Top 10 Best Video Game Narratives of 2017 [Best Recommendations]

People play video games for a lot of different reasons, and like them for even more. Some people just want fun gameplay, some look for flawless visuals and memorable scores. And still, others place the narrative, or story, above all else. We are here to focus on the last of those! Video games have come a long way from the simplistic “stories” that games used to have, and now tell narratives with arguably more depth than movies. They’re certainly longer than them! Whether games tell a great narrative through cinematic cutscenes or let you in on the action through controlling dialogues and choices, video games these days offer a lot of ways to tell unforgettable stories.

2017 was a great year for new games in general across many platforms and genres. So of course, there were plenty of games with compelling narratives! But just ones were the best for the year? Honey’s Anime decided to create a list of the Top 10 Best Video Game Narratives of 2017. Spanning across genres and systems, there’s something for all fans of great game stories. With amazing characters and fun narratives, get ready for a deeper story-telling experience than other media forms can give you.

10. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

  • System: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
  • Developer: MachineGames
  • Release Dates: Oct. 27th, 2017

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is the eighth game in the Wolfenstein series. It is set in an alternate version of history where the German forces won WWII. In this game, you play as a war veteran named William “B.J.” Blazkowicz as he fights Neo-Nazi forces in America. He is being pursued by Frau Engel, a sadistic Nazi leader who is furious at Blazkowicz for killing her lover and disfiguring her in the previous game. Despite being nearly killed and missing organs, Blazkowicz is forced to stand up to her or die; plus there is the added motivation that the love of his life is pregnant with twins and he has to protect them.

Controversial or not, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus tells an alternative narrative of history that is actually quite frightening. It doesn’t have to have ghosts and supernatural forces or jump scares to make you feel uncomfortable. Seeing an America ruled by Neo-Nazis is terrifying. But the best part of this story is that you get to spend it shooting them and fighting back against their regime! As the narrative in Wolfenstein II continues to unfold in your pursuit of Frau Engel, you’ll become more and more invested in Blazkowicz’s story and his cause. Shooting Nazis in a first-person perspective certainly come first, but don’t let it overshadow this well-written narrative as well.

9. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

  • System: Nintendo Switch, Wii U
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo EPD
  • Release Dates: Mar. 3rd, 2017

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sees the return of Link to the land of Hyrule. This time, Hyrule is a world constantly battling against an evil force called Calamity Ganon, and had been for thousands of years. Link begins his story by awakening from a strange 100-year sleep with none of his memories. Hyrule has been ruined, and Link learns that Ganon has been trapped inside of Hyrule Castle for 100 years. While he had been trapped, though, he had continued to grow in power and will soon break free to destroy all the lands. Link must grow strong to defeat him once and for all and free Hyrule, finally, from this recurring calamity so that it can return to its former glory.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was praised mostly for its amazing open world and gameplay that allowed you to solve problems how you wanted to, making it a very open-ended game. And while these elements of the game are certainly special, don’t forget that there is also an excellent narrative! It’s an age-old good versus evil story in a medieval fantasy world, and fans of Zelda as well as newcomers to the series can enjoy that kind of tale. Breath of the Wild has a similar and yet all new feeling to it from previous Zelda titles, and yet again it is able to tell a story that people will want to play over and over again.

8. Dishonoured: Death of the Outsider

  • System: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
  • Developer: Arkane Studios
  • Release Dates: Sep. 15th, 2017

Dishonoured: Death of the Outsider is set after the events of Dishonoured 2. You play as a former assassin named Billie Lurk. The story begins with Billie having the same dream night after night about her eye and right arm. Wanting answers, she seeks her old mentor, a man named Daud. When she eventually finds him, he is being held by a cult that worships the Void, and they are restraining him in a device that doesn’t let him use his supernatural powers. After freeing him, Billie embarks on a journey to stop this cult, known as the Eyeless, and to help Daud kill a figure known as the Outsider.

Following suit to previous titles in the series, the narrative in Dishonoured: Death of the Outsider is all about infiltration, assassination, and the supernatural. The story is a fantasy one with a steampunk vibe, and since the gameplay is first-person, you really feel like you’re part of the narrative as you experience it. If you like stories about cults and conspiracies, enjoy playing the role of a spy, and want to experience a fantastic world, this is the game for you. It tells a really cool fantasy story alongside challenging gameplay and with intriguing characters.

7. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

  • System: PlayStation 4
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Developer: Naughty Dog
  • Release Dates: Aug. 22nd, 2017

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is the first game in the series to not follow Nathan Drake. Instead, you play as Chloe, a treasure hunter fans of the series will remember from the previous games. Alongside Nadine who served as one of the antagonists in A Thief’s End, Chloe begins a hunt for treasure in India. She picks up where her father left off on his search for the legendary tusk of Ganesh, the son of the Hindu goddess Shiva. It’s a race against time as an insurgent group also hunts for the tusk, hoping to use it to spark a civil war in India. More is at stake than just getting rich!

Uncharted has always been a series with a really fun narrative, and The Lost Legacy doesn’t disappoint. It brings a whole new Indiana Jones-style adventure story about treasure hunting in lost cities and across the globe that makes you want to drop everything and become a treasure hunter, too. Plus it balances the supernatural element of hunting for a religious artefact with the believable story of insurgent groups and a nation that could be turned to war. It makes the stakes even higher for Chloe to succeed and adds some great tension to the narrative. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy tells its story through cinematic cutscenes character dialogue in the background, so it’s easy to just enjoy the fast-paced action and puzzle gameplay and then kick back to watch the movies!

6. Tacoma

  • System: Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One
  • Publisher: Fullbright
  • Developer: Fullbright
  • Release Dates: Aug. 2nd, 2017

Set in 2088, Tacoma is a future in which corporations control everything. Not only do they have power over space travel, AI and more, they also intensely reward loyalty to one corporation for people that aid them. You play as Amy Ferrier who is assigned to go to the abandoned space station Tacoma to retrieve valuable AI data as well as its physical processing module. While there, Amy slowly learns what happened to Tacoma station and the disasters that befell it and led to its abandonment. Along with the AI’s (named ODIN) help, Amy is able to piece everything together and learn the full story.

Tacoma’s gameplay is entirely exploration-based as you move through the space station, making the narrative the central part of it. Using an augmented reality system, Amy is able to see where non-player characters were previously and even hear their conversations. By doing this, Tacoma’s story is told in a really unique way. The AR system is also key to solving puzzles to help move the narrative forward and continue to explore and discover more parts of the space station. Most interactions are thus made with ODIN and through emails that give additional information. Tacoma is like playing through a science fiction mystery narrative, so fans of the genre that aren’t necessarily looking for action too will enjoy it.

5. Persona 5

  • System: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3
  • Publisher: Atlus (JP), Atlus USA (NA)
  • Developer: P-Studio
  • Release Dates: Apr. 4th, 2017

In Persona 5, you play as a Japanese high school boy who recently had to transfer to a new school in Tokyo after being involved in a crime in his hometown. Hoping to start over in Tokyo, he enters a school where rumours of his past have already been spread to nearly everyone. Luckily, he is able to still make friends with the school outcast, Ryuji. Together, the two discover that through using a mysterious app on their phones, they can enter the “palaces” of people around them with corrupt hearts. If they can change the person’s subconscious in this palace, then they can potentially change that person in real life to a better person, too. But is it really moral to play with people’s subconscious without their permission?

If you have ever wanted to experience being a Japanese high school kid or live in an anime, Persona 5 gives you that chance. Split between turn-based battles in vibrant and creative palaces and social role-playing in modern Tokyo, Persona 5 lets you step into the shoes of the main protagonist completely. It occasionally has conversation choices for you to make, and you can choose how to spend your time and who to build relationships with. And there are a lot of choices of what to do in your limited days the game gives you. The narrative unfolds through gameplay and anime-style cutscenes, building intriguing characters and a slowly unfolding plot. If you like anime style narratives, Persona 5 is undeniably that.

4. Life is Strange: Before the Storm

  • System: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Developer: Deck Nine
  • Release Dates: Aug. 31st, 2017 (Episode 1)

Life is Strange: Before the Storm is the prequel to the now-famous narrative Life is Strange. Set before the events of the other game, it follows Chloe Price and explores her relationship with Rachel Amber, who is missing already in the original game. It reveals all the events that lead up to her eventual disappearance and explain why Chloe is the way she is when you encounter her in Life is Strange. It’s a story about the struggles of being a teenager, the realities of drugs, the dissolution of marriage, and most of all, what it means to grow into an adult as Chloe and Rachel face ordeals that no one their age should have to deal with.

Like the original game, Life is Strange: Before the Storm is heavily focused on an interactive narrative. Most of the gameplay comes from exploring and interacting with the environment and making dialogue decisions that branch out and affect the rest of the game. Even the smallest choices will affect what happens in the story and how characters react to you in the future. That puts you right in the middle of the story and makes you an active participant and not just a viewer. But be warned, a lot of the decisions are very hard calls to make, much like real life. Everything isn’t just black and white in Life is Strange: Before the Storm. And that’s part of the reason it’s such a well-written narrative.

