3. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
Dontnod has done it again. Captain Spirit is further proof that the Paris-based developer can take everyday scenarios and riddle them with the feels. Told within a single morning, the story lands us between a young boy, his father, and their relationship with the past. Despite the circumstances—the tenuous state of the household—, the star of this short story maintains his innocence and energy until it resonates beyond the screen. Which is why the name of the game is very apt. By the end, at what seems like the lowest point, the game flips the script with a climactic and hopeful conclusion.
2. Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 has to be one of the best Westerns ever told, and Rockstar may be eternally consigned to top 10 lists. This tale of outlaws can outride most plots, thanks to an amazing cast of authentic characters. Even with realism, benchmark graphics, and elaborate game mechanics, the narrative remains the primary draw of this entry; that and a cast of characters that keep you emotionally tethered. We see ups and downs throughout, but the tumultuous journey never leaves us disconnected from the gang and Arthur Morgan. Whatever strong feelings we’re left in the end, we’re ultimately smitten by the tale and its conclusion.
1. God of War
More than an epic Journey, God of War’s narrative takes us through many nooks, crannies, and the maw of Norse mythology. It seamlessly transitions between scenic exposition and the intimate relationship between a father and his son. Even with the narrative stones that pave the road—whether from Mimir’s tales, the environment, or fantastical creatures—, you’re never lost on the primary drive. There are too many lessons never explicitly spoken, but we essentially walk away knowing the power of a mother’s love, a wife’s foresight, and how they tump the power of gods. Not to mention the one-shot camera that maintains our intimacy with the characters and the story, right until we dare to care about Kratos, that bastard.