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 some of the best PC games. They can go to many different places, such as surviving the Wild West as Red Dead Redemption 2’s antihero protagonist, solving crimes in Disco Elysium, or exploring the fraught relationships in God of War. The best story games also let us act out our favourite icons saving the universe as the Guardians of the Galaxy. Story games are living, breathing narratives; the best ones let us have our say in how the plot unravels, and many are also some of the best single player games.
Here are the best story games on PC:
Alan Wake 2
Two horror novels written simultaneously would be a creepy premise at the best of times, but imagine if your main characters were living through these words as they’re being written. Our Alan Wake 2 review calls it a “new horror classic,” and it’s easy to see why.
With an interwoven plot shared between two troubled protagonists, it can be easy to get caught up in a complex web of twists and turns, but the high-quality acting sells the narrative well, and the cutscenes in The Dark Place are a particularly trippy experience that’s unexpected. As a game about a writer, it’s fitting that Alan Wake 2 is as good at storytelling as it is.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
While The Witcher saga originates from a series of books and now has a TV show alongside the game trilogy, if there’s one piece of media you should consume from the universe, it’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. When it launched in 2015, the overwhelming majority of players were newcomers to The Continent, and while your choices from the second game will carry over if you played it on the same platform, the third game truly ramps up the story beats, as we discuss in our The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt review.
Playing as Geralt of Rivia, you embark on a quest to find your adopted daughter Ciri before the Wild Hunt. This will take you from swampy marshes to bustling cities and barren peaks, battling monsters and humans alike, but the highlight is, without a shadow of a doubt, the narrative. Individual side quests in The Witcher 3 have more weight and better storytelling than a lot of entire games – those who know about Bloody Baron, Ladies of the Wood, or A Towerful of Mice know exactly what we’re talking about.
A Plague Tale: Requiem
To quote our A Plague Tale: Requiem review, “from the onset, there’s a sense that something just isn’t right”. Soon after their rather humble beginnings, Amicia and Hugo are forced to move to a citadel chock full of people hiding from the horrors outside the city walls. If you’ve played the first game, A Plague Tale: Innocence, you know that Hugo’s presence spells doom for their new home.
What makes Requiem so much more than its predecessor is that the duo have grown up with wildly different views. Amicia is more streetwise, having seen more combat up close, and thus has fewer problems taking a more violent solution. However, she also wants what she thinks is best for her brother. Hugo, on the other hand, is a lot younger, and while he has a stronger moral compass, he’s slowly becoming more naive to the real problem. It’s a fascinating dynamic between the duo, and right up to the bitter end, it puts the two siblings at odds. If you want the whole experience, play A Plague Tale: Innocence before starting Requiem.
What Remains of Edith Finch
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.
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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.
Life is Strange: True Colors
Much like the rest of the series, Life is Strange: True Colors is an adventure game built around an episodic storytelling structure. As Alex takes her first steps into the picturesque mountain town of Haven Springs, she is aware that her powers allow her to sense other people’s intense emotions, occasionally manifesting them into uncontrollable outbursts. When her brother dies in a so-called accident near the mines, it’s up to Alex to solve the mystery behind his death, all while embracing her powers to find the answers she seeks.
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True Colors’ main story beats are perhaps a tad predictable, but your decisions on how Alex uses the information she gleans from her powers give each choice some much-needed weight. Check out our Life is Strange: True Colors review for our verdict.
Her Story is a classic whodunnit where instead of investigating crime scenes and interrogating suspects, you’re sitting 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 is totally up to you.
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Depending on what leads you chase up, you might get the beginning, middle, or end and draw the wrong conclusions. 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. Find out more about this point-and-click adventure in our Her Story review.
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, form 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. In our Disco Elysium review, we call it a new standard of RPG writing. Whatever decisions you make when you play this RPG game, it will enamour you with whatever fever dream tangent its story takes you on.
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 in the isolated forest.
Firewatch was one of the best games of 2016, and we, in our Firewatch review, along with many others, 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.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy asks that you’re at least familiar with these scrappy space mercenaries before starting the game. This has the advantage of not wasting time introducing every team member, instead focusing on telling a good story and cracking jokes, just like in the Guardians films and comics.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy $59.99 Buy now Network N earns affiliate commission from qualifying sales.
Guardians of the Galaxy’s story is more profound than its surface suggests. It explores each character’s loss and how irrational decisions can potentially endanger the universe. The well-told story is a big part of why the game’s worth playing, and we love how every character has their motivations, but Guardians of the Galaxy is also an action-packed romp with detailed level designs and thrilling boss battles. Read more about this in our Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy review.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a gigantic open-world game that is 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.
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As we discuss in our Red Dead Redemption 2 review, it’s 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 an ever-changing western game setting.
God of War
Who would have thunk that we would see God of War on PC? The former PlayStation 4 exclusive pushed the action-adventure series in a different direction, changing the camera perspective, slowing down the frantic combat, and adding RPG elements. Now though, the God of War has grown up to become Dad of Boy. Having settled down in the realm of Midgard after the destruction of the Greek Pantheon, we join Kratos and his son Atreus as they attempt to fulfil Kratos’ second wife’s final wish: to scatter her remains from the highest peak in the nine realms.
Along the way, though, Kratos fights against Norse Gods and monsters, travelling across the realms with the help of the friendly World Serpent, Jörmungandr, and the wise-cracking head of Mimir. However, the highlight throughout the game is how Kratos slowly bonds with his son, and as his colder side withers away, the two come to terms with their important secrets. These are just a few details that, according to our God of War PC review, give God of War a highly compelling story, with powerful performances from Christopher Judge and Sunny Suljic, that are worth experiencing before the sequel inevitably makes its way to PC.
The Wolf Among Us
We could include any number of Telltale Games’ interactive stories, but it’s the blend of famous folklore and fairytale characters placed into a nightmarish, neo-noir setting that 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.
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Featuring everyone from Snow White and Beauty and the Beast’s Belle to Ichabod Crane and Dee and Dum Tweedle – you take on the role of the big bad wolf, Bigby Wolf, who’s on a mission to investigate a spate of fairytale character murders. You do this by questioning different fairytale characters, and as with any Telltale Games story, each dialogue decision you make or misclick in an action sequence can have dire consequences.
Kentucky Route Zero
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.
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Kentucky Route Zero is about finding power and driving into 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 the 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.
Inscryption is a horror game that wants to mess with you. It’s similar to card games like Hand of Fate and Slay The Spire, where the mysterious gamemaster forces you to play a roguelike card game in his remote log cabin. You sacrifice creatures to play better beasts as you journey across three boards to beat him and escape.
Inscryption Inscryption $19.99 Buy now Network N earns affiliate commission from qualifying sales.Before long, though, the cards begin to talk to you, encouraging you to get up from your seat and explore the cabin, delving into its escape-room-like puzzles to find a way out. With plenty of twists and turns along the way, this is one interactive adventure that’s sure to stay with you for quite some time.
Those are some of the best stories in PC games, but if you want a fun game without the story or an up-front cost bogging it down, you can try one of the best free PC games available now.