Here’s a list of some of my favorite games with great writing, which could include dialogue, cut-scenes, journal entries, item descriptions, or flavor text. We’ll save games with great plots and stories for another post (though all of these games have those as well!).
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
All of the Uncharted games that I’ve played have great writing, but the second installment is by far my favorite. The character dialogue is alternatively snarky, sweet, or menacing in both the cut-scenes and during gameplay. This game also has the best-written ending of any game I’ve played, mainly because of the terrific banter and satisfying resolution of all the story’s subplots.
Skies of Arcadia
This is a game that I’ll play over and over again. Despite it being an older Japanese RPG, the translation of this steampunk sky-pirate adventure is top-notch. Every character is distinct and interesting. One of my favorite things to do is to go to each crew member and get their reactions to the most recent plot point. The villains are also varied and interesting, and are lovably despicable in their own way.
The Pandora Directive
The best in the Tex Murphy series of classic FMV adventure games, this noir/sci-fi game has amazing writing. All of the item and setting descriptions are narrated by Murphy, a kind of vulnerable Humphrey Bogart character with a wry sense of humor. Depending on how you play the game, the writing will either lean towards a dark, despondent tone or a bright, optimistic one. Either way, the writing is always deliciously immersive.
Final Fantasy 12
This is my favorite Final Fantasy game, and one of the big reasons why is the writing. What sets the writing in this game apart is its slightly exotic voice. In addition to the great dialogue, every creature you encounter has a lengthy description you can unlock as you slay more of them, all written with an in-universe tone that is equal parts compelling and fascinating.
The writing in this game is both functional and immersive. I’ve never skipped a single line of dialogue in this game, even when the character is being expository. My favorite writing in this game are reactions from the playable characters. Despite this being a “build-your-party” RPG, the voice-sets you can choose for your characters are far more than just “My weapon doesn’t work!” exclamations. Depending on the personality and voice you choose, you get to hear all kinds of colorful, complete comments from your team as they give their own commentary on the game’s events.
A big shout-out to the fantastic members of my Readers Community:
Randall Hodgson, Mandy Vincelette, Matthew Paxman, Yoshiyuki Nishikawa, Wil Sisney, Jarred Walton, Joel Stanger, and Kelly Wilbur.
If you’d like to learn more about my Readers Community, check out the following link: