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Top 10 Compelling Story-Driven Games to Play in 2024

I can play competitive multiplayer and casual platformers any day of the week, but I always come back to narrative-driven single-player games. If you’re like me and love a good story above all else, then these top story-driven games will surely help keep you entertained.

Good to know: gaming on a Mac? Check out the top 10 Mac games to play in 2024.

1. The Last of Us, Part 1

Price: $60

Naughty Dog’s seminal franchise has captured the imagination of millions around the globe, and it all started with The Last of Us, Part 1. The first game in the franchise recently received a ground-up remake exclusively for the PS5 and PC. It completely modernizes the zombie apocalypse classic nearly a decade after release.

This harrowing tale of survival, companionship, loss, and greed sees Joel and Ellie traverse the unforgiving North American landscape that’s riddled with the undead and even more dangerous humans. Rarely before has any game so masterfully handled a post-apocalyptic narrative centered around brilliantly fleshed-out characters.

Whether you’re on PC, PS5, or PS4, The Last of Us is one of the greatest gaming stories ever told.

2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Price: $40

The final installment in CD Projekt Red’s landmark trilogy still remains one of the most stunning games to ever be released – both visually and narratively. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt brings to a close the fantastical journey of Geralt of Rivia, the titular monster hunter, now bang in the center of a world-changing prophecy.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt screenshot

The story of The Witcher 3 might not be as self-contained as its prequel, but players get to experience a sprawling world that’s bigger and richer than ever. You’ll get to close out Geralt’s story in an emotional final chapter that’s elevated by a rich tapestry of amazingly written characters and top-notch side quests.

3. Red Dead Redemption 2

Price: $60

Whether you’re a console or PC player, you’ve probably heard about Red Dead Redemption 2. Rockstar’s highly acclaimed western epic won more awards than we can count, but its appeal extends far beyond that. More than 5 years after its initial release, RDR2 is beloved among players and critics, for a world so realistic that it threatens to bleed into your subconscious long after you’ve left the game.

Red Dead Redemption 2 screenshot

Red Dead Redemption 2 appears to be faultless. The story hooks you in from the beginning and doesn’t let go until the very end. Arthur Morgan and other characters are truly lifelike, as is the wildlife and the world itself. Like many great story-driven games, you feel as if you’re part of a movie that’s a masterpiece, thanks to the incredible voice acting and gorgeous visuals.

4. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Price: Starts at $40

Another stellar title from Naughty Dog, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is the culmination of Nathan Drake’s globe-trotting, gunslinging, treasure-hunting escapades. The final entry elevates the stakes to new heights, bringing the story full circle to Nathan’s personal life and how his exploits affect his relationships.

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End screenshot

Uncharted 4 left me spellbound with its heartfelt characters, pulse-pounding story, and some of the absolute best facial capture and voice acting I’ve ever seen. Not a moment feels wasted as you accompany Nate on yet another treasure hunt around the world, and this time, everything has an added sense of precariousness that you can’t seem to shake.

You can only get Uncharted 4 through the Legacy of Thieves Collection or Lost Legacy Digital Bundle.

5. Marvel’s Spider-Man

Price: Starts at $40

When Insomniac took the reins behind a modern retelling of the beloved web-slinger, not many would have envisioned the masterpiece they eventually put out. When Marvel’s Spider-Man came out, it was the definitive Spider-Man game for almost every fan. Four years after it launched on the PS4, PC players were finally able to get their hands on it, thanks to Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered.

Marvels Spider Man Remastered screenshot

Insomniac managed to hit every story beat that makes this game one of the best Spider-Man stories ever told, across any medium, with New York bustling with life. The swinging feels natural, the visual language of the game is top-notch, and the characters – especially the villains – are written beautifully. The solid ending and meaty side quests help cap a perfect narrative that’s even better than Spider-Man 2 on the PS5.

FYI: wondering what to play on your PS5? Try one or more of the best PS5 games to play in 2024.

6. Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition

Price: $20

Even the “definitive edition” of Sleeping Dogs is nearly a decade old by now, but what it lacks in technical chops, it makes up for with a well-told story that captures the gritty, chaotic reality of Hong Kong’s triads. A game riddled with development delays and shake-ups, it’s frankly a miracle that Sleeping Dogs not only came out at all, but received mostly favorable reviews.

Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition screenshot

You play as Wei Shen, an undercover cop trying to bring down the notorious triad from the inside. As you climb the ranks, you’re introduced to a wealth of well-acted, expertly-written characters that help flesh out a great crime story, filled with brutal combat, explosive vehicular action, and rewarding exploration. You may be surprised how much you like this somewhat hidden gem.

7. Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut

Price: $20

While the cyberpunk genre is in the limelight recently, Deus Ex: Human Revolution did it way before it was cool, becoming one of the best games to resemble Cyberpunk 2077. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the third installment in the franchise and features a new protagonist in Adam Jensen, chief of security at one of America’s top biotech firms. Thanks to cybernetic augmentations, you have tons of tech at your disposal.

Deus Ex Human Revolution - Directors Cut screenshot

You’re tasked with unearthing a global conspiracy that straddles the line between reality and tinfoil hat territory. The near future depicted in the game is frighteningly real, as you grapple with apartheid against the augmented, corporate machinations, and deep questions about what makes us human. One of the best story games I’ve ever played, Deus Ex: HR truly makes you think about your character’s choices and their consequences.

FYI: looking for free-to-play games? Take a look at the best free PC games on Windows.

8. God of War (2018)

Price: Starts at $20

The first mainline entry in the series in 5 years, God of War was a departure for the franchise. From Greek to Norse mythology and fast-paced, hack-and-slash to a slow-burn story-driven experience, Santa Monica Studio took something of a risk. Needless to say, the studio knew what it was creating: a labor of love, painstakingly crafted and brilliantly delivered.

God Of War screenshot

Kratos now has a son, and the “main” quest of the game has nothing to do with revenge. The game takes its time to soak you in the new setting, and while the combat and RPG elements are polished to the hilt, the focus lies on the story and how Kratos deals with his new reality.

PC users were able to play God of War four years after its PS4 release, getting the best visual experience. Nevertheless, the game looks great on the PS4 as well.

9. Life Is Strange Remastered

Price: $40

Back in 2015, an indie-AAA hybrid came out with a simple premise told through episodic adventures. Life is Strange went on to win BAFTA awards and countless hearts, due to its emotionally charged story that saw players take on the role of Max, who discovers she can rewind time, and needs to investigate the disappearance of a fellow student.

Life Is Strange remastered screenshot

Life is Strange isn’t an open-world adventure nor a game filled with expertly crafted systems interacting with each other. But what it has is a deeply fulfilling story as the centerpiece, pulling you in using all the charms of a suburban city. Max and Chloe discover hidden secrets about Arcadia Bay while trying to prevent a dark future for themselves and everyone around them.

10. Undertale

Price: $10

Undertale is quite different from the rest of the games on this list; it’s from a one-person studio, looks as if it’s from the 80s, and doesn’t really conform to traditional video game rules. But what it shares with the other must-play titles on this list is a memorable story. This 8-bit-looking RPG isn’t just one of the best indie games – it delivers one of the most innovative gaming experiences in a long time.

Undertale screenshot

As an RPG, you would have certain expectations from the game. Undertale shows that it knows those expectations and expertly sidesteps them, surprising you at nearly every turn. The game succeeds in telling a meaningful story and tackling complex themes, where many AAA games fail. With every play-through, you’ll gain something new from the story.

While PC games have a never-ending supply of great games, many console exclusives made me switch from PC to console gaming. Also worth looking into are the best Linux games in 2024. Whichever platform you use, there’s no dearth of strong story-driven games to sink your teeth into.

Image credit: Steam

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Tanveer Singh

After a 7-year corporate stint, Tanveer found his love for writing and tech too much to resist. An MBA in Marketing and the owner of a PC building business, he writes on PC hardware, technology, video games, and Windows. When not scouring the web for ideas, he can be found building PCs, watching anime, or playing Smash Karts on his RTX 3080 (sigh).

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