A video game's plot can be what makes or breaks the experience for many. Gameplay can be top-notch, but if there's no such intrigue or overarching mystery pushing you forward, some may check out before reaching the final station. And as the odd revolutionary experience pushes the boundaries of the industry further forward, it's on those narrative to continue their innovation. The PlayStation 4 has played host to a bunch of fascinating, fun stories across 2019, but these are the ones we'd consider the console's crowning achievements.
Bronze Trophy: The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III
At times it's almost unbearably anime, but there's simply no denying the strength of Trails of Cold Steel III's absolutely massive cast. The way that it's able to bring so many characters into its story is seriously impressive, but to have almost all of these personalities blossom into nuanced and likeable friends, foes, and uneasy allies is an outstanding achievement.
Of course, such depth wouldn't be possible without investment, and you'll need to play through the prior Cold Steel titles in order to fully appreciate everything that's going on, but for our money, the twisting tale of Rean Schwarzer makes for one of the PS4's finest Japanese RPGs.
Silver Trophy: Erica
Since Erica is an FMV game, it quite literally lives or dies based on the quality of its plot. It's a good job then that developer Flavourworks delivered with an intriguing, branching narrative that leads to numerous worthwhile endings. Choosing between various character-driven actions at any given moment, you'll mould the story to your liking by selecting the choices you feel are best for Erica.
What starts out at a breakneck pace with the death of two parents quickly becomes the downfall of a mental health institute hiding a dark and sinister secret. Intensely interesting and exciting, Erica dares to let you shape its plot at every turn -- making for an experience that feels wholly personal despite not filling your own shoes.
Gold Trophy: Judgment
Free from the narrative baggage of Yakuza, Judgment is a completely clean break which focuses on solving crimes rather than committing them. Those all-new detective centric mechanics are nothing more than passable, but it's the story which links them together that gives meaning. As Takayuki Yagami, it's your job to solve a string of gruesome murders plaguing the streets of Kamurocho.
Side-kick Kaito is on hand to help out when the going gets tough, so much so that he becomes an integral part of the plot as the stakes reach breaking point with twists and double-crosses. It's all complemented by a series of hilarious, entertaining side cases which manage to tell their own little stories alongside what is already a thrilling plot, culminating in an experience bursting at the seams with phenomenal narrative reasons to play.
Platinum Trophy: Death Stranding
Was it ever going to be anything else? Hideo Kojima's first game since splitting from Konami is an incredible narrative undertaking uncomparable to quite literally any other PS4 title available. The creator's unique brand of storytelling triples the lengths of an average cutscene, attaches the most bizarre names to its characters, and tells a story where Norman Reedus going to the toilet to create grenades is completely fair game. It's utterly bonkers, and it's incredible.
Impressive performances from Mads Mikkelsen and Lea Seydox fuel the most unique trip across the United Cities of America in order to reconnect the country, but that's just the tip of the iceberg as the narrative continues down the route of amazing madness. Basking in some of the most emotional moments of the generation as its credits roll, Death Stranding raises the narrative bar for video games.
Do you agree with our picks? Have you experienced a better story in video games this year? Place your vote in our poll and share your thoughts in the comments below.