With the PTC favourite Sea of Thieves getting a new PVE-only mode – Safer Seas – we’ve been thinking about our favourite PVE experiences of all time and the multiplayer titles that could be improved with such a feature. It might be competitive or cooperative, but any game where you’re playing with others and there’s some enemy AI involved is fair game.
What would you choose?
Apex Legends | Liam Andrews
I enjoyed Apex Legends when it first came out, even managing a victory in which my team of randoms carried me to the win. But I didn’t stick with it and with five years of new features and a probably well-established community of players who know the game a lot better than I do, I’m afraid to jump back in.
Which is a shame, because I like the setting and characters, and Respawn knows how to make a shooter that looks and plays great (Titanfall 2). A PvE mode would be the perfect way to be reintroduced to the game, a place where I could familiarise myself with years of new content and characters without the stress of worrying about real (and much better) players blasting me away.
Apex Legends has had a PvE mode in the past, but it was a limited time event and I missed out on it. I would like to see a permanent PvE playlist added, even if it was just a simple wave defence mode where a team tries to defend a stronghold against enemy AI. There’s rumours Apex Legends could be getting a single player campaign spin-off, and while I’d be interested in such a product, I’d still like to see a PvE mode to scratch that multiplayer itch.
Left 4 Dead 2 | James Parry
I think Left 4 Dead 2 was the first game I played where I thought of the AI in the game as a character. Since it was a while ago, let’s recap - Left 4 Dead is a zombie survival series from Valve, built on the engine that powered the gold-standard classic that is Half-Life 2.
For the second game especially, the game had an element which reacted to the player. If you were doing well then the AI would generate different barriers in the level to make it more difficult. If you stay still for too long, you’d find a horde of zombies would spawn to punish you.
This variability made every playthrough of the game’s (originally) four campaigns more varied, unexpected and exciting.
On top of that, the scavenge multiplayer game mode remains one of the most fun cooperative multiplayer experiences of all time, constantly replayable and fun, and the gameplay still holds up today.
The variety of the enemy behaviour in the game also raised the bar. The special infected, now a trope shared by pretty much all zombie survival games, jump, explode and attack in unique and interesting ways – building on the blueprint set out by the first game. The development team found new types to introduce, which slot into the roster so effortlessly.
An also-ran which shouldn’t be overlooked here is the original Halo, which had the earliest example I can remember of enemy AI avoiding grenades, something which to this day makes some of those encounters foundational experiences in gaming.
The final one to mention is Titanfall 2, where there are AI grunts milling around, filling up the world, just to make your battles feel more epic.