What are the best story games on PC? If you’re looking for a great story that you can’t put down, you’ve come to the right place. Escape into something special with our list of the best story games on PC, from endings that will have you weeping, to heart-racing action titles.
Some of the most unforgettable stories in recent pop culture have emerged from videogames, whether that’s the plight of Red Dead Redemption 2’s antihero protagonist or the fraught interpersonal crew relationships in Mass Effect 2. The best story games also let us act out our favourite icons, such as solving crimes as Sherlock Holmes, or saving Gotham as Batman. Story games are living, breathing narratives, and the best ones let us have our own say in how the plot unravels.
Story games are the ultimate escapism, but like books, different stories click with different people. So, we’ve included an array of brilliant story games that stayed with us for a long time after the final act. Whether you want some action-packed story loaded with plot twists, or you would prefer to set your own pace.
Here are the best story games on PC:
A story with multiple outcomes depending on your choices and actions is extremely uncommon for an MMORPG like Guild Wars 2. Unlike other games in the genre Guild Wars 2 ditches traditional fetch quests and opts for a cinematic campaign filled with dynamic events that crop up in the gorgeous open world.
Guild Wars 2’s main story branches out based on your decisions, forcing you to deal with the fallout of each one. For example, if you take on and fail to kill a group of provoked enemies, it’s likely they’ll make an appearance at another a later date, possibly even more hostile than your last encounter.
What Remains of Edith Finch is an exploration game that takes us on a tour of protagonist Edith Finch’s old family house, recounting tales of her relatives through stylised vignettes that range from working in a fish cannery to playing as a baby in a bathtub. As you explore Edith’s home, you’ll learn about her past and her troubled and unsettled life at the now abandoned Finch home as she relays how the family curse took hold of all her family members. What Remains of Edith Finch is a tragic journey through the eyes of Edith and her need to relive her haunted past to move on and strive for a new future.
Each mini-episode within the game tells the story of one of Edith’s family members, using different gameplay mechanics and genres for each one. The game can be played in a single afternoon, only taking around two hours to complete, so it’s perfect if you’ve not got a spare 100 hours.
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Her Story is classic whodunnit, except instead of investigating crime scenes and interrogating suspects you’re sat in front of an ancient police computer watching through snippets of the suspect’s testimony. You find snippets by typing keywords into a database search bar, which means the order you view the testimony in is totally up to you.
Depending on what leads you chase up, you might get the beginning, middle, or end, and draw all of the wrong conclusions as a result. Her Story mixes grainy full-motion video and its isolated subject to maintain an uneasy tone as you search archived footage of the subject and try to make sense of, well, her story.
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A detective game with heavy dialogue at its core, Disco Elysium’s seemingly simple story about a murder investigation in a poverty-stricken city quickly unravels into a magical realist Marxist class struggle. One of the best indie games to emerge in recent years, this RPG is packed with surprises as you investigate a murder, forming your character by making dialogue decisions, applying questionable items, and literally rebuilding your psyche from the ground up. Few games let you pour skill points into your savoir faire or punch a child in the face – Disco Elysium does.
With an endless amount of ways to investigate, you can choose to be aggressive, clever, a blind drunk wandering around in your underpants, or anything in between. Whatever you choose, you’ll be enamoured by whatever fever dream tangent the story takes you on.
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Firewatch is a first-person exploration game that casts you as Henry, a new fire lookout assigned to his post at the Shoshone National Forest, taking orders and communicating with his supervisor Delilah through a walkie talkie. Also armed with grappling gear and a map – you can explore a pristine stretch of Wyoming wilderness, unravelling the mysterious and sometimes frightening events that occur in the isolated forest.
Firewatch was one of the best games of 2016, praised for its impactful storytelling through casual conversation. It remains one of the most innovative story games to date, a meditative, ambient experience that you’ll want to play in a single session.
