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15 Best Video Game Stories You Can Find on Steam

Some gamers play for the stats and some play for the action. Others, well… They play to enjoy the story surrounding the game. If you are part of the last group and feel like you have run out of story-driven games to play, here are some of the best video game stories that you can find on Steam. These games have been selected based on the writing as well as how they were designed to keep gamers so immersed that they feel like they are actually inside the game’s world.

 

Best Video Game Stories on Steam

1.  Star Wars — Knights of the Old Republic

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic on Steam
Photo from Steam

Regular Price on Steam: Approx. $9

Available on Steam: Windows and Mac OS X

Developer: BioWare and Aspyr

Publisher: LucasArts

If you are a Star Wars or a sci-fi fan, this is definitely a story-rich game to try. The story will immerse you into the game’s world from the beginning and will get you hooked that you may end up playing for hours on end. Isn’t that what gamers are looking for?

It has everything an RPG could have to give you a fascinating Star Wars experience that is as engaging and immersive as possible. The game immediately hurls you on a mission to find a Jedi VIP to save Planet Taris and you will be surprised how this story prompt will ultimately expand your adventure into the galaxy far, far away.

Get it now on Steam

 

2.  The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3 game
Photo from Steam

Regular Price on Steam: Approx. $39

Available on Steam: Windows

Developer and Publisher: CD Projekt Red

Another one of the best video game stories in recent years, The Witcher 3 will get you thinking carefully about your character’s decisions within the game as they have impactful consequences. The game is based on the fantasy novel, The Witcher, and follows the story of Geralt of Rivia who is a pro monster hunter.

This is one of the best decision-based games out there, and you will undoubtedly notice the great attention to detail that the developers have put into it. It has a rich fantasy world as in the book and stunning graphics that will keep you locked on your gaming chair for hours.

Get it now on Steam

 

3.  Portal 2

Portal 2 game on Steam
Photo from Steam

Regular Price on Steam: Approx. $9

Available on Steam: Windows, Mac OS X, and SteamOS + Linux

Developer and Publisher: Valve

Undeniably one of the best games on Steam, Portal 2 has been rated as the number one game by users with “Very Positive” reviews. It is a single-player game but also features a two-player mode that takes your character to a whole new level of mayhem brought about by the infamous Aperture Labs.

You will be meticulously exploring science laboratories and facing murderous robots along the way. Perhaps, the best thing about Portal 2 is its innovative gameplay and unmatched graphics. What’s most interesting about its story is the backstory of Aperture itself—watch out for a surprisingly touching twist about GLaDOS. If you want an epic sci-fi game, this is one you can’t pass on.

Get it now on Steam

 

4.  Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite
Photo from Steam

Regular Price on Steam: Approx. $29

Available on Steam: Windows, Mac OS X, and SteamOS + Linux

Developer: Irrational Games and Virtual Programming

Publisher: 2K

This is one of the story games that will take you back to the old times but with a futuristic feel. Bioshock Infinite is set in 1912 and will take you to a city in the sky built by the US government. You will play the character of a hired gunman who needs to rescue Elizabeth who has been imprisoned since she was young. It will be a thrilling experience with the two characters experimenting with weapons and abilities. Safe to say, this is one of the best story-driven games that will leave you in utter shock.

Get it now on Steam

 

5.  Assassin’s Creed 2

Assassin’s Creed 2 game
Photo from Steam

Regular Price on Steam: Approx. $19

Available on Steam: Windows

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Publisher: Ubisoft

One of the most action-filled on our list of the best video game stories, Assassin’s Creed 2 introduces a new character, Ezio, and a new setting. Set in the Renaissance era, the game presents an epic story with some incredibly interesting bits like the main character befriending Leonardo da Vinci. But don’t be fooled by the seemingly friendly storyline. As the name suggests, this is one of those games with good stories that are also filled with gore and violence. The story is that of vengeance, family feuds, and conspiracies.

