It’s great going into the game and not figuring out the storyline right away. I particularly enjoy a great twist that throws a wrench into the narrative journey or makes me question my choices and motivations leading up to this twist. There have been a number of great video game twists and turns over the years and we decided to take a look at some of our favorites down below.
These are simply ten twists that we enjoyed but there are definitely other great video game twists we could have chosen. Let us know what your favorite video game twist is by leaving us a comment down below.
NOTE: Spoilers are included in the list below.
#10 Braid – You’re The Villain
There always a few great indie titles that release each year which becomes a must-play video game. Braid was one of those iconic indie gems that launched back in 2008 where players take on the role of a man named Tim who is in search of a princess. This is a platformer title with a puzzle element to it, but overall, the game is simple to pick up and enjoy right away.
This journey seems like your standard story where our hero is attempting to rescue the princess all while players attempt to solve the puzzles with the help of their time manipulation powers. This game is played in reverse as you slowly reach the end, you find out why the princess ran away, to begin with.
The biggest shock was unveiled as we were not playing as the hero we initially thought, but instead as the villain. We were never attempting to rescue the princess but instead, we were attempting to kidnap her, twisting the narrative journey.
#9 Final Fantasy VII – Aerith’s Death
In Final Fantasy VII players embark on a grand narrative journey as they attempt to save the planet from a megacorporation draining Lifestream, an energy that gives life to everything on the planet.
Throughout the journey, players are met with a cast of characters to root and despise. However, Aerith’s death was an instant gut punch for most leaving an impactful moment. We won’t go into the full story detail of the game, but during the narrative, players meet Aerith who is a young flower seller that eventually helps the fight against the megacorporation Avalanche.
This was a character that seemed rather safe and when she parted ways from the group, it became a relief for Cloud to find her safe and sound. However, that quickly changed when Sephiroth stabbed her from behind. We certainly didn’t see this coming and we’re sure this remake will prove the same for the next generation of gamers who try Final Fantasy VII for the first time.
#8 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – Malak
Star Wars video games always pin players against the Sith so when Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic starred a protagonist with a case of amnesia, we didn’t question his past motives. Instead, this RPG journey had players going to great lengths in an attempt to stop the evil Darth Malak. Throughout the journey, players learn that Malak had a master that was incredibly cruel and hunted down the Jedi with ease.
We’re sure you’ve already heard about this twist, but as we finally got to the end of this game it was unveiled that you’re Darth Revan. One of the biggest villains from the Star War universe making you question everything that happened up until that point.
#7 Heavy Rain – Origami Killer
Quantic Dream specializes in video games that focus more on the narrative journey than other gameplay mechanics. Most often the video games are more like walking simulators that are littered with QTEs. One of the biggest video games to release under the development studio is a game called Heavy Rain.
The game follows a mystery surrounding a serial killer known as the Origami Killer. This killer targets young children where they all end up dying by drowning of rainwater. Throughout this story, you’ll be presented with a cast of characters all in search to find out just who the killer is and each seem to have their own backstory that relates to the case.
When Ethan Mars finds his son kidnapped the hunt begins. You’ll take the role of several characters all of which are looking to save Ethan’s child before its too late though as we dive deeper into the journey, we start to question if Ethan is the killer himself. Honestly, anyone could have been the killer, but as you slowly unravel more clues, we learn that the killer is actually a private investigator named Scott Shelby who is aiding in the case while secretly disposing of any leftover evidence.
We also learned that Scott had attacked and killed young children because of a traumatic event from his own childhood. Living in an abusive home, Scott was unable to save his older brother who became trapped in a slowly rising pool of rainwater. Despite his pleas for his father, Scott could do nothing but watch his brother and closes friend drown in front of his eyes.
#6 Life is Strange – Ending
Life is Strange was not Dontnod Entertainment’s first video game title but instead, their second IP released with publishers Square Enix lending a hand. What may have been a sleeper hit at first became a must-play for gamers as this episodic title came with a narrative story that will easily keep you playing from start to finish.
Overall, Life is Strange follows a young woman named Max Caulfield who finds herself returning to her hometown of Arcadia Bay. Years have passed since she left with her parents leaving her best friend behind, Chloe Price in shambles. Now attending a prestigious school for a photography class, Max stumbles upon her old friend once again, but this wouldn’t be her only discovery.
Max contains a unique supernatural power when she discovers that time can be manipulated by her own will. Throughout the game, Max can rewind time in short bursts and it’s with this ability that she along with her former best friend teams up in hopes to uncover dark mysteries that’s been kept secret in Arcadia Bay.
Throughout the episodic narrative Max and Chloe become thick as thieves so just when you think this story has resolved all of the problems and issues that came up, we learned that the time manipulating powers created another unique issue. Early within the game Max saved Chloe from certain death through the use of her power and at the end of the game players are left with a serious heart-wrenching choice. Max could either let everyone from Arcadia Bay die while saving her best friend once again or sacrifice Chloe to save lives of the innocent. Ultimately the choice is yours to make but we definitely did not see this coming.
