Total Nerd The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever  

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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
+ - 3,725 2,153
Mass Effect 2 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

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2
+ - 3,602 2,174
BioShock is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
BioShock 2007

3
+ - 4,738 1,185
The Last of Us is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

4
+ - 3,305 1,863
Mass Effect is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

5
+ - 3,155 1,308
Star Wars: Knights of the Old ... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

6
+ - 3,300 1,446
BioShock Infinite is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

7
+ - 3,015 1,128
Red Dead Redemption is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

8
+ - 2,416 1,409
Fallout 3 is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Fallout 3 2008

9
+ - 2,621 1,330
Final Fantasy VII is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

10
+ - 1,922 1,586
Half-Life 2 is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

11
+ - 2,331 1,188
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina o... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

12
+ - 2,007 1,008
Dragon Age: Origins is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

13
+ - 2,245 1,165
Mass Effect 3 is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

14
+ - 2,394 1,341
Assassin's Creed II is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

15
+ - 1,694 413
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

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16
+ - 2,299 1,345
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

17
+ - 1,774 813
Metal Gear Solid is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

18
+ - 1,740 1,065
Portal 2 is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Portal 2 2011

19
+ - 1,808 962
Batman: Arkham Asylum is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

20
+ - 1,746 1,218
Heavy Rain is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Heavy Rain 2010

21
+ - 1,250 1,304
Half-Life is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Half-Life 1998

22
+ - 1,214 729
Chrono Trigger is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

23
+ - 1,385 876
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

24
+ - 1,433 1,107
Portal is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Portal 2007

25
+ - 1,118 768
Silent Hill 2 is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

26
+ - 1,197 571
Fallout: New Vegas is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

27
+ - 1,526 802
Final Fantasy X is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

28
+ - 1,222 806
God of War is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
God of War 2005

29
+ - 1,215 742
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
+ - 1,228 733
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

31
+ - 1,026 630
Shadow of the Colossus is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

32
+ - 1,341 848
Assassin's Creed is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

33
+ - 1,163 522
Star Wars: Knights of the Old ... is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

34
+ - 1,009 612
Dead Space is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Dead Space 2008

35
+ - 947 477
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Ki... is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

36
+ - 1,098 638
L.A. Noire is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
L.A. Noire 2011

37
+ - 995 450
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
+ - 870 454
Fable is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Fable 2004

39
+ - 834 632
BioShock 2 is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
BioShock 2 2010

40
+ - 781 527
Final Fantasy VI is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

41
+ - 762 538
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

42
+ - 1,073 900
The Walking Dead: Survival Ins... is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

43
+ - 779 587
Resident Evil 4 is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

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44
+ - 777 588
Alan Wake is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Alan Wake 2010

45
+ - 837 553
Max Payne is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Max Payne 2001

46
+ - 744 483
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

47
+ - 672 473
Silent Hill is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

48
+ - 747 610
Deus Ex is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Deus Ex 2000

49
+ - 591 374
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowi... is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

50
+ - 644 457
Final Fantasy VIII is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever