Storytelling in Video Games

I used to be quite the game geek. I bought PSO magazine, was active on about a dozen forums, always got the Limited Edition prints of games and had a healthy respect for retro gaming. This all kindof died off when I got to Uni and didn’t take a console with me.

Storytelling in games, for me, has always mostly followed the same vein – something has happened; this needs correcting. Bad guy has stolen magic crystals; we need to get them back. Find the treasure. Etc.

However, for me, there are a few games where the storytelling is as good as or even better than the gameplay.

The Final Fantasy series is the pinnacle of storytelling in video games, IMO. I remember failing horribly to level up enough the first time I played FFVII because I was more interested in the story than getting different abilities for my characters. When FFX came out in 2002, I was fifteen years old and got completely sucked into the world. The HD remaster of this game has just been released and it’s as good as it ever was.

Of course it’s the point of an RPG to have a decent plot, but what about a first-person shooter?

The original Tomb Raider series needs a mention here because although Lara is a fairly flat character to begin with, her story expands in a satisfying way through the series. Halo is also a great story, though I can take or leave the gameplay.

So here are my top ten Stories Within Games:

1. Final Fantasy X / X2
2. Final Fantasy VII
3. The original Tomb Raider series.
4. The Assassins’ Creed series
5. Devil May Cry
6. The original Silent Hill
7. Resident Evil
8. Gears of War
9. The Halo series
10. Pokemon Yellow (in a ‘choose your own adventure’ way!)

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