There are some great games out there that feature dialogue-heavy storylines like Disco Elysium. Here are some prime examples.
By Maciej Grzymkowski
Published 9 hours ago
Dialogue choices in games are a divisive matter. Some people hate them, whereas others can’t imagine getting into a game that doesn’t have them. Then there is the issue of how much emphasis is placed upon conversations by the game’s developers. While in some RPGs the dialogue trees are only there to give players the illusion of choice, other titles manage to give the gamers a lot more agency in pushing the narrative in a specific direction by talking to NPCs.
RELATED: Disco Elysium: Everything You Need To Know About The Final Cut Version
Nowadays, games like?Disco Elysium?try to bring back the importance of dialogue that branches out into countless, radically different directions, but many classic role-playing games from the early 2000s have managed to do just that much earlier than ZA/UM’s masterpiece. It is mainly a domain of isometric, turn-based titles, but there are quite a few exciting action RPGs that managed to incorporate top-tier writing in their dialogue systems, as well.
The team over at Obsidian are role-playing masters who managed to incorporate top-tier stories and dialogue choices even to action-packed titles like?Fallout: New Vegas.?Pillars Of Eternity?is a slower, more text-focused experience that puts players in the driver’s seat as far as advancing the storyline through dialogue is concerned.
Much like some of the other best dialogue-heavy titles are based on?the?Dungeons & Dragons?lore, so is?Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines?inspired by a cult tabletop RPG. With a unique (for that type of game) setting of early 21st century Los Angeles. With plenty of impactful and engaging dialogue thrown into the mix, this 2004 game can still captivate role-playing enthusiasts for dozens of hours.
RELATED: PC RPGs With The Most Impactful Dialogue Choices
Despite having been released over 15 years ago,?Bloodlines’?gameplay still holds up, with players being free to choose between various playstyles and mission approaches, from stealthy, guns-blazing, all the way to a Charisma-based character build that can solve most disputes with?witty conversation choices.
Since it is another isometric role-playing game developed and published by the Obsidian/Paradox duo, some players may find it a bit too similar to?Pillars Of Eternity,?and understandably so. After all, the two RPGs use the exact same engine. The fonts in dialogue windows and the game’s graphics, in general, are nearly identical to?Pillars,?however,?Tyranny?does introduce some changes that make it an even better title.
With a more lore-focused approach, high-fantasy fans will feel right at home when playing?Tyranny.?The dialogue choices are closely connected to the history and background of the game’s world, and paying close attention to all conversations is?of paramount importance when it comes to completing the game.
With their third entry into?The Witcher?series, the developers over at CDPR have managed to strike the perfect balance between creating a lore-rich, dialogue-heavy storyline and action-packed gameplay with multilayered combat. Furthermore, all of that was packed in an astonishingly beautiful world that tested the limits of the PS4 and Xbox One even back in 2015.
RELATED: The Witcher 3: Best Side Quests Most Players Miss (& Where To Find Them)?
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt?has been deservedly praised as one of the best video games of the past decade, and much of this praise can be attributed to an incredibly well-written, multi-faceted dialogue system with seemingly irrelevant choices and romance options?that have a ripple effect on the entire narrative and ending of the story.
For a game that started out as a Kickstarter project,?Divinity: Original Sin?has turned out to be a remarkable success. It does borrow heavily from isometric classics released in the early 2000s, but Larian Studios have also put a lot of creativity and innovative solutions into the title, especially when it comes to NPC interactions and the world’s lore.
Contrary to the games it has been inspired by, Divinity: Original Sin?is set in the wider Divinity?universe, which only appears in other games from that series, rather than tabletop games or novels. The story and the high-fantasy world have been fully created by the game’s writers, which makes the multitude of conversation options and the level of respect for player choices all the more impressive.
New Vegas?is what happens when a game takes Bethesda’s masterfully designed, massive open-world and combines it with the high level of player agency and dialogue writing known from Obsidian’s classics, such as Wasteland or?Neverwinter Nights?2.?
Despite being released all the way back in 2010,?Fallout: New Vegas?is still considered to be the best entry in the?Fallout?franchise by many players, with subsequent titles like?Fallout 4?and?Fallout 76?failing to meet its standards, especially when it comes to dialogue writing and quest design. It holds up very well to this day (especially with the right mods), and it is the perfect title for players who want to experience the genius of Obsidian’s game writing but aren’t really fans of isometric views and tactical combat.
Writing and dialogue choices are perhaps the only areas in which?The Witcher 2: Assassin’s Of Kings?outdoes its critically acclaimed sequel. The 2011 title really put CD Projekt Red on the map as one of the most exciting game development studios and set the bar really high for Wild Hunt.?
The politically charged story and expansive dialogue trees are some of the best in the industry. The best example of this is the fact that the conversation choices made by players in the first two hours of gameplay have the potential to send Geralt on radically different paths, effectively packing two alternate plotlines in a single game.
Unless they?are a part of the cult-like community that developed around the?Gothic?series and is still going strong to this day, many RPG fans remain oblivious of the sheer impact that the Piranha Bytes titles have had on the western RPG scene in the early 2000s.
RELATED: Best RPGs To Play Where Your Class Actually Matters
With surprisingly advanced open-world systems for games that released in 2000 and 2002 respectively (players can observe the wildlife food chain in action and NPCs have their very own schedules),?Gothic I?and?II?implement very interesting conversation mechanics, particularly in the early stages of the games. The things the player character says to NPCs can open up new opportunities, help them get a job and establish a reputation in the cities, and even cause some characters to hold a grudge against them for the remainder of the game!
Many role-playing enthusiasts may have a different opinion on that, but playing the?Baldur’s Gate?titles is as close as one can get to a true tabletop RPG experience on a PC.
The ambitious title remains faithful to?its?Dungeons & Dragons?roots while managing to deliver an entirely independent and original story set in the Forgotten Realms. Dice-roll mechanics and incredibly creative NPC encounters and conversations all play a part in establishing one of the most immersive and atmospheric PC titles ever.
Fans of the series often argue about which entry in?The Elder Scrolls?series is the best one to date. While a solid argument can be made for the supremacy of?Oblivion?and?Skyrim,?neither of the more recent titles in the saga comes close to the sheer scale and quality of the writing in?Morrowind.?The topic-based dialogue system is most reminiscent of link-hopping on Wikipedia articles, and it’s still arguably the best way to get familiar with a game’s lore.
Moreover, the?island?of Vvardenfell is still one of the most unique, awe-inspiring settings out of all of the Bethesda-created worlds. Players who began their adventure with?The Elder Scrolls?with?Skyrim?or?Oblivion?should do themselves a service and play?Morrowind.?It may be a little dated, but the sheer scale and possibilities presented by this game heavily outweigh its age-related problems.
NEXT: Games To Play If You Like The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
7 Best Modern Games Inspired By The SNES Era
About The Author
(51 Articles Published)
Maciej Grzymkowski is a writer based in Warsaw, Poland. Aside from being a list writer for Game Rant, he is an experienced copywriter at one of the leading digital marketing agencies in the UK. He’s got a soft spot in his heart for sprawling open-world RPGs and over-the-top, convoluted storylines in games, which doesn’t mean that he doesn’t appreciate a little indie charm every now and then.
More From Maciej Grzymkowski