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While some video games revel in the density and effort required to discover the narrative in their virtual worlds, others want to make it as easy and accessible to make their story your own.Two things come together in these games. Characters are fully voiced by actors. Choices have a tangible effect on how things turn out. For former reduces friction for the player. The latter increases engagement.Games like the Frog's Princess, King of Dragon Pass and Call of the Sea offer a story-book feel with a branching narrative that can be a novel way for younger players to discover the joy of stories. Other games like South of the Circle, Before Your Eyes, Firewatch and It Takes Two offer fully voiced experiences with choices that don't create new endings but still add a sense of involvement.Then there are games for older players like Detroit: Become Human, Last Stop, Grand Theft Auto, Twelve Minutes and Heavy Rain combine branching stories and fully voiced characters. These games use the immersion of the human voice and branching stories to create engaging experiences.Voices and choices are a large part of what it means to be human. The games in this list use these two things to create experiences that engage on a deeper level. This list includes 59 games from the last 27 years, with 1,233 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to hear characters make choices.
Release Date: 08/04/2021, updated in 2022
Out Now: Android, PC and iOS
Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds
Components: 3D First-Person and Cartoon
Before Your Eyes is a narrative game about an 11-year-old boy revisiting his life before "crossing over" to the other side. You play by exploring scenes that represent snapshots of his life. Unusually, you make choices and interact with the game by...
Release Date: 26/03/2021, updated in 2022
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon
It Takes Two is a running, jumping and exploring game that tells the story of a young girl, Rose, whose parents are divorcing. The girl creates two dolls to represent her parents, which unexpectedly traps the clashing couple in them. You and a friend...
Release Date: 20/09/2016
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds
Components: 3D First-Person, Cartoon and Open World
Firewatch is an explorative adventure where you play a fire lookout in America’s Shoshone National Forest. It has a relational and conspiracy undertone similar to the podcast/radio drama and Netflix show [link to...
Release Date: 16/08/2021
Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds
Road 96 is a narrative adventure where you play a teenager trying to escape an oppressive, authoritarian country by reaching the border. Through a series of vignettes, you experience the most important and poignant parts on an epic road trip through a...
Release Date: 12/08/2015, updated in 2016
Out Now: Mac, PC and PS4
Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds
Components: 3D First-Person and Open World
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture lands you in a fictional deserted English village in 1984. As you walk the streets of another era you discover bright human forms who re-enact events like a radio play. Through their eyes, you see a web of fear,...
Release Date: 02/11/2023
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 3D Third-Person
Thirsty Suitors is a narrative action game where you play Jala, back in her home town of Timber Hills to confront mistakes, make up with exes and reconcile cultural differences with her parents. Play involves talking to your parents and old friends,...
Release Date: Coming soon
Coming Soon: PC, PS4, PS5 and Switch
Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon
Thank Goodness You're Here! is a slapstick adventure set in Northern England in the style of classic Beano comics. Play involves exploring the cartoon world to take on quests and special challenges. It stands out for the visual style, but also a...
Release Date: 14/01/2016, updated in 2016
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Oxenfree is an adventure game where a teenagers’ beach party spirals into a supernatural story. You guide the outcome with your choices as the well-written dialogue reveals characters coming to terms with family breakdown, death of a sibling, blame...
Release Date: 28/07/2021
The Forgotten City is a mystery adventure. You explore and relive the final days of a cursed Roman city, where if one person sins, everyone dies. It starts as a bewildering array of characters, locations and information but over multiple goes your...
Release Date: 26/03/2013, updated in 2020
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 15+ year-olds
Components: 3D First-Person
Bioshock Infinite is an adventure shooting game. Although the story is unconnected to the previous games in the series, it raises similar themes of dictatorship communities and alternative to capitalistic society. It's another nuanced and complex story...
