There are some games that you can’t wait to play on Day 1 of its release. You jump right in and make your progress through the game as fast as possible because you are so hooked by the story. You need to see how it’ll all play out in the end. As soon as you complete it, you’re left satisfied and pleased with your accomplishment. But. You don’t feel the need to pick up the game again for a second playthrough. Or you don’t want to go back in to find items or texts that could give you a more in-depth understanding of that in-game history.
Today, we want to talk about some titles that keep us interested to no end. Even after you complete the main story, you want to dive back in for more. You read online forums about connections and story tidbits that you didn’t find on your own. You talk to your friends about certain dungeons or bosses over and over again. You watch videos that clearly and succinctly layout the entire mythos of the game’s franchise so you have a more clear understanding and better appreciation for the game.
Most of the games chosen below are part of a series, so they should all be played in their entirety to get the full experience. If the title says – Series, then you can start with the first game in that franchise. If the title says – 3, then its preferred if you start with #3 in that series. Of course, these are just suggestions. You can choose whichever title from the series sees most interesting. Okay, now onto the selections. These are our choices for the Top 10 Gaming Universes.
10. God of War Series
- System: PS2
- Publisher: SCE Santa Monica
- Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment
- Release Dates: March 22nd, 2015
Primordials, predating the gods and titans, were the first race of beings. They eventually clash with one another and lead to a celestial war that created the Earth itself and the Furies. Titans were born from the Primordials, who in turn created the first gods. During a celestial war, the Titans were defeated, enslaved, and made to work for the gods with Zeus becoming their leader. Centuries later, mankind is created to entertain the gods. Zeus mated with a mortal woman, Kalisto, who bore two sons, Damos and Kratos.
A prophecy foretold that a human child with red markings, like the ones Damos had, would rise and eventually destroy the gods. Hoping to prevent the prophecy, the gods kidnapped and imprisoned Damos. Kratos would grow up and become a powerful Spartan warrior. However, in a battle against the barbarians, just before he and his men would be completely wiped out, he made a covenant with Ares the god of war. Kratos would become his servant in exchange for the power to defeat the barbarians. Ares saw that Kratos had the potential to become the new god of, so he hatched a plan to force Kratos to break his oath and become imprisoned by the Furies. But, Kratos breaks free and vows to kill Ares.
At its core, God of War is a hack and slash game where you slowly become more powerful and are able to fight gods head on. The particular draw of this franchise is that you go up against the Greek gods of Mount Olympus while learning about their ancient battles that took place centuries before. The history and relationship between various deities are insightful and really entertaining for people curious about Greek mythology.
9. Batman (Arkham Series)
- System: Xbox 360, PS3
- Publisher: Rocksteady Studios
- Developer: Feral Interactive, Playcast-media, Eidos Interactive, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Square Enix
- Release Dates: Aug. 25th, 2009
After witnessing the murder of his parents, right in front of him, when he was a child, he grows up seeking a way to enact his own brand of justice against the criminals of Gotham city. This man, Bruce Wayne, becomes Batman and learns to use fear to destroy the mind and bodies of his city's thugs. One particular criminal, the Joker, becomes Batman's nemesis. Though Joker is constantly arrested and imprisoned, he always manages to find a way to break out. Currently, he is in the custody of Blackgate Prison.
A mysterious fire at Blackgate Prison leads to all of the prisoners, Joker among them, being transferred to Arkham Asylum. A facility that has recently undergone massive renovations to ensure that the criminally insane patients cannot escape its walls. With the influx of so many high profile prisoners, Arkham staff cannot monitor them all and Harley Quinn manages to escape. She sets in motion a series of events that lead to the Joker breaking free from his constraints and luring Batman into Arkham Asylum, a facility teeming with insane criminals that he put there.
