The plot or the narrative of a game is one of the defining factors of most modern games. In fact for some people it’s what makes or breaks a game. These days story rich titles come in all shapes and sizes. You’ve got the BioShock series, full of intrigue and mystery, BioWare’s Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises that allow players to craft their own personal sagas and point and clicks like Life is Strange and The Walking Dead that lay emphasis on player choice. In this post, I’ll be listing some of the best story-rich games you can immerse yourself in.
10 Best Story Rich Games
Ken Lavigne’s BioShock Infinite is one of the most popular story-driven games out there. The game follows gun-for-hire and brute Booker de Wit who supposedly owes some dangerous people a lot of money. Now he’s been given a chance to clear all his dues and perhaps even redeem himself of his past sins.
Booker is sent to the floating city of Columbia which is ruled by one Father Comstock, who manipulates people into following him in the name of religion. Booker’s objective is to abduct Comstock’s daughter Elizabeth and take her back to New York with him. However this simple task turns out to be far more complicated than he initially anticipated.
Firewatch is a game that seems like any other at first, but it has so many layers that it takes hours after completion to fully take it all in. The player character, Henry finds his marriage in jeopardy and after many vain attempts to fix things, he decides to take a break.
He accepts a job as the forest-watch at the Shoshone National Forest. The work is pretty laid back and he gets some much needed peace and quiet. However, his supervisor (Delilah) is a nosy yet caring woman. The two get along well and have tons of entertaining conversations. At the same time, Henry discovers something in the forest that shakes them both up and they find themselves in a rather precarious situation.
Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth
Pillars of the Earth is based on the novel of the same name by Ken Follet. It’s not for everyone though. With a dark tone and mature storytelling, it deals with subjects like the hegemony of the Church back in Medieval times and often questions the validity of religion in modern times which is sure to offend many.
One of Daedalic’s finest, it has multiple protagonists from different classes of the society. You have Alieana, an erl’s daughter, Jack, the son of an outcast and lastly Brother Philip, a prior. Their lives intersect and one’s decisions affect the rest. This is a game that will keep you on edge and doesn’t hesitate from killing off even the most central characters.
Dragon Age Origins
Ah, BioWare. I miss those days when their games focused more on the narrative and characters. Good ol’ Garrus, Liara and Morrigan, ain’t no other game that has a better caste. These weren’t just video game characters, they were your friends. I mean if something happened to them, I’d get really upset. I can’t say the same for most games’ characters.
Then there’s the lore. The Dragon Age saga has some of the most well-written plots. Many consider it to be the spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate and rightly so. It retained most of the positives of the iconic DnD games. While the sequels aren’t as good, they are still worth trying out if you are a fan of BioWare’s games.
Mass Effect 2
Another BioWare classic that is perhaps one of the best games ever made. Creating a sequel to a successful title is hard. You have to make sure its not too different, but at the same time it can’t be very similar to it’s predecessor either.
BioWare created the perfect sequel with Mass Effect 2. With a masterfully written storyline where decisions weight heavily and an epic conclusion, Mass Effect 2 is one of the most immersive games of our generation. The companions, the visuals, the plot and even the soundtrack, everything is just as it should be.
Life is Strange
I don’t think I have to explain much here. Like all their other titles, Square Enix did a shit-ton of marketing for Life is Strange, so I doubt there is any gamer out there who hasn’t heard of it.
As for what it actually offers. Its the story of a teenager who gains the ability to manipulate time and rewrite the past and the future. Other than that some of the more glaring issues of our time like teen pregnancy are also explored and although the game has it’s fair share of cliches, Life is Strange is definitely a must play for every fan of the genre.
The Walking Dead
The game that made Telltale Game Studios popular. Although they have a bunch of other point and clicks that have commendable stories, it is The Walking Dead that really stands out.
The first season follows a convict who makes it his duty to look after a young girl whose parents are lost in the apocalypse. Caught between the walking dead and his own guilt, he regularly finds himself in trying situations. This was one of the first games that made player choice an important part of story-driven games that aren’t RPGs.
Another episodic game with a bit of puzzle solving and notable character writing, Dreamfalls Chapters has five episodes and unlike most games of the genre it features a 3D world.
Dreamfalls has a unique setting. The game is set in two parallel universes, Stark- a cyberpunk futuristic version of Earth and Arcadia, the magical one. The story too is also quite unorthodox. Conspiracies that threaten to enslave people by stealing their dreams. You don’t get to hear that everyday. I’ll leave you to dwell on that for a while.
The Banner Saga
Okay dwelling time’s up! Next up on the list we’ve got The Banner Saga. An indie game that combines storytelling, turn-based combat and a bit of resource management in a hand-painted 2D world that result in a colorful game with a mature narrative.
Like some games on this list, The Banner Saga also plays out from different perspectives. However, the most prominent character is Rook who must protect his young daughter through dark times and at the same time lead his people to safety. Decisions matter here and the impacts are sometimes apparent right away while at other times come to haunt you when you least expect it.
Prince of Persia (2008)
Prince of Persia- One of the first games I played! While the original ones weren’t known for their story, the 2008 reboot had a rich plot with gorgeous cell shaded visuals and amazingly well-written dialogs to piece it all together. Unfortunately back then, gamers weren’t ready for this little gem.
The game follows an unnamed protagonist who amid a sandstorm runs into a beautiful princess. During their brief encounter, she manages to charm him and he ends up following her. What happens next is something he least expected. The god of Darkness breaks free and he gets dragged into a celestial war. Stuck with the noble princess, our rugged protagonist takes upon himself to vanquish the dark god and restore order. There is a something however that the princess has’t told him and he must find out what before its too late.