Hey duders, I'm making this thread solely because I just finished 999 for the first time and was absolutely shocked at how well it all wrapped up. I don't want to spoil it for other people, but although the actual game was incredibly flawed, the way it tied together its plot using twists on common video game aspects impressed me way way more than I ever expected. What other games out there do you think deserve recognition for the ingenious ways it tells its story? The Metal Gear Solid series is probably one of the more obvious answers, but maybe there are some hidden gems out there people could recommend to everyone?
I personally find that Arkham Knight's story telling was completely overlooked by people because of the obvious technical issues the game had on PC and the hatred for the Batmobile.
The way Rocksteady used the players control of the camera to reveal information was pretty novel for me and moving around the city there would be little changes here and there that would hint at Batman's state of mind at the time. The story itself may of been pretty weak by the way they told it elevated the game for me.
Shadow Of The Colossus, while quite sparse in its delivery of narrative via traditional means, tells a story that becomes as effective as it is because it is interactive. I struggle to think of other games where the story is so greatly elevated by the unique traits of the medium.
Ghost Trick is wonderful!
Return of the Obra Dinn is one of the more recent ones in my mind where the way the story unfolds is pretty captivating. Plenty there that made me think, "huh, that's clever."
Also, both Portal and Portal 2 did a good job of making an interesting narrative around an environmental puzzle game - especially the way first one used a lot of the environment to add to the detail of the world story arc.
Bloodborne's Lovecraftian and environmental storytelling is second to none. Not sure if that needed to be a spoiler, but it caught me by surprise so I don't want to ruin it for anyone. People criticized it for lacking the variety of environments that Dark Souls had (also excellent), but I think it was their most nuanced work yet. I would say that Dark Souls is similarly skilful and adds up to a more complete story, but I don't think it quite beats Bloodborne for me.
Call of Juarez: The Gunslinger is the pinnacle of those "narrator" games that seemed to be all the rage for awhile, and integrates it's narrative conceit into the gameplay perfectly.
For me, it has to be the Bioshock trilogy. I was just stunned by the shocking moments in the series.
A couple of heavy hitters: Chrono Trigger by making a time travel game have epic story telling, Mass Effect 2 by the side quest system with your crew, Final Fantasy 6 for the risky halfway point.
Some overlooked games: To the Moon, Night in the Woods, Firewatch, What Remains of Edith Finch.
I'll second Obra Dinn, I had a feeling I'd like the game but the story grabbed & affected me much more than I could've expected. I feel everything else I could suggest would be very much known quantities eg. TLOU (which is still one of my favourites)
I would also have to second To the Moon, not much to the game but the story is really something special.
To the Moonkept reverberating now that I read it. The game itself is a bloody joke, but man does it tug at the heart strings. Like, constantly and repeatedly, and while telling a compelling and personable story at the same time.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 had me with its active narrator. It was a risky move, but I hold it aloft due to its strong writing and Brian Bowles's performance-- he gets to do a lot of narrating; like: a lot, lot.
The Stanley Parablecontinues my little theme of active narration, and turns video game storytelling as an established concept on its head. It's a very postmodern-esque take on a classic storytelling device.
Undertaledidn't start resonating until a few hours in, but then it all went sideways in a way I enjoyed. While the gameplay adds to its impact, I also fondly remember the narrative and how it presented itself, subverted expectations, and played with meta-humor. Might not be a game for everyone, but it was for me.
I love 999 and its follow-up Virtue's Last Reward is one of the best sequels ever made in my opinion. The plot is just as enthralling and it blends story and in some really unique and surprising ways. Zero Time Dilemma is good too, although it didn't quite grab me like the first two games in the series did.
Check out Danganronpa too. I loved the first game in the series most of all but really all of them are entertaining in their own way.
What Remains of Edith Finch does a fantastic job of telling a fascinating story - and even stranger, justifying that story being a video game by making its most interesting elements into interactive elements that really feel unique to the various characters and elements of the plot. While there are other adventure games I love more, it's the one I think should be studied by adventure developers as the current gold standard of how to blend story and gameplay.
It has already been mentioned but Obra Dinn grabbed me more than i expected it to. The interesting thing about the storytelling in that game is that pretty much every visual , every soundclip is dedicated to telling you this story & getting an idea of who these characters are. But at the same time, the story is told in broad strokes due to it's scene by scene nature. You don't always get a definitive answer why certain characters behaved the way they did during this journey. Luckily i feel like the important storybeats all happen before your eyes, but there are still questions that linger. There's still the feeling that you could've learned more about these characters if they added a few more scenes to the game.
Papers Please is a game that hasn't been mentioned yet. Letting the story play out around you while you focus on doing your repetitive job as best as possible to take care of yourself & your loved ones, quickly leads to you making harsh decisions that turn the lives of others upside down.
I really enjoyed the way the story unfolded in Her Story. It was so good at making you feel like a genius when you would find a word that unlocked a bunch of new videos. The story was out of order and depended on what you looked up, but the way it came together for me really worked as a player.
In a somewhat similar way, I also got really drawn into the story of Emily is Away when I played that. That story was more straight forward but the way they told it was unique and something I hadn't seen before.
I think Mask of the Betrayer is a hidden gem that a lot of people might not have played. It's pretty standard CRPG trappings in that it's a D&D game, but the power curve is so extreme (level 30 is the cap) that by the end of it you're engaging various Forgotten Realms gods and demigods in conversation and combat. The spirit-eating mechanic is terrible, so mod that out, but beyond that it's a fantastic game.
Nier. It’s very good. The sequel is also of quality but the most unique idea was in the original game and I felt it was more impactful there. I played them back to back last year though, so all ran together. If you’ve played neither I recommend that one two punch. And feel free to set it to easy if you aren’t digging the combat. The story and sub stories and how they are told are the cream of the crop.
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