Top Ten Storylines in Video Games

My Top Ten Storylines in Video Games

Many of us play our video games for all kinds of reasons, whether it be for its multi-player aspect, humor, brutality, as an escape, the campaign or just the name alone. I for one, am intrigued by a great storyline.

I must be a gripped to the edge of my seat, nail biting, hour by hour addict enveloped by a game's story (at least most of the time). I am a lover of the single player campaigns.

So here is my take on the Top Ten Storylines in Video Games:

10. L.A. Noire

A story that revolves around new detective Cole Phelps with the very corrupt Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), slowly after returning from service in World War 2. He is trying to right some personal demons thanks to his experiences. The cases you solve throughout his rise through various departments of the LAPD bring him some stunning realizations about his time in the military, who he spends time with and how they're affected. The story is based on how the crimes are investigated and solved by the player. The game is deep in its heavy plots and aesthetics of films from the 1940s and 1950s.

9. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Set during the Cold War-era of the Soviet Union, the story centers around FOX operative Naked Snake as he attempts to rescue a weapons designer, sabotage a superweapon, and assassinate his former defected boss. Throughout the story he learns the reasons behind his boss' defection and betrayal and begins to understand the decisions made but ultimately still must face his former boss on the battlefield. The game is told through cut scenes and radio conversations. Despite the 1960s feel, it has all the aspects of high tech.

8. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of The White Witch

This is a wonderful magical world with characters you care about. Once you start Ni No Kuni, you just cannot stop. It's a story about Oliver, a young boy from Motorville. He's good-natured, kind, pure, broken-hearted and that's part of its charm. While trying out a new vehicle designed by his friend Philip, Oliver almost drowns but is saved by his mother Allie who consequently dies from saving him. His tears of grief cause his doll, a gift from his mother, to come to life and reveals itself as a fairy named Drippy. Drippy tells Oliver that he's from another world where an evil wizard named Shadar has taken control. He also explains to Oliver that each person in his world has a "soul mate" - in essence a person with a link to someone in Oliver's world. It's with this knowledge that Oliver sets out on his adventure to find the link to his mother to bring her back to his own world. It's an adventure game of battling creatures called Familiars which you are able to collect. The Familiars can level up and equip weapons and armor. This game takes a bit from Pokémon which is delightful.

7. Alan Wake

A survival horror game that follows bestselling novelist Alan Wake as he tries to uncover the mystery behind his wife's disappearance during a vacation in the town of Bright Falls, Washington, all the while experiencing events from the plot of his latest book that he cannot remember writing that is coming to life. Alan Wake contains plot twists and cliffhangers as it's similar to a TV series. Its narrative, pacing, and atmosphere are primarily written by Sam Lake and is brilliant.

6. Halo Reach

This is a story around a squad of superhuman soldiers called Spartans and their defense of the planet Reach from the invasion by the alien race known as The Covenant. It's based on great struggle and sacrifice against overwhelming odds and it's the basis of this story that has led to the Halo series. It's how humanity has been backed into a corner by the ever encroaching forces of The Covenant and how the sacrifice and downfall of Reach was necessary for the survival of humanity.

5. The Walking Dead

A true gut-wrenching story of Lee Everett, a man on his way to prison, who is the unlikely hero who stumbles upon Clementine, a young girl whose parents were vacationing in another city when the zombie apocalypse occurred. Throughout their journey you meet vast characters that you grow to love or hate. The game's strengths are the dialogue and character development. The execution of each scenario is what makes this a must play.

4. BioShock

What can I say of this amazing story? Andrew Ryan is the perfect man who has built the perfect world, an underwater utopian city called Rapture. Believing he had found The Way, when in actuality Andrew Ryan created a society bent on hedonistic vanity, unchecked ambition and extreme moral enigma. It is exquisite in its depravity and the epic demoralization of the city is revealed through narrative devices called audio-logs found throughout the many levels. It's an artistic masterpiece thanks to Ayn Rand, Ken Levine, and John Galt.

