If you’re a fan of playing games where your decision matter and can change the course or even the ending of the entire game, we’ve got something special for you today.
Since the release of Until Dawn, one of the most iconic decision-based games ever made, there have been numerous attempts to replicate this format, and few of them were very successful.
So, in the spirit of games allowing bad decisions, here’s the list of the top ten decision-based games you can play in 2023.
10. NieR: Automata
Entire essays have been written about NieR: Automata’s endings. The fact that a lot of the endings can’t even be done without serious thought and multiple playthroughs, for example.
The game itself is difficult but extremely entertaining. It’s good enough you won’t even notice the dozens of times you played to the end or died in a specific way or place.
Our recommendation is to beat the game, then beat it again, then beat it a third time, and maybe at that point, you’ll get a feel for just how far you can go and still have over twenty endings remaining. It’s deep, it’s dark, and your decisions have real consequences.
The only downside is that your decisions come at specific key points and aren’t an ongoing thing you really have to think about.
The Walking Dead has a slightly depressing undercurrent that is shared between the TV shows and the games based on its license. The one we’re discussing here is Telltale’s take on the universe.
The game is broken into chapters, and each chapter changes in at least one major way based on the choices you make.
This culminates in a finale where you can make multiple important decisions that change the ending significantly.
It’s a shame that the episodes ended when they did, but there’s hope the story of Clementine can continue with another series in the future.
There are basically no important decisions to make in a normal Star Wars title. Your character has a story, you play that story, and the game ends.
Knights of the Old Republic broke that mold when it was first released and continues to do so in its multiple re-releases on phones and consoles.
In the game, you not only have multiple characters you can have on your team, but how those characters interact with you changes greatly based on whether you go dark, light, or neutral.
Your alignment also changes the powers you have access to, available solutions to puzzles, and the final ending.
That said, the journey changes a lot more than the destination. There’s hope the upcoming remake of the game will take it further, if it ever leaves production hell.
Creative new fantasy worlds are very rare in modern adventure titles. Modern gaming companies exploit existing intellectual property and remake old classics but very rarely step off into something new.
The Wolf Among Us is, thankfully, an exception. Like other Telltale titles, the game is broken into episodes that have a major decision along the way that changes how the episode plays out.
That said, like other games at this point in the list, the ending is mostly unchanged by your choices along the way.
Still, the game is creative, the main character is interesting, and it’s one heck of a journey.
There are a few games in the Life Is Strange series, but True Colors feels like one where your decisions have more of an impact.
Unlike Life Is Strange, there are some serious differences in the ending. How you approach the other characters and connect with them can greatly change how they feel about you and the direction you go when everything is over.
It’ll take persistence, a lot of emotional IQ, or a really good guide, but none of the endings truly feel out of your control. You are where you are because of the character you played, and that’s a good thing.
The Dark Pictures games are very hit or miss. That said, Man of Medan is one of the best for your decisions having long-term consequences.
Those consequences are often the death of one or more characters, but most can be avoided if you put thought into the decisions you make.
This leads to a game where your decisions along the way change how the game starts, continues, and particularly how it ends.
It’s not the most fun Dark Pictures title, but your choices have a major impact even from the start.
It’s at least worth playing a second time if you want the best ending with everyone left alive.
There are a lot of games set in the near future, but few truly attempt to answer the core question found in sci-fi.
When humanity goes further in technology and progress, will it eventually create life? When it does, will it respect that life or extinguish it?
Every decision you make will be charted on a map that you can reference later when you inevitably end up at an ending that doesn’t quite satisfy.
Detroit: Become Human has a lot to find along the way and a lot to find in the finale.
The only game on the list with more endings is Nier: Automata, which says a lot about how many times you can play the game and find yourself somewhere new.
Life Is Strange 2 is what you’d expect if you’ve played the original Life Is Strange or True Colors. Lots of human interaction, loads of small decisions that build together toward multiple potential endings, and multiple interesting characters you can interact with along the way.
What puts it higher on the list is how good the narrative is, not necessarily the sheer quantity of end points.
If you enjoyed any other Life Is Strange game, this is more of the same. You won’t be disappointed.
While the last Dark Pictures game had the most early choices to make, House of Ashes has the biggest variety of ways you can die or greatly change the end sequence.
It also is one of the more entertaining stories, which helps a lot. As with all these decision-based games, you can’t really talk about it too much without spoiling the game.
If you reconcile the characters, love bright lights, and you’re good with cutscene events, you’ll do well.
1. Until Dawn
The Dark Pictures games would not exist without Until Dawn. It was the team’s first effort, and many would argue their best effort.
The characters are interesting, there are plenty of ways to die, and you have to put a lot of thought into each decision you make. You probably won’t save everyone the first time, but you’ll definitely want to try until you do.
Well, maybe not Emily. A lot of people go out of their way to kill her, at least their first time through.
If you’re a fan of decision-based games and you haven’t played this one yet, you’re missing out big time!
- YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Top 10 Weirdest Games
There you have it, my selections for the top ten decision-based games you can play in 2023.
Is there a better decision-based game I missed? Which game are you going to try?
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
We love hearing from you!
- READ ALSO: Top 10 Most Unique Games