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5 Story-Driven Games

When it comes to unusual, interesting games, Sage is all over it. She believes in giving every game a chance, no matter the genre.

What Is a Story-Driven Game?

Now you are probably thinking to yourself, "Every game has a story, so what makes these games different?" Well, yes, you are right there. Most games have a story, but more often than not, they focus on different mechanics. These games, however, focus on the story as the main mechanic. The in-depth stories keep you pulled into the game, and at times, keep you guessing as to what is going to happen next.


1. Until Dawn

Until Dawn will start off this list of games. The story centers around a group of eight teenagers who decide to stay the night in a cabin on the fictional Blackwood Mountain, a year after two of their friends disappeared. At first, everything goes well, aside from a few arguments about ex relationships. As the night goes on, though, the group discovers they are being stalked by a psychopath and must survive until the morning. But the psychopath is the least of their worries, as something much worse exists on the mountain.

There are several possible endings, all depending on what choices you make in the game. Part of the game mechanics utilizes a system called the "butterfly effect," in which any choice of action chosen by the player may cause unforeseen consequences later on. As more of the story of the mountain is revealed, you slowly discover the tragedies that have taken place. Part of the story is to make difficult decisions, especially during ethical and moral dilemmas, which may end in sacrificing a character to save another. Take note; you can keep all eight characters alive or kill all of them.


2. The Evil Within

The Evil Within centers on protagonist Sebastian Castellanos, as he is pulled through a distorted world full of nightmarish locations and horrid creatures. The story about this game is you must figure out exactly what is causing the world to be so terrifying, and discover the story behind the mysterious Ruvik.

The story is arranged in chapters, which the player must complete in order to progress. Learning when to fight or run are also key factors in surviving the dangers of the game. The game world can transform during scripted events and as a result of player actions.

There are several dangers found throughout the world;

  • The Haunter: Most common enemy encountered
  • Reborn Laura: Multi-limbed, long-haired, crawling creatures
  • Ruvik: The main antagonist
  • The Keeper: A large humanoid with a safe as a head who wields a large meat hammer
  • Sadist: Large humanoid wearing a spiked metal mask, wielding a chainsaw
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3. Valiant Hearts

Now for a war based game—Valiant Hearts follows four characters on a battlefield who help a young German soldier find his love. This story is about survival, sacrifice, and friendship. Players are put in the roles of the four characters; Frenchman Emile, his German son in law Karl, American soldier Freddie, and Belgian nurse Anna. The game is split into four chapters, which are split into several sections, with each section requiring the player to clear an objective in order to progress.

As the game goes on, you discover more information on the characters, their backgrounds, and how they got onto the frontlines. Each character has their own specialty, and each can give a command to a dog named Walt. Valiant Hearts was inspired by letters written during the First World War and gives a different view on war and how it affects not only those involved but their families.


4. Life Is Strange

Life Is Strange is a graphic adventure game consisting of five episodes. The plot focuses on Maxine Caulfield, a photography student who discovers she suddenly has the ability to rewind time at any moment. As the story goes on, you slowly discover how to master her abilities, as well as use it to prevent certain actions from happening. The player's actions will also adjust the narrative as it unfolds, and reshape it once allowed to travel back in time.

The player can also interact with objects, some of which enable puzzle-solving in the form of fetch quests and making changes to the environment. The further you get into the game, the more you uncover about what happened to Max's friend Kate, as well as the missing Rachel's fate and the fate of the small town.


5. Night in the Woods

Finally, the cute adventure game Night in the Woods. The player takes control of a cat named Mae after she drops out of college and returns to her hometown of Possum Springs. The came focuses mainly on exploration and the story of Possum Springs and why it changed so much. After moving back and living in her parents' attic, Mae uncovers a dark mystery that leads her into the nearby woods, forcing her to confront a horrible secret the town has hidden for decades. The mystery involves what happens with the town's mine, as well as the disappearance of Mae's longtime friend Casey.

Mae is joined by her childhood friend Bea, her best friend Gregg, and his boyfriend Angus. At first, they don't believe her when she brings up the mystery, but they slowly get more involved and tag along with Mae on her quest to figure out the truth. The themes covered in the game are mental illness, depression, the stagnancy of the middle and lower classes, and the slow death of small-town America.


Penny Leigh Sebring from Fort Collins on April 11, 2017:

These all sound interesting. I think I'm going to have to pencil in some extra gaming time soon.

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