8 Best Written Action-Adventure Games

The action-adventure genre originates from the late 70s and early 80s. However, games in those days were very different from the action adventure titles you see today. Of course, games are more technologically advanced these days. They also usually provide better main narratives.


RELATED: The Best Action-Adventure Games, Ranked

Of course, not every recent action-adventure game delivers exceptional storytelling. But there are more and more who focus on the main story. And the ones that do it well have great writers at the helm, because good writing is an integral part of a compelling story. This is certainly evident from the following titles.

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8 Batman: Arkham Asylum

batman and joker in arkham asylum

Arkham Asylum is the perfect Batman game in more ways than one, excelling in everything from combat to voice acting. The latter is due in part to a fantastic voice cast made up of people who lent their voices to the critically acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series.

However, the screenplay also deserves a lot of credit. Almost every character is extremely well written, being convincing and accurate adaptations of their comic book counterparts. The whole story is also interesting. In it, the main character is trapped in Arkham Asylum with many of his classic crooks who have taken over the city. It sounds simple, but the fairy tale has many twists and turns.

7 Tomb Raider

tomb raider lara and himself next to each other, looking into the distance.  Tomb Raider 2013.

Lara Croft has gone through many changes over the years, most notably in the 2013 reboot, simply titled Tomb Raider. The creators of this game took a likable but slightly generic action heroine and grounded her. So instead of being an insufferable adventurer, they show her emotions like fear, sadness, and doubt.

As a result, the moments when he resists great threats or survives dangerous situations mean much more. This change is possible because of the main narrative, which sees a naive adventurer trapped on a dangerous island. Before he can escape his dangerous predicament, he must learn to survive.

6 Yakuza 0

Yakuza 0 Screenshot of Kiryu and Niki drinking at Serena's place

It’s a testament to the writing of the Yakuza series that they can consistently deliver serious and engaging stories while generally being wildly over the top games. Yakuza 0 definitely follows that trend. One minute you could be training dominoes and the next you could be witnessing a scene where someone is debating killing his best friend to save him future pain.

RELATED: The Best Yakuza Games, Ranked

The premise of the story is pretty simple. Several different groups want to get their hands on a very important vacant lot. This leads to a lot of death and betrayal, not to mention some truly surprising twists. Some excellent writing means the narrative remains captivating throughout.

5 Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Uncharted 4 Screenshot of Nate, Elena and Sully.

The Uncharted games don’t have the most unique plots. After all, most of it revolves around the hero Nathan Drake, who is in search of fashionable ancient treasures. The fourth game does have the added wrinkle of a main character coming out of retirement, but it’s still not the most original narrative.

However, the writers still deserve a lot of credit for the dialogue, especially in the fourth game. The characters aren’t over-the-top action heroes spewing cliche ‘inspirational’ quotes every few seconds. Everyone talks and interacts with each other like real people. This makes the main characters Nate, Sully and Elena one of the best trios in gaming.

4 God of war

kratos places his hand on Faye's yellow handprint

The early God Of War games were more focused on providing high-octane hack-and-slash combat than good writing. The 2018 game, however, changed things by providing a different kind of God Of War title. It still has Kratos on it, but is flanked by his son Atreus as they set out to scatter the ashes of the child’s mother on the highest peak of the Nine Realms.

The high quality of the game’s writing is evident throughout their journey, especially in the interactions between the two main characters. Although they are related, they are very different from each other. Nevertheless, the two organically form a closer bond during their adventure.

3 Marvel’s Spider-Man

A screenshot showing Spider-Man posing for a selfie in Marvel's Spider-Man

There have been plenty of decent Spider-Man games over the years. But most fans of online swingers think that the 2018 game is significantly better than most. Much credit must go to the writing. After all, it’s not the only Spider-Man game to have fun swing mechanics and enjoyable combat – although it may be better than most in those categories. Still, not many Spider-Man games before it had the level of dialogue and storytelling that this one boasts.

RELATED: The Best Marvel Superhero Games of the Last Decade (According to Metacritic)

You’ll laugh and cry at different moments while playing the game as Peter Parker takes on the various crooks causing trouble in New York City. And most of these villains have realistic and understandable motives.

2 The last of us

Joel and Ellie from The Last of Us are sitting on a horse

The story of The Last Of Us gained additional attention and respect after HBO’s adaptation. And this TV series received a lot of praise for its script. This is also an area where the original game shines.

The writer has written an emotional story about a smuggler who must lead a young girl through a territory full of monsters. He does so reluctantly at first, but along the way the two characters bond. The interaction between these two protagonists and the development of their relationship is where the writing shines the most.

1 Red Dead Redemption 2

With a serious expression on his face, Arthur looks away from Sister Calderon and tells her about his life at the train station,

Red Dead Redemption 2 lives up to its name by delivering a story of redemption for its protagonist, Arthur Morgan. He starts the game as a cold-blooded killer who is truly committed to his life as a thug and member of the Van Der Linde gang. Throughout the game, however, he goes through many things that change his opinion about his life.

He doesn’t just suddenly change his mind – he goes through a gradual transformation throughout the game. This was a great choice because it makes the redemption arc feel more organic and rewarding. The writers of RDR2 also deserve praise for the dialogue, which is enjoyable in both serious and silly scenes.

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