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Bioshock boasted its fair share of shocking twists, but Bioshock Infinite’s story gives it a run for its money. Set among the clouds in a steampunk city full of racists and religious zealots called Columbia, this first-person shooter matches its action-packed gameplay with an equally unrelenting narrative that somehow manages to be intimate and human while also dabbling with string theory. The story is hauntingly beautiful and the main characters Elizabeth and Booker are a duo whose story captivates until the very end.
If you haven’t played a Bioshock game before, this is a fantastic entry point to the series as its plot is separate from the first two games. The story is told alongside plenty of action, as you clear out waves of enemies, so if you want a laid back story game experience, this might not be for you.
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Red Dead Redemption 2 is a gigantic open-world game and one of the best PC games around. In the follow up to Red Dead Redemption, and a prequel to the events of the first game – you play as Arthur Morgan, a member of the Van der Linde gang. In a scrappy and desperate bid to save your makeshift family from the impending threat of a civilised West – where outlaws are suffocated by the tightening grip of law and order – RDR2 explores the fine line between survival and morality.
Equal parts heartbreaking and unpredictable, Red Dead Redemption 2’s story is a new pinnacle for triple-A videogames, telling tragic individual stories against the richly detailed backdrop of the changing American West.
The Origami Killer is causing the disappearance of young boys in a city plagued by storms and relentless rain. Tracking down the killer is the only way to stop the deaths, as you piece together the story through the eyes of a father trying to find his son, a private investigator, a journalist, and a detective that will stop at nothing to unearth the killer’s motive.
While there’s not much scope for exploration in Heavy Rain, it is one of very few truly interactive story games. The player can affect the outcome of the narrative by influencing the story through gameplay mechanics – a mixture of quick-time events, puzzles, and dialogue selection. Seemingly minor interventions can result in different endings, making this a convincing realisation of the butterfly effect in videogame storytelling.
We could include any number of Telltale Games’ interactive stories, but the blend of famous folklore and fairytale characters placed into a nightmarish, neo-noir setting makes The Wolf Among Us an instant classic. The Wolf Among Us is a fantasy-realism crossover where fable characters live in a grimy 1980s New York, wearing a product known as glamour to mask their true appearance.
Featuring everyone from Snow White and Beauty and the Beast’s Belle, to Ichabod Crane and Dee and Dum Tweedle – you play as the big bad wolf, Bigby Wolf, on a mission to investigate a spate of fairytale character murders. You do this through questioning different fairytale characters, and as with any Telltale Games story, each dialogue decision you make or mis-click in an action sequence can have dire consequences.
From the creators of Until Dawn, this cinematic horror experience tells the story of a group of treasure seekers on a diving holiday. Once at sea their expedition to find the ruins of an old WWII wreck quickly turns into a fight for their lives against everything from pirate raiders to the ghoulish inhabitants of a ghost ship.
Your job is to get all five members of the group out alive through rapid quick-time decisions that reverberate through to multiple story endings – expect to lose at least a couple of the gang along the way. Man of Medan is a truly terrifying story game, but will give you a little taste of what it’s like to live a horror film. So if you usually find yourself shouting at the TV in frustration when a character in a slasher flick ventures off by themselves to explore a strange noise, well, now you have control – let’s hope you don’t make the same mistakes.
Kentucky Route Zero is a Lynchian magical realist adventure game exploring a blue collar community on a lost highway, Kentucky Route Zero. Taking on the role of truck driver Conway running the final delivery for his failing firm, the gameplay is driven by dialogue choices which slowly reveal a forlorn and elegiac tale of tragedy and redemption.
Kentucky Route Zero is about finding power and drive in the humdrum beats of the narrative. As you move through the story and ease into its world, the tidal, electronic score and piercing art style of muted colours and paper cutouts bring this rural stretch of American heartland to life. Don’t expect much in the way of dramatic plot twists or climactic action set pieces, instead Kentucky Route Zero is more concerned with the characters you meet and the journey itself.