Release Date: 08/11/2018
Out Now: PC, PS4 and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person and Hand-Made
11-11 Memories Retold is a narrative adventure about two young men caught up in the first world war. A young photographer who joins the western front in Europe to impress a woman, and a German technician who's signs up in search of his son who is...
Release Date: 01/01/1999
Components: 2D Side-On and Text
King of Dragon Pass is a fantasy strategy game where you control barbarian clans settling in the dangerous frontier region of Dragon Pass.
Release Date: 01/01/1997, updated in 2019
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Skill Rating: 16+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Open World and Weather
Grand Theft Auto V is the latest in a series of action-adventure games where you travel around one large location taking part in different criminal activities: pulling off heists, with lots of shooting and stealing and driving a variety of cars and...
Release Date: 12/08/2020, updated in 2020
Call of the Sea is a narrative adventure set in the 1930s. As Nora, you explore an island in the Southern Pacific to find your missing husband. As you do you discover that he went hunting for a cure for your mystery illness, but what happened after that...
Release Date: 25/05/2018
Out Now: PS4
Detroit: Become Human is a branching narrative game from Quantic Dream, the studio behind Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls. This is the third game in the series and offers a more refined version of the filmic branching experience.
Release Date: 22/04/2020, updated in 2020
Out Now: Apple TV, Mac, PC, PS4, Xbox One and iOS
Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World
Beyond Blue is an underwater exploration game where you play Mirai, a deep-sea explorer and scientist. You see, hear, and interact with the ocean and the creatures in it as you discover an untouched world.
Release Date: 06/10/2010, updated in 2019
Out Now: PC, PS3 and PS4
Components: 3D Third-Person and Weather
Heavy Rain is from the same Quantic Dream studio who made Beyond: Two Souls and Detroit: Become Human. It preceded these games but shared the same branching narrative and photo-realistic aspirations.
Release Date: 22/07/2021
Last Stop is an adventure set in London. You play three interconnected characters, making choices that shape their conversations, and determine where their stories lead.
Release Date: 19/08/2021, updated in 2021
Components: 2D Overhead
Twelve Minutes is an adventure thriller game about a single apartment building. You view things from above and can interact with a simple click-and-drag interface. What starts as a romantic evening with your wife turns into a nightmare when a police...
Release Date: 21/08/2007, updated in 2016
Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds
Bioshock is a first-person shooting game set in a fantastical underwater city. A dark story unfolds about the misuse of surgery and gene therapy, and what happens when a society develops with a power mad genius in control. It's an unusual combination of...
Release Date: 18/02/2022
Out Now: Apple TV, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS
Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds
Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night, Grid and Weather
Wylde Flowers is a cozy life and farming strategy game with a witchy twist. It's a charming world of diverse characters, magical spells and player choices. You play Tara, who has moved in to help her grandma and the family farm. By day you work the farm...
Release Date: 24/10/2017
Components: 2D Side-On
Hidden Agenda is an adventure noir crime thriller. It's from the people who made Until Dawn, but uses the PlayLink technology to let multiple people play on the PlayStation using their smartphones to interact and make decisions.
Release Date: 15/03/2023
The Wreck is a narrative game where you play Junon, a mother at a crossroads. She's 36 but her career has stalled, she's emotionally numb, and her personal life is falling apart. It's not unfamiliar territory for a video game these days, but The Wreck...
Release Date: 20/11/2007
Out Now: PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox X|S and iOS
Mass Effect is a sci-fi adventure where you role-play a soldier named Commander Shepard, who must save the galaxy from a race of powerful mechanical beings. The series started in 2007 and has fourth substantial instalments that take you from that first...
Release Date: 20/10/2020
Out Now: Apple TV, Mac, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
South of the Circle is a narrative adventure game about, Peter, a Cambridge academic who finds himself fighting for survival in Antarctica during the 1960’s Cold War. You must cross desolate terrain to reach British, Norwegian and Soviet Antarctic...
