The 20 Best Story Video Games of All Time

Best Story Video Games of All Time: Video games can be awesome for various reasons like cool graphics, addictive gameplay, and great sounds. But there’s one thing that people sometimes forget, and it’s super important – the story.

Best Story Video Games of All Time

Some games have stories that are so good, that they’re like amazing movies or books. In this article, let’s check out the all-time best video games that tell incredible stories and have mastered the art of storytelling in the gaming world.

1. The Last of Us: Part 1

The Last of Us is super strong, especially when you compare scenes from the HBO series to the game – they match up well. It’s crazy that a game from 2013 can still compete or even beat popular TV shows and movies, even after a whole decade.

Props to Neil Druckmann and the smart folks at Naughty Dog for making this franchise stand out. They’ve crafted a deep story about survival and humanity, showing the not-so-great parts of us in a way that hits close to home. Joel and Ellie, the main characters, grow into some of the most complex and interesting characters in gaming history.

As their relationship develops, you get to explore their flaws and what drives them. When the sad ending happens, players are in for a surprise, and the characters’ actions leave a big impact.

2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Watch out, Nilfgaardians, Geralt is making a comeback! In “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt,” our red-haired hero is on a mission to find Ciri, his apprentice, who has caught the attention of the Wild Hunt. This game takes inspiration from Eastern Europe, giving it a unique vibe compared to other fantasy RPGs. But “The Witcher 3” goes beyond the usual fantasy game stuff. The characters feel real and their relationships are complicated.

The story of the game is not your typical narrative style, and it’s made even better by the awesome game mechanics. Unlike games where you make clear good or bad choices, this one lives in the moral gray areas. The main game, Wild Hunt, is already a storytelling marvel, but the Blood & Wine DLC takes it to a whole new level of brilliance.

3. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

The Uncharted series is known for its challenging puzzles, exciting battles, and, most importantly, its groundbreaking story. Each new installment in the series outdoes the previous ones, keeping fans hooked.

Sully and Drake’s quest for hidden treasure taps into our love for deep stories, exploration, and the excitement of adventure tales. The choices the characters make in “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End” are closely tied to the overall story of the series, but I won’t spoil too much for you.

4. Ghost Of Tsushima

In “Ghost of Tsushima,” you step into the shoes of samurai Jin Sakai during the first Mongol attack on Japan. The story revolves around interesting characters who influence Jin’s growth. Players face choices – stick to the honorable samurai ways or adopt the sneaky tactics of the “Ghost.”

This game draws a lot from Akira Kurosawa’s films, with a cool monochrome mode that gives it a cinematic feel. The story gets even more intriguing as Jin’s changes in battle mirror his internal struggles.

5. God of War

Most gamers know about the God of War series, especially the game that came out in 2018 and totally changed the game. It wowed players with its rich story, awesome characters, and a world that was carefully crafted.

A big change in this version is moving from the Greek setting to the mystical lands of ancient Scandinavia. Even though Kratos is still the main dude, the spotlight is on his relationship with his son, Atreus.

Watching their connection grow becomes the main focus as they try to overcome their differences. With exploration, intense combat, and loads of cool missions, the gameplay makes it a top-notch story game.

6. Death Stranding

Hideo Kojima, the genius behind the iconic Metal Gear Solid series, gifts the gaming world with another masterpiece: Death Stranding. If you know his previous works, you can expect his trademark intricate storytelling.

In this game, you become Sam Bridges, on a mission to bring together what’s left of America and bring hope to the survivors. Some people call it a “walking simulator,” and opinions on that vary.

A big chunk of the game involves moving through landscapes, but it’s more than just a stroll. Players get to explore stunning natural scenes, build connections, and meet lots of characters on their journey.

The mix of gameplay and storytelling can grab many players, especially when interacting with NPCs and forming relationships. However, some might find the gameplay a bit repetitive. But no matter what you think about the gameplay, the story is the star, featuring well-known actors like Norman Reedus and Mads Mikkelsen.

