Luke's Top 5 Story-Driven Video Games | Video Games

video games the finer things club lifestyle blog

Bee and I have covered a lot of stories that take place in TV series', in films and on paper but another story-driven medium that frequently gets overlooked is that of video games. Video gaming, for a while now, has had to weather the many stigmas and stereotypes slapped on it by various parts of the media and individuals. Whilst it's certainly no angel, as I've seen and played some terrible games, there's no doubt that there are some truly great games out there telling some really awesome stories. So I've decided to share some of my favourite story driven video games with you and, dare I say it, some of them come mightily close to the quality you might expect to find bound in a book or before your eyes at the cinema! My aim here is to look at the dynamics of the various tales, and to look at what storytelling in video games offers that books and films may not. Please note: these are in no particular order. 

the last of us video game review top 5 story driven games uk lifestyle blog

The Last of us (2013)
Twenty years after a pandemic radically transformed known civilisation, infected humans run amuck and survivors kill one another for sustenance and weapons-literally whatever they can get their hands on. Joel, a salty survivor, is hired to smuggle a fourteen-year-old girl, Ellie, out of a rough military quarantine, but what begins as a simple job quickly turns into a brutal journey across the country.

When it is done well you almost forget you're playing a game.

This is simply one of the best video games I've ever played and a lot of that is down to how well written the story is, as well as its pacing and its characters. I actually think The Walking Dead, although I do like the series, could learn a lot from this game and, saying that, I also think most films dealing with similar material could too. Once I was a few hours into The Last of Us, I started having to remind myself that I was actually playing a video game. I don't know how Naughty Dog, the team behind the game, managed to make me feel as though I was sitting down ready to watch, or in this case play, another episode of an enthralling TV series every time I loaded a saved game! I can't praise this game enough with the dynamics between the main characters really shining through alongside the strong script and stellar voice acting. It's no surprise then that this game recently took the gaming equivalent of the BAFTA's by storm, winning many accolades as well as Best Game. I would say The Last of Us is a real benchmark for storytelling in video games as it really demonstrates how far the medium has come and how far it can go in the future. 

bioshock infinite uk lifestyle blog review top 5 video games 2014

Bioshock infinite (2013)
Initially conceived as a floating symbol of American ideals at a time when the United States was emerging as a world power, Columbia is sent to distant shores with great fanfare by a captivated public. What begins as a fresh new endeavor of hope turns drastically wrong as the city soon disappears into the clouds to whereabouts unknown. The player takes on the role of former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, sent to the lost city to rescue Elizabeth, a young lady imprisoned there since her childhood.   

Combining some of the best attributes of book and film storytelling. 

Bioshock Infinite also happens to be a pretty awesome game but its story catches my eye for different reasons. It's more about its scope and the wonder that is Columbia, a floating city among the clouds. I like the fact that you are able to explore the city yourself, although admittedly that exploration is limited. I think that's one of the main things that this game conveys well, the way in which video games afford you the ability of experiencing a story in a different way. Not only do you get to experience the freedom of imagination that novels allow you, you also have the visual and audio reinforcements that film provides to push the story further still. Some of the very best video games can combine these two worlds and Bioshock Infinite is certainly one of them.     

half life 2 video game review uk lifestyle blog the finer things club

Half-Life 2 (2004)
The player again picks up the crowbar of research scientist Gordon Freeman, who finds himself on an alien-infested Earth being picked to the bone, its resources depleted, its populace dwindling. Freeman is thrust into the unenviable role of rescuing the world from the wrong he unleashed back at Black Mesa. 

It all has to start somewhere and for me it was here.

2004 was the year that I really started to appreciate storytelling within video games, and since then I have always looked out for games with a good story to tell. I see Half-Life 2 as the turning point in modern video gaming and I would say that it still beats a lot of the games out today in so many ways, particularly in its storytelling. It was the first game I think I played where I began to care about the characters and story, like I would in a good film or book. The way the game isn't broken up into separate 'levels', instead played as one ongoing story, is one of those small elements that goes a long way (and to be fair it was something Half-Life did well too way back in 1998!). The whole game feels well...whole and neatly bound together like a book. I also like how you play a silent protagonist, like many other games, it lets you create your own thoughts and judgements, in place of any predetermined ones, which is again something you would find yourself doing when reading a book. To put it simply, Half-Life 2 took the big step with regards to storytelling in video games and it's a game that a lot of other game developers can still learn a trick or two from today. 
mass effect 3 video game review uk lifestyle blog the finer things club

Mass effect 3 (2012)
Earth is burning. Striking from beyond known space, a race of terrifying machines have begun their destruction of the human race. As commander Shepard, an Alliance Marine, the only hope of saving mankind is to rally the civilisations of the galaxy and launch one final mission to take back Earth. 

