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Which game has the best story?


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Phoenix Wright Trials and Tribulations where all three games culminate in the last case.

Danganronpa because of how out there it is, even having played...

999/VLR. Best use of the medium as a story telling mechanic.

Assassin's Creed II purely because of how good a character Ezio is and the amazingly haunting yet beautiful soundtrack.

Portal 1 and 2. GlaDOS and Cave Johnson are utter genius.

Persona 4 Golden is light hearted with a great soundtrack and some of the daftest characters in any RPG.

And finally (but not the only great stories in games) Chrono Trigger. Still holds up wonderfully well and it's a classic for a reason.

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I can't choose one, but my picks are:

Silent Hill 2. A brilliantly told story about a man's descent into insanity as he comes to terms with the fact that he killed his dying wife. The reality of just what's going on is peeled away layer by layer like a rotting onion & the way that each of the characters represents a different facet of his guilt was astounding. There's never been anything quite like it.

Mass Effect's characters, universe & lore completely consumed me & I loved every moment of it. Carrying my female Shepard through all 3 games was a brilliant mechanic & made the weight of all the decisions I made through the series that much more meaningful. Mordin & Garrus are probably my favourite characters in anything ever.

Final Fantasy VII will always hold a special place in my memory. I can recall each character & location vividly even 15 years on & it was probably the first game that blew me away with its compelling story.

Bioshock & Bioshock Infinite were both stunning examples of story in games & along with Fallout 3 are the best examples I can think of of environmental storytelling too. Each location tells a tale of its own if you pay attention to all the little clues lying around. Story's not just about plot & characters in this medium & the Bioshock games really understand this.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was a pitch-perfect & heartbreaking pearl of a game that I found incredibly moving. It's quite telling that it was made by a Swedish film director as it has an innate understanding of how to tell a story that shames most big-budget offerings. There's one moment at the end, with one squeeze of the trigger on the controller, that achieves more emotion & narrative punch than probably anything I've ever played.

Shenmue (although never concluded...:() was fucking awesome too. I don't think I've ever hated an antagonist as much as I did that prick Lan Di.

Knights of The Old Republic had the best twist. Up there with The Usual Suspects in terms of a "what-the-fuck?!?!" moment.

Metal Gear Solid 3 was Kojima at his best. The Boss is one of the best characters in videogame history & the build-up to the crescendo of the final fight with her & then the reveal of just what a tragic hero she actually is, was brilliant.

Edit: completely forgot Spec Ops: The Line. Did things with videogame narrative & player motivation that I've never seen before & a true benchmark for storytelling in games.

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I'm not a fan of story in games but the one that stands out for me is Vagrant Story. Not so much for the overall plot (I'm sketchy on the details of quite what happened), but it's told really well throughout the game. Most of the cutscenes are about the characters you're following or being followed by, so they don't impact on your actions directly which is important to me. It also provides a great sense of place, and also pacing, as you'll see your pursuers in locations you've just been in, and will recognise new rooms from the cutscenes with your quarry in. It also features one of the best shock moments I've seen in a game - properly good stuff.

My runner-up would be Red Dead Redemption, but then I'm a sucker for a Western. It is handled well though (and it's really nice to not play an awful dick in a game from time to time).

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Rock Boshers DX. You're Queen Victoria dressed as a man who travels to Mars in a giant bullet to save the world from a tiny man in a massive top hat who is cloning you, all the while you're consuming tea and scones.

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I like narrative driven games, but the best stories are the really understated ones like in Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and Journey where the story is to be found by reading between the lines instead of being fed through excessive dialogue or narration. The room for interpretation that method leaves makes it so more powerful.

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Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. YEAH!

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is set in a dystopian year 2007, where the world is suffering the aftermath of a nuclear war. Ubisoft described the game as "an 80s VHS vision of the future" where the player must "get the girl, kill the bad guys, and save the world."

The player controls an American cybernetic super-soldier named Sergeant Rex "Power" Colt (voiced by Michael Biehn). He and another American cyber-soldier known as Spider travel to an unnamed island to investigate Colonel Sloan, an elite agent who has gone rogue. Upon confronting Sloan, he reveals his treachery, kills Spider, and knocks out Rex.

Rex is awoken by Sloan's Canadian assistant Dr. Darling, who, disillusioned with his goals, betrays him. Rex teams up with Dr. Darling to overthrow Sloan's plan to revert the world to a prehistoric-like state with his rockets, armed with the blood of the "blood dragons" that roam the island. After liberating bases, saving scientists, and killing animals, Rex fights Sloan's assistant Dr. Carlyle, who has used the blood of blood dragons to turn humans into zombie-like creatures called "the running dead". After Rex fights Dr. Carlyle's cyber soldiers and blood dragons, Dr. Carlyle is killed by his own AI, who had been mistreated and acted out of revenge.

Rex then goes into a parallel dimension, where he fights legions of Colonel Sloan's running dead. Upon defeating them and "testing his might", Rex gets the Killstar, an arm-mounted laser gun that gives Rex the power necessary to defeat Sloan, at the cost of his own vitality. Following a training montage, Rex and Dr. Darling have sex, culminating in Darling's abduction the next morning. Rex then makes an assault on Sloan's base with the assistance of the Killstar and later, a Titanium Plated Cyber-Dragon.

Rex confronts Sloan who, having programmed Rex, prevents Rex from attacking him. However, Dr. Darling's and Spider's memories remind Rex of his humanity despite his cybernetic nature. With renewed strength, Rex impales Sloan with his robotic hand and fires the Killstar, killing Sloan. Dr. Darling appears immediately after, informing Rex of his success in stopping Sloan's plans, then proceeds to destroy the base. They embrace while looking on at the destruction, only for Darling to look behind with purple eyes and a sinister gaze.

