very enjoyable Story Modes. Although Soul Chronicle is a simple story mode, Libra of Soul feels like a natural extension of the amazing Weapon Master modes. Please, more of this.
Not all games are designed for solo gamers. Many fighting games do not offer single-player modes. Street Fighter V is a notable exception, as it launched without any single-player mode. After launch, the story mode was added to the game. Several months later, the game received a relaunch that helped expand the game’s offerings beyond the online methods.
The main attraction of fighting games against other players will always be there. Developers need to prioritize features such as rollback netcode and bolstered online offerings. Good gameplay is what developers should focus on to make it easy to log on and start playing against others. Although I love single-player content and am nostalgic, fighting games are largely determined by their server population.
However, fighting game players will never find the idea of being beaten by server demons appealing. Some people enjoy fighting against AI. If your games have well-designed modes that allow for that, even if they are not just a survival mode or a combat mode, that’s a great thing. It’s also a win for all if players try the online methods.