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
Release date: 2020 | Developer: Ubisoft | Ubisoft Store, Steam
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.
Read more: Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarok shows that the series is better without the animus
Release date: 2020 | Developer: Supergiant | Steam
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.
Read more: A journey through Early Access helped make Hades a masterpiece
Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age
Release date: 2018 | Developer: Square Enix | Steam
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.
Read more: 15 years on, Final Fantasy 12's combat system is still the best
Release date: 2021 (Early Access) | Developer: Iron Gate AB | Steam
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.
Read more: The state of Valheim in 2022: Still the Vi-king of co-op
Release date: 2016 | Developer: Crate Entertainment | Steam
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.
Read more: Daring to care about the denizens of Grim Dawn
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Release date: 2017 | Developer: Larian Studios | Steam
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.
Read more: Great moments in PC gaming: Playing with fire in Divinity: Original Sin 2
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Release date: 2015 | Developer: CD Projekt Red | Steam
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?
Read more: I got drunk trying to take Geralt on a pub crawl in The Witcher 3
Crusader Kings 3
Release date: 2020 | Developer: Paradox | Steam
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.
Read more: Crusader Kings 3 players have eaten 1.5 million prisoners
Release date: 2016 | Developer: Arkane | Steam
If you fancy your chances as a stealthy supernatural assassin, whiling away the hours with whalepunk murder schemes, taking down targets in Dishonored 2 is a great way to pass the time.
Read more: I judged every citizen of Karnaca in Dishonored 2
Monster Hunter: World
Release date: 2018 | Developer: Capcom | Steam
Capcom's monster-slaying 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.
Read more: Nothing beats the feeling of cracking skulls with my big hammer in Monster Hunter: World
Release date: 2016 | Developer: Paradox | Steam
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.
Read more: Planet destroyers and diplomacy: the expanding universe of Stellaris