Let’s be honest, modern games are not great when it comes to storylines. On the one hand you have the epics like Skyrim, where there is too much going on with side requests and side stories for the main story to be anything more than a simple linear path. On the other hand you have games like Call of Duty, where simplicity is the name of the game and the story is just something that gets in the way of killing things.
It doesn’t leave much room for stories that stay with you. However, these games do exist. As a writer-cum-developer, I appreciate a good story more than most and these are my favorites.
If you love Stephen King stories and the trope of the writer being locked away in a cabin in the woods (think Secret Window) then this is the game for you. I won’t give too much away, but that’s basically how it starts, after which it takes you on a supernatural journey that is gripping from the first minute until the last.
Beyond Two Souls
The story is actually one of the least impressive things about this game. It’s everything else that impressed me and came together so well, with the story just being the icing on the cake. I played this game before I played The Last of Us for the first time (I was late to the party on that one). If I’m honest, I was playing catchup and I played Beyond Two Souls first purely because I wanted to save what I thought was the best until last.
As it happens, this game did more for me than The Last of Us. Don’t get me wrong, The Last of Us was brilliant, but Beyond Two Souls was better. The winding, twisting, testing storyline; the journey that it takes you on. It was a masterpiece.
Red Dead Redemption
There is so much going on with Red Dead Redemption. It has that sandbox quality that all great games have and the story is brilliant. There are controversial standpoints typical of the times in which it is set and you play an outlaw who is both the hero and anti-hero amongst this chaos and controversy. This was the golden age of storylines in action games and I only hope they maintain that depth when they release the sequel in 2018.
In Heavy Rain you follow a twisting, heartbreaking and occasionally confusing story about a series of unsolved serial murders. You play several different characters and are tasked with unravelling the case. There are some flaws with this game, the voice acting is solid, but at times it feels out of place. The game itself can also be very easy and simplified at times.
However, there is definitely nothing wrong with the story and it’s strong enough to make this a masterpiece even in the face of those faults.
Silent Hill: The Room
Finally, a list like this wouldn’t be complete without at least 1 Silent Hill game and for me, The Room was the best of them (not to be confused with the infamous Tommy Wiseau “masterpiece”). There was something so immersive, so dark and so terrifying about this game. It was a PS2 game, so the graphics are not as strong now as they were then and because of that it doesn’t have much longevity, but if you’re a fan of survival horror and you didn’t play this title first time around, I would recommend it.