10 Amazing Stories Trapped In Mediocre Video Games

Guardians of the Galaxy has the most overlooked story of the generation.

guardians of the galaxy
Square Enix

Story in video games, even today, is rarely the top priority.

Unless you're operating within very, VERY specific circumstances, gameplay should always come first and foremost, because it doesn't matter how well-written your game is - if the player is not enjoying the gameplay between each beat, they'll put that game down in a heartbeat.

But if the game you've made is, well, just kinda average at best on a gameplay level, then that presents an opportunity for your game's writing to shine. In some cases, anyway. In others, people will only see the unexciting gameplay and write off the rest.

But when it all pulls off, it's really something special, with people forgiving the so-so gameplay because they've grown so attached to the story and characters the gameplay revolves around.

These games might not be winning any awards due to their gameplay, but excel at getting you to care about what the gameplay is centring around.

10. Brutal Legend

guardians of the galaxy
Double Fine

The fact that more people don't know about Brutal Legend feels like an anomaly in the universe. Pitch this game's setup and story to a friend and I'll bet you dollars to donuts they'll say that that sounds completely awesome.

The reason it isn't better remembered is that, gameplay-wise, it just couldn't settle on what kind of game it wanted to be. Its controls scream action-adventure hack-n-slash, but its actual gameplay beats say strategy game. And while finding a balance between those two isn't impossible, Brutal Legend never threaded that needle, and so the gameplay comes off like a confused mess.

Which is why no one remembers the game where Jack Black gets transported to a heavy metal dimension and has to fight demons with a giant battleaxe that's also a guitar, alongside a badass goth warrior woman.

One would think that would be harder to forget, but that's what happens when you don't focus your core gameplay loop better.


John Tibbetts is a novelist in theory, a Whatculture contributor in practice, and a nerd all around who loves talking about movies, TV, anime, and video games more than he loves breathing. Which might be a problem in the long term, but eh, who can think that far ahead?