Total Nerd The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever  

Originally by
212k votes 19k voters 409k views 288 items Follow Embed

List Rules Only games with great narratives (graphics and gameplay not considered).

Video game stories range from the extremely simplistic to the staggeringly complex. While early games - and many contemporary ones focused on gameplay - treat the plot as a loose outline filled in by action or puzzles, some games have tried to push the boundaries and tell emotionally gripping, cinematic stories with elements of interactive control and player choices that forward the storyline.

The advent of so-called "sandbox" games, which give players more freedom in choosing how to explore the environment, which missions to embark upon and what order to progress in has also served to make games more character-driven and involving. ("Fallout 3," for example, builds up a karmic profile of the player based on decisions in how to advance through missions.) These best storyline games build on the gameplay and graphics with genuinely good stories. 

Currently at the top of the list of the best video game storylines are the Mass Effect games with BioShock, The Last of Us, and Half-Life 2 all in contention for the number one spot. Gamers will also recognize other popular video game franchises like Metal Gear Solid and Assassin's Creed, which feature twists and surprises in their storylines. 

This list collects the games with the most entertaining and involving storylines. Vote for your favorite games on the list, and build your own version to add more suggestions that aren't already ranked! There is no shortage of games with amazing stories.

list ordered by

1
+ - 3,763 2,194
Mass Effect 2 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
voting closed at #2 Mass Effect 2 2010

The Hottest Video Game Vixens of All Time The 22 Hottest Female Costumes at Comic-Con

2
+ - 3,863 2,397
BioShock is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
BioShock 2007

3
+ - 4,830 1,204
The Last of Us is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
voting closed at #1 The Last of Us 2013

4
+ - 3,333 1,898
Mass Effect is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
voting closed at #4 Mass Effect 2007

5
+ - 3,186 1,342
Star Wars: Knights of the Old ... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
voting closed at #5 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2003

6
+ - 3,511 1,551
BioShock Infinite is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

7
+ - 3,232 1,198
Red Dead Redemption is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

8
+ - 2,793 1,424
Final Fantasy VII is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

9
+ - 2,557 1,503
Fallout 3 is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Fallout 3 2008

10
+ - 2,011 1,665
Half-Life 2 is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

11
+ - 2,485 1,242
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina o... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

12
+ - 2,101 1,072
Dragon Age: Origins is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

13
+ - 2,527 1,400
Assassin's Creed II is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

14
+ - 2,338 1,235
Mass Effect 3 is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

15
+ - 1,885 452
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

The Greatest RPG Video Games Ever Made The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans

16
+ - 2,432 1,425
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

17
+ - 1,946 1,016
Batman: Arkham Asylum is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

18
+ - 1,814 1,119
Portal 2 is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Portal 2 2011

19
+ - 1,821 1,263
Heavy Rain is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Heavy Rain 2010

20
+ - 1,292 1,355
Half-Life is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Half-Life 1998

21
+ - 1,852 850
Metal Gear Solid is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

22
+ - 1,290 767
Chrono Trigger is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

23
+ - 1,466 907
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

24
+ - 1,483 1,159
Portal is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Portal 2007

25
+ - 1,171 801
Silent Hill 2 is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

26
+ - 1,276 600
Fallout: New Vegas is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

27
+ - 1,599 840
Final Fantasy X is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

28
+ - 1,292 853
God of War is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
God of War 2005

29
+ - 1,281 781
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

The Best Video Game System Controllers Ever All of the Types of Hot Women, Ranked

30
+ - 1,280 771
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

31
+ - 1,074 658
Shadow of the Colossus is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

32
+ - 1,404 892
Assassin's Creed is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

33
+ - 1,207 549
Star Wars: Knights of the Old ... is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

34
+ - 1,047 642
Dead Space is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Dead Space 2008

35
+ - 1,163 668
L.A. Noire is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
L.A. Noire 2011

36
+ - 986 503
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Ki... is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

37
+ - 1,055 480
Tell Tale's The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Tell Tale's The Walking Dead

38
+ - 927 487
Fable is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Fable 2004

39
+ - 887 666
BioShock 2 is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
BioShock 2 2010

40
+ - 821 551
Final Fantasy VI is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

41
+ - 786 557
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

42
+ - 1,097 933
The Walking Dead: Survival Ins... is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

43
+ - 809 613
Resident Evil 4 is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

The Top 10 Greatest Crossovers in Video Game History The Best '70s Kung Fu Movies

44
+ - 706 492
Silent Hill is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

45
+ - 874 574
Max Payne is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Max Payne 2001

46
+ - 791 507
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

47
+ - 802 610
Alan Wake is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Alan Wake 2010

48
+ - 764 630
Deus Ex is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Deus Ex 2000

49
+ - 623 392
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowi... is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

50
+ - 686 480
Final Fantasy VIII is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever