I don't know that I would agree with this one. The main quest line so far hasn't been all that impressive. I won't spoil anything here but its probably the work written of the quests I've seen in the game so far. There is good writing and good story in the game, but the jury is still out on that for me.Starfield
The second half of Vol 1 is still the best story in the game. Vol 2 flat out sucked. Vol 3 starts off great and is my second favorite "story" in the game from the epic quest line. The ending part of the Black Book (replacement for the Epic line) is great and the Legacy of Durin quest line is quite good.Lord of the Rings Online's "epic" (main) storyline is very good, at least the part until Moria.
I disagree to an extent. That the storyline(s) were messed up and left unfinished due to rushing the game, I found the story overall more compelling and interesting than KOTOR 1. Except for a few moments here and there, KOTOR 1's story was interesting but bland. Characters such as Jolee Bindo were the saving grace.General gameplay is, but I don't think the story is as good. A lot of that comes down to the rushed ending and unfinished plot threads.
It's hard to distinguish between games that have a great story from ones that have great storytelling.
Far Cry 2
You beat me to max Payne and mafia.I'm trying to remember what was the first game I played for the story instead of just the sake of it.
I think it was Full Throttle, now was it really a great story? I'm not sure, but it certainly was eye opening.
But to list the games where I was actually invested in the story:
Red Alert (1996)
I think especially the soviet campaign was great, I was so disappointed when they went the goofy comedy route with Red Alert 2.
Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom (1996)
Interactive movies were big in the mid 90s, and this one is probably my favorite, because it is also a decent space sim at the same time.
Wing Commander V: The Prophecy (1997)
This might be even better than WC IV, as it has a bit less FMV, and this time you play as a rookie, so you can better own the story.
System Shock 2 (1999)
Shodan is one of the best villains ever, but the many is just as good, if not better. This is the first immersive sim I played, and I was indeed fully immersed.
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force (2000)
It is like your very own two hour Voyager Episode, the story rivals the best episodes of the actual show.
Deus Ex (2000)
Nothing short of prophetic this game turned out to be with its plot. Imagine that all the popular conspiracy theories from the 90s are true, and secret societies are real.
Max Payne (2001)
Known only for bullet time, but also a great film noir story
Mafia The City of Lost Heaven (2002)
A simple but fulfilling story, forget the remake it ruined it by rewriting it for no good reason. But I guess if you never played the original then the remake can also seem decent.
Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (2003)
The first one was already great, but somehow this improved on it. The last great game remedy has made.
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (2005)
The franchise peaked here, this is overall the best game in the series both story and gameplay wise.
Lost: Via Domus (2008)
Are you dissatisfied with how the series ended? Then try this game, as it was made after season 3, and goes in a completely different (IMO better) direction than the series.
Mass Effect (2008)
A horde of rose tinted glass wearers will attack me for this, but the story was the only thing keeping this game together as the gameplay was rough at the best of times.
The beginning was so boring that it took me three attempts before I could get past it, but it paid off later.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (2009)
I really loved the story of starkiller, too bad the second game such an utter trash that it managed to negate even the story.
Heavy Rain (2010)
Very open ended twisty story I loved it, but hated the QTEs.
Mass Effect 2 (2010)
Finally the gameplay is just as good as the story, my favorite part of the series story wise exactly because it doesn't focuses on a clearly defined main story, but more of a character builder.
L. A. Noire (2011)
At first glance it might look like a GTA clone set in the 40s, but it hides so much more.
Mass Effect 3 (2012)
I wasn't sure whether to include it because I originally hated how the story ends, but the Citadel DLC and the indoctrination theory saves its butt.
The Last of Us (2013)
I don't think I need an introduction or reasoning for this one
Beyond: Two Souls (2013)
My experience with this game might be biased because I played it at the lowest point of my life when I literally thought I was going to die. But I consider this is my favorite story, that unfortunately I can no longer think about without distaste due to events that shall not be named here.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (2016)
The best damn cod story, and you can't change my mind
Mass Effect Andromeda (2017)
The whole explorer aspect is appealing me, but this game would already get a mention on the merit of having an actual epilogue where you can interact with characters and reflect on events, instead of it just ending on a dead stop.
Detroit: Become Human (2018)
Not nearly as good as Beyond, but it still towers above your average videogame story.
Terminator Resistance (2019)
The is more of an honorable mention, I don't think this is actually one of the best stories ever, but for an AA game, it is much better than it has any right to be, there is actual characterization that many AAA devs could learn from.
The Last of Us Part 2 (2020)
Yes, I actually loved this, ironically the pre-emptive backlash and deliberate spoilers probably made me like it more and prepared me for what to expect so there was no shock by the time I actually played it.
Cyberpunk 2077 (2020)
I love to hate this story, it is perfectly crafted and well written, but I hate the direction it takes, and I think this is an example where a too elaborate story can be detrimental to the game. I'd have loved to do multiple more playthrougs of the game, but knowing the story just erased my appetite for it. I'm not even excited about the DLC unless it addresses the ending and adds a better outcome.
Can it really be a great story if you have to watch YT videos to understand it?I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Hades. There's a ton of voiced-acted dialog and a bunch of NPC character arcs to get invested into while the gameplay loop perfectly integrates the story within it.
Some honorable mentions that I haven't seen yet:
Dread Delusion - Has you wondering why the world is the way it is and slowly drops new info by way of NPC dialog and item descriptions.
Hollow Knight - FromSoft style story telling which means there's a ton of story and lore to go with it but you're probably going to need to watch analysis videos to make sense of it all.
Yakuza - I haven't played all of them but the ones I have all have a simple main story that brings in a ton of characters with differing motivations. Also often hilarious.
Returnal - Kind of a standard Sci-Fi story but integrates the story into the gameplay.
The Swapper - Another standard Sci-Fi story that integrates it into the gameplay while adding a bit of 'Am I a monster if I'm creating and destroying clones of myself on a whim'.
AC: Odyssey - While I wouldn't say the story is amazing by any means; your rise from a nobody to a demigod was entertaining. I really liked that near end game where you're an unstoppable killing machine there will be a village of NPCs that follow and worship you for the demi-god you appear to be.