Check out the latest installment to the series: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Get it now on Steam

 

6.  Hades

Hades story driven game
photo taken from Steam

Regular Price on Steam: Approx. $19

Available on Steam: Windows and Mac OS X

Developer and Publisher: Supergiant Games

Rated one of the best Steam games of all time, Hades continues to earn praises and is still one of the most downloaded out of the best games on Steam. Featuring more retro-like graphics, the game follows the story of a rogue god and most of the action takes place in a dungeon. Because of the way the gameplay is designed, and with lots of combat, some people may mistake it for not having a rich story.

If you are familiar with the god of the underworld, you will enjoy the mythical story elements incorporated in this game. It features a character-driven story with excellent storytelling. You will be playing to escape his realm and will be needing the help of other characters from Olympus to succeed.

Get it now on Steam

 

7.  Resident Evil 2

Resident Evil 2 game on Steam
Photo from Steam

Regular Price on Steam: Approx. $39

Available on Steam: Windows

Developer and Publisher: CAPCOM Co., Ltd.

If you’ve been gaming for quite some time, you have most likely played the first installment of the Resident Evil series. The second, however, has an even more compelling story. It offers a fresh take on the zombie horror saga where your ultimate goal is, again, to survive the invasion of the undead and several other nemeses.

No wonder it made it to our list of the best video game stories on Steam—Resident Evil 2 has a deeper narrative; following the story of the zombies that have again been brought back to life. Even better for those who like gore, you will see a lot of realistic wet blood. But perhaps, the most compelling part of the story is the puzzles that you need to solve in order to get through the game and save your character’s life.

Get it now on Steam

 

8.  Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider game
Photo from Steam

Regular Price on Steam: Approx. $14

Available on Steam: Windows, Mac OS X, and SteamOS + Linux

Developer: Crystal Dynamics, Eidos-Montréal, Feral Interactive (Mac), Feral Interactive (Linux)

Publisher: Square Enix, Feral Interactive (Mac), Feral Interactive (Linux)

This classic is still one of the best story-driven games on Steam. If you have played the original, the Steam or PC version still follows the story of Lara Croft. The story is that of her origins and how she needs to learn to survive what she has been thrust into.

The great thing about this game is that you can expect a lot more adventures as you uncover increasingly exciting mysteries. There’s also a lot of action as you acquire and upgrade your weapons. The game also features a Team Play mode so you can enjoy the game’s rich story with your friends.

Get it now on Steam

 

9.  The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Regular Price on Steam: Approximately $19

Available on Steam: Windows

Developer and Publisher: Bethesda

If you’re looking for an epic fantasy, The Elder Scrolls series is definitely one to devour, and Skyrim is surely included on our list of the best video game stories that you can find on Steam.

It features an enthralling winter world to explore any way you choose. Like in all of The Elder Scrolls series and many decision games, you get to choose your character’s race, class, and abilities. You get to plan any type of character you can imagine and play the game however you want from beginning to end. In this story-driven game, all decisions you make including your weapons of choice define how you progress. It has a rich lore and the storytelling is nothing short of compelling.

Get it now on Steam

 

10.  Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Amnesia The Dark Descent game
photo taken from Steam

Regular Price on Steam: Approx. $19

Available on Steam: Windows, Mac OS X, and SteamOS + Linux

Developer and Publisher: Frictional Games

Your character is Daniel and you wake up in a dark and deserted castle… or so you think. Your memories have faded away and you can only remember bits and pieces from your past. This first-person game takes to a chilling adventure as you live through your character’s disturbing new reality. Or is it just a nightmare? You can decide for yourself once you take on the immersive journey; walking through eerie pathways as well as the dark corners of Daniel’s troubled mind. It is one of the best horror games you can find on Steam.

If you are a horror fan, see our list of the best horror movies on Amazon Prime Video.

Get it now on Steam

 

11.  Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 2 game
Photo from Steam

Regular Price on Steam: Approx. $19

Available on Steam: Windows

Developer: BioWare

Publisher: Electronic Arts (EA)

If you want to be a space hero, this is your time to save the galaxy. It’s a classic adventure game with a rich story and an immersive sci-fi world. You will be playing against ancient giant machines and the odds are hardly in your favor. It is almost a suicide mission but one you take anyway because of the impressive storytelling of the game.