This franchise is far and away the best universe based on a comic book series. The Arkham series is the ultimate fanservice for DC audiences. Batman is one of the longest runnings comics, so he has as well-known rogues gallery. Most of them make an appearance in this universe. Even though the majority of the series takes place in one metropolis, Gotham City, the areas are still immersive, impressive, and filled with entertaining missions. Being able to play as one of your favorite comic book characters is amazing. Even if Batman isn't one of your favorites, this in-game universe sets the bar for what a game, starring your favorite comic book character, could look like.
8. Diablo Series
- System: PC, PlayStation
- Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
- Developer: Blizzard North
- Release Dates: Dec. 31st, 1996
Three Primeval beings are kept in a deep slumber by the power of the soul stones. One of these prime evils, Diablo, awakens in his prison. He reaches out to the town above, and pulls Lazarus deep into the catacombs of the cathedral and makes him destroy the soul stone. Now freed, Diablo seeks a capable vessel that can contain his power. At the same time, the townspeople of Tristram are being slaughtered by the demons living in the catacombs beneath their cathedral. As the people flee from their town in terror, the now dead king's (Leoric's) oldest son returns to Tristam to slay the evil that has killed his father and consumed his people's sanity.
Horror games tend to be straightforward and limited in their storytelling. Only the great ones create a world that stretches out wide enough for the villain's actions to appear to be catastrophic on a planetary level, or beyond. Diablo isn't only powerful, its ancient as well. It existed before man was created. Not only that, we learn about wars between angels and demons that took place at that time and continue to present day. The lore in this universe is highly intriguing, filled with humans whose morality has become corrupted, and the extra content from each title makes the replayability high.
7. Halo Series
- System: Xbox, PC
- Publisher: Westlake Interactive, Gearbox Software, Bungie Software, 343 Industries
- Developer: Microsoft Game Studios
- Release Dates: Nov. 15th, 2001
In the future, sometime in the 2500's, humanity has explored space and colonized over 800 planets. Vast expansion has, unfortunately, put Earth on the brink of civil war over control and organization of the colonies. Scientists came up with an idea. They would create soldiers capable of policing the rebelling colonies. The Spartan program focused on young children. They were kidnapped and indoctrinated to become surgically and cybernetically enhanced soldiers to fight against the rebelling colonies.
In the midst of these soldier working to establish peace, they encounter an alien life form known as The Covenant. These aliens were technologically advanced enough to wipe out entire planets and every last human living on it. The only thing capable of slowing them down was the Spartans. They were so successful that they never lost a battle, on the ground, against the Covenant.
Your role in the Halo franchise is as one of the Spartan soldiers. You use your enhanced abilities and weapon skills to fend off the Covenant from annihilating your civilization. While the gameplay can be sleek and fast-paced, you never lose sight of how gorgeous the scenery can be, how inspiring and majestic the soundtrack becomes, and the genuine awesome things humanity has been able to achieve. This is space exploration and combat 101. Other games and genres greatly borrow from what Halo and Bungie Software created.
6. Mass Effect Series
- System: Xbox 360, PS3
- Publisher: BioWare Corp.
- Developer: Microsoft Game Studios, Electronic Arts
- Release Dates: Nov. 20th, 2007
About 1 billion years ago, a highly advanced alien species, later referred to as Leviathans, were the dominant sentient life in the universe. They created artificial intelligence that was meant to monitor and support inferior races that were developing into advanced lifeforms. However, this newly created intelligence turned on its masters and killed them. Almost all of them were wiped out, and the essence of those that remained was used to create the first Reaper known as Harbinger. The Reapers would continue this cycle of wiping out advanced sentient life every 50 thousand years.
Cut to the year 2148, human scientists discovered an ancient alien technology, on Mars, that enables safe passage to the furthest stars. It was named Mass Effect, the world's greatest discovery. This alien technology was essentially an array of stations, called Mass Relays, that allowed near instantaneous travel across the universe. The hub of this type of space travel was soon discovered, The Citadel. The Citadel was under the control of the Council who sought to be the ultimate authority on space governance. Unfortunately, the Citadel has a secret origin tied to the Reapers.
