Games with great storytelling

I wanted to talk about another media form that’s dear to my heart today: video games. I love story-driven games with intricate plots and great characters – I’m inspired by them, and there are plenty out there if you know where to look. My console of choice is a PS4 so this list may be biased, but here goes…  

Uncharted Series

This series is made by Naughty Dog and follows Nathan Drake, a treasure hunter and adventurer. The storylines are perfect for anyone who loves history or a good adventure tale – the mystery of each story unfolds as you solve puzzles, climb mountains, jump across ravines and shoot enemies. I recently finished the fourth game in the series and was blown away by the strength of Naughty Dog’s narrative. The characters are always so relatable and you really come to care for them throughout the series. There’s romance, mystery, danger, plus vast and beautiful landscapes. The fourth game in particular was stunning and really inspiring for me as a writer!

Life is Strange

This is a game I couldn’t stop raving about after I finished it. It’s a choice based story involving decisions and interactions – and a complete masterpiece. I took so much away from it, as both a writer and a person. The characters have so much depth, and the way their actions are presented cause you to question your own perceptions about people in general. This game also isn’t afraid to represent different types of people, something I really admired it for. There are elements such as bullying, mental health, crime, and sexuality, and you can explore these themes within the choices you make. Life is Strange doesn’t shy away from anything, even though it’s about teenagers, and I think that’s so important.

It’s truly inspirational – the music and visuals are stunning. I highly recommend it!

Final Fantasy Series

This is my favourite game series ever so it needed mentioning! There are many Final Fantasy games (over a dozen), each with their own storylines and worlds, but they’ve always inspired me, particularly when it comes to world-building. Each fantasy world is carefully constructed, with interesting magic systems, political structures and monsters. The characters are well-designed and memorable. I feel like I learn a little something about storytelling and world-building every time I pick up an FF game – whether or not I’ve played it before.

The Last of Us

Another one from Naughty Dog, The Last of Us is a survival horror game set in post-apocalyptic America. It follows Joel on his mission to smuggle a teenage girl, Ellie, to a group of survivors hiding out just outside a quarantine zone. The relationship between Joel and Ellie is the key focus of the game, and it really tugs at the heartstrings, making the dangerous world all the more fearsome. If you need a lesson in building your characters’ relationships, or in creating heartfelt scenes, this is the game to play.

Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain is another choice based game – you made choices and interact with the world around you in order to progress the story. This game is more crime focussed as you work to solve the mystery of the Origami Killer by playing as four different characters. Crime isn’t usually my genre, but I was so intrigued by the plot, the level of mystery and the tension the writers and developers managed to create. I found myself gripped and unable to put the controller down for too long.

And that’s it! I’m not sure what I’m going to do with my life now that I’ve finished Uncharted 4. ugly sobbing Until next time…

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5 thoughts on “Games with great storytelling

  1. I need to give the Uncharted series a try, though I’ve tried the first game before and couldn’t get into the way it played (felt kind of clunky to me), do you think Uncharted 3 would be an acceptable starting point (as it’s a more modern game)?

    Also I think Life is Strange will probably be my favorite video game experience of all time, for a very long time. It was such an amazing story with great characters and a wonderful environment! I was truly sad when it ended.

    -avideogamelife.com

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    1. Hi Jonathan! I agree with you about the first game – I also found it clunky as I came to it quite late! Uncharted 3 is actually the only one I haven’t played. 4 is very modern if you felt like starting there. The controls are a lot smoother, and the graphics are amazing.

      Yes! Life is Strange was such an experience. I feel like it changed me as a person – I can’t often say that for a game.

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  2. Great post! Final Fantasy is also my favourite game series of all time :) I fell in love with it in the PS1 age (7,8,9) where I felt the level of story telling and emotional connection was unparalleled :)

    I also agree about Uncharted – its a masterclass in how to make epic exciting games with substance as well as style :)

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