This week's community question isn't necessarily about your favorite game - it's about your favorite game story. So, get your thinking caps on, and let us know which game you believe spins the very finest tale.
While you formulate your response, here's what the USgamer team favor when it comes to gaming plots.
The first game that sprang to mind was Red Dead Redemption - I absolutely loved the story behind that classic release. The characters were interesting and had personality, and I actually cared about what happened to them. And I loved the melancholic ending, even though many seemed to dislike it.
It was one of the first times a video game story really had an impact on me, and after years of habitually skipping cutscenes because I was only interested in a game's action, Red Dead Redemption was quite a revelation. I watched every single one without exception - and indeed even looked forward to them.
However, the more I think about it, the more I have to go with Bioshock Infinite. Sure, the game's not perfect, but its storyline is absolutely brilliant: A steampunk-inspired, alternative-universe sci-fi yarn whose setting really captured my imagination. There was so much depth and detail woven into its premise, and I liked the many pieces of lore that you could find scattered throughout the game that essentially gave you further insight into its world and cast of characters.
To be honest, I actually got bored of the game's action about three quarters of the way through. There were just some areas that felt a little bland and relentless, but because the story was so good, I kept playing because I really wanted to find out what was going to happen. The ending - no spoilers - was no disappointment, and indeed kept me thinking about it for days afterwards. Precious few other games have ever done that for me.
What can I say about the story of Doom that has not already been written? What words can I offer up to explain the deep and abiding tale presented in id Software's current masterpiece? Too long have we been stuck with empty tales of heroism and villainy, without any nuance and depth. And yet, here comes Doom, with a story for the ages.
Who cannot relate to the story Staff Sergeant Clarence Doomguy? A man unjustly imprisoned for years after his heroic turn at the end of Doom 2. He closed the gates of hell itself and was rewarded with unending limbo in a stone coffin. I'm sure you feel like Doomguy almost every day, forced to wade back into the muck to save a world that doesn't appreciate your awesomeness.
And scientists, right? Always trying to open the gates to hell. Sure, demon blood and bone might be the key improving key facets of your lives, like social media, technology, and entertainment, but do they ever think of the risks? I think not. A demon attached to every home might increase internet download speeds and provide more stable connections, but is it worth the family member that you have to sacrifice for those benefits?
When science goes wrong, it falls to Doomguy to fix the problem with cold, hard guns. And id uses that as a chance to really feel his pain and pathos. When he pulls the trigger on the Super Shotgun, does the kick not remind him of his ruined childhood? Does not every shot from the Gauss Cannon spear the Doomyguy through his metaphorical heart as it tears through the body of the infested? The Doomguy may not speak, but his actions write a touching soliloquy.
Doom has the finest digital story ever.
I'm in the process of watching and loving Buffy the Vampire Slayer right now, so it only makes sense that I would love the Japanese RPG equivalent - Persona 4. What can I say? I'm a sucker for high school coming of age stories, despite the fact that I didn't much care for high school myself.
In any case, Persona 4 is the story of murder in a small town mixed with the supernatural. A handful of Japanese high schoolers find themselves sucked into an alternate dimension via a television, where they discover that someone is systematically murdering people by throwing them into the TV world and leaving them to be devoured by demons. The teens subsequently take it upon themselves to stop this mysterious killer and via their newly discovered powers.
On the face of it, Persona 4's story isn't anything special, but it ends up working because of the relationships, which are drawn through a series of entertaining vignettes. What's more, by casting the hero as a main protagonist, it offers you the opportunity to self-insert into the story and bond with characters who quickly start to feel like friends. It makes it genuinely tough to say goodbye when the story ends after a hundred hours.
Persona 4 certainly has a lot going for it, but its story is one of my very favorite things about it. It's the rare videogame story that kept me riveted to the text all the way through.
I'd probably give you a different answer the next time you asked me, but upon being confronted with this question today, Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward immediately popped into my mind. Unfortunately, it's one of those games that, like Danganronpa, can be absolutely ruined if you go into too much detail, so my recommendation is usually communicated along the lines of, "Listen, just play it, okay!?" But for the sake of this community feature, I can at least say Virtue's Last Reward contains one of the most ambitious stories I've ever seen in a video game, and, most importantly, it's one that actually delivers on its ambition. This sci-fi/horror story divides itself into multiple, independent timelines, and somehow keeps all of them unique enough for the player to know which alternate universe to jump to, and when. Luckily, its cliffhanger ending will soon be cleared up by this summer's Zero Escape 3, meaning you have plenty of time to catch up in time for the sequel. In short: Just play it, okay!?
”Oh oh. Nadia’s jawing about Final Fantasy VI again.” OK, yes, but hear me out on this one.
Final Fantasy VI was the first game I played that offered me a story qualifying as epic. It was a hell of an induction, too. I’ve since come to realize adult storylines are hard to come by in JRPGs.
When I say “adult,” I don’t mean X-rated, of course. I mean Final Fantasy VI’s characters are all adults (or at least in their late teens, barring Relm and a certain wild child), and they have adult problems. They struggle with personal loss, politics, identity, abandonment, war, and PTSD. And that’s on top of all the problems that are part and parcel with the end of the world, e.g. poisoned food and water, rampaging demons, existential crises, children conceived by young parents in the cold shadows of a dying world, crushing depression, and angry clown-gods.
Final Fantasy VI isn’t the cheeriest game on earth. Still, all its awful happenings offer a heavy change from spunky teenage heroes who seemingly draw in Love and Friendship for sustenance in lieu of food. Granted, spunky teenage heroes are fine, but Final Fantasy VI’s cast gave me a lot to think about when I played it as a tender 14-year-old. No other game has made me think quite as deeply ever since.