Total Nerd The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever  

Ranker Community
Originally by
218.0k votes 20.7k voters 422.8k views 309 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

The Greatest RPG Video Games Ever Made The 22 Hottest Female Costumes at Comic-Con

2
4,040 2,505
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
3,643 1,601
BioShock Infinite is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
midnightq2 added BioShock Infinite 2013

7
3,341 1,228
Red Dead Redemption is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

8
2,879 1,469
Final Fantasy VII is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

9
2,610 1,550
Fallout 3 is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Fallout 3 2008

10
2,070 1,696
Half-Life 2 is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

11
2,560 1,275
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina o... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

12
2,602 1,436
Assassin's Creed II is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

13
2,165 1,114
Dragon Age: Origins is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

14
2,400 1,287
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
2,051 472
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

The Hottest Video Game Vixens of All Time The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans

16
2,516 1,480
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

17
2,005 1,037
Batman: Arkham Asylum is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

18
1,863 1,147
Portal 2 is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Portal 2 2011

19
1,873 1,292
Heavy Rain is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Heavy Rain 2010

20
1,908 865
Metal Gear Solid is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

21
1,316 1,379
Half-Life is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Half-Life 1998

22
1,338 789
Chrono Trigger is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

23
1,507 928
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

24
1,218 820
Silent Hill 2 is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

25
1,513 1,183
Portal is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Portal 2007

26
1,329 619
Fallout: New Vegas is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

27
1,634 864
Final Fantasy X is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

28
1,108 673
Shadow of the Colossus is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
JacobDay added Shadow of the Colossus 2005

29
1,336 870
God of War is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
God of War 2005

The 13 Sexiest Video Game Commercials Of All Time The Biggest Turn Ons in a Person

30
1,325 810
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

31
1,311 792
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

32
1,238 566
Star Wars: Knights of the Old ... is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

33
1,074 658
Dead Space is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Dead Space 2008

34
1,437 919
Assassin's Creed is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

35
1,118 491
Tell Tale's The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Tell Tale's The Walking Dead

36
1,196 688
L.A. Noire is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
L.A. Noire 2011

37
1,009 520
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Ki... is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Choggner added The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings 2011

38
953 505
Fable is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
midnightq2 added Fable Sep 14 2004

39
910 682
BioShock 2 is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
BioShock 2 2010

40
845 563
Final Fantasy VI is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

41
803 577
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
1,107 952
The Walking Dead: Survival Ins... is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

43
830 626
Resident Evil 4 is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

The 12 Most Annoying Non-Playable Characters in Video Games The Best NBC Comedies of All Time

44
898 585
Max Payne is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Max Payne 2001

45
812 522
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

46
820 624
Alan Wake is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Alan Wake 2010

47
719 503
Silent Hill is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever

48
778 642
Deus Ex is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Deus Ex 2000

49
1,011 398
Life Is Strange is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
Shawn Lutzko added Life Is Strange

50
638 407
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowi... is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Compelling Video Game Storylines Ever
midnightq2 added The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind 2002