Total Nerd The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever  

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215.3k votes 20.3k voters 417.5k views 290 items 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

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2
3,961 2,463
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 | wiabux added 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
3,596 1,583
BioShock Infinite is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
midnightq2 added BioShock Infinite 2013

7
3,295 1,220
Red Dead Redemption is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

8
2,837 1,450
Final Fantasy VII is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

9
2,591 1,528
Fallout 3 is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Fallout 3 2008

10
2,046 1,682
Half-Life 2 is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

11
2,521 1,265
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina o... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

12
2,568 1,422
Assassin's Creed II is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

13
2,134 1,099
Dragon Age: Origins is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

14
2,369 1,270
Mass Effect 3 is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
midnightq2 added Mass Effect 3 2012

15
1,978 468
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
davis-lau added The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 2014

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16
2,478 1,455
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

17
1,976 1,029
Batman: Arkham Asylum is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

18
1,840 1,138
Portal 2 is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Portal 2 2011

19
1,854 1,281
Heavy Rain is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Heavy Rain 2010

20
1,310 1,370
Half-Life is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Half-Life 1998

21
1,887 861
Metal Gear Solid is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

22
1,319 780
Chrono Trigger is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

23
1,499 916
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

24
1,204 810
Silent Hill 2 is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

25
1,504 1,171
Portal is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Portal 2007

26
1,306 609
Fallout: New Vegas is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

27
1,621 852
Final Fantasy X is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

28
1,320 862
God of War is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
God of War 2005

29
1,309 794
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

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30
1,295 780
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

31
1,096 665
Shadow of the Colossus is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
JacobDay added Shadow of the Colossus 2005

32
1,421 905
Assassin's Creed is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

33
1,225 556
Star Wars: Knights of the Old ... is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

34
1,064 648
Dead Space is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Dead Space 2008

35
1,186 673
L.A. Noire is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
L.A. Noire 2011

36
996 512
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Ki... is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Choggner added The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings 2011

37
1,090 485
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
939 496
Fable is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
midnightq2 added Fable 2004

39
903 671
BioShock 2 is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
BioShock 2 2010

40
840 555
Final Fantasy VI is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

41
793 567
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
wiabux added Deus Ex: Human Revolution 2011

42
1,102 941
The Walking Dead: Survival Ins... is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

43
822 618
Resident Evil 4 is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

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44
892 577
Max Payne is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Max Payne 2001

45
803 513
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

46
813 616
Alan Wake is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Alan Wake 2010

47
714 496
Silent Hill is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

48
774 634
Deus Ex is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Deus Ex 2000

49
630 400
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowi... is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
midnightq2 added The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind 2002

50
975 390
Life Is Strange is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Shawn Lutzko added Life Is Strange