3. Mass Effect: Andromeda

  • System: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Developer: BioWare
  • Release Dates: Mar. 21st, 2017

Mass Effect Andromeda is the latest title in the Mass Effect series, though it tells an all-new story that is removed from the original trilogy. In this new title, you play as Pathfinder Ryder, a member of the Andromeda Initiative that has travelled 600 years through dark space to a new galaxy to settle there. However, when everyone arrives in Andromeda, the predicted “golden worlds” where the Milky Way species were meant to settle are anything but habitable. Nearly all of them suffer from some kind of atmospheric problem that makes living on them impossible. Plus an aggressive alien species called the Kett are bent on killing everyone. And did we mention the Scourge, a mysterious phenomenon that rips ships apart? Terraforming this new universe is anything but easy, but there’s no going back.

Like previous Mass Effect titles, Andromeda is a long and immersive narrative game. Balancing conversation and relationship building with exploring and combat, Andromeda gives a full role-playing experience that lets you really feel like you are your character. You are in control of everything he or she says, and the game presents you with a lot of huge decisions to make that will change the outcome of the narrative. That means you can really make the story your own, and it has a high replay value to try again and experience a whole new story. While the gameplay is admittedly plagued by glitches and it’s not as deep as the rest of the trilogy, Andromeda still paints a really fun science fiction narrative you can really get lost in.

2. What Remains of Edith Finch

  • System: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
  • Developer: Giant Sparrow
  • Release Dates: Apr. 25th, 2017

What Remains of Edith Finch is the story of the Finch family. They are an American family that believes they have a curse; every member of the family always meets an untimely death, and only one child from each generation lives on to have their own children. You play as a young woman in the Finch who has returned to her childhood home, the large and mysterious Finch house. The house is full of hidden doors and secret passages. And you explore the home, you learn all the stories of past family members and their mysterious deaths as you try to uncover the truth behind the curse.

What Remains of Edith Finch is a narrative game first and foremost; it doesn’t have combat and role-playing like many other games. Instead, it focuses on unveiling a story through exploration gameplay. The narrative of the Finch family only becomes stranger and more intriguing the longer you play the game, and you’ll find yourself wondering what you will learn next and where this tragic story is going. What Remains of Edith Finch won the Best Narrative award at The Game Awards 2017 for a reason - the focus of the game is on the narrative itself, and it will keep you wondering until the end.

1. Horizon Zero Dawn

  • System: PlayStation 4
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Developer: Guerrilla Games
  • Release Dates: Feb. 28th, 2017

Horizon Zero Dawn may look at first glance to be a fantasy set in the past, but it’s actually a science fiction story set in the far future. You play as Aloy, a young woman who has grown up in a harsh wilderness where nature has reclaimed what humans long ago made, and mechanical robots that look like dinosaurs and prehistoric beasts make travelling dangerous. As the machines become more and more aggressive and some even show signs of a corruption, Aloy knows that humans can’t just continue to exist in fear of them. Something must be done, even if that means exploring the forbidden ruins of the metal age; hopefully, she can find an answer for the future if she can uncover what happened in the past.

The narrative in Horizon Zero Dawn is a very original and creative one, which means it’s hard to predict exactly what will happen. The environment of the game is beautifully detailed and huge, giving you a lot to explore as the story unfolds and takes you to many different places. As the player, you have some degree of control over Aloy’s personality by choosing friendly, aggressive, or sarcastic responses in her conversations. And as the greater story unfolds and you begin to learn more about the machines and where they came from, you will just keep looking for more. Each mystery unlocks another even more intriguing one, and that continues to the end of the game.

Final Thoughts

So are you ready to explore the furthest reaches of space, wander around modern Tokyo, and get lost in fantasy worlds? Maybe you want to take down an evil regime, find a priceless treasure, or help your friends? Whatever story you want to lose yourself in, and whether you want to just be a member of the audience or an active participant in the outcome, 2017 has made so many video games with incredible narratives. The hardest part is deciding which one to explore first!

So what will it be? Are you excited to try any of the games on this list? Did we miss your favourite narrative of 2017? Would you have ranked these in a different order? What kind of narrative do you like best in video games? Whatever you want to say, we want to hear it in the comments below!

Dishonored-Death-of-the-Outsider-Wallpaper Top 10 Best Video Game Narratives of 2017 [Best Recommendations]


Author: Jet Nebula

Living the dream in Tokyo, where you can find me working at a theme café catered towards women. When I’m not writing for Honey’s, I’m working on original dystopian science fiction or blogging about Tokyo’s trendy coffee scene. I spend my free time in Harajuku and Shibuya wearing alternative Japanese street fashion. I love video games, J-rock, tattoos, and Star Wars.

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