#1 Edited by ominousflare (8 posts) -

Good day, gentlemen. In recent years, I've acquired somewhat of an addiction for video games with a branching storyline. I've tried my hands on several video games claimed to have a 'branching storyline' but they have disappointed me, greatly, by really having a 'parallel storyline' that only include the illusion of a completely non-linear plot - and not a very good illusion, mind you. Examples include, Mafia 2 and Sleeping Dogs. Oh, and please don't mention Dishonoured as well... that game only has two paths, as far as I could tell.

The other thing I'm interested in is mainstream. I do not enjoy games that go too technical in terms of its lore and jargon; they do quite bore me. I'd prefer it if the game recommended to me keeps more interesting aspects as its main focus, rather than info-dump. Examples include the Mass Effect series and Dragon Age: Origins, both of which I've already replayed several times. They both have a very expansive universe, but the knowledge of their lore aren't needed to enjoy the non-linear narrative aspects of the game. Deus Ex: Human Revolution, for example, includes a really bleak and dry storyline that bores me after five minutes of gameplay, whereas the first five minutes of Mass Effect were more engaging and 'mainstream.'

Then comes the third requirement - it has to be on PC. The selection range would've been much broader if I own a PS2/PS3/XBox 360, as there's always Heavy Rain/GTA V, which, as you know, include non-linear narratives. I would've chosen to play a visual novel, of course, but VNs don't include the kind of interactivity you could only find in 'real video games.' VNs are interactive novels, not interactive games.

I do realize the great challenge presented here, seeing as there are so little PC games that are as interesting and yet, non-linear as the two Bioware games mentioned above. I've already played the first Fable game, and the word is that the second and third installment suck, to put it bluntly. And currently, I'm thinking of purchasing Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy), which was claimed to have a non-linear narrative. If you do happen to think of another title that could feed my addiction, it'd be much appreciated.

#2 Posted by Aetheldod (3707 posts) -

Your best bet will be the Witcher 2 ...

#3 Posted by ominousflare (8 posts) -

Your best bet will be the Witcher 2 ...

Yes, I have heard of that. It's not too linear throughout the course of the game, is it? I've heard that the story only branches out in mid-game, and the rest of the game is just one, single linear line... Hm.

Oh yes, one more title I forgot to mention as an example - Dishonoured. Not my type of game. Too linear. Offers only two paths throughout the entire game. Ugh.

#4 Edited by mlarrabee (3057 posts) -

I think Fallout: New Vegas fits your criteria.

EDIT: Oh, and I enjoyed Fable 2 much more than I did Fable. You should give a try; it gets really good after the slow two early hours.

EDIT TO EDIT: Although, if I recall, that never came over to PC. A true pity...

#5 Edited by ominousflare (8 posts) -

@mlarrabee said:

I think Fallout: New Vegas fits your criteria.

Tried it. Don't really like it. How linear could a game get by having the entire town turn against you for... stealing? Takes away the fun of stealth-stealing. Also, I'm looking more for an action non-linear game, not really a 'survival' one. A 'survival game' usually forces you to play through harsh and difficult gameplay that honestly takes too much effort to pique my interest.

#6 Edited by Hayt (339 posts) -

@mlarrabee said:

I think Fallout: New Vegas fits your criteria.

How linear could a game get by having the entire town turn against you for... stealing? Takes away the fun of stealth-stealing.

I am really confused by this statement. Firstly I dont think that's the correct use of the word linear. Secondly, if you steal using stealth the NPCs don't turn against you, that only happens if you get caught. Do you want a game with consequence or no consequence? It seems like you want both.

#7 Edited by ominousflare (8 posts) -
@hayt said:
@ominousflare said:

@mlarrabee said:

I think Fallout: New Vegas fits your criteria.

How linear could a game get by having the entire town turn against you for... stealing? Takes away the fun of stealth-stealing.

I am really confused by this statement. Firstly I dont think that's the correct use of the word linear. Secondly, if you steal using stealth the NPCs don't turn against you, that only happens if you get caught. Do you want a game with consequence or no consequence? It seems like you want both.

There were nobody around when I stole. The town turned when my karma dropped, hence my rep. And I'm unable to quietly play the bad guy under the guise of a nice one. So yes, it is linear in that sense.

As far as consequences are concerned, I'm not really interested in consequences that affect my freedom of gameplay. Just because I chose Renegade options in Mass Effect, it didn't affect me from choosing other options later in the game, did it?

#8 Posted by Aetheldod (3707 posts) -

@ominousflare: Well .... its linear in terms of you get to a place and do the quest there ..... but the way you complete them changes and when and how you complete them etc. just like Bioware games does..... it does diverge greatly at the middle (also there are more subtle changes etc. If you liked Dragon Age I highly recomend it.

