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#1 Edited by Jeust (10655 posts) -

For me it is Alan Wake. The gameplay might bore after a while, but the story is always superb. Even in American Nightmare they can pull off a believable and deep plot with all the repetition. The guys at Remedy are amazing.

Runner-ups: Atlus with Shin Megami Tensei and (late) Cavia with Nier. Atlus makes interesting plots to me, that deal with more than bare justification for the gameplay, while Cavia was awesome with its realization of the universe from Nier, even if we probably won't see more of it.

p.s. - writting in a tablet is slow and frustrating. I hate it!

#2 Posted by 71Ranchero (2771 posts) -

Shenmue.

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#3 Posted by believer258 (11914 posts) -

Bioshock 1 has one of the tightest stories I've ever heard, i.e. there aren't many, if any, loose strings that I know of.

I can't really point to an overall series though. I guess TES has some really good lore if you want to dig into that stuff.

#4 Posted by Marz (5653 posts) -

uh... Final Fantasy if were talking about franchises as a whole.  Sure i don't like every game in the series but a few of them had some memorable stories.

#5 Posted by GeekDown (1170 posts) -

I think I would have to go with Bioshock. I really didn't care for the gameplay in the first one, but the writing is great. Minerva's Den is one of the best stories ever told in a game IMO. Alan Wake and Mass Effect are fantastic too.

#6 Edited by Stonyman65 (2711 posts) -

Metal Gear

Deus Ex

Resident Evil (as corny as it is, it's crazy)

Half Life

Edit: Max Payne. How could I forget that?

#7 Posted by MooseyMcMan (11032 posts) -

I put this both because I love the game's story, and because I feel like it classes up any thread.

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#8 Posted by Cloudenvy (5891 posts) -

@Marz said:

uh... Final Fantasy if were talking about franchises as a whole. Sure i don't like every game in the series but a few of them had some memorable stories.

This would probably be my answer as well.

#9 Posted by mosespippy (4186 posts) -

I was thinking about Persona 4's spin off products the other day. The arcade game, the VITA remake, the anime and other merchandise would not exist if it weren't for the quality of the writing and character development in the original product. But that is a case for best writing, not best story.

For best story I will say Valkyria Chronicles. I guess it's easier to tell a good story when you put 3 or 4 scenes between each gameplay sequence.

#10 Posted by Eclectic (20 posts) -

Marathon. Durandal is an antagonist with motivations that make sense, Leela isn't just a damsel in distress and Tycho is just plain crazy.

#11 Posted by TooWalrus (13203 posts) -

It's gotta be Metal Gear. It's insane, but I fucking love it unconditionally.

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#12 Posted by TobbRobb (4653 posts) -

I've played, so many damn games. I hate answering this kind of question because I always have a better answer later on.

On top of that, I'm more of a "journey" guy. I don't really care that much about the overall plot, as long as the meat of the game is atmospheric and fun.

To answer the question though... I'm a big sucker for a good crime story, so I would probably call out either the Mafia franchise or Max Payne...

Final Fantasy get a mention for the sheer amount of good stories the franchise contains.

#13 Posted by cutyoface (544 posts) -

Deadly Premonition.

#14 Posted by theodacourt (535 posts) -

Half Life for me. That story feels authentically post-apocalyptic and I love that.

#15 Posted by Gabriel (4062 posts) -

The story in Metal Gear isn't good, but I love it and it's the best video games have got.

#16 Posted by StarvingGamer (8250 posts) -

If we're talking about the story within the confines of a game's narrative then it has to be Metal Gear, but I prefer Mass Effect overall because of the richness of the lore behind the universe.

Also Final Fantasy.

#17 Edited by whyareyoucrouchingspock (975 posts) -

Portal. Best told. Best written. Makes best use of the interactive interactive medium. imo.

@Gabriel said:

The story in Metal Gear isn't good, but I love it and it's the best video games have got.

I wouldn't agree with that at all. Terrible writing, terrible voice acting, alot of the story-telling is just cut-scenes.

Like Call Of Duty it's "anti-game". It directly goes against the interactive aspect.

#18 Posted by dabe (299 posts) -

Metal Gear Solid 1 through 3 (with Metal Gear 1&2 included) are definitely up there. The second one in particular for deconstructing the first in a post-post-modernist manner towards the end...truly special moment in storytelling there (whether games or otherwise). Shame 4 tries and fails at doing what 2 succinctly accomplished.

Dreamfall & The Longest Journey have an enjoyable lore, but infuriating ending/cliffhanger!

Half Life (the way the second actually connects to the first & the pre-text/subtext conveyed) is excellent also.

Most other games are walking cliches story-wise (or their greatness comes from the characters/interaction & immersion a la Persona 4 or Deadly Premonition)...ah video games...

#19 Edited by whyareyoucrouchingspock (975 posts) -

@dabe said:

Metal Gear Solid 1 through 3 (with Metal Gear 1&2 included) are definitely up there. The second one in particular for deconstructing the first in a post-post-modernist manner towards the end...truly special moment in storytelling there (whether games or otherwise). Shame 4 tries and fails at doing what 2 succinctly accomplished.

