Stories, characters, and the writing that brings them all together are elements of video games that many (including ourselves) would consider hugely important. There's nothing quite like a gripping plot, so we wanted to highlight the games that held a particularly tight grip on our attention through high quality writing.
As chosen by the Push Square editorial team, these are the games that had the best story or writing of 2021.
Bronze Trophy: Lost Judgment
RGG Studio has proven time and time again that it can craft some of gaming's best stories, and while we don't think Lost Judgment's tale of terrible crimes is quite up there with Yakuza's finest, it's still head and shoulders above what you'll find in most video games. Judgement's stellar cast of characters return for another round of murder mystery, and the twists just never stop. When it's at its best — probably in the latter third of the plot — Lost Judgment is relentless and emotional, and it's hard not to get caught up in all of the incredibly well-acted drama.
You can read our full Lost Judgment PS5 review here.
Silver Trophy: Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
Super Mario voice actor Chris Pratt was too busy with other gigs to lend his talent to Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, but that's no bad thing when his replacement and supporting cast are this good. Eidos Montreal (no, not the Marvel's Avengers developer) delivers an original take on the Guardians, tasking them with saving the universe all over again. However, they do it Guardians style: with a ton of humour, toilet jokes, and laugh out loud comedy along the way. The game expertly captures the hilarity of the big-screen movies while making room for some more touching moments as the story develops. Is that a tug on the heartstrings we feel? Maybe so. Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is a gripping tale that comes as a very pleasant surprise.
You can read our full Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy PS5 review here.
Gold Trophy: Psychonauts 2
Psychonauts 2 is a Double Fine joint, so its high ranking on this list shouldn't come as a surprise. The developer returns to the cult classic series a whole 16 years later after the original, picking up the story mere moments after the conclusion of PSVR title Rhombus of Ruin. There's a double agent on the loose in the Motherlobe, and it's Raz's job to snuff them out. What follows is a wonderfully delightful tale packed with charm, humour, and sensational writing that could turn any frown upside down. The characters are endearing; the dialogue witty. It's almost as if no time has passed at all: Psychonauts 2 is just as meaningful as its predecessor was more than a decade ago.
You can read our full Psychonauts 2 PS4 review here.
Platinum Trophy: Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
There's a very fine line between sharp, intelligent writing and pretentious drivel, but Disco Elysium delivers the former with enviable swagger. This is an exceptionally written RPG, densely packed with memorable characters and sensational story beats. Disco's dark sense of humour is also deserving of praise — another potential pitfall that so many games get wrong. Honestly, ZA/UM's adventure through the broken mind of middle aged cop might just have some of the most enjoyable writing we've ever experienced in a game.
You can read our full Disco Elysium: The Final Cut PS5 review here.
What games made you sit up and pay attention with their story and writing in 2021? Vote in our poll, and then write something yourself in the comments section below.