The Xbox Game Pass service is a great choice if you are looking into trying the maximum number of games without spending a fortune. From sports games to multiplayer games, passing through co-op and shooters, there is a dedicated place for every taste. Specifically for the story-driven single-player games fans, there is an interesting and worth trying repertoire of entries. In this article, I will break down a selection of 5 of the best story and single-player games the Xbox Game Pass has to offer.
1. A Plague Tale: Innocence
The first entry on this list is an action-adventure stealth survival game, with a horror touch in it.
Developed by Asobo Studio and published by Focus Home Interactive, the game was released in May 2019.
The story takes place in the late 1300s, where Amicia de Rune, a young noble girl lives with her family in Aquitaine, France. While being hunted by Inquisition soldiers and swarms of plague-infested rats, Amicia and her little brother Hugo have to dive into a disturbing journey through the darkest hours of history.
The game mostly consists of completing survival puzzles, in order to unlock new areas and direct the hordes of rats towards enemies. This last objective is vital because enemies will instantly kill Amicia if they catch her, so it is very important that the players smartly utilize the world elements to their advantage, to safely traverse the world. Also, Hugo is a great tool that the players can use to their advantage. Amicia’s brother can be directed towards diverse tasks whenever Amicia is busy. The downside to this is that if left alone for too long, Hugo will start to panic, possibly attracting unwanted attention.
As for awards and accolades, A Plague Tale: Innocence has won the Outstanding Story-Rich Game category at the 2019 Steam Awards, and the Original Adventure award at the NAVGTR Awards.
2. The Outer Worlds
RPG fans, this one is for you.
The Outer Worlds is an action RPG developed by Obsidian Entertainment.
Released in October 2019, the game is set on the Halcyon colony, where the main character gets lost in transit while on a colonist ship bound for the furthest edge of the galaxy. You awake years later to find yourself in the middle of a conspiracy that is threatening to destroy the entire colony.
Featuring a first-person perspective, the player can encounter NPCs with their own stories and objectives, while at the same time aiding the player on his journey. These companions can also fight alongside the player and develop their skills and special attacks. As for available weapons, you can choose from a plethora of melee and firearms, using light, heavy, or energy ammo. With a typical skill leveling system, the game gives experience points to the player, which can be used to level up and unlock new skills.
One curious aspect of The Outer Worlds is that you can also level up your social skills, which allow the player to choose between persuasion, lying, and intimidation in order to escape possible combat situations.
Winner of the Best Original Game category at the 2019 Game Critics Awards, The Outer Worlds is favorably acclaimed by critics, who praise the game for its incredibly written story.
3. Alien: Isolation
Alien: Isolation can be the definition of the expression “old but gold”. The 2014 survival horror developed by Creative Assembly and published by Sega is a story-driven classic that every horror fan should play at least once.
Fifteen years after the events of the original Alien movie, Amanda, Ellen Ripley’s daughter, embarks on a mission to unravel the truth behind her mother’s disappearance. This mission turns out to be a fight for survival, as the underpowered and underprepared Amanda tries desperately to complete her mission, and most importantly, stay alive.
Alien: Isolation emphasizes the stealth and survival features, by providing limited ammunition to the scarce weapons found inside the space station. As Amanda is being hunted by the Alien and other antagonists, the player must rely on tools like a flashlight and a motion tracker to detect the Alien’s movements. The use of these items, however, can attract the Alien to the player’s location, so it’s up to you to wisely utilize the tools you are given to your advantage.
Also, the player is able to craft certain items that aid Amanda’s journey through the space station, like noisemakers that attract enemies to a particular location or Molotov cocktails that scare off the Alien.
PC Gamer’s Game of the Year 2014, Alien: Isolation received much praise for its tense and frightening gameplay.
4. NieR: Automata
The game is set during a war between androids and alien machines, following a combat android and her companion as they fight as the last remnants of human civilization. However, the androids begin to question their motives and circumstances, while at the same time being thrown into difficult moral dilemmas.
As the game progresses, the story requires multiple playthroughs, with each one of them unlocking additional story elements, giving the player a sense of a truly dynamic narrative.
NieR: Automata’s gameplay features RPG elements like character customization and diverse upgrades to the character’s stats, as well as hack and slash based combat, with the possibility to chain light and heavy attacks together, to deal powerful combos. The player is only allowed to bring two melee weapons to combat, with a list of short swords, long swords, bracers, and spears to pick and choose from, each with their individual styles and stories. One is also assisted by a Pod, a flying robot that is able to launch ranged attacks, varying from simple gunfire to more heavy-hitting blows.
With sales exceeding 5 million units worldwide in December 2020, NieR: Automata was positively received for its enthusiastic narrative and beautiful gameplay.
5. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
The story of the game is based on Norse and Celtic mythology, with the main character being a warrior, a member of the Picts, a group that lived in what is now northern Scotland during the Early Middle Ages. Hellblade follows Senua, the Pict warrior, on a journey to save the soul of Dillion, her lover, from the Norse underworld of Helheim, ruled by the goddess Hela. Senua suffers from severe psychotic mental illness, making her hear voices and hallucinate moments from her past, which she believes to be a curse.
The gameplay is based on exploration, combat, and puzzle-solving. With a dodge, parry, and guard system, Senua is able to chain these defensive moves with mighty sword attacks to strike her enemies down. Also, Senua can build up her Focus, by blocking and striking enemies, enabling her to temporarily slow down time when a certain amount of Focus is reached. As for exploration, there are multiple Lorestones that can be collected to learn more about the legends of the Northmen, the Viking group responsible for the murder of Dillion.
One interesting aspect of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is that it only holds one save file at a time. This means that if Senua is killed enough times, her quest will end and all of the player’s progress will be lost.
The choice to depict psychosis was applauded by the critics and general public alike, as well as the approach to Norse and Celtic mythology. With the game receiving an 88 score on Metacritic, the main appraisal points were the dark, tense, and compelling story, alongside the satisfying gameplay.
With new games entering the Xbox Game Pass every month, and some exciting, this is a great time to check on these story games that you have probably heard of but never felt interested enough to try.
Do you like story-driven games? Would you change any of the games selected on this list of the best story games on Xbox Game Pass? Let me know in the comments down below!