7. GTA 5

GTA 5, Rockstar’s latest and most daring story, is considered the best in the series. It’s a game that’s hard to put into one category. It often feels like the movie “Heat,” especially with its memorable heists. But what makes this Los Santos story special is its unpredictability. The unique game feature lets you switch between three characters, adding more to the story.

The game’s voice acting and missions grab players’ attention, making them want to be the main characters: Franklin, Michael, and Trevor. Michael, who feels sorry for his actions, doesn’t seem like someone who would get angry easily.

Franklin’s loyalty might make players avoid unnecessary violence. Then there’s Trevor, played by Steven Ogg, who is the wild card in the game. Trevor is a true madman, giving players a way to enjoy the series’ chaos without separating it from the story.

8. A Way Out

Hazelight isn’t just good at making cooperative stories; they’re skilled at creating emotional experiences. Their first game, “Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons,” had a strong emotional impact on players. Then came “A Way Out,” which also left a lasting impression.

“A Way Out” uses cooperative play to intertwine the stories of its main characters in a way that people still talk about years later. The game is cleverly designed, making players collaborate and then creating tension between them, leading to one of the most memorable story endings in gaming history.

9. Silent Hill 2

People are drawn to horror because it gives them a thrill of fear, often just a quick burst of adrenaline. However, the appeal of horror goes beyond enjoying fear; it might be about facing inner torment.

This idea is explored in Silent Hill 2. The main character, Harry Mason, goes to the spooky town of Silent Hill after getting a letter from his supposedly dead wife. As you play the game, it skillfully combines a structured story with changing narrative elements.

Harry isn’t just a blank slate; he has depth, a backstory, and personal fears. These fears come to life in the town, turning into scary creatures and ghostly scenes. What makes Silent Hill 2 special is how it subtly incorporates the player’s choices into the story, making them think about themes like regret, sexual repression, and suicidal thoughts. The connection between Harry’s mind and the player’s experiences is so complex that it’s hard to tell them apart, suggesting a bond that’s too strong to break.

10. Mass Effect: Legendary Edition

If we talk about building characters, this game stands out as the clear leader, outshining its closest rival. Beyond just the characters, the story itself is impressive, skillfully combining a cosmic rescue mission while paying attention to the details.

Each game in the trilogy could easily be in the top ten on its own. But when BioWare put all three games together, it was a treat for fans of story-focused games. The narrative is so rich that players often prioritize dialogue from their favorite characters over tactical squad combinations to save a galaxy on the edge.

11. Red Dead Redemption 2

No list of the best story-driven games would be complete without mentioning Red Dead Redemption 2. It’s a must-play in the western genre, not just for its captivating story, but also for its many outstanding features. The vast world is filled with unexpected events, like sudden raids and public executions, making the game feel incredibly real.

Apart from the main missions, players can also tackle side tasks such as hunting, poker, or weapon duels. The honor system in the game, which tracks the main character’s ethical reputation and social perception, significantly influences the events. Doing good things boosts your reputation, while wrongdoing decreases it. In essence, Red Dead Redemption 2 provides a narrative experience unparalleled in the gaming world, immersing players in the atmosphere of 19th-century America.

12. Half-Life 2

Half-Life 2 didn’t just change the way first-person shooter games are made; it also blended a captivating story with the gameplay. Despite the six-year gap between the 1998 original and the 2004 sequel, the game hasn’t lost any of its appeal.

Playing as scientist Gordon Freeman, you step into a world invaded by aliens, aiming to save the world from the mess you caused in Black Mesa.

As players navigate through various landscapes, they can use advanced weapons to fight off alien enemies. Along the way, there are puzzles presented excitingly, adding to the overall experience.

13. Telltale’s The Walking Dead

Telltale’s The Walking Dead delivers an emotionally intense experience and earned the title of Game of the Year in 2012 for its heart-wrenching story. The main character, Lee Everett, initially a man in prison, unexpectedly becomes a savior when he meets Clementine, a child left alone during a zombie crisis while her parents are away.

Their journey leads them to Savannah, where they hope to find Clementine’s parents. Throughout the game, players encounter various characters, each evoking different levels of affection or disdain. The choices players make affect these relationships and can shape the course of the journey. What truly stands out in the game is its compelling dialogue and character development, triggering a range of emotions, especially as Clementine navigates challenging situations.

