Dragon Quest XI boasts one of the best told stories in traditional Japanese RPGs. Carried by an excellent cast of charming characters, it's all about the adventure -- and what an adventure it is. Now, the main plot may not be the most original tale in gaming, but it's stuffed with so much flavour and wonder. Top it all off with an epilogue of sorts that raises the bar on almost every level, and you've got, for our money, the best Dragon Quest story ever.
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There are plenty of theories that attempt to make sense of Inside’s story, but we like to believe it’s interpretative art, and the true meaning will differ depending on the player. This is a very dark, very thought-provoking experience, with some extremely smart puzzles and a haunting aesthetic. It’s one of the shorter games on this list, but that doesn’t make it any less essential.
What Remains of Edith Finch is up there with the best in the maligned 'walking simulator' genre of narrative based adventures. Featuring several vignettes focusing on the deaths in the unfortunate Finch family, the variety in storytelling techniques is dialed up to 11. It's all held together by an absurdly well-realised house environment that creaks with character, and is a narrative tool all on its own. The melancholy story packs a real punch, and is more than worthy of a place in our list.
One of the best aspects of Aloy's grand adventure across a post-post-apocalyptic America is the tale at the heart of it. We won't spoil too much just in case you've yet to play Guerrilla's open world epic, but the combination of ultra-futuristic science fiction and tribal side stories presents a very unique story among modern games. The overarching mystery of why the world is how it is drives players forward, drip feeding exposition throughout, and it's incredibly compelling stuff.
Despite an agonisingly prolonged development period, The Last Guardian miraculously emerged as another stellar Fumito Ueda adventure. Like his other games, this tale of Trico and a young boy hits you right in the feels as you build up a wonderful relationship with the giant creature. Divisive as the game is, Trico is an incredibly well-realised AI companion, and your largely wordless trek across crumbling ruins packs real emotional punch. Somehow living up to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, this is an essential PS4 experience.