Mass Effect is the second title in this list that has a very futuristic and science fiction feel to it. But, that's exactly why it's here. Not many games allow you to learn about multiple advanced alien races that exist throughout the universe. Nor do events unfold that has origins dating back a billion years. Mass Effect's range amongst the stars may only be rivaled by that of Star Wars. Both franchises are clearly space operas that are capable of entertaining to no end. Even if Mass Effect has had some blunders along the way, its universe is rich enough that fans are more than willing to come back and give the developer another chance to redeem itself.
- System: PS4
- Publisher: From Software
- Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment
- Release Dates: Feb. 24th, 2015
Yharnam is said to have healing ministers capable of curing any and all diseases. For this reason become from around the world have begun flocking to the town. Your character arrives in Yharnam hoping to find the cure for a yet unnamed disease. Naively, you agree to be infused with blood from the monsters that are wreaking havoc in the town, so that you can fight them with enhanced abilities and weapons. If you manage to kill the terrible beasts and examine the properties of their blood, you may be able to find the cure you seek. The healing properties you seek are tied to their blood somehow.
Bloodborne is quite possibly one of the only games to pull off a Lovecraftian atmosphere and setting successfully. Ancient beings from other planes of existence, horrors that can turn men insane from a single glance, and powers that corrupt the very nature of men, they're all present in this game. The playable character starts off as a man and slowly becomes something else, something more grotesque and powerful. Like most From Software games, the lore is immense and scattered throughout the thousands of in-game items. So, learning about what exactly is happening in Yharnam is a slow burn that truly pays off in the end.
4. Fallout 4
- System: PS4, XB1, PC
- Publisher: Bethesda Game Studios
- Developer: Bethesda Softworks
- Release Dates: Nov. 9th, 2015
Fallout takes place in an alternate timeline that diverged from our own around the 1950's. In particular, Fallout takes the fears and doubts surrounding that political climate, Cold War and the red scare, and asks what would happen if those still existed in the 21st century. Resource wars (oil and coal), much like in our reality, were waged around the world. Nuclear weapons were eventually used in countries in the Middle East. In a panic, the U.S. created "vaults" around the country that could house citizens if a nuclear attack were to occur.
China invaded Alaska in an attempt to steal some of the last remaining oil wells, in 2066. Countless lives were lost and soldiers ended, but in 2077 Alaska was reclaimed by the U.S. However, this wasn't the end of the conflict. On October 23rd, 2077 nuclear attacks were exchanged and in catastrophic fashion, the face of the planet was changed forever. Some people managed to survive. On the surface, people lived in the wastelands and their physical appearance changed due to radiation. Others survived in the fallout shelters, or "vaults".
We get to wake up and journey across the U.S. 100 years after nuclear fallout. Besides exploring Bethesda's thought experiment of an alternate timeline, we can also work to create a new civilization. Post-apocalyptic, open-world games, roughly based on U.S. history, are not that common. This gives us the chance to live a huge "what if" scenario presented to us by one of the best RPG developers of all time. Of course, people would be excited to explore this world and see what they can do.
3. Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic (1 & 2)
- System: Xbox, Windows
- Publisher: LucasArts
- Developer: Bioware
- Release Dates: July 15th, 2003
The game takes place about 4000 years before the events of the Phantom Menace. Two powerful Jedi Knights lead the Jedi forces in their various battles against the Mandalorian warrior tribes who were trying to demolish the Galactic Empire. Upon defeating the Mandalorian leader, these two knights, Revan and Malak, discovered that the Mandalorian forces were, in fact, being manipulated by the Sith Lord, Darth Vitiate. Vitiate had been rebuilding sith forces in order to wage an all-out war against the Jedi.
