Before we begin, let’s go through a couple of notes for this list. First of all, these are not exclusive Xbox One games because, well, the system hasn’t really had that many. On top of that the exclusives they have aren’t really emotional plot driven experiences next to its direct counterpart: the PS4.
Games from past generations will not appear on this list. Okami is a great game with a beautiful story and has been ported to the Xbox One, but since it came out ages ago, it doesn’t count. Now if a game launched on multiple consoles simultaneously including the past generation, like the Xbox 360, those games do count. Got it?
10 Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 was an emotional roller coaster. When it was announced it was awesome because that series deserved a sequel. Then it was announced as a prequel, which seemed silly. None of the trailers leading up to release were never wow inducing.
Turns out one had to play the game in order to truly get it. Arthur Morgan’s arc is one of the best-written storylines in video game history and the characters he meets along the way feel like a real family. It’s a beautiful, rocky road.
9 Life Is Strange
Games released in increments over the span of a year can be both good and bad. When companies don’t detail their plans for a release schedule, well, waiting between episodes can be difficult especially when it came to Life is Strange.
In terms of gameplay and graphics, the game was pretty low tier. Even the dialogue was a bit goofy. However, that goofiness played into the story as it was about awkward teens. Oh right, and time travel too. We dare you not to get emotionally attached.
8 NieR: Automata
The first Nier was good and had its fans, but it was definitely one of those flawed masterpieces. After being dormant for almost a decade no one in their right mind thought a sequel was ever coming and that it would win Game of the Year rewards. Simply put NieR: Automata defied expectations. It is complex and the sort of story that needs to be analyzed and re-analyzed in order to fully appreciate it. That’s kind of the fun of it though just like a great mystery.
7 The Witcher 3
For many gamers this was their first Witcher game. The previous two had some bumpy launch windows, but thankfully this game ironed out those kinks to make one heck of an impression.
Many open world RPGs try to build worlds with ever evolving landscapes and plot lines, but they usually fall short of expectations. Somehow CD Projekt Red was able to turn the tables and make every quest count not to mention the two expansions added more to an otherwise harrowing tale filled with love, loss, and bloody monsters.
6 Tales From The Borderlands
Borderlands can be praised for many things, but the story is not one of them. The writing can be funny at times, and there are some memorable moments, but again, it’s not an engaging plot.
So like NieR: Automata, nobody could have possibly thought Telltale could do anything memorable with the franchise. Well, needless to say since it is on this list they did. It is easily one of the funniest games of all time and absolutely Telltale’s best game. Too bad the company folded.
5 Valiant Hearts: The Great War
Valiant Hearts is a smaller game than even Life is Strange. Ubisoft used its UbiArt engine, the same one used for the Rayman reboot, in order to tell a tale during World War I that mattered. Most storytellers try and stick to the heroic period of World War II as it is somewhat easier, but Ubisoft wanted a challenge. Thankfully they succeeded in weaving an epic tale that challenged one’s perspective on good and evil and ended up writing one of the most heartwarming and yet saddest video game endings on this list.
4 Dragon Age: Inquisition
The Dragon Age series has been steeped in controversy and setbacks. The first game was in development heck forever and the sequel was criticized for its limitations in scope. Thankfully BioWare was able to bounce back with Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Like many of these entries, it is the best in the series. What truly shines amidst a cliché plot of ultimate destruction are the companions one gathers along the way. From actual party members to the banner men at the castle. They are all special. It is sadly the last great BioWare game.
It is pretty safe to say that everyone deals with depression, or some sort of anxiety at one point in their life. Creating a video game about coping with that mechanism may not sound fun, but the team at Matt Makes Games somehow achieved this Herculean task. On its sleeve it can easily be brushed off as one of those challenging types of puzzle platformers, which it assuredly is. However, deep within is what we already described: a beautiful story dealing with life.
2 Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
These last two entries are admittedly some personal favorites of ours and are both great examples of chronicles coming to an end. First we have Metal Gear Solid V, which was the long end to over thirty years of storytelling.
Due to Hideo Kojima and Konami having a falling out, it didn’t end the way Kojima envisioned. There is still a lot left to answer, but what was there was just as imaginative and crazy as the rest of the series. It also has one of the coolest openings to any game ever.
1 Kingdom Hearts III
And last, but not least, there is Kingdom Hearts III, which put to rest a story that has been going on for almost two decades. Is it actually the end? This is another cash cow for Square Enix like Final Fantasy so it will never truly end. However, it did bring the story of Xehanort to a close. Like Metal Gear, it still has a lot of questions that still need answers. Is it a convoluted mess that only fans that have been with it from day one will understand? Absolutely, but that doesn’t make the story any less important.