Top Eight Video Games With Stories that Exceeded Expectations
- Starcraft 2
- The Last of Us
- Bioshock: Infinite
This popular flash game can be played almost anywhere on the internet and essentially has no plot. It has a very strong and unique character though - the game itself. The game interface - yes, the interface - plays tricks on you constantly. It claims to time you at certain points then lies to you saying it never was and it manipulates the numbers in order to make you think you are doing better or worse than you are. While there is no true plot to the game, the way that the developers have managed to turn the game interface itself in a character is unique and innovative enough to help make its way onto the list.
Widely hailed as the best real time strategy game out there, Starcraft 2 had a lot of hype to live up to after being delayed for several years, coming out about a full decade after the original Starcraft. None of the hype was or the campaign of the game which made the interactive story that the game told all the more great. For a genre that tends to hide weak storylines with intense tactical gameplay, Starcraft 2 really broke the mold and formed a connection in between the player and each and every character in the game. Oftentimes, two allies called for conflicting missions leaving the player to select one to help, forcing them to betray the other. Sometimes it is hard to remember that your name isn't Jim Raynor.
Naughty Dog has solidified a reputation for itself as a developer capable of putting together a solid story with the Drake's Uncharted series, but nobody expected such a masterfully created story out of The Last of Us. It's no coincidence that this list was written in 2013. It saw the releases of two of the most incredible stories ever told through the gaming medium: Bioshock: Infinite and The Last Of Us. The two games, while both unbelievably polished, are very different. The Last of Us tells the story of Joel, a man whose daughter gets killed in his arms during what is essentially a zombie outbreak. He is tasked with delivering Ellie, a young girl who seems to be immune to the infection, to researchers. The relationship that forms between Joel and Ellie is what cements the game as an instant classic. Every moment in the game is both breathtaking and ruthless. You'll be hoping it ends soon, not because it's not a spectacular game, but because Naughty Dog does such a great job of making you feel the despair that Joel feels. This is a rare case where you don't play the game for you to get the personal satisfaction of finishing it. You play it so that Joel can reach the end of this adventure. The game carries many existentialist themes with it which become increasingly prominent as the game is progressed through to its conclusion which, to not give much away, makes the gamer swallow their pride and act as Joel rather than themselves.
If the standards weren't so overwhelmingly high for the story of this game, it would be number one on the list, but after the original Bioshock, gamers knew to expect incredible twists and themes so strong that few games dare go into them. Infinite, the third game in the series, revolutionized a series known for stellar plots by adding perfect characters. The first Bioshock was more about exploring the world of Rapture. This game, however, turns the lens inward and focuses on the development of Booker Dewitt, a man who is sent to find a girl, Elizabeth, in the sky-city of Columbia and bring her back to settle gambling debts. Much like in the original bioshock, a phrase that you hear multiple times throughout the game turns out to mean something totally different, and it will catch you by surprise. The entire plot is turned on its head in the ending which will send chills down even the thickest of spines. Often in games, mediocre stories are carried along by good gameplay. In the case of Infinite, however, the good gameplay is carried on by an incredible story that will not let you put down your controller/mouse until you've reached the shocking conclusion.
Developed by independent software developer, Jonathan Blow, Braid tells the story of a young man who chases a Princess. The reason it is on the list is the way the story is told. The story is told through words and words only until the final world is reached. Before proceeding into each level, there is a series of book pages that can be read and tell a story, explaining only that you have made mistakes in your past and because of those mistakes you and the princess have parted ways. This game features one of the most ingenious and shocking endings of any videogame.
Developed by Valve, it was originally just an add-on to the Orange Box but after receiving much critical acclaim, it was sold as a stand-alone PC game and ultimately had a full-length sequel. The original Portal has only 2 characters and 1 of which who speaks during the story. Sorry, turrets, repeating the same 4 lines of dialogue asking if I'm still here or whether I will go over there does not count. Glad0s is one of the most iconic characters of any modern videogame. The fact that she is merely a computer makes it all the more impressive. With a demeanor that changed from calm, collected, and sarcastic at the original stages of the game then quickly becomes worried, vengeful, and well... still sarcastic as soon as you infiltrate the "testing chambers" that you are supposed to remain in, it is easy to forget that she is a computer. She is the epitome of passive aggression. It is rare to find a character so dynamic and well-created that it literally makes the game. The gameplay was definitely original and fun, but without the compelling story, driven by a sole character, it would have not achieved the same level of success that it did.
Passage is definitely not a game that can be summed up in an article. It is a PC game which is a free download and is played completely 100x16 pixel square and takes no more than five minutes to complete. To describe it would ruin it but there is no excuse to not play it. The game uses up less hard drive space than some Microsoft Word documents and runs on all operating systems. It's the ultimate game "you'll love it or you'll hate it" game. Though at first the game may seem like a waste of time, play through it all the way. It only takes five minutes and although it's hard to call the experience rewarding in the sense that most games are, it's definitely unique. The only thing that is certain is that there is no excuse to not play this free game right now.
When it comes to videogames without much expectation for a story that delivered well beyond that, it's hard to beat the original Bioshock. The game takes place in Rapture, an underwater city built by Andrew Ryan where there is no regulation or oversight from any government in what is clearly a reference to Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Unchecked research though has led to a dystopian setting where you encounter a myriad of extremely complex characters. The game's story truly comes together at the ending though. A relatively straightforward, albeit great, plot takes an unbelievable amount of twists and turns in the final hours, including one that subtly mocks the videogame industry. Would you kindly play this game? There is nothing quite like it.
List by: Nicholas Munarriz
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Photo Courtesy: Magnus Froderberg