I am basically an “adventure gamer”, in the sense that I play games for their stories. It turns out, there are not so many adventure games (AGs) around, and some have rather weak stories to tell (plus I don’t like puzzles so much, which are hard to avoid in the AG genre.) But! there are other games that may have strong storylines, typically role playing games (RPGs), even though some action games have pretty decent plots sometimes. Here is a list I have painstakingly collected, of such hybrid games.
In the list, an (x) means I have tried it, with x being my personal score, 1 to 10. Empty (): too early to call.
- Knights of the Old Republic I (10!) & II (more comments below)
- Jade Empire (10)
- Mass Effect (10)
- Gothic (8)
- Anachronox ()
- Planescape: Torment (10)
- Omikron: The Nomad Soul
- Advent Rising
- Vampire: the Masquerade – Bloodlines (9.5)
- Fallout series
- Arcanum ()
- Fable (8.5)
- American Mcgee’s Scrapland (7.5)
- Deus Ex ()
- Beyond Good and Evil (10)
- Psychonauts (10)
- Assassin’s Creed (8) (impressive at first, rapidly turns repetitive)
- Portal (10!!! joy/time ratio way above any other game I can remember!)
- Fahrenheit (9.5; pretty good overall, weak ending)
AGs with some action
- Dreamfall (10)
Notes on Bioware’s RPG
When I completed Mass Effect, I couldn’t believe how good it was. After playing KoTOR, it is now crystal clear that some of the best features came from this previous effort. In fact, the main story is really similar, with KoTOR being actually superior, imho, thanks to its plot twists (major twists). The main difference, of course, is the combat system: traditional turn-based in the early game, full real-time combat in the later. (Even this could not be too original, since Jade Empire also is real-time.) Turn-based combats are OK by me, they feel more strategic and do not get me so nervous. ME is visually stunning, certainly, but KoTOR has its assets, including of course the Star Wars background and John William’s music… So, it would be more like KoTOR: 10, ME: 9.9.
I later tried Jade Empire, and enjoyed it quite a lot. Like science fiction, the Far East seems like a perfect place to locate a game like this; Assassin’s Creed is another game in which the setting is perfect and original (Palestine during the Crusade wars, but crusaders are the baddies!). I did not mind the fighting that much, also, since kung fu fighting (more precisely, wuxu) is ideal for the story. Also, at least one style was so lethal that the rest of the game is a breeze once you adquire it. Funny how this game seems to have been a bit of a commercial failure for Bioware.