In my fourteen years of playing video games I have encountered many horrendous games and poorly written characters. Games ranging from Condemned 2 to Amy to Halo Wars and Duke Nukem, and the countless others. So I wanted to throw some games with decent stories and characters into this month’s articles for your pleasure. The thought of all this occurred to me while I was watching EatMyDiction1 play Life is Strange on Twitch. That game isn’t horrible, some of the dialogue choices (coupled with Diction’s commentary) from the developers made me laugh until tears streamed down my face because they reeked of decades passed. Not to mention all the male characters in that game seem to have their heads so far up their aft ends that I’m contemplating questioning them about how their rib cages smell. In any light, the games below are good in their own ways, and I’ll do my best to explain why.

Grand Theft Auto V (Multiplatform)

While I remember openly voicing my disdain for another Grand Theft Auto, I picked up GTA V a few weeks after it released. I was pleasantly surprised to find the dreary backgrounds of Liberty City had been left behind, replaced with the bright and vivid city of Los Santos. Anyway, the gameplay is your typical Grand Theft Auto monotony, however the story and the characters are what make crime simulator five stand out among its drab previous installments. There’s the super popular psychopath Trevor who players often find stumbling around in a dress or subjecting the masses to his mostly naked body. You know, when he’s not helping Michael steal a metric fuck ton (that’s about twice the amount of a standard fuck ton) of money or torturing people for the government. There’s also the typical GTA thug that is Franklin, wanting to get out of the ghetto and small crime but ends up doing even more crime so he can live in a lavish house in the Los Santos Hills. Then comes perhaps the most important character in the game, Michael De Santa who was sent to hide in Los Santos by the government after screwing his old crew (that Trevor happened to be apart of) a few decades back. Now he mentors Franklin, punches out yoga instructions and most importantly has an actual character arc. He starts off the game as a rich asshole who mopes around his mansion watching awful movies and drinking away his sorrows. But by the end of the game though he’s still a rich A-hole but now he actually spends time with his kids, takes his wife out for meals, remains faithful to the woman he married and finally seems content with the day-to-day happenings in his life. Too bad it took several shoot outs, a break in by mercenaries and the being pressed under the thumbs of the government to make him realize it.

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Visit Los Santos now for as low as forty dollars.

Bioshock Infinite (Multiplatform)

Featuring the down right exquisite voice work of Troy Baker as the gritty Booker Dewitt, Bioshock Infinite is in my opinion the only fully fleshed out Bioshock game. I don’t know what it was but the first game felt like it was missing something, that wow factor that would have made me feel like I didn’t waste my money. The second seemed to say “Hey remember all the stuff we somehow managed to do right? Screw all of that, let’s make the main character a Big Daddy, but instead of making him the slow unstoppable death machine we introduced in the previous game, let’s make him run and function like a normal unencumbered person”. Which makes me think A) why in the devil would you ever change that and make them slower to begin with, just stick to the quickness from Bioshock and B) how does that guy eat to heal? I assumed he eats like Bane does and just jams it up into a tube on his face or something. But I digest (see what I did there?) Bioshock Infinite starts off feeling vastly different from its predecessors and quite honestly makes me not want to acknowledge that the first two existed. From its racially tense beginning to the outstanding gunplay and conclusion, Bioshock Infinite stands on its own as a compelling tale of morals over the establishments built upon greed. Its multidimensional shenanigans brings a happy new shake up to the standard shooter. For instance, at one point I arrived in the basement (and apparent torture chamber) of an enemy enclave to find the head of the Asian gunsmith I needed completely caved in and his innards in piles on the floor. Then Elizabeth tears open the very fabric of reality and we are transported to a new timeline and the gunsmith is alive and kicking (after a little bit of side questing that is). It added a certain zazz to the shooter gameplay and story that keeps it super glued to the forefront of my mind.

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Visit Columbia, the town in the clouds for only ten bucks.

Infamous (PlayStation platforms)

It being one of the only reasons I turned my PlayStation 3 on during its life I can honestly say I loved the original Infamous. It played to both sides of my twisted little heart. I got the chance to run around as everyone’s favorite electric paragon doing the typical saving grandmothers and securing military rations for kittens, but once I was done with that I got to run around permanently chaining people to the ground with electric hand cuffs while I zipped around on power lines cackling with glee. I think that’s what made Infamous stand out against the array of bland super hero games that have come out. I got to do the standard running around as a do gooder hero type, but once I decided to hang up my tights and boots for the day I got to unleash my own havoc on the world to my heart’s content.

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Get InFAMOUS now for as low as five dollars.

Gears of War (Microsoft Platforms)

As far as Gears of War goes, it’s my favorite game series. I constantly go back and replay the games, and I’m more than excited for Gears of War: Ultimate Edition. The games have a stellar story and fantastically written characters… for the most part. I don’t have any gripes with Gears 1& 2, it’s three that somehow seems like a skid mark on the C.O.G.’s tidy whities. Up until (spoiler) Dom goes out in his blaze of glory I was pretty well happy with the conclusion that was on the horizon. Then Dom comes crashing in with a semi truck and messes the whole thing up! Instead of getting to enjoy the last acts of the game, players now have quite possibly the worse case of heartache I’ve experienced in a game (after almost losing Ellie in the Last of Us). Worse yet, Dom gets replaced with the ever annoying Jace, a spunky yet overly vocal young soldier whom by the end of the game I was wishing was in the semi truck instead of Dom. I realize how harsh that sounds but after hearing Jace’s in game “banter” I’m sure you’d agree with me. Instead of pissing away a well written character and giving us a guy who can’t keep his trap shut, just make Delta Squad run with one less soldier on screen.

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Start the Gears of War saga for as low as four bucks.

Zombie Army Trilogy (Xbox One, PS4, PC)

While I was pleased to review Zombie Army Trilogy last November, I can’t say it had great writing just like I can’t say the customer is always right without nearly vomiting. I am in no way saying that Zombie Army Trilogy is bad and I quite enjoyed it actually. The only problem is the lack spoken dialogue from characters. It adds moments of quirkiness to the game at times, like when the Russian Nikolai slips and falls at the end and the German Dr. Efram Schweiger over exaggerates how much of a nuisance it was. The story manages to carry on without the need for the dialogue, all the spoken parts come from different sources (radios, mission start screens, etc.). The only actual voice acting is done by whomever plays Hitler. All in all the game is still cleverly written and an immensely immersive experience that racks close to twenty hours to complete, and I highly recommend playing it.

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Pack your sack and head to Berlin for forty dead presidents.

There are countless other games with great stories and characters: The Last of Us, Watch Dogs (poor lead character, but solid story overall) and the aforementioned Life is Strange are just a few examples that come to mind. If you have any recommendations for games that have fantastic characters or great stories, please leave them down in the comments below. I highly recommend picking up the titles mentioned above, despite the debacle that is Jace in Gears of War 3.

About The Author

Allen S
Editorial/Reviews Team, Manager

I started gaming when I was seven years old. I started my own game studio when I was twelve, went to school for game design. Now I work here and also on my own YouTube channel