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5 Video Games With the Best Lore

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It’s true, a fictional work of art is far more engrossing when it incorporates a thick layer of lore. It’s also a proven fact that more lore often leads to more game time, as players are far more likely to venture off the beaten path when it means accruing more information on the world and its inhabitants. And when all’s said and done, there are some games that have really hit the nail on the head when it comes to developing such historical banquets over the years.

Take any open world game you like. Chances are, it has a certain amount of lore nested deep within its crags and crevices. But if you want to talk about five of the best tapestries in the business, then you needn’t look any further than these five lore-heavy pillars of excellence.

 

5. Kingdom Hearts

We’ll be the first to admit that, in spite of the series’ angelic cast of Disney-Pixar heroes, Kingdom Hearts wields one of the most convoluted plotlines in gaming to date. And yet, as far as lore goes, the Square Enix saga is absolutely chock-full of the stuff — to the point where even its own developers don’t know what to do with it. But for those who’ve spent hours piecing together its rich and overcooked history, the series is actually one of the most immersive — plot holes and all.

Kingdom Hearts shares its platform with all of the Disney kingdom, which means there are planets that go way beyond Destiny Islands. Take into account that there’s also Organization XIII, The Keyblade Wars, and a good thousand-plus years worth of feuds between Keyblade Masters, and you’ve got yourself one of the most jam-packed, albeit incredibly anarchic timelines in RPG history. Do we understand it in its entirety? Not even in the slightest.

 

4. Elder Scrolls

If there’s one thing Bethesda knows better than any other studio on the block — it’s lore, and how to design and implement it without making it chaotically jumbled and overzealous. Instead, it favors lore in small quantities, often scattered and stuffed into pockets around its worlds. Elder Scrolls, being one of the most iconic and lore-friendly anthologies in gaming, is perhaps the perfect example of showing this.

From a bird’s-eye view, Tamriel and its nine distinctive provinces share very little in common, which is precisely why each and every entry in the Elder Scrolls series is vastly unique. The only thing that the biomes share, of course, is Bethesda’s legendary seal of approval, which forever comes loaded with a backlog of outstanding fictional characters and historical architecture. And so, if lore is what you’re after, then Tamriel is the one and only place you need look.

 

3. Horizon

Horizon Zero Dawn and Horizon Forbidden West are hands down two of PlayStation’s best exclusives to date. And not only that, but they’re also filled to the brim with ancient artefacts and unlockable pockets of lore. Thanks to the series’ two-for-one open world structure, Horizon actually employs two layers of history for players to unravel; old, and new.

Horizon sees you chasing the memories of an ancient community that saw the world reach its boiling point and burn to ash and rubble. In spite of the fallout, many of its underground facilities are still in tact, and it’s you who bears the key to both timelines, that can unlock them. With that, you can expect countless audio logs, documents, and trinkets, all of which contribute to a timeline that hasn’t seen the light of day in generations. Lore-heavy? Absolutely.

 

2. Dragon Age

Dragon Age boasts one of the most colorful tapestries in gaming, period. Thanks to BioWare forever drawing up new ways to keep its world of Thedas stocked up on content, fans have been able to enjoy a ridiculously in-depth heritage that’s evidently full of characters, beasts, and memorabilia. And what makes this even more impressive is that, in spite of the series’ age, it still holds up as one of the better contenders on the RPG monopoly.

Dragon Age is rife with vigorous vistas and captivating chronicles, all of which amount to thousands of hours worth of interactive content for budding adventurers to engage in and document. From intricate scripture to hidden dialogue, secret battles to mysterious biomes — Dragon Age always thrives to reach hallmark quality, and BioWare has been praised countless times for doing so without fail.

 

1. The Witcher

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Given the fact that The Witcher is actually an anthology of tales by birthright, it does make CD Projekt Red’s task of transferring its every square detail into a video game a monumentally taxing task. And yet, to our utmost surprise, they’ve only gone and accomplished it. Although compressed into just a few games, the Polish developer has managed to capture the essence of the saga, and in turn, build some of the most iconic video games in existence. And the crowning achievement, of course, is its lore.

Let it be said that you’d need a level head and an iron shovel to sift through the oceans of content The Witcher has in its ever-evolving continent. And yet, even to this day, it’s a journey countless people are still making, if only in the hopes of making heads or tails of its extensive history. Because let’s face it, The Witcher is far more than “just another run-of-the-mill media franchise.” If anything, it’s a galaxy, and one that has more than enough stars and planets to keep its curators documenting for what could very well be an eternity.

 

So, what’s your take? Do you have any recommendations? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.

Jord is acting Team Leader at gaming.net. If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.