Dreamfall & The Longest Journey have an enjoyable lore, but infuriating ending/cliffhanger!

Half Life (the way the second actually connects to the first & the pre-text/subtext conveyed) is excellent also.

Most other games are walking cliches story-wise (or their greatness comes from the characters/interaction & immersion a la Persona 4 or Deadly Premonition)...ah video games...

I dont see how Metal Gear Solid or Halflife are not cliche. Metal Gear Solid, you have Rambo VS a bunch of comic book villains. In Halflife you shoot aliens from another dimension.

I agree about Halflife being good though, I wouldn't not call it cliche though. Halflife 2 is basically "1984" and "war of the worlds".

#20 Posted by MideonNViscera (2257 posts) -

Mass Effect. Never really played Metal Gear and Half-Life is pretty boring.

Final Fantasy doesn't really count because it's not a franchise wide story, it's a game or two then a reboot. Plus, like half of them have shitty stories haha

#21 Posted by AlexanderSheen (5009 posts) -

Max Payne (Sam Lake, dearest of all my friends.)

#22 Posted by JacDG (2126 posts) -

The, The Witcher series, love the storylines and the world around it.

#23 Posted by ToxicFruit (1717 posts) -

@mosespippy said:

For best story I will say Valkyria Chronicles. I guess it's easier to tell a good story when you put 3 or 4 scenes between each gameplay sequence.

If you enjoy the story in that you should check out the VC anime, they really focus on the story in that and kinda make it better in some spots, especially if you have played the game.

That is if that is your thing

#24 Edited by dabe (299 posts) -

@whyareyoucrouchingspock: I'd somewhat agree with Half Life, as it's strength for me comes in the diegetic storytelling more than the actual written script.

But Kojima went full retard in MGS2 -- effectively critiquing his own previous work and using mimicry to de-construct why he could never replicate the experience. That beats the batshit nonsense that crops up from time to time (see A LOT!). As far as storytelling goes -- removing plot as much as one can -- it's bordering genius for me.

Also, any plot can be reduced to what you describe and as with anything, the nuances make it less cliche (when I refer to a cliche I'd talk more about specific points/story beats rather than the whole).

#25 Posted by mosespippy (4186 posts) -

@Tfruit said:

@mosespippy said:

For best story I will say Valkyria Chronicles. I guess it's easier to tell a good story when you put 3 or 4 scenes between each gameplay sequence.

If you enjoy the story in that you should check out the VC anime, they really focus on the story in that and kinda make it better in some spots, especially if you have played the game.

That is if that is your thing

I haven't checked out the anime (I don't really watch anything other than sports) but I have played VC2 in Japanese and English and played VC3 in Japanese. Do you know how the anime compares to them? It seems like Valkyria Chronicles writing is hit or miss with the original being great the second being garbage and the third (from my limited understanding of events) possibly going either way.

#26 Posted by ToxicFruit (1717 posts) -

@mosespippy said:

@Tfruit said:

@mosespippy said:

For best story I will say Valkyria Chronicles. I guess it's easier to tell a good story when you put 3 or 4 scenes between each gameplay sequence.

If you enjoy the story in that you should check out the VC anime, they really focus on the story in that and kinda make it better in some spots, especially if you have played the game.

That is if that is your thing

I haven't checked out the anime (I don't really watch anything other than sports) but I have played VC2 in Japanese and English and played VC3 in Japanese. Do you know how the anime compares to them? It seems like Valkyria Chronicles writing is hit or miss with the original being great the second being garbage and the third (from my limited understanding of events) possibly going either way.

I sadly have not played 2 and 3 so i don't really know how it compares to them but i have heard that people have mixed feelings on those games.

The anime is really just the story of the first games but going a little deeper into some events and fleshing out some minor characters

#27 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8699 posts) -

Many for me, can't really pick.

#28 Posted by Hailinel (24842 posts) -
@TaliciaDragonsong
Many for me, can't really pick.
Same here. It's hard to narrow down.
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#29 Posted by Animasta (14692 posts) -

Franchise? I guess I'd say Shin Megami Tensei

#30 Posted by Chop (1997 posts) -

Hrmm...Killer 7, I guess. Not a franchise, but whatever.

#31 Posted by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

Mass Effect by far.

#32 Posted by mrmanga (219 posts) -

I really like Metal Gears story but i know its sort off dumb.

#33 Posted by frankfartmouth (1018 posts) -

I'd say Final Fantasy because its games tend to have completely defined, linear stories with clear arcs and strong (albeit sometimes annoying) central characters. Mass Effect builds a great universe--a great background for a story. But as evidenced by the controversy surrounding its ending, its non-linear, choose-your-own-adventure style, as great as it is, can actually make the story less enjoyable in some ways. Same type of thing with Elder Scrolls. Metal Gear would be an also-ran for me. Bioshock's a little different because it has more of a setting than a story. The main character is more or less a cipher used just to deliver the action.

