Finding games you can play offline probably isn't a high priority for most people. Your internet connection isn't something you give a lot of thought to until it stops working. And no amount of swearing at your router is going to get your connection back if there's an external fault which—much to my horror—is precisely what happened to me a few weeks ago.
My internet decided it needed an impromptu break—not just for an hour or so, but for three whole days. I couldn't work, I couldn't google random things that popped into my head that I wanted to know the answer to, and perhaps most devastatingly, I knew I wouldn't be able to take advantage of the unplanned time off and jump into Final Fantasy 14.
At first glance, games I already had downloaded didn't seem to hold a lot of promise for working offline, and I almost resigned myself to the fact that I might have to venture outside to find some sort of entertainment. But before going to such extreme lengths, I decided to test which games would work in offline mode—and I was surprised. Valheim saved me for those few days, but there were certainly games that I wished I'd had the foresight to download.
I mean, sure, your internet is probably fine right now, but there are other circumstances where offline games are useful: visiting friends and family with dodgy wifi, moving house and waiting for a new connection, even the classic example of plane flights (now we can actually take them again).
Whatever the reason, it's not a bad idea to make sure you have a couple of games installed that will work offline. Luckily for you, I've done the hard work—once my internet was back, I made it my mission to find out which games you can play without internet. Obviously, I couldn't test everything, but I've tried to pick a variety that should help see you through any number of connection woes.
Games you can play offline
Most launchers have an offline mode, allowing you to start them without internet access, but even so, not all games will run if they don't have a connection. Most games will also need to be launched at least once with a connection present to work.
It's also worth noting that for games that receive regular updates, make sure these have been downloaded and installed wherever possible to play them offline.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla
Platform: Ubisoft Connect
Eivor's Viking adventure through Norway and 9th century England should keep you busy for a while. Even if you've finished the main story, there's plenty of side stuff to keep any Viking busy.
Something as simple as an internet connection—or lack of—is not going to stop the Immortal Prince of the Underworld. Good news if you fancy jumping into this fast-paced action roguelike.
Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age
Final Fantasy 12 moved away from the turn-based combat of previous games and opted for the love-it-or-hate-it Gambit system. Set in the world of Ivalice, you'll soon be taking on the Archadian Empire with Balthier, Fran, and others in an effort to save the world.
This co-op survival game set in the Viking afterlife has loads to do, and you can play at the pace you choose. Obviously, the co-op won't work without an internet connection, but there's nothing to stop you from playing solo and living your best Viking afterlife.
If you're after a top-down ARPG to get stuck into, Grim Dawn could be your answer. While Path of Exile and Diablo 3 won't work offline, Grim Dawn allows you to smash demons in the face without a connection.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
If you've never found the time to strike this from your backlog, now might be it. This vast, story-rich RPG should keep you busy for however long you need—though you might find it difficult to tear yourself away once you've started.
The Witcher 3
You'll be pleased to know that there's no such thing as playing The Witcher 3 too many times. So why not jump back into the beloved open-world RPG that gave rise to PCG's obsession with Tub Geralt?
Crusader Kings 3
Platform: Paradox launcher
You might have been put off playing this historical grand-strategy from Paradox because of its complexity, but if you've got time to kill, it's well worth jumping into. You'll be guiding your medieval dynasty through peasant revolts and Viking invasions in no time.
If you fancy your chances as a stealthy supernatural assassin, taking down targets in Dishonored 2 is a great way to pass the time.
Monster Hunter: World
Capcom's monster-slaying open-world RPG may not seem like it would work offline, but it does. Of course, you'll have to take monsters down without the help of friends, but if nothing else, it's an excellent way to vent some of that frustration at your connection woes.
Platform: Steam (offline mode)
Like CK3—and pretty much any Paradox title—Stellaris has a pretty steep learning curve. But once you're past that, mining planets for resources, fending off hostile fleets, and generally expanding your empire makes this space-based strategy game incredibly satisfying.