4 Of The Best Choice Based Games You Need To Play
This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s fall editorial intern Celeste MacMurray. Find her on Instagram at @clsmsanchezx. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at email@example.com.
One of the most underrated forms of storytelling, video games hardly get the praise they deserve. There are many types of video games out there, such as first-person ones, RPGs, story-based ones and even free roam ones. Most of the time I like to play story-based games as I like following a storyline and the satisfaction that comes from completing one, but I also love to play choice-based video games because of how unique they are.
What I like the most about choice-based games is the way they function to create a story based entirely on their players and how they decide to play a game. Instead of being shoehorned into making one decision or following one path, you are free to choose as you like to create the outcome you want. Many of these games have multiple, possible endings based solely on your decisions, and with each choice, you influence your outcome. Another part of these games that makes them fun is returning to previous sections of the game after finishing it and replaying them to get different outcomes or to see what would happen if you made a different choice.
The appeal of a choice-based game is that each decision you make not only has a consequence, but will influence all possible decisions and outcomes. The ending of your game depends on you and is determined by each decision you make. Certain decisions are the better option, some may prevent you from making different choices down the line or they can give you the ending you want. It’s all about how you play.
If you’ve been looking for some choice-based games to play to broaden your horizon, here are four of the best choice based video games you need to try.
Life Is Strange (2015)
One of the first choice-based games I ever played, Life Is Strange offered a unique and heart-wrenching storyline based on the Chaos Theory—otherwise known as the Butterfly Effect. The basis of the theory is that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings today could lead to a hurricane elsewhere tomorrow. The idea is meant to emphasize the effects and importance of even the littlest of actions and how their consequences influence the future.
The game follows Max Caulfield, a photography student who saves her childhood best friend, Chloe Price, from death after realizing she has the ability to stop and rewind time. Throughout the game, she learns how to harness her power and unravel the mystery of what happened to Chloe’s best friend, Rachel Amber. However, Max’s manipulation of time does not go without consequence as something big is brewing, and every decision you make has an impact.
If you want to play a game about love, friendship, chaos and time traveling, Life Is Strange is the one for you. Before playing this game I would advise that you look up trigger warnings as the game tackles some heavy topics that may be upsetting if you aren’t in the right headspace. Safe playing comes before all else.
Telltale’s The Walking Dead (2012)
Based on the TV show you’re familiar with and may love, Telltale’s The Walking Dead was released two years after the show began airing. The game does have cameos of some characters from the TV series such as Glenn and Michonne, but they feature a different cast of characters just as unique. TellTale is known for many popular choice-based video games in the 2010s, with The Walking Dead being one of their most famous ones.
The game follows a young Clementine as she must navigate the zombie apocalypse as her world changes overnight. She is taken in by Lee, a former professor, who cares for her like a father as she searches for her parents. The game is structured in seasons, with there being four in total, each containing a total of five episodes. There are also bonus chapters focusing on other characters in the game such as “400 Days” and The Walking Dead: Michonne mini-series.
Each choice you make in this game will have consequences and influence the choices you are able to make in future areas of the game. Other characters will also remember the choices you make and even the pieces of dialogue you choose to say.
Until Dawn (2015)
It’s been nearly a year since the disappearance of two sisters Beth and Hannah, when their brother Josh invited their group of friends to stay at their family resort for a winter getaway. It’s also the same place where the two girls went missing, but they all attend in hopes of celebrating and honoring the lives of their friends. The night starts out typical, but as the hours pass it becomes clear that something’s amiss. There’s definitely something roaming the woods, and there’s more to the story of Beth and Hannah’s disappearance than meets the eye, combined with the unexplainable history behind the mountains of the resort.
Throughout the game you get to play as all the characters within the cast, each decision you make determines their outcome and who gets to survive the night. The end goal? To survive until dawn when help arrives. There are also sections in the game where you’re interviewed by a psychiatrist that are used to tailor the game to your fears. Yet, when these sections continue for a majority of the game, you begin to question who really is being questioned by the psychiatrist and what role he plays in the story. Much like Life Is Strange, the game relies heavily on the Butterfly Effect to structure its choice-making and your potential ending.
Full of surprises at every time, Until Dawn will have you at the edge of your seat as it both leans into and subverts horror movie tropes in this fight for survival.
The Quarry (2022)
If you played Until Dawn and loved it, then The Quarry might be just the game you’re looking for. Nine camp counselors at Hackett’s Quarry Summer Camp have one last night together, and what should have been a night of fun quickly turns into a night of terror. Everyone must fight for survival in the face of both human and non-human threats if they’re to survive. Without spoiling everything, the game also includes a reimagined version of a particular mythical creature that the characters also have a chance of turning into if not careful. The stakes are high at every turn here in Hackett’s Quarry, and as you continue the game it becomes clear something happened long, long ago that’s still affecting the quarry today.
Do you think these are the best choice based video games? Are there any others you’ve played that you think we should be aware of? Don’t be afraid to comment and let us know!