From the gameplay to the soundtrack, several factors are decisive for a game to be considered exciting by the public, and its narrative is one of the main ones. Deep stories are present in many games: in renowned titles such as Red Dead Redemption 2 and The Last of Us and independents such as Life is Strange and Spiritfarer. In general, the games that present more complex stories are attributed to independent developers, but the big names in this universe also manage to sensitize and thrill their players.
Going through different styles of games – from first-person exploration to Point and Click adventure RPG -the following list includes titles with deep and reflective stories, which make their players immerse themselves in the narrative and get emotional with the characters. Check out TechTudo ‘s selection of 10 games with exciting stories that can make you cry.
Developed by The Fulbright Company, Gone Home is an unconventional first-person exploration game that allows players to explore its universe at their own pace. Launched nine years ago, the narrative puts the user in 1995 in the shoes of a young woman who has just returned from abroad to her family’s home but finds the residence abandoned. In the Gone Home universe, the character will explore the environment in search of clues to understand the motivations that led her family to leave everything behind.
Addressing the LGBTQIA+ theme, Gone Home explores family relationships putting on the generational agenda conflicts, heartache, uncertainties, and changes, with a highly immersive and emotional plot, which gave the title a series of awards. Initially, the game was released only for PC in 2013. It later gained new versions on different platforms, reaching Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in 2016 and Nintendo Switch in 2018. In addition, the game is a success among critics. Since its release, with 86 out of 100 on Metacritic. The title has already sold over 700,000 copies.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Released in 2018 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and coming to PCs in 2019, Red Dead Redemption 2 is set in 1899 and tells the story of Arthur Morgan, an outlaw cowboy. He lives between fictional regions of the United States and has to deal with the decadence of the Wild West and the pursuit of rivals. Being played in the first or third person, the game offers an immersive experience in an open-world environment that can be explored as the player prefers. It is possible to interact with non-playable characters in different situations, make decisions that impact Arthur’s honor and morale, and thus acquire different levels of depth in the narrative.
The game developed by Rockstar Games was a great success since its release and sold more than 17 million copies worldwide in its first three days alone. In addition, the game has a rating of 97 out of 100 on Metacritic, especially for its complex narrative and richness of detail, even in an open universe.
This War of Mine
Based on the true story of the Siege of Sarajevo, which took place during the Bosnian War (1992-1996), This War of Mine is a survival game that puts the player in the shoes of 12 civilians who were trapped in a house during the conflict. To survive, they need to go out at night searching for supplies. Released for PC in 2014 by developer 11-bit studios, the game received versions for Android and iOS in 2015.
In This War of Mine, the player is caught between helping people in need or prioritizing survival, dealing with the moral dilemmas resulting from their actions, and immersing themselves in a highly reflective narrative. In addition, the title received several awards, including the Best Game of 2014 by The Guardian, and has a rating of 83 out of 100 on Metacritic.
Produced by Canadian studio Thunder Lotus Games and published in 2020 for PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch, Spiritfarer puts up to two players in the shoes of Stella and her cat, Daffodil. Sailing the seas in search of spirits, Stella grants the dead their last wish so they can finally reach the afterlife. The characters assume the role of Charon, the ferryman from Hades who carries souls to the underworld in Greek mythology.
Built from light yet extremely deep and reflective narrative, Spiritfarer is a management game that reframes death and thrills its players. With over a million active users, the title was chosen by critics as one of the best games of 2020.
The Last of Us + The Last of Us Part II
Set in a post-apocalyptic world, with cannibalistic creatures infected by the mutation of a fungus, The Last of Us franchise was produced by developer Naughty Dog and is exclusive to PlayStation. With more than 21 million copies sold worldwide, The Last of Us and The Last of Us Part II are big hits in the gaming world, with a deep narrative and excellent gameplay.
The first title in the franchise hit the market in 2013, while the second was released in 2020. With ratings of 95 points for the original game and 93 points for the second part of the narrative on Metacritic, The Last of Us addresses themes such as internal conflicts, loss, loneliness, and sadness in a world immersed in chaos, showing how relationships are built even in adverse situations.
Ori and the Blind Forest
Originally released for PC and Xbox One in 2015 and getting a Nintendo Switch version in 2019, Ori and the Blind Forest is an adventure game developed by Moon Studios. The game presents the story of a young orphan destined to accomplish great deeds. Upon becoming an unlikely hero after facing dark enemies, Ori must stop the death of Nibel Forest and save his home.
With great acclaim from critics and its players, the title received high praise for the game’s setting and has an 88-point rating on Metacritic. Using its gameplay, narrative, action sequences, and soundtrack united by brilliant art direction, Ori and the Blind Forest shows the building of a relationship amid discoveries and new challenges.
To the Moon
Addressing a reality where terminal patients can fulfill their dreams in a technologically simulated survival, To the Moon is an adventure RPG with simple point-and-click gameplay. The narrative introduces doctors Rosalene and Watts, who work to fulfill the great wish of Johnny, an older man who dreams of going to the moon.
Released in 2011 by Freebird Games, the game is available for PC, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS devices. With a Metacritic rating of 81 out of 100, To the Moon is a game that makes the player reflect on life and the problems he faces, teaching beautiful lessons accompanied by a deep soundtrack and a slightly depressed mood.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Controlling two brothers through epic adventures puts the player in a position of interaction and cooperation between both parties. They need to solve puzzles and explore the environment to make the characters complement each other. The narrative brings reflections on brotherhood and union, offering a very emotional story.
Developed by Starbreeze Studios and published by 505 Games, the game was released in 2013 for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, PC, and PlayStation 3 and 4. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was still highly critically acclaimed. Upon release, she reached 90 out of 100 on Metacritic ratings.
Life is Strange + Life is Strange: Before the Storm.
Conceived by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Square Enix in 2015, Life is Strange is a graphic adventure game franchise that features the narrative of Max Caulfield, a young woman who discovers she can go back in time. However, her powers trigger a butterfly effect and have significant consequences for those who live around her. Divided into five parts and featuring the prelude in Life is Strange: Before the Storm, the game raises moral questions about collectivity and relationships, making the player reflect on difficult situations to progress in the game.
Available for different consoles from the PlayStation and Xbox family and being compatible with PC, Android and iOS, the Life is Strange series stands out for its narrative, winning several awards in the category. While it has suffered some criticism regarding the game’s dialogue and lip-syncing, Life is Strange has an 85-point Metacritic rating, acclaimed for its immersive story environment.
Telltale’s The Walking Dead Series
Released by Telltale Games in 2012 for Android, Xbox One, and PlayStation 3 and 4, Telltale’s The Walking Dead Series escapes the clichés that involve zombies, focusing on a reflection on humanity during the chaos. Based on the famous comic book series of the same name, the game works on narrative construction and character development as a priority, making your actions result in consequences during the apocalypse.
Highly acclaimed by critics, especially for its emotional tone and building an empathetic relationship between player and character, Telltale’s The Walking Dead Series has RPG-like gameplay. The game received a rating of 82 on Metacritic.