Even lovers of video games have to admit that many of the plotlines are terrible—and even haters of video games should admit that sometimes, the plotlines are great. Here are the five best and five worst stories the medium has given us.
The Halo series as a whole has a so-so plot—much better than the average video game, but a little too reliant on clichés. Halo 2, however, went off the rails, culminating in a lame cliffhanger ending. It's as if the developers figured that there was no need for a strong ending, given that another sequel was a sure thing anyway. Fair enough, I guess.
Honestly, I'm not sure how to write this paragraph, because I couldn't follow the story while it unfolded in front of me, and I'm not even interested enough to bust out my investigative-journalism skills and read through the plot summary on Wikipedia. Another writer explained my feelings better than I ever could: "The 'heroes' have been turned into L'Cie by a Fal'Cie and might turn into a Cie'th? [Screw] you."
Like Halo 2, this game took a franchise that had built up a reputation for above-average plotting and destroyed it with a horrible ending. This game has a great legacy, but as far as story goes, it's a low point for Metal Gear.
This one's so obvious it's hardly worth including here. Given how big of a giant the Call of Duty series has become, not to mention the gargantuan budget, the writers owed fans a great war story. Instead, we got a plot that's hard to follow—and if you do manage to keep track of what's going on, you discover it doesn't make any sense. A game this prominent should be an across-the-board success; MW2 did most things well, but got lazy with a core element of the experience.
To be clear, I'm not referring to any particular game within the franchise. Lots of them have great stories, in fact. But taken as a whole, the series makes a mockery of the idea that video-game plots should be taken seriously. While there are a few clear sequels (Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass), most of the games bear no obvious relationship to each other. Some say that nearly all Zelda games have the same story, just told in a slightly different way.