Up For Debate - The Best Videogame Stories

Written by Jon Sutton on Sun, Jun 24, 2018 2:27 PM

Ahh, the video game story. Often much-maligned, video games are different from the matured storytelling of books, movies, and TV shows in that they place you, the character, right in the centre of the action. You aren’t reading about shoving a sword up an orc’s nose, you’re actually doing it yourself.

For the creators, telling a coherent story in a game is easier said than done though. The more freedom you give a player, the harder it becomes to focus on a cohesive narrative. Compare Skyrim, for example, to the latest Martin Scorsese movie that has every scene, every camera angle, every cut, minutely dissected and examined, producing an experience that will be the same for everyone.

But whole the storytelling in games can get a bad rap, there are still plenty of shining examples of great tales, epic heroics, and murky morals.

I actually asked a few of the people around me what their favourite stories are in the long, illustrious history of video games and I got two curiously different answers. The first picked out a fairly well-worn trio of great games with arguably fantastic stories - Red Dead Redemption, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, and Deadly Premonition. Red Dead was and still is the pinnacle of Rockstar’s efforts at cinematic storytelling, while Brothers is a game without any defined narrative whatsoever. It’s a game about showing rather than telling. While Deadly Premonition occupies that schlocky corner of storytelling that’s kooky, unpredictable, and often downright weird.

The other person came out with some answers that made the eyes the pop out of my head like some throwback Hanna-Barbera cartoon. Their example of the finest storytelling in games was the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare trilogy, followed up by Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood in second place and, er, Jak & Daxter 2 in third place. I can’t even compute how the latter one enters this discussion but it did open my mind to how folks can view what constitutes a great story in entirely different ways.

For me personally, I find it immensely tricky to keep it down to just three. But the games that have stuck with me over the years definitely include Grim Fandango, Life is Strange, and of course The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. All three of these games excel at worldbuilding, using the environment to spin a yarn alongside their engrossing narratives. What usually turns me off is unnecessarily garbled lexicon. You know, packed with fantasy terms and unpronounceable words with too many apostrophes in them. I’m looking at you, Elder Scrolls. Somehow, The Witcher 3 straddles that line in accomplished fashion, rarely veering into hokey territory.

I’d also have to give a shout out to a few strong examples though, including Silent Hill 2, The Last of Us, and Nier Automata.

But enough about what I think, we want to know what you think. What are some of your favourite stories in the history of videogames? And what do you think makes for a quality narrative? Share your thoughts below!

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09:08 Jul-03-2018

  • Final Fantasy series.

  • Walking Dead series.

  • Resident Evil series.

  • Metro series.

  • Crysis series.

  • Metalgear solid series.

  • Devil May cry series.

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07:11 Jun-26-2018

Gothic 1, 2 NOTR; Vampire Bloodlines The Masquerade; The Witcher 1,2; Half Life 1,2; Mafia; GTA San Andreas; Batman Arkham Asylum; Bioshock 1, 2, Infinite; Soma; Far Cry 3; Metro 2033; God of War 4; Mass Effect 1,2,3; Beyond Two Souls; Gone Home; Firewatch; Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 1,2; Silent Hill 2; Telltale's The Walking Dead; Max Payne 1,2; Enderal;

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07:11 Jun-26-2018

I have yet to play Spec Ops: The Line; This War of Mine; Nier Automata; Life is Strange; Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons; Deadly Premonition; Red Dead Redemption; Portal 1,2 ; Last of Us; The Witcher 3. Can't wait. :P

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07:20 Jun-26-2018

I highly recommend Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. It has a wonderful and heart-breaking story.


About The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt nothing needs to be said, it's one of the best RPGs of this decade.

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07:03 Jun-28-2018

tnx ... I will play them first:P

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03:58 Jun-26-2018

I like Deadspace 1-2,
Bastion,
FarCry3,
Metro 2033
and Mass Effect.

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16:05 Jun-25-2018

I actually loved Firewatch. I was so disappointed when it ended so quickly...
Life is Strange was amazing.
Also, The Walking Dead series is great

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11:41 Jun-25-2018

Darksiders
Dead Island (both 1 and Riptide have amazing story and as real zombie apocalypse as possible)
Detroit : Become Human (one of the best stories i've ever watched)
Far Cry 2
and ofc the COD MW series

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11:13 Jun-25-2018

STAR WARS KOTOR 1 and 2
Mass Effect
Prince of Persia
Mafia 1 and 2 (didn't played 3...)
Far cry 3
GTA Vice City

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10:19 Jun-25-2018

Silent hill series (Best of horror stories)
Resident evil series (Best of thriller stories)
God of War series (One of the best ancient stories)
Metro series (Best of Apocalypse stories)
Driver parallel lines ( Best racing story)
Mortal kombat shaolin monks{PS2} (Best old fighting story)
These are the ones i can think of ATM.

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09:43 Jun-25-2018

Far cry 3 sleeping dogs pop worrior within

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09:28 Jun-25-2018

A few of the games I've played with the most engaging story is The Witcher 2, The Witcher 3, Spellforce 3, Mass Effect, Mass Effect 3, NWN: Hordes of the Underdark, NWN 2: Mask of the Betrayer, Jade Empire and SW Kotor 2.


Most of these just had the right setting for me and good characters.

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14:38 Jun-25-2018

GTA Vice City is also another favourite. 80 plus heavy betreyal themes, and Scarface scenes.

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07:16 Jun-25-2018

I think nier automata.also can be hitman 2.

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04:57 Jun-25-2018

Black Ops 4.
On a serious note Nier: Automata, Half Life, GTA VC and SA, World of Warcraft 3.

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11:36 Jun-25-2018

world of warcraft wrath of the lich king?
or y mean warcraft 3?

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02:23 Jun-25-2018

Planescape: Torment.


"What can change the nature of a man?"


This game can

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01:42 Jun-25-2018

Baldur's Gate, Bioshock, Half Life, Command And Conquer, New Vegas, Witcher, Prince Of Persia, Far Cry 1 and so on and so forth

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01:13 Jun-25-2018

Baldur's Gate Series had the best storytelling IMO.

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00:59 Jun-25-2018

Nier Automata's story with its hauntingly beautiful soundtrack is the runaway winner for me.

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00:38 Jun-25-2018

The Latest CODs Have Amazing Story

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21:55 Jun-24-2018

Can't belive nobody yet mentioned GTA: San Andreas. It really has one of the best stories of GTA games

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21:56 Jun-24-2018

Also Fallout New Vegas is one of the best ever

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21:47 Jun-24-2018

Legacy Of Kain and Blood Omen Series have a amazing story. The timeline, characters, story telling and those beautiful voices...

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19:49 Jun-24-2018

I'll throw some I didn't read up yet


Deadly Premonition, Psychonauts and The Wolf Among Us.

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19:22 Jun-24-2018

My favorites r as follows. I cant rank them as all of them r equal and important to me.
The POP sands of time triology. (special mention to WW)
The entire Batman Arkham series.
From Asassin's Creed, the ezio triology and Rogue.
From Final Fantasy its VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, type 0 and XIII.
From the dev Yoko taro, its Drakengard 1, 2, 3, NieR, and Automata.
From Metal gear, it will be sons of liberty, peace walker, and phantom pain.
Half life series
NFS Most wanted
Some of the Zelda games.....etc

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