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319 comments

  • kezins - July 13, 2013 9:18 a.m.

    Interesting topic, but there were quite a few omissions in this list that I assumed would be there. I definitely wouldn't have included stuff like The Last if Us. The story started really strong in the game, but fell apart by the weak ending.
  • forestfire55 - July 13, 2013 11:02 a.m.

    You think so? I thought it was a beautiful ending that peaced together the theams of the game as a whole and further expresses the progression of both Joel and Elie. It was a true ending that no game before it has even touched in terms of emotions.
  • BladedFalcon - July 13, 2013 5:06 p.m.

    The ending was actually what made the game's story transcend form just a "very good story" to one that is definitely one of the boldest, best stories ever told in gaming. I would invite you to elaborate why would you think the ending is weak however. Because honestly, as it stands, one might just assume that it's because you're one of those people that either wanted a more conventional ending, or didn't get what the game was trying to convey.
  • Clovin64 - July 13, 2013 8:46 a.m.

    I spent this whole list asking myself, "where the fuck is Silent Hill 2?" then I reached the end... well done GR! I played over the Silent Hill games a few weeks back for old times sake, and i'm still convinced that SH2 has the best narrative in any game. I had tears in my eyes when you hear Mary reading out her letter to James at the end. As for some other points. I'm sad that Deus Ex: Human Revolution wasnt mentioned, and FFVI deserves to be much higher on this list. As for Mass Effect 2, I feel that ME2 had the weakest main narrative in the trilogy, but the characters and their brilliant backstories and personalities were the real focus of the story, so I'll happily let that one slide.
  • Asphodel - July 13, 2013 7:59 a.m.

    Ffs Gamesradar, sorry but I am actually laughing at you here! This will always be a parody list until Legacy of Kain is in there!
  • Riska - July 13, 2013 4:06 a.m.

    It's certainly an interesting list, a lot of old favourites in there. I find it strangely OK that it doesn't match my own favourites as I understand the reasons these games were chosen. I think I was 14/15 when I played Silent Hill 2 so I suspect a lot of the finer subtleties of the plot were lost on me. L.A.Noire I really don't agree with, especially when Deus Ex is nowhere to be seen. However, you didn't include Zelda so I can live with this list. Games I know I need to play (or play again): Chrono Trigger, FF6, Planescape Torment, Persona 4, Spec Ops: The Line, Assassin's Creed 2 and Silent Hill 2
  • cgriff63 - July 13, 2013 9:51 a.m.

    I was just gonna say that either Deus Ex or Deus Ex: Human Revolution belong on this list.
  • Riska - July 14, 2013 2:46 a.m.

    Agreed, both of them do in fairness.
  • Fireborn - July 13, 2013 3:53 a.m.

    People saying that CT shouldnt be on this list are failing to see why that game´s story is so great even for today, even if the game revolves around time-travel, it manages to have a plot and characters that become more interesting and meaningful than time travel itself, because like it was said already by GR. Some things just dont ever change, no matter the era or time and this game just shows that perfectly.
  • BladedFalcon - July 13, 2013 8:08 a.m.

    How exactly does the characters become more interesting? same with the plot? The overall plot and goal stays exactly the same as soon as you find who who Lavos is and what it will do to the world. And Unless you take the very optional sidequests presented at the VERY end of the game, ALL of the characters remain very one dimensional trough the entire main plot of the game. Lucca Likes Machines, Marle is a cheerful but strong spirited tomboy, Frog is a shakesperean-like knight with an old fashioned sense of honor, Ayla is strong and likes strong things, Robo... well, robo likes humanity I guess? But you never really see them being developed as anything little more than that trough the game's plot. And that it's a flaw of the game's design in itself. Because it always forces you to have only 2 characters at any given situation, while the rest blink out of existence for that scenario and can't participate. But because you always choose who is in your party, no character, they had to make it so every character could say something in every point of the game, but not do anything important that required them to be there because there is a high change you might not have chosen them. Thus, the plot AND characters both suffer because of this, and no, the do not in fact get more interesting. And again, the message of "things jsut never change"? Is a very shallow, obvious one. And if nothing else, it's a message FAR better, and more intelligently conveyed in say, Bioshock Infinite than how it is done in this game.
  • colin-odonnell - July 13, 2013 3:23 a.m.

    Bioshock 2 "innovative narrative devices, such as the audio-logs" probably more innovative when he did it in System Shock 2 back in 1999. Less so in 2007
  • Fireborn - July 13, 2013 3:21 a.m.