Release Date: 24/04/2018
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One
Tacoma is set aboard a space station in the year 2088. As you explore you can discover how the station’s crew lived and worked, using an AR device that lets you review past actions and conversations, you discover clues that unravel a plot of trust,...
Release Date: 10/08/2021
Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 2D Side-On, Cards and Hand-Made
Black Book is a dark adventure, based on Slavic myths where you are a young sorceress. It combines a visual novel point-and-click adventure with card collecting to gain abilities to fight evil forces and explore the world where humans live alongside...
Release Date: 10/08/2023
Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical is a tongue-in-cheek narrative game set in a world where Greek Gods live among us. You play by talking to (and singing with) people and deciding who you can trust. It stands out not only for the branching narrative...
Release Date: 09/12/2020
Out Now: Android, Mac and iOS
Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made
Frog's Princess is a narrative game about a kingdom surrounded by evil. You play a young princess who must save her kingdom. Along the way, you encounter a frog prince on a quest to rescue his bodyguard and find your plans overturned.
Release Date: 28/02/2018, updated in 2019
Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is a narrative adventure game about sharing stories. You travel across the Depression-era United States discovering and collecting the stories of the people and places you encounter on your journey. You use this...
Release Date: 30/09/2022
Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch
Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels
Monorail Stories is a narrative adventure where two people's lives are entwined by the journeys they take on the same monorail. You make choices for each character that can impact not only people on your commute but those on the other journey. It's...
Coming Soon: PC, PS5 and Xbox X|S
Star Wars Eclipse is a narrative role-play set in the High Republic Era of the series, when the Jedi were in their golden age. Like Detroit: Become Human, Heavy Rain, and Beyond Two Souls, the action focuses on character choices and branching narrative...
Release Date: 12/07/2023
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch and iOS
Oxenfree II: Lost Signals is an unsettling narrative adventure and sequel to Oxenfree. Like that game, you guide your character through choices that affect the direction of the well-written and complex story and tune your radio...
Release Date: 07/09/2017
Out Now: PC
Please Knock on My Door is a narrative puzzle about someone suffering from depression and social anxiety. By making choices you help them get through work and reach out to friends. But more than the mechanics of self-care, the game engages with the...
Release Date: 08/02/2017
Leaving Lyndow is a narrative adventure set a couple of generations before Eastshade. Sharing the same anthropomorphized animal society, although here at an earlier stage, it's a game about the memories we make in the places we...
Release Date: 18/03/1999, updated in 2023
Out Now: Android, DS, Mac, PC, PS1, PS2, PS3, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox X|S and iOS
Syberia: The World Before is a wartime narrative adventure where you explore the past and present to unravel the mystery surrounding the two people's intertwining lives. You solve puzzles, interact with characters, and visit diverse European locations...
Release Date: 25/05/2023
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is a stealth traversal game set in Tolkien's Middle-Earth where you play Gollum after he escapes from Mordor. As you hunt for the One Ring, stolen by Bilbo Baggins, you ensure you remain hidden as you dash from one bit of...
Release Date: 19/08/2021
Out Now: PC and Xbox One
Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night, Hand-Made and Open World
The Vale: Shadow of the Crown is an audio-based role-play adventure where you play Alex, a blind princess. After your brother takes his place as king, you are made warden of a small castle on the outskirts of the kingdom. Without sight from birth and...
Release Date: 03/09/2019, updated in 2020
Out Now: PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Switch and Xbox 360
Components: 2D Side-On, Blocks and Cartoon
Catherine is a narrative puzzle game about a young man torn between two lovers, struggling with the temptation and consequences of infidelity. During the daytime, you interact with characters in a visual novel that sets up the nighttime traversal...
Release Date: 14/02/2023
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D Third-Person and Filmed
Ten Dates is a role-playing game where you search for love in a series of speed dates. A sequel to Five Dates, real video footage and actors depict the story depending on what you say. Seeing your decisions affect the outcome...