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Story is by far the least important part of a game for me, even on a first play through I'll skip the cutscenes if I can. I don't really need a narrative to shoot stuff, drive fast or to jump on platforms.

Dark Souls was different in that I didn't even realise it had a story until I started to think about it between sessions, and then followed it up on the wiki. It's subtle and discreetly told but it's there if you want to investigate, without ever being bludgeoned over the head with it or being forced to sit through cut scenes.

I like games that don't try to be films.

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The Last of Us I also found incredibly engaging from a story perspective and wanted to see where things would go in the cutscenes and dialogue.

The Last of Us is very character driven though. A lot of the broader plot points (Fedra vs. the Fireflies, Ellie's immunity) just seem like set dressing by the end, just there to drive the narrative on, and are largely interchangeable. It's all about getting a peek at some good-ol' inner conflict, for instance Joel and Ellie trying to rationalise their status as 'survivors', and watching the change in their relationship as time goes on. Compared to the rest of the game, Winter is a bit more actiony and moves from plot beat to plot beat, but its outcome still mainly serves to drive character development. Is it possible for such a tale to have a good 'story'?

Like a lot of game with engaging characterisations, you're not banged over the head with anything, most of what you need to know is told through gameplay or incidental dialogue. I mean that's a unique advantage that games have, you can just be along for the ride and take in a 'story' as it comes. It's a lot more like how themes and character are built up in a novel, or a particularly good TV show. Small moments get to echo through the rest of the experience, until it's more about the context of what's happening than what's actually happening.

Kotor has a brilliant story. In fact I'm playing it again now, for the first time in about ten years. It mixes considered character development with a genuinely involving and surprising narrative. It's been so long that I've forgot the exact details (aside from the biggie, obvs) so it's sort of like I'm playing it for the first time again. It's hard to look past Bioware and TellTale for good storytelling in a traditional sense, i.e. believable dialogue and a compelling narrative.

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For me it's probably The Walking Dead. Superbly written and character that I genuinely loved or hated. The ones I hated I didn't hate because they were shit characters but because they were bad people written superbly. It also gets points because it felt so personal as most of the stuff that played out were because of my actions.

The choices weren't clear cut either. Sure there were moments where you decided whether a character should live or die but there were also moments where you had to ration food and although it had no effect on the overall outcome I felt completely involved and spent ages trying to decide who would eat that night because of my personal feelings towards certain characters.

The most emotional story I've ever experienced.

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I always liked the 'story' in the original Sin and Punishment on the N64 because it felt like a proper playable no-holds sci-fi manga.

Once you knew the game well it could be finished fairly quickly in a single sitting and I always found it a thoroughly satisfying adventure; grand in scale, with mysterious yet somehow fleshed out characters and with few - dare I say - emotionally involving scenes and sequences that typically have no place in a batshit action game.

I guess my choice of interpreting the term Story in the context of games is more about an abstract resonance that it might have with me, and how deep that'll stay with me. A story told in, for example, a GTA game - regardless of how expertly weaved the plot strands may be and how skilfully they've been directed - probably won't leave me occasionally thinking about it years later.

Some of these modern games seem like they have pretty episodic chunks, chapters in the novel. And the book is fairly hefty. I think I'm more into the idea of a shorter story being told with as much creative flair as possible rather than a dense boxset type experience that only sometimes manages to take you somewhere else.

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I always think games by Treasure are under appreciated outside of gameplay. Their games are often straight to the point and are in a lot of ways blunt, but because of that they also often have a personality to them. They take advantage of what games can do in a way a lot of studios don't.

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For sure. I recall being moved by the FMV sequence that plays at the end of Radiant Silvergun. How hearing your trusty robot pal - perhaps communicating some time after the main protagonists passing - evoked a strong response. This wouldn't have happened had you not grown so used to hearing him throughout the game itself. And he was an obviously emotionless robot delivering monotone Japanese...in a shooting game. But yet despite common sense I think of RSG as having a great story, similarly with Ikaruga.

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Manhunt has a great story which can't be separated from the medium without diluting it. The events of convicted killer James Earl Cash carrying out snuff killings at the behest of the sick director Lionel Starkweather, then breaking out of his control for a rampage of revenge would be servicable enough fare for some low budget thriller or cheap airport novel.

Placing you in the role of Cash, though, and with Starkweather addressing you directly, gives the story its purpose. Do as the director asks you. Kill because you're told to. Kill because you enjoy it. Be as brutal as you can get away with. You love it, and you can't help yourself. You are a killer.

It's like the antithesis of Shadow of the Colossus where your actions lead to regret amidst the realisation that your role is not what it appeared. Manhunt positively relishes in the violence and makes no attempt to make the player feel otherwise. You push yourself and take risks for more violent kills just because the game gives you a better rank at the end of the level. The story is no longer just a framing device for some levels or an excuse for a cut-scene, it runs through every facet of the game.

I enjoy stories in games, but the concept of "best" is a tough one because the best tales don't always play to the strengths of their chosen medium. As much as I loved To The Moon, I feel that it was a clumsy game that did little to enhance the beautiful love story at its core, whereas Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons used its control system to help forge an understanding bond between the two boys, through your actions.

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Shenmue

Silent Hill 2

Zeldas

Bioshock and Infinite

New Tomb Raider

Uncharted series (although found Nathan Drake annoying)

Think sometimes its a mixture of what new technology (audio/visuals) brings as well as the story to make a believable place to play in. Bioshock's Rapture for example. Although obviously good writing and making it all hang together as a game is the challenge too.

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