Story-driven games like Life Is Strange are the experiences many gamers (like us!) live for and crave. Sure, having control over story outcomes, multiple branching narratives, and action-oriented mechanics is nice, but a good story is paramount.
Some of the best games of all time contain impactful, immersive, and compelling stories with minimum gameplay.
What’s So Great About Life Is Strange?
A fine example of a story-driven game is Life Is Strange. People get engrossed in the tale of the lead protagonists and feel an emotional connection with their struggles.
Gamers are in such awe of the story that the illusion of gameplay in Life Is Strange completely overshadowed. The choice and consequences system is excellently incorporated into the gameplay, an excellent incentive for new playthroughs.
Characters are at the heart of everything, how our protagonist’s actions can alter an NPC’s life, worldview, and personality. The puzzles and simple tracking quests move things along and give players something to do.
Other Games Like Life Is Strange
Once players get a feel for the genre of story-driven titles, they get hooked instantly. It makes sense to want more games with a similar vibe and feel like Life Is Strange. Don’t worry; we’ve got 8 brilliant alternative options to check out to scratch the story-driven games itch.
Let’s not waste time and jump in right away.
8. Tomb Raider (2013)
We’re not shying away from the action with our opening pick of story-driven games like Life Is Strange. Tomb Raider (2013) is the reimagining and reboot of the iconic video game leading lady of gaming. Lara Croft is shown in a vulnerable and naive light, balanced by her stubbornly determined and resourceful nature.
The game follows the story from a young woman’s perspective who goes through adversity and hellish challenges on a dangerous island. Lara’s crewmates and friends become shipwrecked by a powerful storm, and while trying to get off the island, they discover other foreign hostiles.
Lara must strategically take out an entire private army after the island’s treasures. Her ability to adapt and mental fortitude are on full display as she becomes the survivalist known as Tomb Raider.
The number of coincidences of how she escapes danger borderlines absurdity, yet, the adrenaline rush is undeniable every time. Combining innovative and unique approaches to traversal on the island, Lara Croft becomes a certified badass and a fan favorite. The game has tons of side-quests to keep players busy, and it’s easy to get sidetracked because of them.
How Is Tomb Raider (2013) Similar To Games Like Life Is Strange?
If it wasn’t obvious, Tomb Raider (2013) features a version of Lara Croft that’s strong but rough around the edges. She’s not the confident lady who doesn’t get phased by anything; she has flaws, like a real person. The mentioned traits are also found in the leading lady of Life Is Strange, Maxine Caulfield.
While different in scope, the games offer an emotional journey of their lead characters. Both ladies go through traumatic and life-changing events, and make sacrifices along the way. If you enjoy dark, gritty stories in your games, give Tomb Raider (2013) a try, it’s a fantastic alternative to games like Life Is Strange.
7. Mortal Kombat 9
Keeping things going with the reboot trend, we have another game with a rich story and a big legacy. Mortal Kombat 9 kicked off the new generation of the fighting game series, which reset the timeline. Providing a clean slate for new players who had not experienced the lore dating back to the original tournament.
Mortal Kombat 9 had unparalleled levels of graphics that still hold up, and the cinematography is visually stunning. The voice-acting and musical score is brilliant, and the story is fantastic. In a last-ditch effort to undo the mistakes that led to Armageddon, Raiden casts a spell to send a message to his past self. The vague message’s interpretation becomes a point of contention, creating consequences and surprising conflicts for Raiden and the earth heroes.
The story mode of Mortal Kombat 9 plays out in chapters. Most heroic characters get their time in the spotlight, and a few anti-heroes (*Cough* Scorpion and Subzero) steal the show. Some characters have surprising developments that lay the foundation for future stories. Mortal Kombat 9 builds up the anticipation of the showdown, and it fires on all cylinders during the finale.
The classic stages and story beats in the environments are a homage to the classic era of Mortal Kombat. The attack animations are not for the faint of heart, especially the fatalities, so play at your peril.
How Is Mortal Kombat 9 Similar To Games Like Life Is Strange?