Each character in the game has a complex and compelling backstory that will challenge your decision-making to the fullest. One decision may make your relationship with one of the characters better but could potentially affect another negatively. Now, it is all up to you how you are going to save everybody.

Get it now on Steam

 

12.  The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion on Steam best video game stories
Photo from Steam

Regular Price on Steam: Approx. $14

Available on Steam: Windows

Developer and Publisher: Bethesda

The fourth in The Elder Scrolls series, Oblivion remains to be one of the highest-ranked and one of the best video game stories on Steam. It is also one of the most-loved RPGs of all time. As mentioned earlier, like in all the games in the series, you get to create and plan your character however you want.

Here, you will step into a vibrant world with optional expansions to immerse yourself in the realm even more. Get lost inside the game’s lore and explore each character’s backgrounds and the overarching stories throughout the game. It is like reading a rich fantasy novel except you are a significant part of it. The game is an open-ended, detailed RPG with endless possibilities for your character.

Get it now on Steam

 

13.  Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Regular Price on Steam: Approx. $14

Available on Steam: Windows

Developer: Starbreeze Studios AB

Publisher: 505 Games

As the game’s title suggests, this game is a tale of two brothers who are trying to save their ailing father. The unique thing about this story-driven game is that you can control both characters or play with a friend in the cooperative (co-op) mode.

To succeed, you must get the two siblings to various locations where you must solve puzzles and win in combat. Your ultimate goal is to bring the father the “Water of Life,” but will the two siblings survive on their quest? It’s a story like no other and has also been rated as one of the best video game stories on Steam of all time.

Get it now on Steam

 

14.  The Elder Scrolls Online (ESO)

The Elder Scrolls Online best video game stories
Photo from Steam

Regular Price on Steam: Approx. $19

Available on Steam: Windows, Mac OS X

Developer: Zenimax Online Studios and Bethesda

Now, here is one in The Elder Scrolls series that is among the best massive multiplayer roleplaying games (MMORPG). It means that you get to play the game online along with other gamers although your journey is still meant to be made by you alone.

One of the best video game stories out there, ESO continues the rich storytelling from the previous three in the franchise. Here, you will explore the region of Tamriel and every location in the game has thrilling and sometimes, frightening surprises in store for players. Each quest has a compelling narrative that reveals something leading to the great evil plans of the villains. But the villains are so complex that you will find yourself liking and maybe even relating to them.

To help you get started on your ESO journey, you can take a look at our Elder Scrolls Online character creation guide.

Get it now on Steam

 

15.  Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition

Divinity game on Steam
Photo from Steam

Regular Price on Steam: Approx. $44

Available on Steam: Windows and Mac OS X

Developer and Publisher: Larian Studios

Another one from the highest-rated Steam games of all time and truly one of the best video game stories, Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a perfect video game for gamers who also love tabletop games. This is one of those story-driven games that make you feel as though you are playing an actual board game.

In this MMORPG, you have the freedom to create any character build that you want and choose your race, type of weapons, and abilities. Aside from the stereotypical characters that you see from many MMORPGs, you can even be an Undead and all your choices will determine how the game’s world reacts to your character and how the story progresses.

Get it now on Steam

 

Why Gamers Play for the Story

People play video games for different reasons but one thing is for sure, they all want to have fun. While killing enemies within the game, leveling up, and acquiring weapons are all fun, some gamers love playing more to observe how the story within the game progresses.

It is highly likely that you are one of them since you found yourself on this page or maybe you are part of the former and want to try out something new. Whichever the case, the main reason gamers like story-driven games is because of how they become part of the world and the lore and not just keep pressing on keys or moving their joysticks to kill the enemies.

A great video game has a rich story and compelling characters and you will learn more of that below.

 

What Makes a Good Video Game Story

As promised, here are some of the most crucial things that the best video game stories all have in common.

 

A Rich World

A rich world that makes for best video game stories
Photo from Steam

Though a story can be compelling enough within a simple setting, it is always more fun to play a game that has a rich world. This allows you to explore different areas in the game that offer different types of quests and being immersed in the stories behind those quests. (More on quests below.)

