I’m a very picky gamer. I love to game, but the game has to have all of the things I like for me to get deep into it. And one of those things that I really love is moral choices. It’s one of those things that games try to do but rarely manage to effectively pull off; having dialogue and moral choices that actually matter when it comes to the end result of the game.
These games below, however, have done it, and some of my favorite games in the world are on this list. These games don’t pretend that your choices have meaning (cough, cough, like some Telltale games do, as much as I love their stories). They actually take into account how you choose to play your characters and adjust the game accordingly.
10. Until Dawn
It’s one of the best horror games of all time. Actually, it’s also my favorite game of all time.
Until Dawn is a fairly short-story game (around 10 hours, give or take) with almost infinite possibilities. It centers around a group of teens that go away to a cabin a year after their friends disappeared there, ready to spend a few nights partying to honor their memory. Of course, this sounds like a disaster recipe, and it is. It’s a beautiful homage to horror movies in the same vein.
You play as each of these characters through chapters and the goal is to keep as many alive as possible. But the game doesn’t make it easy, and even seemingly insignificant dialogue choices can have a huge impact later.
The game prides itself on accurately and intensely conveying the butterfly effect and oh, does it do it brilliantly.
9. Detroit: Become Human
I played Detroit: Become Human because I saw an Achievement Hunter video on it and thought it looked awesome. I’m into moral choices, I’m into sci-fi, I’m into androids — and I was told that, like my favorite game above, there are a million different outcomes.
There are three separate stories in this game that eventually intertwine. The game itself is based on the idea that androids might be a thing one day and if so, what are their rights? Should they be treated as humans? Is it possible they can feel like humans?
If you have a heart at all, this game will make you cry multiple times. And the characterization is nothing short of gorgeous.
8. The Witcher 3
Moving into the world of RPGs and open world, The Witcher 3 is absolutely worth a playthrough. It’s not quite as open as the above two games in terms of your choices affecting your outcome, but the game does have three very distinct outcomes on its main ending: one happy, one bittersweet, one sad. And one of the expansions also has multiple endings depending on your choices. It’s not things you would expect to alter the game dramatically either, so in that sense, your ending tends to come as a surprise. You better pay attention when playing if you want the happy endings!
Aside from that, the graphics, story, and characters in this game are beautiful.
7. Mass Effect 2
Mass Effect 2 is a science-fiction RPG that people rave about as being the best of this series by BioWare. This, of course, seems pretty indisputable, to be honest. It received near-perfect ratings on every review site ever because of its intricate system. And yes, your choices can absolutely dramatically affect your outcomes.
It’s one of the very few games set in space, and another great one for lovers of science-fiction. It’s a shame that Mass Effect 3 didn’t live up to this game but, in fairness, this game was pretty perfect and it set a really high bar for itself and for BioWare.
6. Dragon Age: Origins
Much like what happened with the above series, Dragon Age: Origins set such a high bar for itself that it was really difficult to replicate anything as good. The next two games were a bit of a let down in comparison, to be honest. With different endings, this was another pretty open-world RPG, but I loved it because as much as I’m fussy with open-world (I’m not a Skyrim fan, for example, but don’t hate me), this had a great main story to focus on.
It wasn’t just different endings that made this one great. There are plenty of character customization options that affect the story, romance, and friendship options. Basically, it's everything that you need to stay invested.
5. Heavy Rain
Heavy Rain is by the same people who made Detroit: Become Human, so you just know that this was a good one. It has the same sort of mechanics and the choices definitely affect the flow. The only difference is the plot, which is definitely more grounded in real life than the science-fiction androids of Detroit. It was free on Playstation Plus, so I actually got it right before Detroit and then playing the game made me actually start Heavy Rain. To be honest, I couldn’t believe I’d slept on this one. It’s a truly fun story game, and I loved it.
4. Alpha Protocol
Another action role-playing game for the list is Alpha Protocol! I love these ones because when you manage to combine RPGs with moral choices, rather than having it be a straight story, I don’t know...It’s skill, and when it works, it really works. I appreciate those who can do that.
And this one does.
It’s an espionage RPG and the reviews were pretty polarizing, but I was one of the people who enjoyed it. It centers around a secret agent trying to unravel a conspiracy that threatens him and his safety, and there’s a definite element of mystery and suspense that kept me invested.
3. Deus Ex
But as easily lured in as I am, this game is worth a play if you have some time, and who knows — you might find yourself getting sucked into the whole series.
2. Beyond: Two Souls
It’s about a young girl named Jodie who has a psychic connection with Aiden, a weird, mysterious entity. You can switch between these two as you progress through the game, and each of them sees things very differently. I won’t see much else because I don’t want to spoil, but isn’t that alone intriguing?
1. Life Is Strange
If you haven’t heard people rave about this game, then where have you been? People love this game, and rightfully so. The concept of this puzzling story is pretty unique. It’s about a character who can rewind time and play out choices differently. It's another game that seems to explore the butterfly effect. The whole point of this game is exploring the effects of different choices, and the characters are written so beautifully that it’s a really endearing plot. Like every other game on this list, your choices affect the outcomes—obviously, since that’s the point of it!