Despite the predictability of the zombie horror, it’s the pacing of the game and the expert unfolding of events that set The Walking Dead apart.

14. Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn stands out not just for its stunning universe and breathtaking graphics but also for offering not one, but two compelling narratives. The main character, Aloy, goes on a journey of self-discovery, delving into her mysterious past throughout the game.

Simultaneously, her connection to the post-apocalyptic landscape is as deep as her ties to the world before its collapse. The diverse characters in the game bring authentic motives and perspectives, adding to the richness of the storytelling.

15. BioShock

Bioshock is famous not just for its interesting world that questions ideas of selfishness and perfect societies, but also for a specific three-word phrase: “Would you kindly?” This seemingly innocent sentence makes Bioshock a legendary gaming story. The phrase is introduced subtly and fits well into the 1960s setting, initially appearing like a small detail.

However, when the bad guy, Andrew Ryan, reveals that it’s more than just a background detail – it’s a powerful command that controls your actions in the game – it adds a surprising and impactful twist to the already captivating story.

16. Batman: Arkham City

The Arkham trilogy is a significant superhero tale in the gaming world. One standout game is Arkham City, where a big part of Gotham is taken over to lock up DC’s worst villains. Batman also gets captured and stuck in there with them.

The story gets even better with various side missions involving a mix of characters. However, what truly makes this game a masterpiece from Rocksteady and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is the twists in the main plot. These revolve around the Joker’s sickness and add a lot of depth to the overall experience.

17. Until Dawn

This horror video game, “Until Dawn,” has classic slasher film vibes. It follows eight friends with shaky connections trying to survive threats in mountainous terrain over one night. The game is known for its butterfly mechanism, showing a butterfly on the screen when players face crucial decisions.

The game keeps players on edge as any character could die, making them stay focused. The gameplay mechanics and the significant outcomes of decisions create a tense atmosphere similar to a horror film. It even challenges players to keep their controllers steady during the impending dangers.

18. A Plague Tale Requiem

The touching tale of siblings struggling through the harsh times of the Black Death left a strong impression on players, leading to the creation of a sequel. A Plague Tale Requiem keeps up the legacy of its forerunner, offering addictive gameplay, an engaging atmosphere, and impressive graphics.

The narrative focuses on the hardships faced by a pair of siblings. While playing the first game, Innocence, is recommended, it’s not necessary. However, diving into this rich and intricately designed world enhances your appreciation for its depth as you get immersed in the experience.

19. Final Fantasy series

The well-respected Final Fantasy series, made by Square Enix, has been a crucial part of Japanese role-playing games since it began in 1987. With over 15 main titles and numerous spin-offs and remakes, each installment tells a unique story with different worlds, characters, and gameplay twists.

While every game has its own story, there are common themes like detailed character development, strategic turn-based combat, and a diverse range of magical abilities. Players usually embark on a hero’s journey, facing enemies and solving puzzles to prevent impending disasters.

Final Fantasy introduced game mechanics like the fast-paced Active Time Battle system and the Materia system, allowing players to customize their characters’ abilities. The series’ musical essence, created by the renowned Nobuo Uematsu, along with impressive visuals, has consistently captivated audiences.

Final Fantasy stands as a milestone in gaming history, praised for its deep narrative, innovative gameplay, and technical excellence.

20. Life is Strange

Life is Strange is a game about two friends, Max and Chloe, who face typical teenage problems, like relationships and a big storm that could destroy their town. The game is split into three parts, and it uncovers the mystery of a missing girl named Rachel Amber, who is important to Chloe. The main focus of the game is that players get to make choices that affect the story, and you can play it multiple times to see different outcomes.

If you like the story, you can also check out “Before the Storm,” which is a prequel. It tells more about Chloe and Rachel’s relationship before the events of Life is Strange. This story is emotional and deals with themes like growing up, dealing with sadness, and unresolved feelings. Unlike the main game, there are no supernatural elements in this one, making it more realistic. The decisions you make in the game have a big impact and will stick with you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top