Many people now are talking about how games like Halo 3 or Resistance are being pumped out to make millions based off advertisements and multiplayer. While this is true, it also seems to me that there are MORE great storyline games coming out as well. With this in mind, here are the best storylines of the past 5 years in my mind.
Half Life 2(and all of its episodes) - Man, you want to play a game and wonder what the hell is going on this is the set of games for you. The intrigue alone at the end of each game/episode is enough to make me want more of this game than just about any other. Not to mention the fact that the relationship with Alyx, and the way she is presented, makes her my favorite character in all of video games. This game, in my opinion, is simply one of the most engrossing and riveting games ever made.
Portal - Along the lines of Ico, this game doesn't tell you too much about the storyline, and doesn't have to. You're a test subject trying to get away from your testing facility. There is basically one character, the computer, but the character is developed very well, and the setting is also great. From the somewhat hidden areas that you can get to that have writing on the wall like other subjects went crazy to the infinitely famous end song, this is a wondrous game all around. And wow, any game that can make me care about a metal box is a work of genius. I probably stood with the box for like 10 minutes before dropping it in. Go Valve. Its also HILARIOUS.
Beyond Good And Evil - I think they jumped into it a little fast( the game practically started with you finding out that the government was currupted), but it was a great storyline. A group of people have made it their personal duty to reveal the truth to the public. The characters are also very well done(the main 2 anyway). And, of course, Jade is one of the best characters in gaming. I think she is probably right around where Alyx is in my mind.
Bioshock - This has been done in depth quite a lot, but Ill put out my thoughts as well. As much as I give this game shit for basically being a stylistic ripoff of Fallout, it was fantastic in its own right. The idea of giving the player choice didn't matter too much in the actual progression of the game(saving or not saving the girls doesn't drastically change the game, and the endings are pretty lackluster either way), within the storyline the idea of choice was very well developed, although mostly because of the greatest scene in video games, ever. When the protagonist finds that he is basically being brainwashed by the "good guy" that he is listening to and that he is powerless to stop it. Andrew Ryan then forces you kill him, against your own will, through a cutscene where he uses the magic words "would you kindly." Simply Brilliant.
Mass Effect - I'm pretty sure the fact that I loved this game's music has swayed me on the topic, because its music was wonderful, but I absolutely loved this games storyline. Touching on many concepts including corrupt agents in CIA type agencies, mind control, mercy for previous actions(the alien scene reminding me of The Ender's Game Series' Xenocide), and secret research(the mind control plant). It also has great characters developed(both good and bad), and each of them has their own way of doing things. From Saren in reality trying to do the right thing to the varying "do the ends justify the means" type of questions that different crew members answer differently. And, I thought that the whole Reaper idea was awesome, and unfolded in a great way.
Some other greats include KOTOR, Metal Gear Solid 3, Shadow Of The Colossus, and God Of War.
Funny that 2-4(whether you count Episode 1/2 as seperate games) games from my list are in one package. If you don't own The Orange Box go get it now.
Well, after actually looking at what games have been released in the past few years I think I'll retract anything I said about games becoming more mindless.
I haven't been on Destructoid in a while, and even when I was on it daily I would miss some articles, but luckily Rev Anthony had a link to this gem in one of his newer articles. ShadowXOR also made a post about it(more specifically, how it may actually change his life.
So, why am I writing this post even though the game has obviously been discussed in full? Because its that damned good. If I had it my way, games like this would be mentioned everyday, everywhere. And, because if I made a comment on a article that was over a month old it would be like playing DDR with a D-pad, a complete waste of time.
By the way, if you are one of the few that has yet to play this game, go get it here. Now. If you aren't going to play this 5 minute game, just leave this page, because you have no business reading why the game is so good.
Now then, onto my actual opinion of the game, which you may be able to draw out of the title of this post if you really look closely at it. I LOVE THIS GAME. There is almost nothing to do, no instruction manual, no goal, and nothing flashy. Hell, I didn't even see any commercials for it on TV. It is, however, the most wonderful piece of...ANYTHING(you may insert art there if you wish) that I have ever experienced. And yes, I did say experience, because I did more than just play it.
Every single part of the game was wonderful. Every symbol, every occurrence, every choice - all brilliant. The clouded future of choices on the right when you start, the clouded past of memories on the left when you finish - both brilliant. The chests we chase after yet often come to find that they were more of a "the grass is alway greener" situation - brilliant. The ability to go and get or not get love, depending on your focus - brilliant.
Personally, I didn't even know you could go down, so I just went right, occasionally stopping to look at the background, examine it, see what the "future" looks like from that spot. I had no idea the counter was score, I thought it was just how many paces you had gone, or just a timer. Then, I became bald. It hit me like a ton of bricks. The characters are slowly aging. It even distracted me from the beauty of the scenery, I became fixated on the characters for a minute or so, watching them slowly change. A sort of mid-life crisis, really. But, what can't be stopped can't be stopped. Onward I pressed, because thats simply what life does. Always moving forward. Then, my wife died. I was baffled. It was then, of course, that I realized that there was no door I was going to find, no end, we were simply going to die. I mourned, for a bit. Just kind of going left and right of the grave, then said farewell and moved on, very slowly. It was around this time I realized I was moving to the right of the screen, as well as to the right of the scenery. Its like I was moving slower bu reaching the end faster. And then it came, and the game was over, my wife's tombstone still close enough to not be blurred. Almost as if "I could remember it like it was yesterday". It was amazing how unexpected the death was, and how really anticlimactic it was, but it was still a great experience, much like, now that I think about it, life should be. Have fun and enjoy the scenery, who knows when its going to end. Luckily, unlike what apparently most of the other posters felt, I was pretty happy at the end of the game. Hell, I didn't even know there were treasure chests, but I played it the way I wanted to play it and it was a great experience.
Everyone should play this game, thats why I bothered making this post. If you still haven't played it, go play it now, even if you think it sounds stupid. As far as a numerical rating goes I would give it a...Perfect.
On a side note, where do you guys go to get ind. games like this?