Story is becoming a bigger part of video games. While companies keep making multiplayer shooter games, they often get push back from fans because there is a rising preference for a linear single-player story full of interesting characters.
However, some stories get way out of hand. There are games that blend so many genres and tropes that you do not know what is going on anymore. These are games where if you try to explain them to a friend, you catch yourself making yourself confused. Then they ask a basic question you realize you do not know the answer to. For example, “What actually is Kingdom Hearts?” So here is a list of games with imagination and story that are out of this world.
10 The Drakengard Series
Known most recently for Nier: Automata, this series is a mind-melting experience when it comes to figuring out what is actually going on. The first installment came out in 2003 and was a medieval dark fantasy game.
What most turned the story on its head was the multiple endings, with one leading to the second Drakengard game and the final ending leading into the first of the Nier arc. Even among Nier fans, a lot of them do not know its connection to Drakengard. Basically, a monster from Drakengard was released into modern Tokyo, which was the beginning of the Nier arc. So the games are in different worlds but still connected. A lot of research is required to understanding everything going on in this series. But that’s part of what makes the series special. Fans love how it went from fantasy dragons to androids.
9 The Metal Gear Series
Metal Gear may look like a basic military game on the surface but that is very far from the truth. With Hideo Kojima at the helm of the franchise, he made sure this game was far from simple.
Military meets magic and science fiction in this game. This series has clones, cyborgs, and even a vampire. There are a ton of characters to keep track of with confusing names like Big Boss versus The Boss, or Naked Snake, Liquid Snake, and Solid Snake. The overarching plot is the most convoluted of them all. Each game has its own distinct objective and yet each one is linked to a shadow government organization. It’s like you are fighting the military-industrial complex Illuminati.
8 The Kingdom Hearts Series
This Square Enix meets Disney crossover series may seem innocent, but it rapidly sucks you into an insane vortex of strange characters and lore. For example, the many villains are just the same character but at different points in time. The main character also has a bunch of people’s hearts inside his. People who lose their hearts get these new characters called “Nobodies.”
As for what Kingdom Hearts is, fans think it’s the collective unconscious of all people. However, fans do not really know, which is the crazy part since it’s the name of the series and what it’s all about. The main villain is trying to summon it but no one knows what that really entails.
7 The Legend Of Zelda Series
As individual games that are unconnected, the Zelda series seems simple. However, since the Hyrule Historia was released, creators pushed the idea that all the games were connected with a very complicated timeline.
The most complex part of the timeline was the fact that Ocarina of Time had three different endings. These three different endings created three different timelines in which most released games fit under. The most recent game, Breath of the Wild, has many fans wondering where it fits in the timeline. To further complicate matters, it was officially stated that Breath of the Wild actually connects to all three.
6 The Silent Hill Series
Being complex and mysterious are ingredients for the horror genre. Silent Hill recognized that not ever knowing exactly what’s going on can scare players, and they took advantage of that in their series.
Despite all its games, there are more questions than answers when it comes to the town of Silent Hill. There are endless theories from the town being Hell to purgatory to being part of the protagonist’s imagination. It’s one of those games someone would play over and over again to discover something new but it just confuses them even more. The multiple endings really push the crazy possibilities too by sometimes involving aliens or even having one with a dog controlling the town from a secret room.
5 Sonic The Hedgehog Series
Like The Legend of Zelda, Sonic the Hedgehog leaned more and more into characters and narrative as it evolved. This has led to some weird scenes and character backstories. For example, Shadow the Hedgehog has more than one backstory. In some, he is a weapon created by the government and in others; he is one of an army of clones. In others, he is a clone of the original Shadow who is long dead.
There are other weird moments. Eggman appears in nearly Sonic games despite that in one game, Eggman actually dies. There are others where Sonic dies and others where he has a human love interest. Everything in this series is just bonkers. The creators of the series obviously cared more about what would make kids want to play their games rather than what makes sense.
4 The Bioshock Series
Stories are bound to get complex and crazy if you introduce multiple timelines and dimensions, and Bioshock not only went down that road, but they made it the core of their story in Bioshock Infinite.
Any typical gamer had to sit back and just let the shock flow when they discovered that the main protagonist and main antagonist were both technically the same person but from different timelines. Then they had to sit back and re-think everything again once they discovered Comstock is also Andrew Ryan from the earlier games. Then everyone goes insane when a bunch of Elizabeths from different dimensions kill the protagonist at once to stop anything from ever happening. However, then she wouldn’t even be born to kill him? The paradoxes really are a mess.
3 The Castlevania Series
The creators of Castlevania created a foolproof idea to keep creating games. It was the fact that Dracula, the main antagonist, resurrects every 100 years. So every time they make a game, they can just place it neatly in a timeline. However, their narrative idea eventually got more complicated.
They began to make games outside what was considered the official timeline; dealing with characters fans did not even know existed before. For example, one of their games introduced the main characters wife and players had never heard of her before.
2 The .Hack Series
The .hack series is complicated due to its fans having to access not only the games, but anime, manga, and novels to truly understand what is going on. The story revolves around a massive multiplayer online game simply called “The World.” There are multiple main characters and a mysterious virus that renders some players comatose.
There is a lot going on in this series. Apparently the MMO was based on a poem with the goal of creating the ultimate AI. If you go into .hack//G.U. without watching the anime, then you wouldn’t know that the main character’s love interest is in a coma or that he used to have a totally different personality.
1 The Zero Escape Series
This is a series easily overlooked despite the fact it makes Bioshock look like a kiddie pool when it comes to multiple timelines and dimensions. The ending of the final game definitely fell short, but the entire series is otherwise a masterpiece of complex writing.
Every player will have a different experience in narrative in how they explore twists and turns in a timeline through the choices they make. You get to see characters die a lot in multiple ways and learn new information about them depending on your choices. The series leaves you with a ton of questions and nearly every twist and ending you run into is worth a gasp.