    Ugh i hate how GR´s lists are never completely wrong but still manage to annoy me somehow, Why no Dragon Age: Origins? Also Hotel Dusk Room 215 really should be on this list, that game created very interesting characters that are very hard to forget and actually felt like humans and not like something straight of a modern TV show or a movie like most gritty or "realistic" games do. IMO Silent Hill 2 is the prime example that games can have good mature stories and original characters on their own, glad that one made it here.
  • mothbanquet - July 13, 2013 2:18 a.m.

    I mostly agree with this list, with the exception of FFVI and ME2. Mind you, many of the story analyses on this list seem to be focused on characters, not the actual story of the games themselves... ME2 did a good job making the player invest themselves emotionally in the experience but it was entirely down to the characters (and even then, that was down to the sterling job the first game did in introducing them), not the plot. I distinctly remember coming away disappointed, thinking there surely had to be 4 games in the saga, because ME2 didn't offer nearly enough exposition in relation to the first one to be a middle-segment of the overall story. And while I can certainly understand certain aspects of FFVI's story to be superior, I found Kefka to be overly-cartoonish and frankly quite annoying, with nary a glimpse of his true motivations throughout the game. I'm firmly in the FFVII camp on this one, simply because it enthralled me from start to finish like few other stories have in any medium.
  • Arobadope - July 13, 2013 5:52 a.m.

    FF7, there's your problem right there.
  • mothbanquet - July 13, 2013 6:13 a.m.

    A problem...how?
  • Sinosaur - July 13, 2013 6:33 a.m.

    The biggest reason why FF6 has taken lead from FF7 is that Square has spent the last decade making overall mediocre to bad additions to FF7 that make people forget that even enjoyed it. Also, I genuinely like Kefka a villain than Sephiroth, even though they're essentially the same archetype: a soldier broken by science/magic testing that's trying to end the world. Apparently Square really liked that origin. And I feel that a story can be good simply from its characters, because even if the overall path might be "we have to save the country/world/galaxy," that can simply be the framework of a story about how this affects these characters if their stories are good enough.
  • mothbanquet - July 13, 2013 6:48 a.m.

    True enough on all points, though as ever, it all comes down to personal taste. I do feel thought that a great story should supported by great characters, not defined exclusively by them. They should be a part of the glorious whole, not a crutch for it.
  • BladedFalcon - July 13, 2013 8:19 a.m.

    Well, I'd argue both the story as a whole, and the characters all hold up pretty damn well in FFVI, and way better than they do in FFVII in my opinion. The whole of the story is still more interesting to me in FFVI, because they spend the first half building up this world, and their characters and different towns and idiosyncrasies... And then the plot has the balls to turn it all on it's head and destroy it halfway trough, and then you have to see how everything has gone to shit, and even if you succeed in your second attempt to defeat kefka, things will never be the same again. FFVII?s story definitely has strong points as well, I won't deny that. And for as much as people now make fun of Aeris's Death, it became so iconic for a reason, they pulled it off well. But even with that, I do think FFVII's story is still a much more conventional, traditional one, and doesn't really transcends other stories similar to it. At the end of the Day, Sephiroth doesn't really accomplished much more beyond killing aerith, and his plan to ultimately destroy the world fails. He's is killed, and the world is safe and happy once again. Again, not necessarily a bad thing, but not as bold or as poignant as FFVI. At least for me. At any rate, even though I disagree with you, I respect your opinion, and I will say that FFVII has more merit to be in this list than Chrono Trigger, for example. Also, you're wrong regarding ME2. Think about all the stuff that happens in ME3, and think that all of it is deeply related to the character's individual stories. The main set-pieces revolve around curing the genophage, resolving the Geth-Quarian War, Fighting the reaper turned AArdat-Yakshi, destroying a cerberus experimental facility run by Miranda's father, and invading the Illusive Man's headquarters. None of that would have had nearly as much resonance as it did, had all of those things been previously connected to the personal stories of the characters we met in ME2
  • mothbanquet - July 13, 2013 8:39 a.m.

    I get what you are saying about ME2 but the examples you give are just bullet-points in a plot that is quintessentially 'big bad aliens invade and man/woman saves the day (I was going to add unites the galaxy but the level of unification actually needed to get the job done is inconsequential). Those are all very deep, impactful scenarios but the basic formula is the same. The hideously inconsistent treatment of those characters in ME3 prove that; in essence the characters in ME, while some of the best in gaming and storytelling in general IMO, where hardly intrinsic to the larger story. ME was a franchise about personal connections to me, and whether Shepard was fighting Reapers or going shopping for groceries, it would've been the same thanks to his company. Me2 was essentially a black sheep in narrative terms and I maintain that we got attached to the game not because we gave a shit about stopping the Collectors, but because we wanted to get through the game with our favourite characters still breathing. And if I honestly had it my way, both FF Vi and Viii would be on the list as they're both utterly superb. Two storytelling landmarks across two generations.

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