It's hard to pick just one BioWare game for inclusion on this list—the developer is known for its elaborate and well-made stories, from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic to the Mass Effect series. In this dark fantasy epic, however, the writers upped the stakes, allowing you to customize the main character's back story and introducing a whole slew of secondary figures to flesh out the tale.
Regardless of what you think about the twist at the end, and despite poor sales, Beyond Good and Evil is a high point for video game plotting. Combining a cartoonish look, Zelda-style adventure gameplay, a story about government conspiracies and alien invasions, and a compelling cast of characters, developer Ubisoft drew players into the game world and made them care about the characters. Let's hope the forthcoming sequel is half as good.
Eschewing some of the lightheartedness of its predecessors, GTA IV delivered a long, serious tale about an Eastern European immigrant who works his way into the New York City (ahem, Liberty City) crime world. There was still plenty of humor, as well as a few outrageous action sequences, but GTA IV proved that the series can be more than just depravity and satire. And then its DLC packs proved that depravity and satire are still awesome.
For those of us who were children in 1994, Final Fantasy VI (called Final Fantasy III when it originally came to the U.S. on the Super Nintendo) is the epitome of video game storytelling. While it has lost some of its impact over the years, it remains a testament to the RPG genre's ability to weave multiple stories together and resolve them with a powerful cutscene. The world hasn't been the same since.
The gameplay is simple: kill monsters. But the story is anything but. BioShock places you in an underwater world built by hardcore devotees of the philosophy of Ayn Rand, a world that has gone mad thanks to the abuse of stem-cell technology. The tale touched on politics, philosophy, morality, and bioethics—a mean feat for what is otherwise a pretty basic first-person shooter.
By Robert VerBruggen
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*