Narrative plays a large role in the gaming experience. While some games may ignore this, others fully embrace it and look for ways to use that narrative to draw the player in and play with their emotions. The plot twist is a powerful weapon in a narrative’s arsenal and it has the ability to truly catch the player off guard and evoke a wide variety of feelings from the player. Here are our picks for the Top 10 plot twists in gaming.

10. Infamous 

Infamous

Infamous was a unique game as it fully played into it’s comic book-esque structure. Cutscenes were done in animated panels and the game was full of comic relief, gritty heroes, attractive love interests and a super villain that was far more evil than was necessary. That super villain was Kessler. He was imbued with superpowers and a dark demeanor. After building up his powerful gang and tormenting Cole the entire game the plot twist comes at the end when it is revealed that Kessler is actually Cole from the future. He came back in time to create the raysphere which gives Cole his superpowers and help groom him into the Hero he needs to be to save the world from a coming evil. 

~ Eric Young


9. DanganRonpa: Trigger Happy Havoc Junko Enoshima

What do you do when you awaken to find yourself in the midst of a game of murder? That is the question Makoto and his friends must deal with in the opening sequence of Trigger Happy Havoc, the first PS Vita game in the DanganRonpa series. After the intense introduction to the game by the bear in charge, Monokuma, a cheery young girl by the name of Junko Enoshima is murdered for breaking the rules. As the story progresses and more of your friends are murdered (by each other), you must find out who is controlling Monokuma. When the final act of the game nears its close, you discover that Junko Enoshima is not dead. No, Junko had her sister play herself and chose to kill her in order to breed the ultimate despair. Because for Junko Enoshima, the Ultimate Despair, pain and suffering was her only, maniacal goal.

~ Evan Schwab

 


8. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies

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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is a franchise that thrives on plot twists that reveal the true culprits. So, it’s difficult to choose just one that really stands above the rest. Dual Destinies, the series’ first 3DS outing, is a pretty good contender for the spot. Bobby Fulbright, the bumbling but lovable detective that alternately helps and hinders Wright’s investigations, is revealed in the final case to have been dead for the entirety of the game. The man players have been laughing at and growing to appreciate is actually a sinister criminal known as the Phantom, a master of disguise that has been behind the majority of the game’s interconnected events. Having to question and break down someone that seemed so morally righteous in a world filled with shades of grey is a pretty heavy experience for anyone who loved the character up to that point. The cherry on top, though, is that the Phantom didn’t work alone and his bosses want him dead. The assassination attempt on him that ends the trial opens up the world of Ace Attorney to even more mystery and intrigue.

~ Donovan Bertch


7. Star Ocean: Till the End of Time

Star Ocean End of Time

When you think of plot twists completely out of the blue, Star Ocean: Till the End of Time certainly ranks near the top of that list. You play as the spunky, young Fayt Leingod, a kid relaxing on a resort planet (Hyda IV) with his parents and best friend Sophia Esteed. When the planet is attacked by the Vendeeni, Fayt is separated from his friend and family and must struggle to survive the aftermath. After a tumultuous journey and another escape from the Vendeeni, Fayt and his newly formed party arrive at the Moonbase research station. There, they discover that they are actually just part of a video game, similar to MMORPGs. The Creator of the game is displeased and wishes to destroy the entire simulation. Pretty insane.

~ Evan Schwab


6. Shadow of the Colossus 

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Team Ico’s Shadow of the Colossus is arguably the greatest PlayStation 2 game.  Shadow of the Colossus combines fun gameplay with a well-told story and beautiful environments to create an unforgettable experience.  You play as Wander, a young warrior.  Wander has been tasked with destroying 16 great colossi within the land.  In exchange, the ancient entity, Dormin, will bring his beloved back to life.  Like the foreboding environments, this story is dark and tragic.  The Colossi are mostly peaceful and wish to be left alone. Because of their passive nature, there’s little joy when players finally defeat them.  The knowledge that you’re destroying the last of a species adds a depressing weight to each encounter.  But you do all this to resurrect someone you love and in the end it’s ultimately pointless.  The twist is that each colossus contained part of the essence of Dormin.  With the death of each Colossus, you grow weaker and Dormin grows stronger.  At the end, Dormin takes over your body and transforms you into a shadowy giant.  This reveal, though hinted at by your companion throughout the game, changes your whole playing experience.  Even though your beloved comes back to life in the end, you sacrificed not only yourself, but the morality and goodness within you. By the end you’re just as much a devil as the devil you’ve been serving.

~ Ryan Dodd


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