What games have absurd stories but you love them anyways? *possible spoilers*

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FinalDasa

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#1  Edited By FinalDasa  Moderator

It can be hard to admit your own mistakes, let alone the mistakes and misfires in something you love. After having recently finished up Kenobi I discussed it with some friends. They disliked it, I came around to it by the final episode. Yes, it has quite a few flaws, but overall I enjoyed the ride and bumps.

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That got me thinking about Final Fantasy 8. A flawed experience to be sure but there's no denying that the story is absolutely bonkers. I mean when you're riding a rocket to a space station only to accidentally free an evil time sorceress who aims to unleash a hellstorm of monsters and combine all of time and reality into one world to rule over, then maybe you look past some of the minor flaws.

So which games do you enjoy despite their batshit stories? Are you like me and secretly pained when someone says something bad about Kingdom Hearts? Are you entrenched in FF7 lore and can recite way too much about Project G?

Which games are you all too willing to grab hand in hand and plunge off the deep end with?

Also, please spoiler out any story spoilers you include, thanks!

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Colonel_Pockets

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Assassin's Creed III's present day story goes off the deep end pretty badly. I love that game though, which was pretty controversial when it was released. I wonder what people think of it now.

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yungkame

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I really enjoy F.E.A.R. (not a huge fan of the sexual assault stuff though). Its a game series where the main character is called THE POINTMAN. its insane.

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Efesell

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It’s probably because I just started Somnium 2 but my knee jerk answer to this was Danganronpa.

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Relkin

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Nier.

First one, mind you. Not that garbage sequel that does all the same shit as the first one but less well.

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mcbisquick

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Kingdom Hearts is definitely there. Up until KHIII (which I thought was just flat-out bad in every way), I liked how dumb and weird those stories got. It probably would have been real easy to make a "Hey kid, help Mickey punch the bad guy!" type of plot, but they made their Disney-crossover project about as convoluted and strange as you could.

Others that come to mind: the Devil May Cry series, Alan Wake, Legend of Dragoon

I also remember Thief: Deadly Shadows getting real weird, and now I kinda want to go back and replay it.

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sombre

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#7  Edited By sombre

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

PURE, undistilled Kojima

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Shindig

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#8  Edited By Shindig

Kojima didn't write that one. That was a Platinum baby.

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eccentrix

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'But'? 'Anyways'? 'Despite'? I enjoy games because of their ridiculous stories.

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Nodima

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This has been an interesting turn for me. I haven't played Final Fantasy VIII in a little over a decade, but from 1998 to, I dunno, shortly after I beat Final Fantasy X for the first time I played it at least 17 times through and always took it completely seriously. And speaking of Final Fantasy X, can you imagine a world in which your girlfriend's ultimate goal is to send you to heaven, and your dad is the being she has to defeat to get you there?

In any case, as I've realized how silly these stories can be, I definitely latched on to 13 Sentinels for that reason. Without rehashing everything that makes that game great, what makes that game great is that it masterfully balances the assumption you have no idea what its references are with the knowledge that you definitely do, and thus it's just one MGS sentry "!" moment after another.

I'd like to preemptively set up a buffer for anyone who'd suggest the Yakuza series, because while it's renowned for its off the wall hijinks, I think if you took away the mini-games and side stories that are almost completely optional you're faced with a more standard soap opera filtered through Japanese customs and tropes.

In that sense, it's also really a bummer that I got off on Death Stranding's abstracts less and less as the game went on. That's the epitome of a comedy in search of jokes. I feel like the threshold for this premise is "the game is sort of aware this is silly" and, despite the myriad emails that might convince players otherwise, I don't think Death Stranding's primary characters realized how silly everything they cared about was. Part of this is likely a casualty of voice acting taking the place of text boxes.

To refute that, however, I present Grand Theft Auto V. Why I'm playing this game for a fourth time on a third console I have no idea, but each time I've replayed this campaign I'm awestruck by the attitude of it all. There have been hints of what I'm about to say in many so-called friendships throughout the franchise's history, but here it's every facet of the game: nobody likes anybody. You can't walk down the street without hearing somebody harass a friend over the phone. It makes no sense why Franklin and Lamar are friends. The family dynamic of Michael's house is incredibly, blandly toxic. Trevor sucks to be around and everyone knows it. All the side mission enablers are, well, enablers, and more often than not people the character you're playing doesn't like and therefor would more believably just walk away from whatever offer they're getting. For how popular - and fun to play, still - this game is, I'm absolutely stunned how absurd it is that any of these people want to have anything to do with each other.

But maybe the story itself isn't nearly as absurd as the petrol that fuels it? Gah!

So, two more. First: the Machine Games Wolfenstein games. Now this I think doesn't really qualify for the premise either, because the point is the absurdity, compared to Final Fantasy VIII which had some measured hope it could convince teens like me to think it was grand literature. Second: All of Tekken, because as they said on HBO's The Wire, All the Pieces Matter, and boy do they when it comes to Tekken. Whether those pieces have completed even a single puzzle, however, remains endlessly debatable. Perhaps even rankable.

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cikame

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Black Ops 3, i think this is the closest a game has been to accidentally going full Kojima.

Don't... ask me what the story is, 3 months ago i posted a summary in another thread so i'm going to quote myself and hope i was right.

"You stop an infected AI by killing everyone whose brain chip was infected and having your memory wiped which then gets replaced by the conciousness of your fallen comrade who was helping you along the way, except you died 5 years earlier, before you died your friend was supposed to help you recuperate from inside your mind but when you died your conciousness was transferred to him, the events of the game are a simulation derived from both of your experiences until you are wiped and your friend regains control of his mind."

The characters are mostly generic gruff soldier dudes with passable voice acting but i keep revisiting this cutscene near the end, like MGS2 i love when people in power justify their actions by claiming to be helping the greater good, i love it, this bald guy is also brilliantly acted i think in both animation and voice. Keep watching to see him mock a computer and get ripped apart by a tree, it should be timestamped at 2:46:26.

Loading Video...

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Nodima

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@cikame: Wow. Black Ops wasn’t always number stations, eh? Now I want to go back and hear contemporary Bombcasta from this time, all I have is a vague recollection that they were a little let down compared to the first two, I think.

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Knurrunkulus

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Hands down: Fahrenheit - The Indigo Prophecy. The absurdity of it all is a thing to behold, but it, to this day, remains one of my favourite gaming experiences. Not exactly because it‘s „good“. More because it was quite unique, certainly for its time. I appreciate it for that.

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Skiddie77

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Scarlet Nexus. The story is beyond stupid even by anime standards. Also, the main antagonists name is "Former Major General Karen". There's a good summary at Kotaku if you are in for it.

Still pretty fun game, had a blast playing through it.

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AV_Gamer

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#16  Edited By AV_Gamer

Shadow of Colossus. The storyline of a guy climbing and killing massive giants in a mysterious land to save his true love from a deadly illness is kind of silly on the surface, but also has an almost biblical edge to it that is epic. The fact there are no other enemies in the game except the giants and you spend most of the game tracking them down, adds to that epic feel.

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TheRealTurk

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@colonel_pockets: It's still not great, for reasons both story related and gameplay related.

The entire tone of that game was way off what made the Ezio trilogy so successful. I think the "National Treasure in time" style was absolutely perfect for the inherent ridiculousness of the series' premise. Transitioning from that to a super-morose daddy-issues-centric plot, while not necessarily fatal, was too big a change and wasn't handled very well.

Plus, none of the character motivations made any sense. Connor was a major stick-in-the-mud whose reasons for doing things sometimes changed multiple times in the course of one conversation. Haytham goes from being portrayed as this stuck-up but still fairly principled guy who laments having to kill people in the initial chapters of the game to being a machiavellian psychopath who revels in murder in the back half, with absolutely nothing to explain the shift.

Meanwhile, the Templars go from trying to find a First Civilization site to then trying to instigate a revolution, while simultaneously trying to undermine that revolution so that they can do . . . something for . . . reasons? The game took the idea of the Assassins and Templars being these world and history-spanning secret societies and turned them into petty street gangs.

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Oxygenard

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As a big fan of the Resident Evil franchise I could just say all of them but I think my favourite one is Village. The story of that game is SO dumb and I love it!

When I was younger I didn’t think FF VIII was bonkers in any way, I thought it was a truly great story but looking back it really is a beautiful mess. Love that game!

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Fear_the_Booboo

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I love FFVIII for that reason too, the amnesia orphanage stuff is also so effing dumb.

Recently Tales of Arise really worked out for me. It's all the clichés of animes in one all out crazy package. It's very dumb and very honest and has a all the emotions, I love it.

Otherwise, Ghost Trick's story is absolutely absurd but the game owns it so well that it's amazing. I highly recommend it.

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Undeadpool

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I absolutely ADORE "Until Dawn."

It somehow combines a stalker/slasher movie, a torture porn movie, AND a supernatural creature feature into ONE GAME and makes it work 100%. And it's SO DUMB, but it's reveling in it. Also: Peter Stormare talks to the player for half the game.

And while it's corny and sometimes moves to "so bad it's good," the game does very little cheating to make the twists work. It's also VERY surreal to see mega-star Rami Malek in a cheesy horror videogame.

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redwing42

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Ummm... Deadly Premonition?

Also, I'd say Resonance of Fate, but I'm not sure I ever figured that one out, and I certainly never completed it. I still love it for some reason, though.

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theonewhoplays

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@relkin: I wouldn't call Automata garbage (the ending is great) but I agree that the first one hits a lot harder and has better characters across the board.

