Narrative-driven video games became a staple of the industry in the early 2000s. In the decade past, they became some of the biggest games commercially and critically.
Games like The Last of Us and Uncharted have been extremely influential titles that have had a massive impact on the industry. Narrative-driven games aren't just exclusive to the AAA industry either as many indie games have a strong focus on storytelling and truly push the envelope for what videogames as a storytelling medium can be.
While not everyone's cup of tea, story-based games certainly do have their charm. There have been ambitious titles that have elevated the medium and solidified its credibility as a storytelling medium.
Here are some of the best narrative-driven games that one can pick up today.
5 best story-driven games available in 2020
5) A Plague Tale: Innocence
A Plague Tale flew under the radar for many players, which is a shame since the game is unbelievably good and one of the better titles of 2019. The game tells a heartwrenching story of two siblings who struggle to survive in a plague-riddled French countryside about to fall to the sword of English crusaders.
While the game is a little light when it comes to gameplay complexity, there is enough here to keep players engaged and hooked to the story. The story plays out at a reasonably fast pace with a competent setup.
While it isn't necessarily breaking new ground, the game remains consistently interesting and emotional throughout, making for a solid gameplay experience. A Plague Tale is definitely one of the most underrated titles of 2019 and should have gotten more attention from audiences.
4) Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
Of all the games that audiences expected would be getting a sequel, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice was probably not one of them. The original game is nothing short of extraordinary as Ninja Theory managed to put out one of the biggest "Indie" titles of the decade and received much critical acclaim for it.
The game is one of the most unique experiences players can have in gaming. It is a truly visceral piece of art that will haunt the player long after they put down the game. Without giving away any spoilers, the game can feel both harrowing and disturbing but there is a glimmering ray of hope in the midst of all the darkness.
The game recommends that the player put on headphones to play the game and once players are 5 minutes into the game, they will understand why. The game does a great job of reflecting Senua's broken psyche in ways more than one and deliver an extremely powerful story.
Players owe it to themselves to experience Hellblade before the release of the sequel.
3) The Wolf Among Us
Telltale Games, despite their recent troubles, garnered quite the reputation as a solid game developer that focuses on story-based games. Their episodic release structure also worked well and added a certain cinematic flair to the games.
One of the studio's best projects came as an adaptation of the Bill Willingham comic book series Fables. In The Wolf Among Us, players are put in the shoes of Bigby Wolf, a detective in Fabletown, and tasked with hunting down a murderer.
What follows is a neo-noir inspired detective tale that dips, dives, and takes unexpected turns. All the while, players are forced to make crucial decisions that will impact the outcome and connect the dots themselves to solve the case.
Each decision made by the player will have lasting consequences as Telltale likes to keep reminding the players that their actions will "tailor the game".
2) Nier: Automata
Nier: Automata flips the script on how storytelling works in games so many times throughout the player's time in the game that the player is left in awe of what they are witnessing.
The game is an evolution of the art of storytelling in games as each gameplay mechanic that would otherwise be simply a hurdle for storytelling, is used for storytelling purposes. It can be said without a doubt that the gaming community has probably never witnessed a game like Nier: Automata before.
1) Spec Ops: The Line
Spec Ops: The Line is a game that seems to almost revel in its infamy on the internet as one of the most underrated titles in gaming history. The game has been touted as one of the most ambitious and hard-hitting story-based games in the history of the genre.
On the face of it, the game appears to be a run-of-the-mill shooter and which is how it draws in its core audience, only to hit them with a surprise left-hook at roughly the halfway mark of the story and continues to pummel them into the ground.
The game doesn't just carefully avoid the trappings of ludonarrative dissonance but embraces and eliminates any possibility of it by incorporating the player's actions into the game's story outside of cutscenes. Spec Ops: The Line is simply one of those that come around once in a generation to completely uproot the audience's expectations of the genre.Published 13 Nov 2020, 17:07 IST