Even though several major publishers and studios have claimed that "single-player games are dead", some of the biggest hits in the past few years have been single-player games. Games like The Last of Us and its sequel are a testament to how popular the genre is in 2020.
To that end, one of the most hotly anticipated titles of this year, Cyberpunk 2077, is a single-player narrative-driven experience, which further solidifies the viability of single-player story-driven games.
For a lot of players, a good story is as important, if not more so, than gameplay or graphics. Which is an absurd statement at best, but it is a solid genre and one that has birthed some of the best games in history.
Here we take a look at similarly story-based games that perhaps did not get the attention they deserved. While everyone knows of games such as Red Dead Redemption II, God of War, and Uncharted, here we take a look at some of the under-appreciated ones.
Five best story-based games like The Last of Us
1) A Plague Tale: Innocence
Perhaps the most overlooked title of the past year, A Plague Tale: Innocence quietly developed a devoted fanbase through the sheer brilliance of its narrative. The story is replete with powerful emotions and incredibly touching character moments that players will remember long after they put down the game.
The story follows the journey of Amicia and her brother Hugo as they must attempt to survive in a plague-riddled French countryside while also being on the run from Inquisition troops.
The gameplay is rudimentary but effective and perfectly complements the narrative by not introducing too many distractions. The story is what players love the game for, and it delivers in spades.
A Plague Tale: Innocence generally received positive reviews from critics and fans alike across the board and deserved much more attention.
2) Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
Hellblade is an unconventional game in ways more than singular as it continuously breaks the conventions of gaming. Firstly, the game was deemed to be an "AAA-Indie" game which seems like an absurd tag to put on a title.
To explain that further, the game was published independently by the studio, Ninja Theory, without the support of a major publisher, say Bethesda or EA. The game is a wholly unique experience, and players will be hard-pressed to find similar titles.
The story follows the protagonist, Senua, who must journey deep into the recesses of her mind as well as into hell itself to recover what has been lost. Senua's journey is wrought with beautiful yet terrifying imagery and one that will haunt players for hours on end.
The game is harrowing and yet is ultimately very uplifting. The game deals with sensitive issues with grace such as the psychosis that Senua must deal with. It is best played with headphones in order to fully be immersed as the player will be able to hear the voices that Senua hears in her head Throughout the story.
3) Mafia: The Definitive Edition
Mafia: The Definitive Edition is not exactly a lesser-known game but one that perhaps fans will dismiss as just re-hashing an old franchise to capitalize on the brand-name. However, this remake of the 2002 classic, Mafia, is more than what fans could've hoped for.
Before going into Mafia: The Definitive Edition, players must be aware that this isn't a standard crime open-world game. This is a strictly linear experience where the story is front-and-centre.
The map of the game's city, Lost Heaven, exists for the player to better immerse themselves in the world that these characters live in and not as a playground. The remake adds so much to the game as well.
Mafia: The Definitive Edition is simply one of the best remakes to have ever been made and enhances the brilliant story of Mafia to no end.
4) Spec Ops: The Line
Spec Ops: The Line is not in the business to hold back any punches. The game makes its point extremely clear and is relentless in its execution. Players might be fooled by the game's box-art and presentation, lulling them into a false sense of comfort.
Players have gotten extremely used to the standard military-shooter; the gruff protagonist, and their likeable squadmates blasting their way through checkpoints. However, Spec Ops: The Line takes that mould and incinerates to a point where the game simply cannot be compared against any other.
The game tells the story of Capt. Martin Walker as he attempts to find out what exactly happened to the failed evacuation after Dubai is hit by devastating sandstorms.
The game will leave the player absolutely in shock by what they just witnessed multiple times throughout the story. Games can genuinely take cues from Spec Ops: The Line on how to tell a subversive story with brilliant execution.
5) What Remains of Edith Finch
What Remains of Edith Finch is also an unconventional game. It plays much more like an interactive dream more than anything else. As the title suggests, the game has the player exploring their childhood home and discovering what remains of her family's past.
What the players then uncover is a series of tragic but extremely captivating stories that will have the player spellbound. The game has a way of putting players right in the thick of things by letting them play through extremely creative sections.
The game is best enjoyed with the player having little to no knowledge of what awaits them in the game. Rest assured, What Remains of Edith Finch is a fantastically-made game that deserves a lot more attention than it gets.
The game is relatively short and can be played through in one sitting.Published 30 Sep 2020, 15:57 IST