Okay, so we can feel the eyebrows raising at our Mortal Kombat 9 suggestion but hear us out. The game is, first and foremost, story-focused more than any other fighting game out there. The cinematic feel has high stakes, and emotional damage to characters resembling Life Is Strange’s themes.
For a direct comparison, Life Is Strange, and Mortal Kombat 9 have episodic storytelling methods. Each chapter provides new insight into previous events and a new perspective from other characters’ points of view. Both games involve the use of time travel to undo mistakes of the past, and things go from bad to worse. From these commonalities, it’s quite clear why we think Mortal Kombat 9 is similar to games like Life Is Strange.
6. The Shadow Of Colossus (Remake)
We know what you’re thinking, but trust us, we’ll explain why we picked The Shadow Of Colossus (Remake). The thing with story-driven games is that they lose their appeal over time. But then, you have a timeless classic that remains within people’s memories, beloved by all, like The Shadow Of Colossus.
The PS2-era classic game got a fresh coat of pain, and Sony’s Bluepoint Games, delivered big time. The Shadow Of Colossus (Remake) is the same gameplay-wise, but the breathtaking desolate environment and the terrifying Colossi steal the show. Players traverse the world on horseback and foot, armed with a sword and bow to slay giants.
The protagonist’s quest is in the name of love, and that’s enough to get us to root for the guy. The story is a tragedy in the making and ominously alluded to with each Colosus’s death. The language barrier is no issue; it adds to the emotional impact and will have you bawling your eyes out. The environment colors aren’t vibrant and lively, which aptly represents the depressing feeling of the game’s theme and story setting.
Each Colossi is more dangerous than the last, and everyone has its domain where it’s around. Players must use the sword to reflect light into the distance to locate the next Colossi to slay. Wherever the reflected rays of light converge is the next Colossi’s position. Every Colossi has its weak spots that players must reach and attack. Staying mindful of the stamina meter is critical, or risk falling off because the climb back up is always a terrifying prospect.
How Is The Shadow Of Colossus (Remake) Similar To Games Like Life Is Strange?
The scope and grandeur of the fantasy epic Shadow Of Colossus (Remake) are quite broad. Life Is Strange is nowhere near as huge, so why did we pick Shadow Of Colossus (Remake)? It’s simple; both games are excellent stories. The narratives of both titles are so compelling, and they also share thematic elements like love, tragedy, and sacrifice.
The gameplay differences are obvious, but that’s not the focus when we choose The Shadow Of Colossus. The two games share emotional moments and portray the pain of losing loved ones. Despite the odds, the protagonists will (literally) go to the ends of the earth to reverse the damage to their loved ones. With such common ground, it’s clear that The Shadow Of Colossus (Remake) is similar to games like Life Is Strange.
5. Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut
From tragic-themed story beats, we shift gears and dip our toes into dark comedy with Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut. The comically hilarious world of Deadly Premonition is full of life and a dark undertone.
The mystery surrounding the murder of a woman is what brings our protagonist Francis York Morgan, an FBI Agent, to Greenvale. The murder pattern matches with a series of previous ones that Morgan was investigating, which is why he volunteers.
The town of Greenvale has gorgeous greenery and (mostly) friendly NPCs, and there are many locations to explore. The gameplay is divided into different sections, investigating during the day, exploring in the evening, and shooting zombies at night.
The puzzles and character dialogues give more insight into the quirky nature of Greenvale. Players must think logically about proceeding when their health and energy are low. The controls are janky, but that’s not an issue since the game isn’t too difficult. The story is the game’s biggest strength, as a raincoat-laden killer is on the loose, committing murders. Players must find out the killer’s identity while also uncovering Morgan’s mysterious past.
How Is Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut Similar To Games Like Life Is Strange?
Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut and Life Is Strange deal with supernatural elements. The players have various options for interacting with the environment, and there are puzzles to solve. The character dialogue in both games offers insight into how NPCs perceive the main character.
Both games have a mystery element, and suspense builds up masterfully, leading to a climactic final part. Plot twists and excellent writing are traits shared by both titles. The leads have likable personalities that set them apart from everyone else. It’s obvious that Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut is similar to games like Life Is Strange.