#34 Posted by Beforet (2922 posts) -

Drakengard/Nier

#35 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7617 posts) -

The Legacy of Kain.

#36 Posted by plaintomato (599 posts) -

I agree with a lot of the comments in here: MGS, FF, Half-Life, Bioshock...but I'm surprised no-one has mentioned Rockstar's stuff. San Andreas, GTAIV, LA Noire...the stories are unrelated to each other so maybe they don't qualify as a franchise story, but they are great stories.

As far as the best continuously related story over the course of a whole franchise -

The Metal Gear games and the Half-Life/Portal universe.

#37 Posted by Guided_By_Tigers (8061 posts) -

Metal Gear Solid

Atlus is not a franchise its a company

#38 Posted by jakkblades (404 posts) -

Planescape Torment, Bioshock, or KOTOR. I find many Japanese stories, when they are soaked in anime style and pitched high with screaming voice actors, very inaccessible and uninviting.

#39 Posted by TehFlan (1944 posts) -

Pacman.

#40 Posted by SlashDance (1815 posts) -

I would say Planescape : Torment but that's just one game...

Ah fuck it, that's my pick.

#41 Posted by whyareyoucrouchingspock (975 posts) -

It's a good pick.

#42 Posted by Jay_Ray (1101 posts) -

The Uncharted series has the best acting. Red Dead Redemption is probably the best realized world. Mass Effect 1 has the best plot.

#43 Posted by TheHT (11292 posts) -

I'm with you on Alan Wake. Great story.

#44 Edited by whyareyoucrouchingspock (975 posts) -

@Jay_Ray said:

The Uncharted series has the best acting. Red Dead Redemption is probably the best realized world. Mass Effect 1 has the best plot.

Actually you just reminded me (of a game with vastly superior voice acting to Uncharted).... Legacy Of Kain. It has a fanastic and fairly complicated story. Defiance has an extreamly satisfying closure. Unlike another game.

#45 Posted by Cyrus_Saren (536 posts) -

Bioshock, Shin Megami Tensei, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Xenogears, Suikoden

#46 Posted by Berserk007 (206 posts) -

Mass Effect, Red Dead Redemption, Uncharted, Metal Gear, Fallout, Elder Scrolls.......those would be most of the top contenders. For overall series I would say Elder Scrolls...it would pretty much have to be right? If it were a single game in a series I would say Red Dead Redemption by far. Granted it qualifies only by technicality, but as far as story there is really something to that game.

#47 Posted by Nottle (1914 posts) -

@dabe said:

@whyareyoucrouchingspock: I'd somewhat agree with Half Life, as it's strength for me comes in the diegetic storytelling more than the actual written script.

But Kojima went full retard in MGS2 -- effectively critiquing his own previous work and using mimicry to de-construct why he could never replicate the experience. That beats the batshit nonsense that crops up from time to time (see A LOT!). As far as storytelling goes -- removing plot as much as one can -- it's bordering genius for me.

Also, any plot can be reduced to what you describe and as with anything, the nuances make it less cliche (when I refer to a cliche I'd talk more about specific points/story beats rather than the whole).

I agree with Metal Gear Solid. While it can seem a bit comic booky or like an 80's action movie, at its core the MGS games are deconstructing the action heros we see in games, books, comics and movies. Snake, Big Boss and Raiden aren't glorious heroes, their lives are filled with pain and loneliness because they are this hired guns. I have a problem with the nanomachines in MGS4, but over all the entire series has good characters, moments and an underlying themes. And if anyone think the Bioshock would you kindly part is unique play MGS2 again. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GenreDeconstructionJust look at the video game section of that page.

Also Mother 3 has a decent story it reminds me if a Miyuzaki film.

#48 Edited by whyareyoucrouchingspock (975 posts) -

@Nottle said:

their lives are filled with pain and loneliness because they are this hired guns.

Thats the archetype lone-samurai. It's very cliche and absolutely typical of Japan.

The melodramatic sorrow is also fairly typical of Japan. To be honest I think this is why Metal Gear Solid appeals to alot of people. It's depressing and self-important.

@Nottle said:

And if anyone think the Bioshock would you kindly part is unique play MGS2 again.

This is taken from System Shock 2 which pre-dated both. For all the mumbo jumbo about conditioning it basically amounts to a bad guy revealing themself. Which the original Metal Gear Solid also done.

The idea existed long before it was introduced into a video game.

#49 Posted by ADAMWD (591 posts) -

Bioshock, Half-Life, Mass Effect, Deadly Premonition. Basically all the obvious choices.

#50 Posted by mordukai (7150 posts) -

@believer258 said:

Bioshock 1 has one of the tightest stories I've ever heard, i.e. there aren't many, if any, loose strings that I know of.

I can't really point to an overall series though. I guess TES has some really good lore if you want to dig into that stuff.

While I'm not going argue with you about the greatness of the Bioshock game, I would like to mention that Bioshock was really a remake of System Shock 2.

On topic...To me the franchise the has the best story is the Legacy of Kain series.