Top 10 Games with the Best Story REDUX

Credits: Dan Paradis Jason Bowman
Script written by Nathan Sharp Looking for a good story? Forget all other forms of media Video games are where it's at! Whether it's a Sci-fi epic like Mass Effect or a group of High School Phantom Thieves in Persona 5 we'll always be invested. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten video games with the best story. To have your ideas turned into a WatchMojo or MojoPlays video, head over to http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and get to it!
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Top 10 Video Games with the Best Story (Redux)

OK, let’s do this again. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten video games with the best story.

For this list, we’ll be looking at what we consider to be the best stories in gaming, and updating our previous lists with new entries and a new order. These are the stories which are not only imaginative and original, but which are told well, complete with an intriguing plot, character development, and interesting themes.

#10: “Grim Fandango” (1998)



There’s simply nothing like prime 90s LucasArts games. This title follows player Manny Calavera as he tries to help Mercedes Colomar, a new arrival to the Land of the Dead, a purgatory-like place where souls pass through before reaching the Ninth Underworld. The game nicely blends aspects of Aztec folklore with classic film noir movies, and it creates a fascinating and complex world full of interesting characters, bits of lore, and beautiful locations. It also draws upon classic movies like “Chinatown” and “Casablanca” to help create its atmosphere, offering up intrigue and hilarious comedy in equal measure. It’s the sort of unique, genre-blending mix of storytelling that only LucasArts could pull off.

#9: “Red Dead Redemption” (2010)



Westerns are always a reliable form of storytelling. The landscapes are always gorgeous, the characters complex and dirty, and the themes always relevant. Some of the greatest movies of all time are Westerns, and that goes for video games as well. “Red Dead Redemption” received heaps of praise for its world, characters, and story, which features ex-outlaw John Marston in search of his titular redemption. Its themes are emotional, its characters memorable and intricate, and it packs one of the most emotionally devastating endings in all of gaming. We won’t quite say that it goes toe-to-toe with the greatest Western films, but it is without a doubt the greatest Western video game.

#8: “Undertale” (2015)



Great characters can often elevate even the most basic stories. Such is the case with “Undertale,” an indie game created by Toby Fox which sees the player character falling into a region underneath the Earth’s surface called the Underground, a place filled with terrifying monsters. Only, perhaps they aren’t so terrifying after all. The game rewards multiple playthroughs, as its characters are so complex and three-dimensional that you can approach them in a variety of ways, treating them with either sympathy or confrontation. Its world is also filled with detail, and it exudes both comedy and tragedy in equal measures. It’s unlike anything you will ever play.

#7: “NieR: Automata” (2017)



Highlighting what makes “NieR: Automata” so great is…difficult. At its core, the story is about a proxy war between alien invaders and humans. The aliens fight with machines, and humans fight from the Moon with proxy combat androids. Two androids called 2B and 9S are sent to Earth to investigate the machines, which are beginning to mimic human life. It sounds intriguing, but its within the game’s complex plotlines and heavy themes where the story really shines. It requires numerous playthroughs to get the full picture, and it offers multiple perspectives on numerous plot developments. It’s a totally bonkers experience, and it’s the type of story you have to see to believe.

#6: The “Mass Effect” Trilogy (2007-12)



Space operas have always been a mainstay in entertainment. Science fiction novels have been around for hundreds of years, and movies like “Star Wars” showed us what could be possible with film and a little imagination. “Mass Effect” was the “Star Wars” of gaming. Sure, video games have told science fiction stories before, but no one did it like “Mass Effect.” The series begins in 2183, when synthetic-organic starships threaten the future of humanity. What follows is a sprawling epic, filled with imaginative worlds, impeccably integrated decision-making, and some of the most memorable characters in the medium. It didn’t quite stick the landing, but the journey was unlike anything in gaming.

#5: “Chrono Trigger” (1995)



There was a fantastic team behind “Chrono Trigger.” The game was made by Hironobu Sakaguchi of “Final Fantasy,” Yuji Horii of “Dragon Quest,” and Akira Toriyama of “Dragon Ball” fame. In 1995, their talents combined to create “Chrono Trigger,” a masterpiece about a band of time-hopping heroes who attempt to save the world. It’s an extremely fun story that never gets confusing (as most time-jumping stories tend to do), and is full of interesting characters and locations, like the Middle Ages, the prehistoric era, and a dark and dreary future. Video games are a fantastic outlet for the imagination, and very few games are as imaginative as “Chrono Trigger.”

#4: “Persona 5” (2016)



“Persona 5” is a fantastic game due to its brilliant combat system and expansive, always-interesting story. The story follows a group of vigilantes called the Phantom Thieves who infiltrate the Metaverse, a place where human vices are stored, in order to reform the corrupt individuals of society. It’s a hugely imaginative piece of fiction, and it works as both an intriguing fantasy story and a relatable high school drama filled with memorable characters and fantastic writing. Like most great works of fiction, it’s humane, its plot is well-told, and it touches on some universal themes which we can all understand.

#3: “Spec Ops: The Line” (2012)



This is one of those “come for the game, stay for the story” games; if it wasn’t for its highly compelling story, “Spec Ops” would have been forgotten long ago. “Spec Ops” is the Heart of Darkness of video games – you play as Martin Walker, a man sent to Dubai on a recon mission who soon grows tired of war, experiences unimaginable horror, and loses his grip on reality. The game boldly goes where few have gone before, exploring some extremely provocative themes like the binary between good and evil and the fragility of the human mind. It also features a fantastic plot twist and some of the most emotionally devastating scenes in gaming.

#2: “The Witcher” series (2007-)



“The Witcher” games are based on Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski’s works of the same name, and they take the magic present in his stories and expand upon it to create some of the most interesting stories and worlds in gaming. While “The Witcher” may sound like your typical fantasy romp, it is anything but. Its stories are not only exciting, but they present complex characters and situations that don’t have easy answers or outcomes. The worlds that the games create are also stunning, complete with enough lore and supplementary reading to fill a novel of their own. When it comes to visionary storytelling, there is no beating “The Witcher.”

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“The Walking Dead” (2012)

“Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic” (2003)

“Horizon Zero Dawn” (2017)

“Life Is Strange” (2015)

“Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater” (2004)

#1: “The Last of Us” (2013)



There is perhaps no other video game with as memorable a story as Naughty Dog’s masterpiece. The game is a blend between “Logan,” “Children of Men,” and “The Road,” as it follows grizzled Joel as he transports the possible savior of mankind across the infection-plagued and humanity-deprived country. It’s the type of story which shows us that we must continue fighting, even within the darkest of times, and features some of the most challenging, emotional scenarios in gaming history. It doesn’t make for light gaming, that’s for sure. It’s timeless themes of love, determination, and sacrifice are told with horror and plenty of emotion. It simply doesn’t get any better than this.
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