The story-line of a video game can be just as important as its gameplay and mechanics. Whether it evokes feelings of nostalgia for days gone by, or simply immerses you in a brand new world; video game stories play an important role in gaming experiences. Here are 5 Video Games where the story is just as important as its gameplay, and video games that offered a unique narrative experience that blew us away.
Firewatch is simplistic, putting you in the role of a single park ranger in Yellowstone National Park, whose only companion is his supervisor Delilah, a voice over a Walkie Talkie that you never actually get to see. Despite not being able to see her, her presence shapes the narrative depending on how you speak to her and how you interact with her. Additionally, this amazing video game story unfolds on an even deeper level as you work to unravel a mystery within the park, namely regarding campers who went missing, and discovering what became of them.
Undertale is one of the most poignant and witty narrative experiences in recent years. Inspired by games like Earthbound, Undertale presents an idea that perhaps playing an RPG doesn’t require grinding, or even killing enemies at all. Undertale allows you to experience one of the best video game stories however you like, whether it is a pacifist play through or a darker “let’s murder everything!” playthrough, your experience with Undertale will be different.
The true ending to Undertale tackles ideas such as friendship and empathy, while also showcasing the savagery that can come from simply doing what has always been done before. You won’t experience Undertale in a single playthrough, but the goofy characters, witty banter, and overall charm of the game causes it to be interesting and brilliant regardless.
Batman Arkham Series
The last mention of overarching series in general, is the Batman: Arkham Series. This game series is mainly on this list due to the Batman: Return to Arkham announcement (the first two games re-released on next generation systems) but is also here due to the fact that despite it being a title based on a comic book character; the Batman: Arkham series is the closest that most of us have gotten to feeling like an actual caped crusader. Infusing a dark, gritty underworld with elements of campy childhood memories of The Joker and Catwoman is part of the charm of the series. The other part is how the gameplay allows us to really sink our teeth into becoming The Batman, using his wits and gadgets to defeat the villains of Gotham City. The Batman: Arkham series easily toes the line between the Christopher Nolan style realism of Batman, and the campy sort of comic book-esque style that fans are accustomed to.
Life is Strange
Life is Strange tackled many taboo ideas in the episodic time travel/alternate reality tale. From situations like rape, bullying, suicide, and depression the story driven video game delves deep into issues plaguing today’s youth, relatable ideas that make Life is Strange more than just a singular experience. The concept of choice also comes into play, with the idea of the Butterfly Effect causing the player to question every decision they make, ultimately making the player wonder if the story ending they receive is truly the best course of action for the tale.
The Witcher Series
The Witcher series brought dark fantasy to a new level, offering a rich fantasy world with adult themes and a possibly the best video game story in recent years. The most recent game The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt not only offers an intense main quest-line, but also offers side quests which contain smaller stories that still have weight in the world and can show a smaller scale perspective on the world and how people in it live. Compared to things like Game of Thrones and Grimm Fairy tales (in their more original forms) The Witcher series gives us bits of fantastical lore and rich mythology, then leads us down the streets of the common people, showing us how both halves of the world live and breathe, coexisting though not always peacefully.
All of the games listed above are available on PC, and I encourage you to try them out if you are looking for a the best story driven games. There are plenty of other narratives that are worth looking at, but these are a variety of tones and ideas that can appeal to a wide array of players.