4. A Plague Tale: Innocence
A Plague Tale: Innocence is an emotional story-driven stealth game that lets players experience the bond of love between siblings. For context, the plot’s setting is from the French Inquisition era, where prejudice, bias, and superstition are rampant. The lead characters are a young adolescent girl and her little brother, who must flee the inquisition to survive.
The main gameplay of A Plague Tale: Innocence is about using distractions from objects in the environment and stealth. The goal is to divert the attention of the Inquisition soldiers long enough to move past them and keep moving. The cannibalistic rats have swarmed the lands; players can use them to kill enemies indirectly.
Managing the rat swarm using torches and diverting them to the soldiers is extremely fun and requires careful planning. The sibling lead characters must rely on each other to solve puzzles to unlock the way forward. The bonding between them is sweet and wholesome, which contrasts nicely with the sadness around them. Amicia, the elder sister, has a sling that she creatively uses to create openings, and sometimes stun or even kill guards.
The story sees Amicia and her brother Hugo undergo harrowing situations where their bonds become tested. Hugo questions if his existence is the source of all the misery and pain. Amicia comforts her little brother in cutscenes and reassuring dialogue, which is sure to tug at the heartstrings. The payoff comes in the latter half of the game, and things are handled brilliantly.
How Is A Plague Tale Innocence Similar To Games Like Life Is Strange?
A Plague Tale: Innocence and Life Is Strange have strong female leads that go out of their way to protect their loved ones. Both games’ emotional core is strong and is the main appeal. If you like one, you’ll like the other as well.
A Plague Tale: Innocence has a great plot twist that embraces its supernatural roots alluded to in the game but doesn’t make things easy. A similar dilemma is in In Life Is Strange, where, despite the powers to rewind time, our protagonist learns that some fates are unavoidable. The state of powerlessness, despite awesome abilities, creates such riveting stories. Hence, we declare that A Plague Tale Innocence is similar to Life Is Strange.
3. Batman: Arkham Asylum
When it comes to games dripping with atmosphere, and a story that easily surpasses expectations, none can surpass Batman: Arkham Asylum. With the late Kevin Conroy voicing the iconic character, it’s no wonder that Batman: Arkham Asylum received numerous accolades. The narrative still holds up and is a masterclass in storytelling techniques that Hollywood can learn from.
The players step into the role of Batman, and the gameplay feels genuine, where players see from his perspective. Whether it’s perching on a gargoyle, silently crossing through the vents, or using the gadgets to set up takedowns, everything’s authentic. The combat is perfect; Batman handles enemies with free-flow combat in a definitive showcase of his fighting prowess.
The enemy rants about how their employers (Batman’s rogue’s gallery) don’t appreciate them are a delight to hear. The entire asylum is designed with a sinister ambience and an unsettling feeling surrounding everything. The villains also get their moment to shine, with Joker, voiced by Mark Hamill, as the show-stealer.
As for the story, Batman brings Joker back to Arkham Asylum, which is a ruse and a trap for Batman. He sets the inmates free, including the other Batman foes that wreak havoc throughout Arkham. Batman slowly works to apprehend each of the escapees before turning his attention to Joker. There are jumpscare moments that give Arkham Asylum a horror vibe. The Killer Croc section is nerve-wracking, and the Scarecrow sections are downright scary, catching players by surprise.
How Is Batman: Arkham Asylum Similar To Games Like Life Is Strange?
Life Is Strange is way removed from anything Batman: Arkham Asylum. Yet, if you look close enough, you’ll notice quite a few similarities. For one thing, both games have top-notch plots that get players hooked from start to finish. The musical score is highly immersive that helps players feel like they’re not playing a game but watching a great movie.
Another thing that makes Batman: Arkham Asylum similar to games like Life Is Strange is the protagonists’ personalities. Max Caulfield is a strong, genuinely relatable character who doesn’t flinch in the face of adversity, a trait that Batman shares. No matter how dire things get, Batman always says it’s never too late, and there’s always a way.
2. The Wolf Among Us
The thrilling noir-styled mystery game The Wolf Among Us is perfect for players wanting a similar experience to Life Is Strange. Players take on the role of the Big Bad Wolf from the classic fable stories, but the setting is dark and twisted.