On this list I would put:

Kingdom Hearts (most of the games, with K1, 2 and Birth By Sleep being the favorites and the mobile games being the worst by far). I love how throughout the increasingly messy story, most of the games have felt surprisingly genuine whenever Sora delivers a speech about how we're stronger together, no matter how cheesy it seems. So many games at this point and still no trace of irony, and I respect that. Also, I'm genuinely surprised how Disney could be OK with associating their kid franchises with some of the more messed up storylines in KH. 3 felt like a step backwards in that you could really feel the hand of Disney putting a stop to some of the fun, but at least you had several scenes of Pixar characters talking about darkness and interacting with "edgy" anime villains :p

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theonewhoplays

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Metal Gear Rising: great in (almost) every way. The main cast chew through all of the scenery but somehow it all works. I do wish Kojima and Platinum could work together again because this was a great match. IMO Platinum enhanced Kojima's writing while avoiding his worst excesses and also putting their spin on both writing and direction.

Devil May Cry 1, 3, 4, 5. At first you think DMC is an over-the-top but generic Blade-wannabe with demons instead of vampires, but instead turns out to be a pretty sad story about two traumatized brothers handling their inner demons in different destructive ways while taking out their frustrations on each other, dragging friends and family into the mess. 5 really leans into this aspect which genuinely surprised me. It's really funny how down some people were on the reboot, while loving 5 which re-used quite a lot of ideas from it, both in terms of gameplay, story and imagery (Reboot would have been fine if it had toned down some of the truly stupid edginess). Anyway, if you are interested I would buy the HD collection. DMC3 is still the best game in the franchise and worth the price on its own.

FF7, original AND Remake. God help me I even rewatch Advent Children somewhat regularly. Crisis Core made me cry. Dirge is still pure trash, but I respect Nomura's decision to NOT forget about those terrible characters but instead double down. Like the opposite of how Disney handled the latest Star Wars trilogy, those cowards.

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Ginormous76

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Shindig

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SHE SENDS MONSTERS AT YOU FROM THE MOON.

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hermes

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#27  Edited By hermes

Asura's Wrath: The game goes bananas with scale, and it is glorious.

You fight a person that is as big as the planet, and when he tries to splat you with his finger, its the size of a mountain... and that is not even a third into the game. By the end, you fight the creator god, and he throws planets and stars at you. It is the closest you get to Gurren Lagann's final arc, in videogame form.

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monkeyking1969

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This is an interesting question because there are three (or more) camps of 'absurd stories'.

The well told story that in never the less set and in absurd setting or strange characters; i.e. Metal Gear, Final Fantasy is some cases but more like Katamari Damacy, The Stanley Parable, etc. These games have an inner logical and follow rules of making a good narrative.

The poorly told story that is so off the wall its funny ironically speaking; i.e. most Goichi Suda (Suda51) games. Games like Sneak King,. These games lack a logical flow to what happens, or their premise is so think ist like a porn story, they might be fun to watch but WHY thing happen or how is often lacking.

A well told story with well contracted character and setting that is nevertheless presented in a surreal way. Games maybe like Superliminal, This War of Mine, Flower, etc.

I say there is a fine line between surreal and stupid. I think nearly all Suda51 games are poorly constructed stories that are just wacky - they are no psychologic or containing a deeper meaning - they dumb fun. The same of many Hideo Kojima narratives, they are often full of ideas and themes that are interesting, but the narratives are just told poorly.

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judaspete

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Bayonetta. The story is utter nonsense, but those games are still GOAT.

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FacelessVixen

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Deadly Premonition, but my reverence for the game comes from the humorous commentary of the Best Friends and GB let's plays.

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Shindig

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#31  Edited By Shindig

Peace Walker might be the most absurd Kojima narrative.

  • A giant Metal Gear turtle that has the AI based on a deified soldier.
  • This Metal Gear has the power to end the world with a million nukes.
  • There's a CIA chairman with a fundamental misunderstanding of Mutually Assured Destruction.
  • Paz. She's a kid, but she isn't. Which makes it okay to date them, guys! Also, her name is Peace BUT SHE'S EVIL.
  • She's evil because she opposes the Oil rig cult that has access to a nuclear weapon.
  • Just to reiterate, as a person pretending to be a peace loving student, she has to take the mask off because SHE HATES PEACE AND MUST STOP YOU FROM ACHIEVING PEACE WITH YOUR NUCLEAR WEAPONS. YOU DISGUSTING PEACE MERCHANTS.
  • Zdarnov also means peace.
  • Kazuhira also means peace.
  • The Turtle Metal Gear decides to kill themselves IN THE NAME OF PEACE.
  • Hot Coldman.
  • Dr Strangelove because MOVIE REFRENCE and she's bisexual.
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inspectorfowler

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If I could only keep one game series it would be Uakuza and the stories are a big part of it. The “main” story can always be summarized in a way that says “mediocre dramatic movie” but when you add in the side material, characters like yakuza who wear diapers, the incredibly overwrought emotions of the characters, etc., it gets out of hand really fast in a delightful way.

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DeonYang

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#35  Edited By DeonYang

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BoOzak

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The Metal Gear series in general, it's easy to dismiss it as nonsense by an overly self-indulgent auteur but there are so many ideas thrown at the wall both in terms of story and gameplay innovations. Not all of them hit but enough do and sometimes the ones that fail can be entertaining in different ways.

I also enjoy the Yakuza series, even if the destination of said story generally ends up being two shirtless dudes on top of a tower fighting for reasons, it's a hell of a journey getting there.