The modern day blockbuster is making its way into gaming.

This was a tricky one to include, not because it isn't an awesome example of storytelling in video games but because of that number 3 sitting on the end. Quite simply to truly appreciate the game and its accompanying story you really do have to play the first two first but, by doing so, it only aids the things you experience at the end of the trilogy. I guess Mass Effect 3 represents the epic action blockbuster you would normally find yourself sat down watching with no controller in sight. That was the main element that stuck with me, it felt like I was right in the middle of one of those films but with a certain level of freedom to choose how it would all pan out. A flexible and immersive story that you don't get when you go to the cinema, well not at any of the ones I've been to anyway! It's also worth noting that, again, well crafted characters can go a long way in not just making a good story but also one you care about, especially when you have the power to choose how it ends. 

metal gear solid video game review uk lifestyle blog the finer things club

Metal gear solid 3: Snake Eater (2004)
In the struggle to achieve world peace and world dominance, rivalling governments are secretly developing weapons technology that could threaten the future existence of life. A special elite tactical soldier is summoned to penetrate deep in the heart of enemy territory and obtain intel about "Metal Gear", a prototype weapon with nuclear capabilities. The story is set is the 1960's where politics and war are shaping real world history. 

The story's that are unique to video gaming. 

Of all the main protagonists in the games I've mentioned so far, I think this game offers the most interesting one. Unlike the 3 that sits at the end of the previous game above, the one that is present here is slightly misleading. It's the beginning of a story regarding a different character to the previous games in the franchise. Again, it's a game largely revolving around interesting characters, yet I also love how it takes real life historical events and uses fiction to twist them in interesting ways. This is nothing new of course but it's done well and in a bizarrely fascinating way. There is no denying that sometimes you can stumble upon really weird and odd elements to the game's narrative but, saying that, it knows its a game and it doesn't pretend not to be one and I love that. It offers a unique storytelling experience very much in the skin of a video game but I think it's definitely an acquired taste. A game you'll love or hate, depending on how seriously you take it. 

NOW THAT i've shared some of my favourites, TELL me...
 Do you play video games? If not, why? 
 If so, what games have you been enjoying recently? 

Leave your answers in the comments below, or tweet us @tftcblog. We'll see you on Sunday.

with regards, THE FINER THINGS CLUB.



  1. Definitely want to try some of these, the storytelling is my favourite part of gaming! Having said that, I do think that as much as I love games like The Last of Us they risk becoming too much like films with all their fancy HD cut-scenes. Part of what makes storytelling in games special to me is the level of interaction and how you become a part of the world rather than just observing, which I think old classics like Final Fantasy 7 (however cliché) still did better than newer games despite the graphics. I'm happy just to watch The Last of Us like a film and I don't know if that's a good thing or not.

    Anyway, these still sound worth playing :D I recently played Journey on the PS3, very minimalistic and not everyone's cup of tea but I thought it was awesome.


  2. I´m one of those people that sucks at playing videogames but really enjoy watching others play it while I "help" by ordering what to do next. Of course being a fan of movies I especially love those videogames that tell a story, and The Last of Us did this so well! I wouldn´t mind going and watching it as a movie if they ever decide to make it.

    Another game (that I actually played) although old, (PC game) was The Longest Journey. This story was amazing and if you manage to find it somewhere I totally recommend you play it. You will get hooked and will not be able to stop until it ends (it´s only 2 o 3 days of your life haha!)

  3. Ohh boy I just remembered, never found time for Mass Effect 3, gonna buy it!

  4. Bioshock 1 was epic though, I still play it time after time, that and Restaurant Papa's Games, completely different things I know but I love em lol


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