#9 Posted by schreiberty (208 posts) -

@ominousflare: I like the way you write.

Also I have no suggestions, other than not witcher 2. I found that game incredibly dense.

#10 Edited by ominousflare (8 posts) -

@aetheldod said:

@ominousflare: Well .... its linear in terms of you get to a place and do the quest there ..... but the way you complete them changes and when and how you complete them etc. just like Bioware games does..... it does diverge greatly at the middle (also there are more subtle changes etc. If you liked Dragon Age I highly recomend it.

@schreiberty said:

@ominousflare: I like the way you write.

I found that game incredibly dense.

So is it non-linear or is it dense...? :S

#11 Posted by Hayt (339 posts) -

@ominousflare:

Which town? I am fairly sure that karma only effects what companions you can recruit

#12 Edited by ominousflare (8 posts) -

@hayt:

The starting town. The very beginning. I was forced to kill Easy Pete because of it. As well as everybody.

#13 Posted by Hayt (339 posts) -

@ominousflare:

Your reputation doesn't change if you steal without being caught, so either you found a bug or you weren't as hidden as you thought.

Going back to your original point. You say you want a game where the plot branches, but say you want it to be like Mass Effect? Mass Effect doesn't have a branching plot. All the missions are more or less the same but you just choose to snarky or nice. You say you want a game with a rich plot that doesn't do info dumps but then say you don't like Witcher because it's too dense.

I don't mean to be rude but are you really sure what you want? Maybe I'm just not understanding.

#14 Edited by Aetheldod (3707 posts) -

@ominousflare: I didnt explain it well did I ? -_-U

Ok ... the game is linear as you go only to some locations that you do not choose when to tackle them(unlike Mass Effec and Dragon Age) but on the other hand the quest and subquests can be done in many different ways with different outcomes as in those 2 games. And there is a major branching point at the mid point that will change what happens in the end greatly , what Bioware always promised but never delivered.

#15 Edited by ominousflare (8 posts) -

@hayt said:

@ominousflare:

Your reputation doesn't change if you steal without being caught, so either you found a bug or you weren't as hidden as you thought.

Going back to your original point. You say you want a game where the plot branches, but say you want it to be like Mass Effect? Mass Effect doesn't have a branching plot. All the missions are more or less the same but you just choose to snarky or nice. You say you want a game with a rich plot that doesn't do info dumps but then say you don't like Witcher because it's too dense.

I don't mean to be rude but are you really sure what you want? Maybe I'm just not understanding.

So when does the branching really start in New Vegas? Because it's just one stagnant line at the beginning, where Mass Effect already gives you multiple options at the beginning without affecting your gameplay. For example, you get to threaten a guy at the beginning of ME and still continue on with the mission without the entire town going berserk on you. New Vegas requires you to play nice at the start and chat like a normal person... boring.

Going back to my original point.

Mass Effect has the illusion of a branching plot, and whether you notice or not, the branching is very existential, albeit subtle. Playing snarky changes how some people talk to you later on (Ashley, specifically). It does affect the storyline and not to mention that it affects one of the four multiple endings at the end of the game - snarky good, snarky evil, lawful good, lawful evil.

I didn't say the Witcher is too dense - schreiberty did. I was quoting him, if you failed to notice... I was just trying to confirm the accuracy of his statement compared to aetheldod's implication that the game's plot is non-linear. So is it non-linear but dense? Otherwise, what does schreiberty's statement implicate then?

And yes, rich plot without info-dump. Distract me with mainstream stuff that's easy to understand while retaining a rich plot in the background. Maybe I was wrong about Deus Ex: HR, seeing that I only played it once, but the first 40 minutes of gameplay was just so dull and pretentiously 'mature.' God, mature does not equate to boring, you know?

#16 Edited by ominousflare (8 posts) -

@ominousflare: I didnt explain it well did I ? -_-U

Ok ... the game is linear as you go only to some locations that you do not choose when to tackle them(unlike Mass Effec and Dragon Age) but on the other hand the quest and subquests can be done in many different ways with different outcomes as in those 2 games. And there is a major branching point at the mid point that will change what happens in the end greatly , what Bioware always promised but never delivered.

That actually sounds good. Duly noted. Will check out a demo of the game or a gameplay video to see how it goes first.

#17 Edited by audioBusting (1672 posts) -

If you're up for a non-action game, try out The Stanley Parable.

By the way, if you want you can just kill everybody in Goodsprings (in Fallout New Vegas) and still finish the game. (I'm not even sure why you have to, your karma isn't supposed to affect your local rep.) Anyway, a few quest lines in that game give you multiple paths to take that aren't straight-up good vs evil, which I like. The last few quests in the main storyline are especially good.