Top 10 Video Games that Blend Gameplay with Storytelling in the Most Genius Ways

The Top Ten

1 Portal Portal Product Image

GLaDOS lying to you, the writing on the walls, even the ACHIEVEMENTS, every corner of this game is perfected to go with the storytelling. - MasterBeef

Perhaps it does overshadow System Shock a bit too much (cough, GLaDOS is a complete ripoff of SHODAN, cough), but the way that Portal makes its main villain its narrative voice is legitimately unlike anything else I've ever seen in games besides SHODAN's role in System Shock - xandermartin98

2 Bioshock Bioshock Product Image

Just imagine Metroid Prime's scan-visor data logs cranked up on just about every type of steroid imaginable; that's basically what this game's audio logs are - xandermartin98

3 Half-Life 2 Half-Life 2 Product Image

Extremely overrated and not actually that much better of a game than the first one (in fact, gameplay-wise it's actually kind of WEAKER than the first one), but seriously, name ONE other game besides the Metroid Prime trilogy that makes you feel more like you literally ARE the main character - xandermartin98

Immersive controll-retaining script sequences - Veldrin

4 Metroid Prime Trilogy Metroid Prime Trilogy Product Image

Thank God for the Scan Visor is all I'm going to say - xandermartin98

5 Dark Souls Dark Souls Product Image

Every aspect of this game is designed to troll and kill you without remorse. The tagline was literally You Will Die Edition. - MasterBeef

The more the players die, the more the franchise's universe theoretically expands (and believe me, players really do die quite A LOT in these games) - xandermartin98

6 The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask Product Image

That moment when the actual game itself is in many ways scarier than most of its own Creepypastas (thanks largely in part to its now-infamous three-day timer) - xandermartin98

7 Luigi's Mansion Luigi's Mansion Product Image

The mansion having fake doors, rooms entered through only a mouse hole, and of course the vine covered doors all point to this mansion being fake, beyond what is told to you and the fact it is infested with ghosts. - MasterBeef

8 Super Metroid Super Metroid Product Image

Having some rather unnecessarily-heavily scripted boss fights and being unbelievably short/simplistic/easy aside, Super Metroid is a borderline perfect game in almost every way that I can think of, starting with the storytelling.

Knowing very well that its plot is far from what modern gamers would call "deep" and going completely out of its way to fully embrace that fact, Super Metroid tells you literally EVERYTHING you need to know about both it and the Metroid 1-2 backstory leading up to it through its intro cutscene alone, topping it off with an epic escape sequence DURING THE TUTORIAL LEVEL...

And then, even once you finally re-land on Zebes itself, the game manages to express vastly more through its music and environmental design alone (as admittedly primitive as the latter may have been in retrospect) than almost ANY other game I can think of ever could through actual dialogue - xandermartin98

9 Papers, Please

Passport simulator that is incredibly in depth story wise with you starting to gain attachment ot these random people you have to deny entrance to the great land of Arstotzka. - MasterBeef

For a game that's essentially a passport simulator, this has some of the best storytelling I've seen in gaming. Every story choice that occurs for the characters, both the one that you control and those that he interacts with, all come down to your ability to take care of immigrants in the quickest and most efficient way possible. The story of the immigrants that you police is in your hands, and the well-being of your family is in your hands as well. There's all sorts of little stories and a subtle comparison between the life we have at home and the life we have at work. It's an intelligently constructed plot for a game that's essentially a stamp simulator. - nerffan8000

10 Undertale

Regardless of how you might personally feel about this game (I personally think it's way too easy and needs way more ACTUAL boss fights myself), it is without a doubt one of THE greatest games (let alone indie games) of all time, and while this IS thanks largely in part to the Pacifist run specifically, both it and the Genocide Run feature an unbelievably massive number of the most iconic and memorable moments I honestly think I've ever experienced in games, all of which are presented through an incredibly unique combat/dialogue interface that somehow still manages to feel new and fresh despite borrowing an ungodly amount from other games before it (Cave Story, Shin Megami Tensei, Super Paper Mario and Earthbound, for instance) - xandermartin98

Pacifist, anyone? - MasterBeef

The Contenders

11 Half-Life Half-Life Product Image

The first game to use physics based combat the entire way through and the first to show that the zombie premise could be implemented into science fiction fluidly, it is a true masterpiece. - MasterBeef

12 Chrono Trigger Chrono Trigger Product Image

Not to imply that this game is really any better overall than Earthbound and Undertale (because it really isn't in retrospect), but despite being on ancient 16-bit hardware from the mid-90s, Chrono Trigger is very likely THE most cinematic RPG ever created; can't wait for its remake - xandermartin98

13 Super Paper Mario Super Paper Mario Product Image

While the gameplay is average, it's the story that makes this game so legendary. As you traverse the realm, you form connections with characters that lend themselves towards the backstory of the villain. Super Paper Mario is a saga in and of itself because of the depth it creates. And by the end of the story, you'll have journeyed to the highest and lowest points of emotion. That's what makes this game special. - Synchronocity

The best mario game in my opinion so far - darthvadern

THE THIRD DIMENSION! - MasterBeef

14 Mass Effect Mass Effect Product Image

Doesn't really count as the story is the game, but they still blend it amazingly. - MasterBeef

15 The Last of Us The Last of Us Product Image
16 Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story Product Image

To be fair, the actual plot of BIS is very much just your average M&L fare but with vore/inflation fetishism and accidental-good-guy Bowser being thrown into the equation; however, the game's central gimmick of controlling Bowser on the top screen while controlling his red-and-green-suited stomach stowaways on the bottom screen is an exceptionally brilliant one to say the least (despite the fact that much like Undertale's bullet hell combat system, it also doesn't get used NEARLY enough throughout the game) - xandermartin98

The Inside Story of Bowser. - MasterBeef

17 God of War God of War Product Image
18 God of War: Ascension God of War: Ascension Product Image
19 Mother 3 Mother 3 Product Image
20 Metroid Fusion Metroid Fusion Product Image
21 Axiom Verge Axiom Verge Product Image
22 Mass Effect 2 Mass Effect 2 Product Image
23 Hotline Miami Hotline Miami Product Image
24 Borderlands 2 Borderlands 2 Product Image
25 Braid Braid Product Image
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