Make Your Choice: Games of Decisions
Many games give you a straight shot to the end: Mario rushes from left to right to save the princess. Link traverses through his dungeons to face Ganon. Even Master Chief wades through the Covenant in a method that is repeated time and time and time again, and Cloud’s struggle against Sephiroth follows the same twists and turns. The stories are a single shot, the same path will happen no matter who is behind the controller. Familiar tales pass down from those who play to those who watch to those who later take up the mantle with no change in the script. Like a book or a movie, we play from the start to the end, following the plot tracks..
There are some games that allow choices to affect personal spots. Bioshock gives you the dilemma on how to react to the Little Sisters. Dragon Age: Origins lets you choose your romantic companion along with who you form your alliances with. Even Pokemon allows variety through which monsters you collect and train. Each playthrough can vary, every player who starts up the game set up with a world to cut their own path in.
Of course, some games allow more choices than others. Want to be the master of your own ship? Try giving one of these games a spin:
Life is Strange by Dontnod Entertainment
On Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Mac OSX, Windows
Genre: Adventure, Simulation
With the prequel being big news at E3, I think this is a good place to start at.
Life is Strange takes place in Arcadia Bay, putting you in control of Maxine “Max” Caulfield who returns back to finish out her schooling at the local academy, working towards her passion in photography. Early on, Max discovers that she can rewind time back a few moments, and uses this ability to help her solve puzzles and uncover not only some mysteries hanging around town, but also the meaning behind a vision that she had.
This game is very interesting with the rampant choices you can make, primarily due to the ability to rewind time and change your decision. Of course, only one choice can go forward and affect the plot, but you can find quick short term consequences of your actions, though there are constant checkpoints to prevent you from turning back large portions of the game to reverse an action. It’s a very interesting game, and the characters are well fleshed out, even leaving me to cry at one point. I strongly recommend this.
Until Dawn by Supermassive Games
On Playstation 4
How many times have we sat on our couch, yelling at our television as the teenager wanders off by themselves into the abandoned house, asking if anyone’s there before meeting an unfortunate end at the hands of the killer?
Until Dawn slaps you in the driver seat of 8 different teenagers who go to a cabin up in the snowy mountains for a friendly get-away. Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a game if that was the case, and you soon enter a world of various horror tropes as you find clues, react to events, and make decisions that ultimately determine the fate of each member of this crew.
I watched a playthrough of this before sitting down behind the wheel, and enjoy it for the most part, though there are some consequences of actions that feel like they were uncalled for. Still, the uncertainty of everything makes this fun to not only play, but watch others play. It definitely deserves a few playthroughs, considering that there are trophies for everyone surviving… or no one making it out alive.
Heavy Rain by Quantic Dream
On Playstation 3, Playstation 4
A worried father. An old private investigator. An FBI profiler. A struggling photojournalists. Four individuals, each with their own struggles. Four stories intertwining with the mysterious Origami Killer.
A game heavy in choices, chapters jumping between the various characters, requiring you to react and interact, using various methods of buttons, control stick shifting, and multiple combinations. This story is quite flexible, allowing multiple endings based on how the characters act through their arcs, leaving it up to the player as to how the mystery resolves.
I haven’t put my hands personally on this, but it looks amazing. I’ve dabbled with Indigo Prophecy, a PS2 game in a similar vein by the same company, and I had a great time, though I wasn’t good at it. I strongly want to grab this.
Most Games By Telltale Games
On Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Mac OSX, Windows, Android, iOS
Telltale Games has made quite a few episodic games which revolve around choices. However, they tend to use other licenses for their games. From Batman to the Walking Dead, Borderlands to Game of Thrones, Minecraft and beyond, these games cover many franchises, allowing you to explore the world with familiar characters and fresh stories, your choices paving the way.
The games jump from episode to episode, and even series to series, carrying over your choices from portion to portion, leading it to spiral very differently from another player’s game from the choices. Warnings pop up from the actions and words that will have ripples, noting that the individual “will remember that”.
I’ll admit, I haven’t dabbled in these either, but definitely want to try one of these out.
It’s nice when games allow the player to make choices, to be able to affect the story and carve their own path. Definitely as we come into the summer, pick up your controller and make your own way. And remember: