Best Story Games on Xbox One
For many players, something that can make or break a gaming experience is how good the story and writing is. Whether you're looking for an intriguing plot, a thought-provoking narrative, or beautifully written characters, these Xbox One titles won't disappoint.
★ Author's Choice
Underneath NieR: Automata's gorgeous world and engaging combat mechanics lies a unique and gripping tale about philosophy and the meaning behind life. Due to its immense complexity and multilayered writing, it's not the easiest story to digest, but when its finally over, you'll be a changed person.
Wild West wonder
Red Dead Redemption II tells a rich and nuanced tale about the life of Arthur Morgan and his gang of outlaws as they attempt to survive in 1899, surrounded by the law and on the cusp of a new century. In addition to the great story, there's also a massive open world to discover and plenty of cowboy role-playing opportunities.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a massive RPG game filled with dozens of different story paths to go down based on your in-game choices. If you want something with extreme replayability, then look no further. The gameplay and online co-op is excellent, too.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm is a fantastic prequel to the hit story-adventure game Life is Strange. In it, you play as Chloe Price, an emotionally distressed and conflicted teenage girl confronted with things like the death of her father, the absence of her best friend, social insecurities, and more.
Fantastic fantasy fun
The most recent entry in BioWare's fantasy RPG series, Dragon Age: Inquisition, is truly excellent. Dragon Age has some of gaming's best characters, and you'll be spending nearly 100 hours with them over the course of this epic quest line. If you love fantasy, then this game is a must-have.
A true classic
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt blends the series' famous lore-rich world with fun characters, gorgeous visuals, and an engaging plot. Without a doubt, it's one of the best RPG games ever, and story fans will enjoy diving into its depths for hours upon hours.
Ori and the Blind Forest is an incredibly fun action-adventure platformer game that relies entirely on its music and visuals to convey its story. While some would consider this a storytelling handicap, Ori's beautiful narrative proves them wrong. It doesn't have any dialogue and it doesn't need any either.
Unique co-op approach
A Way Out is a story-adventure game with an unusual twist: you play through the game with a friend, and you have the ability to see their screen. This mechanic makes the narrative of A Way Out play out quite interestingly, and while it's not the best story on this list, it is the most unique.
An introspective adventure
Firewatch is a quiet, introspective walking simulator in which you play as Henry, a man watching over Wyoming's forests. Your only contact with civilization is with a single woman through a radio, and what you choose to say to her can either reinforce or tear down your relationship with her.
Back in 2016, Titanfall 2 launched with a campaign, much to everyone's surprise. Even more surprising, though, was the fact that the story was incredibly emotional and well-written in an age where many first-person shooter titles had disappointing narratives. The gameplay is fast and hectic, too, so it's an all-around good time.
Overall, I highly suggest playing all of these games, but if I could only recommend one, it would be NieR: Automata because of how deeply I, as well as many others, connected with its story. Fantasy fans will get a big kick out of Dragon Age: Inquisition and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and people looking for something unique should check out A Way Out or Ori and the Blind Forest.
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Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.