3. Silent Hill 2

Silent Hill 2 starts off as a bizarre love story. James Sunderland is searching for his wife after receiving a letter from her on year after her death. It tells a complex story on different levels in which the way you play and interact throughout its sinister world has bearing. The spoken narrative of Silent Hill 2 leaves little doubt on the kind of man James Sunderland is. If you spend the game at half or less health you'll get a different ending. This is because the game thinks that James is suicidal. Hmm interesting. Every horrific creature in the game is a manifestation of the character James' twisted psyche and the physical representations are of his sexual hang-ups and guilt. At the end of this game you've lost all empathy for its protagonist.

2. Mass Effect Series PERIOD

Can I say this is a story that rivals many sci-fi epics like Star Wars? YES I CAN! This is Akira Kurosawa's (whom I adore) Seven Samurai except it's in space. The deep back story of each character and complex decisions made throughout brings an intense bond between the player and its characters. The player not only affects the overall plot but the many sub-plots and stories that occur simultaneously as the main plot unfolds. The fact that the decisions of the player carry on from one game to the next makes it an epic marvel with a huge dedicated fan base.

And My Top Pick....

1. The Last of Us

Yes, it's no secret that this is my favorite game and no wonder with so many naming this triumph by Naughty Dog as Game of the Year for 2013. This is epic story telling of two characters in a post-apocalyptic world. Joel, a man suffering from his grief, and Ellie, a 14 year old orphan, are the main characters in which every encounter develops the dynamics of their relationship. This is a brutal and human story that is realistic to its very core. Its cut scenes will have you glued to your seat. I fell in love with Joel and Ellie and so will you.

Well there you have it, my list of great storylines.

If you haven't checked any of these phenomenal games out, I highly recommend that you do.

Featured Columnist

Venisia is really just a kid in adult form. She is a published author, photographer, artist, executive assistant, public relations coordinator, game writer, gamer of 35+ years, geek, nerd, singer, dancer, senior editor, freelance journalist, comic & film aficionado, podcaster, activist, and volunteer. Venisia is a huge fan of comics, anime, EVERY genre of gaming, dance, horror/martial arts films, Doctor Who, Daleks, Star Wars, Monty Python, Flash Gordon, Black Dynamite, and anything by Mel Brooks (who doesn't appreciate Spaceballs?).

Published Jan. 16th 2014
  • Catskills
    Where's Portal 2? These are all good games and I've played them all extensively, but Portal 2 was just amazing in its storyline, dialogue, and cutscenes, as well as the fun mind-bending puzzles, beautiful graphics, and detailed, complex open world. I spent over a half hour exploring after Wheatley led me to GLaDOS.
  • Venisia Gonzalez
    Featured Columnist
    Portal 2 is a great game but my list for ten games lol. It IS on my top 20 games.
  • gabfran
    Nice list.
  • Venisia Gonzalez
    Featured Columnist
    Thank you.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    I can't go with Ni no Kuni or Halo: Reach but the others are good picks. Loved Alan Wake.

    Final Fantasy titles are always in my top 10, but that's just me. I'd also give honorable mentions to Heavy Rain, as well as Vagrant Story, Chrono Cross, and Vandal Hearts II, if only for the surprisingly well-written dialogue.
  • Venisia Gonzalez
    Featured Columnist
    Final Fantasy is a great series.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Well, WAS a great series. :(
  • Synzer
    Guide Editor
    I agree with most on this list. For me there would also be the Kingdom Hearts series, and the first Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic series. Anyone who even remotely enjoys story needs to play these games.
  • Venisia Gonzalez
    Featured Columnist
    If I had done a top 20 Star Wars would be on it.
  • GameSkinny Staff
    Contributor
    Great list! I'd definitely recommend a few of my own:
    Baldur's Gate 1 and 2
    Planescape: Torment
    Shadowrun Returns
  • Venisia Gonzalez
    Featured Columnist
    Planescape: Torment was good

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