#5 Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare – Nuclear Blast
The Call of Duty franchise is no stranger to over-the-top action sequences and moments. Players take on the role of a soldier who can not only complete objectives through a series of firefights but oftentimes leaves without a scratch. So when playing Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, there came a section of the game where we are racing through a war-torn city fighting off the enemy.
This battle in itself was chaotic and full of nonstop action so once we boarded the getaway helicopter, it seemed like there was nothing more to do but wait until the next mission loaded. That was until we heard confirmation of a nuclear bomb being dropped.
Not only does this bring the helicopter crashing down but left players roaming the area for a brief minute until our leading protagonist finally dies. This twist left us sitting on the edge of our seats during the rest of the game as developers showed that it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been portraying a character in a game, their death is very much in the realm of possibilities at any time.
#4 BioShock – Would You Kindly
You’ve likely already played out BioShock as it became a massive hit when it first released last generation consoles. We could dive into a deep article spanning the narrative, but to save you some time, we’ll just give you a quick recap leading up to the biggest twist of the game.
In BioShock, players take the role of a man named Jack who finds himself in an underwater city undergoing a civil war. To help progress you through danger, players follow the orders of a person named Atlas over a radio. Throughout the game, you’ll build trust with Atlas as he asks you to complete different objectives.
However, the real twist is unveiled that you’ve been brainwashed all this time and undergoing all the biddings made by Atlas. Using a phrase “Would you kindly”, Atlas had players doing everything he desired, leaving you to realize that all of your choices and free will was essentially not your own doing after all.
#3 Red Dead Redemption Ending
In Red Dead Redemption the game narrative focused on a former outlaw by the name of John Marston. Early on in the game, we find our hero is tied up with the government who had kidnapped his family forcing John to find and hunt down his former gang. After leaving his life of crime behind to settle down and become a law-abiding citizen, John must dust off his old six-shooter and begin another adventure that will lead him to interesting characters across a wide open land.
Development studio Rockstar Games had really delivered a fantastic video game that was not only a delight to play but contained a gripping storyline that had us hooked all the way through. The journey by no means was a walk in the park for John Marston so when he finally got to the point where his gang was taken out and his family freed, we thought the conclusion would see John living out his days as he attempts to deal with the horrors of his past.
That was until the government came knocking on his door looking for the final past member, John himself. This was all a sham and while John managed to get his wife and son away it came at the cost of his life. This proved that not all stories have a happy ending.
#2 Silent Hill 2 – Mary
Silent Hill is an iconic survival horror franchise with the earlier titles being very much beloved with a massive following of fans. Arguably, the biggest title within the series is Silent Hill 2 where players take on the role of James Sunderland. In the narrative, James receives a letter from his deceased wife, Mary, asking James to meet her at Silent Hill, a previous vacation destination of theirs.
It’s within Silent Hill that James is taking through a hellish world full of monsters and oddity characters, though despite the hardships our protagonist must overcome, James presses on to find Mary. This journey is full of twists and turns as the story slowly unveils what happened to Mary.
As it turns out, James had actually killed Mary when he was done dealing with a sick wife. His guilt is what led him into Silent Hill where the monsters were manifested as a means to punish James. However, the game also features a number of different endings which are either good or bad which will give the game a bit of replay value while potentially offering more twists for players to cope with.
#1 The Last of Us – Ellie Sacrifice
Naughty Dog sure knows how to make a compelling video game and on the PlayStation 3, they delivered a fantastic hit. In fact, this game was such a big hit that the developers released a remaster on the PlayStation 4, making it a game worth purchasing for either console. Again, much like most of these games on the list, we could get into a massive breakdown of the game narrative, but we’ll save you a bit of reading.
Within The Last of Us, players take on the role of a man named Joel. Early into the game, we find Joel, his brother along with his daughter trying to escape the city when a pandemic begins to turn civilians into a zombie-like creature. Things don’t turn out well for Joel when his daughter ends up biting the dust resulting in the game doing a time jump.
Joel is now a bitter old man who takes risks in order to make it by in the world but he soon finds himself having to take on a job of transporting a young girl by the name of Ellie all the way across the country. At first, this relationship is nothing more than Joel making a package drop, but as time progresses the duo really become a close. Our first twist was when the Joel learns that Ellie is, in fact, immune to the pandemic threat where she is being taken to a resistance of the government organization in order to find a cure of this deadly disease.
Things begin to look up and Joel starts to see Ellie as a daughter figure. So when the real twist is discovered, Joel does not take things very well. Ellie becomes distant in her conversations with Joel as they near the end of their adventure and it’s only when Ellie is taken back for preparation that he discovers the resistance will have to dissect her in order to create a cure.
Luckily Joel manages to break Ellie out and take out the resistance group all while she is unconscious from a sedative. Joel lies to Ellie saying that the group discovered others with the same immunization and didn’t need her after all.