10 Best Video Games Stories of 2019

The best narratives in video games this year.

Posted By | On 03rd, Jan. 2020

10 Best Video Games Stories of 2019

Stories have always been an integral part of games as an entertainment medium, and they’ve only become more crucial to more and more standout experiences as the industry itself has matured and become more accomplished at crafting and telling narratives. There’s still much to learn, of course, but even so, there plenty of games that came out in 2019 whose narratives, for one reason or the other, really struck a cord with us.

Here, we will be honouring our ten nominees for the best narrative in 2019, before finally recognizing what we feel stands out as the winner in this category.

NOTE: The nominees and winner were decided by an internal vote held among the entire GamingBolt staff.

THE NOMINEES:

DEATH STRANDING

death stranding

A riveting story is something we expect to see in a game made by Hideo Kojima, and though his last open world effort fell short in that department, Death Stranding left little to be desired. Brimming with all the quirkiness, self-indulgent exposition, bizarre twists and turns, and larger-than-life characters, Death Stranding tells a surreal story that succeeds as a tale of grand scale and ambitions as well as a personal tale of connections and bonds.

JUDGMENT

judgment

For years, RGG Studio have been establishing themselves as some of the best storytellers in the industry with the Yakuza games, and this year, with Yakuza spinoff Judgment, they continued that trend. Judgment is very much separated from the series it spawns from as far as narrative is concerned, and though it’s set in the same universe and still set in Kamurocho, it revolves around a completely fresh cast of characters in a completely different kind of story. Amazing, it does so in excellent fashion, portraying its excellent cast and unfolding its riveting story as confidently as if the developers had been making Judgment games for years.

METRO EXODUS

Metro Exodus

4A Games were treading new ground with Metro Exodus this year, as they emerged from the claustrophobia of the Russian metro that the past two games had called their home, and instead took players on a journey across harsh, post-apocalyptic Russia. And as is the case with Metro games, it was a journey to remember. Unflinchingly harsh and relentlessly oppressive, Metro Exodus did not shy away from showing the brutal reality of its world and the people living in it every chance it got. Metro is one of the few remaining first person shooter franchises in this industry that still focus on single player story-driven experiences, and we’re glad for its existence.

SEKIRO: SHADOWS DIE TWICE

sekiro shadows die twice

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice puts a much more immediate focus on direct, active storytelling than FromSoftware games have done in the past, and proves that the studio is adept at telling great stories in more than one way. The game itself weaves a tale that manages to keep the player hooked from beginning to end despite ever hogging too much of the limelight, while in typical From game, there’s also tons of interesting lore and backstory to dive into that makes the game’s world that much more interesting. It might not be the most riveting tale a game’s ever spun, but it successfully does what it sets out to do.

THE WALKING DEAD – THE FINAL SEASON

The Walking Dead - The Final Season

Telltale’s final season of their The Walking Dead graphic adventure series carried the burden of bringing the story of widely beloved character Clementine to a satisfactory end, while also standing on its ow two feat as an individual experience. And though there were more than just a few hurdles the game had to jump over, it did get to the finish line in great shape. Late last year, Telltale Games’ shuttering halfway through the season threw into doubt whether we would even get the final two episodes, but in 2019, Skybound Games put together and delivered the concluding parts of The Walking Dead – The Final Season, and they were exactly the kind of emotional, weighty experience we all wanted them to be.

MORTAL KOMBAT 11

mortal kombat 11

As a fighting series, Mortal Kombat doesn’t really have to put much of a focus on story or storytelling, but that’s an area NetherRealm Studios have always excelled in, and an area where Mortal Kombat fans always have a lot of expectations. Mortal Kombat 11, happily enough, meets those expectations. Equal parts outrageous, smart, funny, dramatic, and stylish, Mortal Kombat 11 has what is one of the best story modes we’ve seen in this series in years.

A PLAGUE TALE: INNOCENCE

a plague tale innocence

You’d be forgiven for not being too familiar with Asobo Studio, but the French developer announced itself and its talents to the world earlier this year with one of the biggest surprises of 2019- A Plague Tale: Innocence. Set in a fascinating historical time period, it deftly balances larger conflicts and arcane twists and turns with what is, at its core, a very personal and heart-warming tale about a brother and a sister. Amicia and Hugo are a wonderful leading pair, supported by a solid cast of secondary characters, and the writing and voice acting both come together to convincingly develop the bonds they all form with each other. A Plague Tale is a rare example of a game with a lot of heart, and just as much style.

CONTROL

control

Remedy Entertainment have always been masters of storytelling, right from the days of Max Payne, and though Control differs from any of the studio’s previous games as a gameplay experience, one thing that isn’t different is that it’s still got an excellent story that it tells really well. Mixing the inherent surrealism of the game’s premise with some bizarre, provocative imagery, Control paints an abstract picture that sucks you into its hypnotic vortex. Add to that some excellent writing, accomplished world-building, and a cast full of enigmatic characters, and what you’ve got on your hands is one of the best narrative experiences of the year.

KINGDOM HEARTS 3

kingdom hearts 3

Conclusions are always tricky, and when they’re concluding a story arc as winding and convoluted as that of Kingdom Hearts, they become doubly so. Kingdom Hearts 3 had a lot riding on it, and though it did not wrap up all that it needed to in the most elegant way possible, it was, by and large, a satisfactory ending to a complex story. Pulling in characters and calling back to events from nearly every game in the series, Kingdom Hearts 3 was constantly devoting its energies to bringing the Dark Seeker saga to an effective end. If you’re not familiar with the bevy of events leading up to the game, you might be more than just a little lost, but for fans of the series, there was a lot of payoff here.

STAR WARS JEDI: FALLEN ORDER

star wars jedi fallen order

Anything new with the name Star Wars attached to it bears a heavy burden of expectations, and if ever those expectations are not properly met, the massive Star Wars fandom makes its feelings known- just look at The Last Jedi. But Respawn’s Jedi: Fallen Order was a victory for all concerned. From a narrative perspective, it was a treat for Star Wars fans, making use of the lore, characters, and stories of the universe in excellent fashion, while also confidently adding in its own flourishes. Even if you’re not too familiar with Star Wars, Fallen Order is still worth experiencing purely for Cal’s journey, the people he meets, and the challenges he faces. We hope Respawn get to work with the Star Wars license again, because Fallen Order proved that they’ve got what it takes to shoulder this massive responsibility.

WINNER:

MORTAL KOMBAT 11

mortal kombat 11

Ordinarily, it would feel strange to be awarding this honour to a fighting game, but Mortal Kombat 11 is a game that deserves every ounce of this praise, regardless of genres. Stylish cutscenes that exhibit tight interactions between characters, excellent acting, and outrageous action are pepper throughout Mortal Kombat 11’s campaign, interspersed with moments brimming with fan service designed to capture the hearts of longtime series veterans. It all culminates in a bombastic, flamboyant, and flashy narrative, told with an admirable level of self-indulgent confidence. Is it the most intelligent, thought-provoking narrative you’ll ever find in a game? Well, no. But it’s definitely one of the most entertaining.


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