This Sith Lord managed to seduce Revan and Malak to the dark side as well and sent them back to the Republic as secret Imperial agents. They were also given the fabled Star Forge to create an endless supply of ships, droids, weapons, and whatever else they would need in their conquest. However, the two nearly appointed sith warriors break broke of Vitiate's control and decided to make their own sith legion. They used the Star Forge, and the massive fleet it created for them, to wage war against the Republic which caused a Jedi civil war. However, Malak turned on Revan as his ship was being attacked by Jedi forces, in an attempt to deal a large blow to the Jedi and kill Revan.
This short synopsis sets the stage for the galactic battles and missions your main character will have to undertake. There's a mysterious sith presence that hasn't been accounted for, two former Jedi knights are now leading Sith forces against the Republic, and Jedi civil war has broken out. This time frame in the Star Wars mythos is not bound by any of the films, so there's much more freedom in terms of storytelling, characters, Jedi/sith beliefs, and much more. Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel give fans the type of interactions and universe expanding narrative that has not been seen since even today.
2. World of Warcraft
- System: PC
- Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
- Developer: Blizzard Entertainment, Vivendi Games, Activision
- Release Dates: Nov. 23rd, 2004
Azeroth is a mystical land inhabited by humans, orcish horde, night elves, the undead and many species of unique animals. That's about all you need to know about this title. From there, you can do practically anything you'd like with your unique character. For starters, your character is fully customizable. You can choose from one of 8 different races, 9 different classes, and 9 different professions.
You take on increasingly difficult thousands of quests that earn your character experience points that are then used to increase the level of your character and grant them new abilities. You can buy or loot new weapons and armor from the various locations around Azeroth. All of this is preparation to make yourself strong enough to tackle the raid instances with groups of friends or clan members, but even that is optional.
This game has been the most popular MMORPG, in the world, for good reason. Besides, what's been mentioned above, you can really explore, chat with others, and partake in any daily activities that peak your interest. You can do anything and be anyone. That's this universe's biggest draw.
1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- System: Xbox360, PS3
- Publisher: Bethesda Game Studios
- Developer: Bethesda Game Studios, Square Enix
- Release Dates: Nov. 11th, 2011
This game takes place 200 Years after the events of Oblivion and in the northern continent of Skyrim. War wages between the Empire loyalists and the Nord rebels who wish for independence. You have been captured and grouped up with some Nordic rebels who are on their way to be executed. Just as you kneel down to accept your fate, the clouds in the sky begin to swirl together and a dragon swoops down from the heavens. It lets out a monstrous screech that terrifies the everyone in the village and causes enough of a commotion to allow for your escape from certain death.
You learn that the Elder Scrolls prophesied that dragons would return to Skyrim, led by a great evil. They would bring about the apocalypse. But, there is one person who stands a chance against them. One being who would be able to wield weapons, armor, and magic that could harm dragons. That person is the Dragonborn.
This game is still highly regarded as one of the best RPGs ever created. It's easy to see why. The game has an extremely deep skill system that includes being able to craft items, create potions through alchemy, and even forge your own weapons and armor, not to mention imbue your items with magical properties through the use of rare gems.
Hundreds of in-game books can be read to further find out about Skyrim's history and mythos. There are countless missions and side quests to take part in, and each of those has their own unique storyline tied to them. Everything about this game feels rich, immersive, and rewarding. It set the bar upon which every other RPG created afterward is measured by.
Playing games allows us to be omniscient spectators of countless worlds while also taking an active role in how their narratives unfold. That's quite a unique experience that isn't readily available in other media. There are so many games that provide unique worlds that touch fans in personal ways. Some people are interested in the lore, others care more about the characters, yet others want to explore as many areas as possible. Even others want countless tasks, missions, and items to collect.
We kept all of this in mind when making our selections. These are our top choices, but we would love to hear which gaming universes are your favorite as well. You can post comments here, tweet us @honeyfeedfm, or tweet any of our individual writers. We’d love to hear from you! Take care and have a great day.