7 Video Games with a Great Storyline - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

7 Video Games with a Great Storyline

As any gamer knows, video games are more than mindless activities. They’re a form of art media, like novel and film, and some of the most memorable video games have also had really stellar plots.

In this article, we’re going to list 7 video games featuring incredible storylines that really immerse players into the game, like how it’s really difficult to not get immersed in Happy Glass while writing this (I’m acing every level, my line-tracing skills are ace. Go ahead and try it out).

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Widely praised upon its release in 2007, COD4 racked up numerous Game of the Year awards not only for its incredible gameplay, but the intense, action-packed storyline that often feels like you’re playing a movie.

While many shooters of the time were set either during WW2 or future space-ages, COD4 emphasized the “modern warfare” by being set in 2011, during a fictional civil war in Russia. For a game that innovated many features of today’s online multiplayer shooters (like how Idle Breakout innovated the brick-and-ball genre, amirite?), COD4 criticized for the single-player campaign being too short, because it was so good.

Grand Theft Auto V

The Grand Theft Auto series has always been known for compelling storylines and main characters, but GTA V had three main characters, with their own motives and storylines. The player’s POV switches between these characters throughout gameplay, weaving the overarching plot together in a natural way.

Just from a plot-writing perspective, writing any kind of story that focuses on several main characters, and seamlessly shifts the perspective between them, is an achievement itself. In video game format it was incredible, and Rockstar deserved all the awards GTA V received.

Metal Gear Solid

The Metal Gear series has always had a strong emphasis on storyline, but Metal Gear Solid was such an ambitious project for the time it was released (1998) on the original PlayStation. Spanning across two game discs, Metal Gear Solid had over 3 hours of engaging cinematic cutscenes on top of solid stealth-based gameplay.

The plot itself was somewhat like a Tom Clancy espionage novel, but not in a bad way. Metal Gear Solid bucked a lot of cliches spy-thriller plots and digs deeply into relevant political, social, and economic themes.

Metro 2033

Metro 2033 was adapted from the bestselling novel of the same name, written by Dmitry Glukhovsky (who did a great AMA on Reddit!). The overall plot revolves around post-apocalyptic underground communities of survivors that live in the Moscow metro tunnels, who live in fear of each other, and radioactive mutants that stalk the dark tunnels.

Metro 2033 plays a lot of the “humans are the real monsters” trope, but what makes the story and gameplay so compelling is the frightening bleakness of the underground metro communities and the divisive ideologies that separate them despite having survived an apocalyptic war on earth.

The game’s visuals and gameplay did an excellent job of transporting you to the dark, gloomy metro tunnels, and provided plenty of bump-in-the-night scares that keep you on the edge of your seat.


BioShock brought us to one of the most unique game locations, the futuristic underwater ocean city of Rapture – while the game itself is set in the 1960s. The basic plot revolves around discovering the secrets behind the rise, fall, and aftermath of this glorious underwater utopia, and the storyline heavily deals in capitalism and Ayn Rand philosophies, in a sci-fi retrofuturistic setting.

Intense social-political commentary aside, the graphics and gameplay are really quite amazing. Additionally, the game-ending will also alter depending on the moral choices you make throughout the game, which gives BioShock great replay value – and it spawned two sequels!

The Witcher 3

The Witcher games are non-canonical sequels to the novels, and developers CD Projekt Red did an amazing job of adapting the source material’s universe into video game format while adding new characters to the lore. The Witcher is also a Netflix original series now, and it’s really good.

As far as the game goes, it isn’t simply the main storyline that’s so well-written, but the hundreds of side quests you can follow. There is more side quest content than the main quest, and that’s a win for gamers who want to be immersed in the lore of the Witcher universe. CD Project Red does a fantastic job of staying within the novel’s lore universe, but without being canon to the novels.

Half-Life 2

Half-Life 2 was no ordinary first-person shooter when it was released, as Valve wanted to create a cinematic experience for the player, with less focus on traditional FPS mechanics. They certainly achieved that with HL2, and the game went on to receive 39 Game of the Year awards from various media outlets.

Half-Life 2 was widely lauded not just for its innovations in the first-person shooter genre, but is still considered (one of) the best examples of storytelling and narrative in an FPS, as well as one of the best PC games of all time.

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