The game’s story starts with a dramatic showdown between fierce rivals, the Big Bad Wolf and the Woodcutter. The QTE are going to test players’ reflexes and screen perception. Fights have several interactive and creative attack opportunities, but the timing window is extremely short. The voice of Big B is outstanding, having a deep masculine tone with the right balance of intimidation and calmness.
Several conversation prompts help shape his personality and others’ perception of him. As the sheriff of Fabletown, he must keep order and ensure all Fables maintain a human appearance. The story centers around a murder of a Fable town resident, and Bigby must get to the bottom of the mystery.
The story takes Bigby across various visually distinct locations, mostly rundown, to emphasize the sad state of affairs. He meets with quirky characters from the Fables lore, who are all suspects for him to investigate. Each episode has a new twist that leaves players furious or stunned by their choices.
How Is The Wolf Among Us Similar To Games Like Life Is Strange?
Right off the top, the major common point between The Wolf Among Us and Life Is Strange is both games’ cinematic feel. Both games feel like tv-shows or movies, and with their episodic nature, where previous choices are recapped and impact future developments.
Another way that both games are similar in that they have supernatural elements. Chloe has the power to rewind time and see ahead into the future. Bigby is a hardened man who is also a werewolf. When things get rough, he (literally) can take it, then unleash the feral side, which is brutal and violent. There are enough shared elements that The Wolf Among Us is similar to games like Life Is Strange.
1. Darksiders: Warmastered Edition
Here we go! The final entry on our list of story-driven games like Life Is Strange. The honor goes to Darksiders: Warmastered Edition. We realize our personal bias is on full display, as we will talk about this beloved franchise till we die.
The story of Darksiders: Warmastered Edition chronicles the first horseman of the apocalypse who gets sucked into a conspiracy. War gets blamed for prematurely causing the apocalypse, and humanity dying out as a process that sees him get punished. Given a chance to make his case, War pleads innocence, then gets sent on a mission of vengeance against the culprits.
Along the way, War comes across various demons with agendas of their own, and they tempt War into aiding them. War, having little choice, agrees, and slowly he builds up his power. The gameplay is extremely satisfying, especially with combo attacks between War’s primary weapon, The Chaoseater and multiple side weapons. The traversal is also handled very well, where gliding, climbing, chain-swinging, swimming, and horseback riding are all fun.
Darksiders: Warmastered Edition is the best way to experience the first game in the franchise. The story is a dark fantasy with biblical themes and portrays the horsemen of the apocalypse in a heroic light. The graphics in the Warmastered Edition are gorgeous and crisp, and the fluidity of combat and movement feel amazing. There are many secrets to discover, and with each new secondary weapon, players can unlock hidden treasures by backtracking.
How Is Darksiders: Warmastered Edition Similar To Games Like Life Is Strange?
Darksiders: Warmastered Edition and Life Is Strange are opposites in terms of gameplay and story beats. Having said that, there is common ground between the two titles. One common thing in both games is the build-up of suspense and conspiracy. The use of time travel is present in both games, although in Darksiders Warmastered Edition, it isn’t as much.
Another shared trait between the games is that the characters both protagonists meet aren’t cookie-cutter. Each side character in Life Is Strange has a personality and feels real, especially Chloe Price who is the main love interest of Max Caulfield. Similarly, in Darksiders: Warmastered Edition, War encounters the scheming and omniscient Samael, the silver-tongued demon merchant Vulgrim, and our favorite Ulthane. Each is unique and provides a different dynamic for War when he speaks to them.
The narrative in Darksiders: Warmastered Edition is full of twists and turns that don’t take the obvious route. The ending is (in our opinion) the greatest cliffhanger of all time in gaming. Gives goosebumps every time we see it. Life Is Strange has a similar final arc, which makes us torn between the final decision. With so many shared traits, it’s clear to us that Darksiders: Warmastered Edition is similar to games like Life Is Strange.
Whoa~ That took a while. But we’ve made it to the end of our list of story-driven games similar to Life Is Strange. If you enjoyed or disagreed with our choices (too bad!) Share your opinions below.
In the meantime, we have another similar list of games for you to check out The 12 Best Open-World Survival Games Like ARK: Survival Evolved.