The Best AI in Video Games

There’s no doubting the fact that AI’s time has come. Many are embracing this as exciting new technology, others are offering more doom-laden predictions. But one sector that is reveling in the opportunities presented by AI is the video games industry.

That’s because the increasing use of AI is providing the quantum leap needed to take its titles up to the next level. In doing this it promises to make games and gaming a more involving and immersive experience than ever before.

So far it’s been mainly deployed to make NPCs more active participants in games, as we’ll see in some of the following examples. It’s also making games simply smarter and more responsive.

And, just as many features first devised in gaming have always trickled down into the world of online casinos, this is equally true of AI. Some of the most well-known casino brands are now experimenting with how AI can transform their player experience by making games like roulette and blackjack more responsive to individuals’ personal preferences and strengths.

No doubt they are also being influenced by features used in some, at least, of the following games that use AI particularly effectively.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl

It may come as quite a surprise that a game that was first launched back in 2007 is such a good example of AI being used so effectively. Way ahead of its time back then, now 17 years later the rest of the gaming world is starting to catch up with it. At its heart is an AI system that goes by the name of A-Life and which controls many aspects of the gameplay. As a result, it’s one of the most naturalistic games out there. So as you make your way through the irradiated ruins of the power station the game goes on around you, but not necessarily driven by your actions. The result is an environment that throws up many unexpected events.

Alien Isolation

The famous movie line to Ridley Scott’s first Alien movie was “In space no-one can hear you scream.” This is a game that, thanks to AI, keeps you not just on the edge of your seat but also on the edge of hysteria. Just like the alien in the movie, this is one that is constantly on the hunt for you aboard the space vessel. Its acute senses can flush you out with ease and its own reactions are far from predictable. So it’s a game that needs you to be ultra-alert if you don’t want the AI controlled Xenomorph to track you down. Even if you manage to wound it, its internal systems will mean it’ll come for you harder and stronger next time.

The Last of Us

the last of usIn complete contrast to Alien which uses AI as a weapon against you, there’s a far more friendly version of it in The Last of Us. That’s because it features an NPC that, rather than getting in the way and generally bumping into the scenery, is there to help you out. As part of the game’s so-called Buddy AI system you’ll find your sidekick Ellie is much more of a help than a hindrance.

Capable of individual actions to distract or even attack enemies when needed, it’s a positive boon to your own survival. Equally remarkable is the stealth and ease with which NPC Ellie can move around in order to surprise and neutralize enemies on your behalf.

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor

Along with its follow-up, Shadow of War, this is a game that uses the now legendary Nemesis AI system that gives it a memory quite unlike any other game. It sounds incredible, but it instils any enemies you encounter with recollections of previous clashes in the game. As a result, they come back at you even harder and more determined next time. Worst of all, they actually have a habit of seeking you out again to exact their revenge on you once they have progressed and upgraded their own abilities. The result is a far more complex and nuanced world than virtually any other video game.


Last, but not least, we have First Encounter Assault Recon. In this game your enemies are driven by AI and that means that, even as NPCs, they can gather their resources and devise a plan of attack that’s designed to send you reeling. It’s this ability to organize and regroup that makes them so hard to defeat  – and so easy to fear.

While all of these games undoubtedly use AI to great advantage, this is surely only the beginning. Pretty soon we’ll be seeing new games that make these look as outdated as Pac man and Donkey Kong. Because, when it come to gaming, AI is surely ready to take control.

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