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Games with good stories


What are your favorite stories told through games?

I recently watched a Let’s Play of Ghost Trick. It’s a mystery with plenty of plot twists, memorable characters, and a lot of heart.

I’ve also been watching Let’s Plays of the Uncharted series which, among other things, has really good set pieces.

Topic somewhat inspired by this video of events in games that stick with you.

(This topic was originally something else but I think opening up the question would interest more people.)


Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture and What became of Edith Finch are two that instantly spring to mind for their incredibly moving stories. I mean you can call them walking simulators if you like but the narrative was so strong I was constantly captivated.


Some of my favs that people might not be aware of:
All the Shadowrun games by harebrained are pretty good, but Dragonfall - Director’s Cut is just excellent. The plot is good, the characters are incredible.

I also loved the Sith Warrior questline in The Old Republic MMO, which is 100% believable as a lightside story. There’s a ton of time-wasting MMO nonsense, but the story beats are incredibly entertaining, and you really feel like you’re getting to know your character. And the frickin’ music. Heeeeck. That music.


I enjoyed the stories and general aesthetics of Bastion, Transistor, and Pyre. Supergiant Games does a lot of things right.


Ghost Trick was great, I actually forgot about it until your comment. I think I cried at one point? Good story.


I did play all the way through Shadowrun: Hong Kong. The characters in your party were great for exploring certain aspects of the setting, like discussing transhumanism, leaving mothercorp and living as a metahuman, or embodying being a Rat shaman. Their individual mission were well-designed too. There were some NPCs I wanted more of as well. I got most of the way through Dragonfall; maybe it’s time to finish it.


I didn’t get as far into Hong Kong, truthfully. The characters certainly explored themes well, but they felt flatter character-wise than the Dragonfall ones, and the one I was the most interested in was unrealistically didactic. I will totes finish it at some point though.


Pyre is definitely the one that lately made most impact on me. Oxenfree is one not mentioned yet that I’ll throw into the mix.


I’ve only just finished it, but I really loved the story of Nier:Automata. It’s maybe less of a story than a philosophical musing, but the modularity of the storytelling was really interesting - It’s almost like memento. There is an over-arching storyline, but it feels like a series of vignettes based around a singular theme that tell a greater story once put together.

And that’s about as much as I can say without spoilers.

…Edith Finch was really great. I’m not sure I loved the story as such, but the anthology story-telling was pretty much perfect. Makes me wonder what a major author could do with these kinds of mechanisms - imagine Cloud Atlas with the book in a book in a book format. (minor vague spoilers that won’t ruin the enjoyment of playing through first time) The bath and fish in particular really captured the feelings of those characters in that moment.

Oxenfree was definitely… interesting? It was similar to Firewatch to me, in that it was great at laying a foundation of story that was really intriguing, but the ending didn’t fulfil all the suggestions and hints during the mid-game of what the story could have been.

And in regards to Firewatch… (Spoilers, obv)

Did anyone else think the suggestion of everything being a psychotic delusion was a really great idea? Was really disappointed when it turns out, no, everything was fine.


Gone Home is definitely one of my favorites.

80 Days is a choose your own adventure that managed to really touch me at times.

Some of my favorite stories are the ones that emerge from gameplay. I’ve had amazing X-COM moments when playing on Ironman and every move matters. Losing team members is devastating! Crusader Kings II emergent storytelling system has also some of my best story moments in games.


Yakuza 0 on PS4 has one of the better told crime stories I’ve experienced in a while. It’s also really funny and full of great moments. Highly recommended.


ah Tacoma, bloody loved Tacoma.


This is like the third time today that someone has recommended Yazuka. I’m sold!

@Sagantine: I finished Shadowrun: Hong Kong a few years ago, and as a long-time fan of that universe, enjoyed the story for the most part. Aside from flatter characters, are there any other big differences between it and Dragonfall?


Some of the mechanics are slightly clunkier (though still much improved over their original one) and it’s set in Berlin. Otherwise it’s the same game design, and it’s 100% worth getting.


+1 to 80 Days and Gone Home. 80 Days was a great example of a story that felt organic and driven by my actions, and Gone Home was the most I’ve ever felt like I actually inhabited a narrative space. Tacoma was also cool but didn’t have as strong of an effect on me.

I remember getting very invested in the story in Dreamfall. Some of my favourite story moments are from System Shock 2, Bioshock 1 and Knights of the Old Republic 1. And on the sillier side, I really enjoyed the characters and worldbuilding of Brütal Legend, and how the mechanics and abilities fit into the overall theme.


Been having a big think about this and I’ll bring some not yet mentioned games into the mix.

JAK 2 - This has a weirdly good story, considering how much of a “games need to be grim” it outwardly has. It’s a huge departure from the first game in the series, but is still connected in smart important ways. It’s kind of like “kiddies first cyber punk thriller.” Feels a lot like a well made early 2000s cartoon with lots characters and is full of charisma.

Knights of the Old Republic 2 - The first KOTOR is a traditional star wars story in a new setting. KOTOR 2 does something which I think is far more brave and for me pretty thrilling. It attempts to create a different and daring kind of star wars story. It even manages to begin to ask question of “What even is the force anyway?” which is neat! It’s my favourite Star Wars thing ever. Shame the game it self is unfinished.

Bioshock 2 - Another sequel which I kind of like more than critically acclaimed original. Bioshock 2 is the surprisingly touching story of a child being in the middle of a dispute between her two parents. Plus one of your weapons is an industrial drill which feels pretty great.

Dragon Age Origins - The best humdrum fantasy story ever made in a game. The story isn’t massively creative or original, but it still hits all the right beats. Sometimes that’s all you need you know.
Something super inspired that DAO does do is the effects a characters origin stories have on the overall story. A characters origins often effects the context of how the main story plays out. I don’t think I’ve ever played a game that does this one thing as well as Dragon Age Origins.

LOOM - Oh, it’s just wonderful. Even comes with an audio book.

Honourable Mentions:

Dark Souls (and souls games/bloodborne) - I love Souls stories, but I would be lying if I said I understood anything that was going on while playing the games themselves for the first time. I enjoy the stories in retrospect.

Dead Space - Okay, Dead Space has a bad story, full of stupid conspiracy junk and dozens of logical inconsistency’s and what not, BUT the main core of Dead Space’s story, a man wandering onto a spaceship and then immediately realising the situation is out of control and everything confusing, stressful and weird, that is the compelling nugget for the story.


80 days is a treat. You had a look at the Sorcery series by the same devs? (INKLE)


Yes! I thought the first was a very well videogame-d gamebook, but then each part after that took off into ever more deep, interconnected, living worlds. Good point, I think the Sorcery series is an even better example than 80 days.


From the other replies I take it this isn’t the thread for games that generate stories?

As far as I can remember, Dwarf Fortress is the only game that actually inspired me to write up what happened during a game, for other people to read. That makes it one of my favourite stories told through a game, much more so than the pre-scripted efforts I’ve read/watched in so many others.

I appreciate the earlier mention of Dark Souls. I do like it for its story-telling-in-retrospect approach.


I haven’t got into Dwarf Fortress, but Crusader Kings II (mentioned above) is one that I found myself describing what was happening in my game, without meaning to, to people who’d never played it. I think that’s the only time I’ve been compelled to tell a videogame story like that so I think that counts!