At its most basic form, artificial intelligence has been an integral part of video gaming since the first-ever Pac Man game, itself an early example of a defined-state machine, was released. However, leaps and bounds in technology since then have allowed developers to take advantage of the very best that AI has to offer to make the gaming experience more challenging, personalized, and intelligent than ever before. Clever use of algorithms can make a game go from basic to game-changing. Here are the top five games that make the most of what artificial intelligence can offer.
1. The Last of Us
This zombie survival game won universal acclaim back in 2013, in part due to its incredibly versatile AI system which meant that every playthrough presented a totally unique experience. What makes this game special is that it utilizes two behavioral datasets for its AI: one for the player and one for the opposing world around you. Every decision you make trains the algorithm in real-time, allowing it to come up with creative ways to try and kill you based on what your character finds the most challenging.
2. Virtual Football
Virtual football has rapidly risen through the gaming world to the point where it looks set to overtake real-world football in popularity. It’s a totally virtual system that simulates a real football match based on real-world data and an unbiased algorithm. There is no input from the player, rather you get to bet on the winner via a sports betting site that offers virtual football. If you can predict the algorithm’s behavior correctly, then you can win real money prizes.
3. Far Cry 2
This oldie may have been outshined by more recent instalments from the Far Cry franchise, but none of the subsequent titles have been able to match what this one achieved with its AI. The game was famously labeled as “sadistic” due to its hyperintelligent enemy AI, which is trained based on your combat play to continuously adapt and make it increasingly difficult for you to survive. Only true gaming champions dare to play this one on Veteran Mode.
4. Splinter Cell: Blacklist
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell series always forces a player to stop and use their brain if they want to succeed, but the ‘AI Guard’ deployed in this title took things to another level entirely. Basically, when your character is sneaking around trying to infiltrate a military base or supervillain’s mansion, the guard bots are constantly being fed data from your gameplay. This data is then used to trigger dozens of potential ‘guard states’, prompting the NPCs to come up with clever ways to sniff you out. Gameplay has never been this intense.
5. Halo: Reach
The astonishing use of AI in Halo Reach is still a popular talking point on gaming forums, despite being released almost ten years ago. The offline AI is formidable, but it’s when you’re in team mode against a group of bots that things get serious. The enemy AI is able to track, collate, and utilize the data from all players within a game to formulate a counterattack that will take everyone in your team by surprise. Halo always manages to show us how it’s done.
Artificial intelligence structures such as these will likely become mainstays of future games. In the meantime, try out these titles to get a taste of where we’re headed.