The release of God of War Ragnarök on November 9, 2022 marks the return of story-driven gaming to the landscape after a while. The title centers around the relationship between Kratos and Atreus and a lot of that is based on how they interact and communicate.
From adventure games like 2018’s God of War to indie titles like Night in the Woods, many other games have also flourished in which character dynamics and pristine dialogue elevate gameplay and lore. Redditors have provided some valid reasons why they think these games represent some of the best dialogue and interaction, providing more context to how the characters are feeling and what their interactions mean for their journey ahead.
Mass Effect (2007)
Redditor lorlorlor666 singles out Mass Effect Interactions because of the “bonds players can form with their teammates, how they can influence NPCs that bring huge changes to their lives.” The RPG title has a morality system where how players converse with NPCs affects the outcome of the game.
Mass Effect emphasizes the importance of decision-making by basing it on the bonds the playable character forms with people in space. The dialogue is bolstered by the performance, as the title is considered one of the best voice acting in RPG games to date.
Disco Elysee (2019)
Disco Elysium happens to be the highest rated games released in the last decade, with the game being all about dialogue. Redditor FaeDine believes that “the author of this game has taken the English language and made it his own.”
Disco Elysium is a murder mystery where players control a detective who must find the culprit – it has dozens of dialogue trees that determine the outcome of the investigation. Interactions with suspects all carry a distinct pattern that is possible due to the rich dialogue.
Soul Reaver (1999)
Soul Reaver follows vampire-turned-wraith Raziel, who has been betrayed by the vampire lord Kain and embarks on a journey of revenge. The game relies on its dialogue to humanize its protagonist, with Redditor 47Kittens claiming it “still stands as one of the best-written games in history.”
Soul Reaver was released at a time when video games didn’t place much emphasis on characterization, but the title has plenty of interactions between the main character and the vampiric supporting characters that are captivating enough to pull players right into the action.
Planescape: Torment (1999)
Planescape: Torment is an RPG where players must guide the protagonist through different realms as he seeks to regain his memories. Redditor Feisty-Interest-6163 claims that they “love that every answer one can give is marked as truth.”
The Redditor refers to the interactions between the main character and those they meet on their journey. NPCs offer largely ambiguous answers, but they all relate to the protagonist in different ways for players to interpret. It is a fascinating and challenging experience to play Planescape: Torment to the end.
Red Dead Redemption (2010)
Red Dead Redemption is a Western shooter with an emphasis on protagonist interactions. John Marston is considered the best character in Red Dead Redemption overall, with Redditor 408Lurker loving the game because he “has some of the [their] favorite dialogue of all time paired with an excellent performance by Rob Wiethoff.
Marston meets all kinds of people on the American frontier, during which he shares some wise quotes that show how far he’s grown while fending for himself. Red Dead Redemption also features interactions between Marston and his enemies, and these are notable for masterfully separating the heroism of the outlaw from the villainy of his opponents.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines (2004)
Redditor Needabiggercoaster writes that Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines “must have some, if not the best RPG character dialogue written around.” The game follows the main character as he navigates through Los Angeles after he recently became a vampire.
Interactions with other beings of her new race set the protagonist on the path to accepting who she is now. Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines also offers the option of problem-solving through non-violent and even manipulative methods, giving dialogue a multifaceted quality based on how players want to complete the game.
Redditor Memfy writes that Hades is “one of the few games where [they] was looking forward more to what the characters will say than the action gameplay. Hades follows the main character’s ascent to Mount Olympus, encountering many enemies and allies along the way.
The dungeon crawler has a diverse cast of characters, with many interesting players able to engage in side missions due to their charisma. Those who are meant to be fought provide a solid reason to despise them, which speaks to the Hades storyline, as enemy or friend bonds are created only through the dialog.
God of War (2018)
It’s hard to redeem supposedly despicable video game characters, with Kratos certainly being a detestable protagonist in the original series. Redditor sephone_north attributes the change to “games that focus on the story have better dialogue.”
2018’s God of War shifted the focus from hack-and-slash mechanics to the relationship between Kratos and his son, as the story is filled with interactions between them that soften their bond. God of War has been praised for focusing on character quality rather than action, which is entirely attributable to the quality dialogue in place.
Final Fantasy XII (2006)
Final Fantasy XII takes place in a world where empires wage an endless war, during which the small protagonists become essential to save their kingdom. Redditor ginja_ninja claims “Final Fantasy XII’s dialogue is amazing, like a classic play.”
The overall aesthetic of the game is quite striking, giving off a vibe of being set in the classic era, with character interactions worthy of this timeline. Moreover, the dynamic between the protagonists is the central aspect of the story, which is why the dialogue carries a certain warm feeling.
Night in the Woods (2017)
Night in the Woods tells the story of a young woman who returns to her hometown to find that she has changed dramatically. She gets sucked into an unlikely adventure and befriends people along the way, with the game highlighting these newfound friendships.
Redditor CaughttheDarkness loved the dialogue because it can go from “very funny to heartbreaking on a dime, sometimes multiple times in the same scene.” One aspect of Night in the Woods is the sanity subtext, as the protagonist works through her issues through her group of friends. It’s a touching game that approaches its subject matter with appropriate grace.