A rich world doesn’t only mean a wide realm with a fancy map. It means having unique aspects in each region within that world. One area might be full of dragons and another might be more laid-back with lots of storytelling. These are what comprise a rich gaming world.

 

Interesting Lore

What good is a story without mysteries and twists in it? The best video game stories are made by good writers in the developer team. They didn’t just create the game for players to keep bashing opponents and looting gold and weapons; they designed it so that gamers can also enjoy a story that will keep surprising them along the way. It’s all about excitement and discovery. It’s about exploration and learning more about what’s behind each character’s personality.

 

Compelling Characters

The best video game stories also feature interesting and compelling characters. These don’t only include the non-player characters (NPCs) but also you as a player.

Like in any novel or movie, a good villain should have qualities that people can relate to. The same is true for game villains or what, in gaming terms, is called “world bosses.” They are filled with complexities that you sometimes don’t know whether to sympathize with them or hate them altogether.

This also goes for minor or supporting characters. Compelling characters are what keeps gamers in their seat and not want to quit the game. They make the story rich with controversies and most of the time, they make the gaming experience cathartic for players.

 

Good Dialogue

Good dialogues for best video game stories
Photo from Steam

In relation to compelling characters, the best video game stories also have well-written dialogues. Each interaction you have with NPCs should leave you either laughing with amusement or pondering deeply. It is discouraging to play games when the dialogues are corny or cliché. It’s also good if each type of character speaks differently from each other.

In The Elder Scrolls Online, for example, the Khajits—which are basically tiger-looking people speak differently from the elves. They have their own nuances and manner of talking. This way, it is easy to determine which type of character you are speaking with. It also makes how they interact with you more interesting.

 

Fun Quests

As mentioned, the best story-driven games are filled with interesting quests. They should also be challenging and rewarding at the same time. Most of all, quests should reveal something about the overarching storyline of the game or something about particular characters. What kind of battles must you face in one quest compared to another? Which characters are involved? What rewards are waiting for you and how many experience points do you get? These are all important aspects of a good quest.

 

Decision-Making

As you may have noticed in most of the games included in our list of the best video game stories, great story-driven games allow you to make your own decisions and these decisions should affect how the story progresses. Your character’s decisions should dictate what your next interaction with a particular NPC should be like, which abilities you gain or develop, and how you complete your next quests. It is not enough that you are given a set of choices; your choices must have consequences that would either be beneficial to you or not.

 

Excellent Graphics

Excellent graphics best video game stories on Steam
Photo from Steam

What good are games with good stories if the graphics don’t measure up? It is not enjoyable to play games with poor graphics even if they have rich stories, although in some cases, gamers find that this is okay. If the writing is really impressive, you may overlook the graphics. But why settle for less? After all, you are most likely investing in your game, not just in the cost to buy them but also in your gaming equipment. How will you enjoy the game to its fullest if you can’t appreciate the graphics?

 

Player-to-Player Interaction

For MMORPGs, it’s important that you have the option to interact with other players whether to duel with them or to do cooperative gameplay. Dueling is also called Player-versus-Player (PVP) and a lot of gamers find this to be a lot of fun. Cooperative gameplay can also be helpful in defeating world bosses who are very powerful especially if you are still a low-level player. You can have healers in your group, buffers, and tanks.

 

Why Download the Best Video Game Stories From Steam

Steam is one of the largest gaming platforms where you can download games to your PC or Mac. Sometimes, you can even find free Steam games.

Another good reason to download games from Steam is that it offers protection for your content via Steam Guard. It’s a feature that protects your account from being hacked. It’s important because when that happens, you may lose your characters and your items, and all your efforts and hard work to progress in the game will have been wasted.

 

How to Download Games From Steam

Downloading and installing games from Steam is pretty straightforward. One of the downsides of this is that it may take a while for games that require huge storage spaces. Here is our in-depth guide on how to download games from Steam.

Whether you are bored with your current games or are just looking to play something new, we hope that our list of the best video game stories would help you. Hopefully, it will also help you enjoy your gaming experience more! If you eventually find games that are not on this list and aren’t sure if it’s a good choice, we recommend going back to the section about what makes a good video game story. Happy gaming!

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