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Best Video Game Storytelling & Writing of 2021

Best Narrative & Story 2021

Best Video Game Storytelling & Writing of 2021

Award season has returned here at Twinfinite, meaning it is time to discuss the best of the best in the last year of gaming. All throughout January, we will be taking a look at the very best games of 2021, with these articles include a handful of runner-ups and one overall winner. In this post, we’ll be going over the best video game writing and storytelling of 2021.

Voted on by our staff, these three games stood out amongst the handful of great video game stories that were released in the last year, featuring plenty of unique plotlines and bits of dialogue that helped them rise to the occasion. So without further ado, let’s get into it.

Best Video Game Storytelling & Writing of 2021

Honorable Mention: It Takes Two

it takes two, Best Narrative & Story 2021

Features Editor Andrew McMahon: While I’ll be the first to admit that It Take Two’s story isn’t perfect, mostly due to somewhat unlikable protagonists and direction, I’m also not ashamed to admit that it has some emotional themes. As a child of divorce myself, the relationship between May and Cody and the effect it has on their daughter, Rose, really resonated with me and did a great job conveying the hardships of marriage.

At the start of the game, Cody and May constantly bicker and argue, either blaming one another for the situation they find themselves in or refusing to own up to mistakes they’ve made in their past. As It Takes Two progresses through its story, the two not only begin to work together and communicate better, but they also remember why they fell in love in the first place.

This is conveyed in a rather brilliant way, as each level features themes from their relationships while also giving Cody and May specific abilities to go alongside them.

In one level, Cody has the ability to stop time, whereas May can duplicate herself – signifying the former’s wish to spend more time as a family and the latter’s ability not to be able to be in two places at once (Work and Home). The dialogue also becomes far more pleasant as It Takes Two’s narrative progresses, showing how vital proper communication can be not only for solving puzzles but also for simply enjoying each other’s company.

Best Video Game Storytelling & Writing of 2021

Second Runner-Up: Life Is Strange True Colors

Life Is Strange True Colors, Best Narrative & Story 2021

Guides Editor Chris Jecks: After a somewhat meandering narrative in Life Is Strange 2, Deck Nine returned to deliver another outstanding, intimate story, focusing on Alex Chen and the citizens of Haven Springs, Colorado in Life Is Strange True Colors.

Following her brother’s death shortly after her arrival under mysterious circumstances, Alex gets to work uncovering the secrets of this sleepy mountainside town and gets to grips with her empathy-based abilities. Alex can see and ‘take on’ the emotions of those she’s near to, granting her the ability to see when someone’s putting on a false front and learn more about them and the shady goings-on in Haven Springs. It’s the first ability that feels like it truly adds to the narrative in more than just the obvious “there’s this supernatural thing going on.”

This is a Life Is Strange game, so there’s plenty of twists and turns in the narrative, a love interest or two for you to choose between, and some really beautiful, intimate, and heartfelt cutscenes that’ll have you caring more for the characters in the game’s short duration than you’d probably like to admit.

Add into this the fact that Life Is Strange True Colors features branching narrative paths, and you’ve got a highly replayable experience and a high benchmark for future Life Is Strange games to meet with their narratives.

Best Video Game Storytelling & Writing of 2021

First Runner-Up: Lost Judgment

News Editor Giuseppe Nelva: The Judgment series is essentially a spin-off of the Yakuza franchise, yet its creators have managed to give it its own personality that goes much beyond simply replacing Kazuma Kiryu (or Ichiban Kasuga) with a detective played by a top-tier superstar.

Yet, Lost Judgment still manages to pair a super-dark main storyline with plenty of comedic moments. Add to that a (perhaps surprising) insightful albeit a bit hyperbolic look on Japanese high schools, and you get a game with impressive storytelling depth worthy of the best Japanese tradition.

As a matter of fact, and much like the Yakuza games, this is a title that you simply can’t miss if you love Japan. Yet, thanks to its strong detective story, you may enjoy Lost Judgment even if you don’t.

Best Narrative & Story Games of 2021

Winner: Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Features Editor Andrew McMahon: Who would have thought a narrative surrounding a deadly assassin, a hardhead hell-bent on revenge, a talking raccoon, a giant tree-man, and a dimwitted human would be one of the most emotionally compelling stories of 2021? That is exactly what you get with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

The bulk of this story revolves around the dysfunctional dynamic of The Guardians of the Galaxy, as Peter “Starlord” Quill must guide them to work as one to overcome the many obstacles they face. Unsurprisingly, this isn’t easy.

Personalities clash and get in the way of the mission, causing a lot of tense scenarios between a group of people we are supposed to see as a team. Thanks to some great writing and direction, all of that conflict eventually pays off, with characters bonding and communicating about their issues, strengthening the team as a result.

What is especially impressive about this feat is that Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy did it all beneath the weight and shadow of its MCU counterpart. Despite the expectation that came with telling a similar story again, the game knocks it out of the park.

Whether it is how they retell The Guardians backstories in a different, more compelling manner or the way they shift the main focus away from Thanos, everything about this version of the team’s origin story works. I’m not ashamed to admit that I shed a tear multiple times throughout this game, especially for the tragedy that surrounds Drax the Destroyer.

If you’re looking for an emotional, comical, and well-written video game narrative from 2021, there is no doubt Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy will have you hooked.

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