There’s been a longstanding question within the entertainment industry: can video games be considered art? This discussion has existed for decades but back in 2005, it was Roger Ebert who brought the question to prominence, arguing that gaming’s medium "prevents it from moving beyond craftsmanship to the stature of art."
It hardly needs saying that gamers look to titles for, well, their gameplay, but sometimes this isn’t enough to carry an experience alone. Many games rely on their artistic expression, channelling this through visuals, music or story.
We’ve witnessed a number of games saved by their story, stepping in when mechanics prove subpar, proving strong enough to turn opinions around and quite often, all this requires is a simple, effective plot twist.
Many games have famously included them, though this often proves detrimental to the experience. When executed well however, plot twists can elevate an average game into a great one, bringing a fresh new perspective to your actions.
With this in mind, here are some prominent examples that utilised twists to turn things around.
9. Crackdown 2 - The Villain Isn't The Villain
Crackdown’s long-awaited revival may have seen mixed reception last year upon arrival but before then, it’d been 2010 since we’d seen it. An open-world action adventure, Crackdown 2 took place 10 years after the original, finding Pacific City under threat from the “Freak” virus.
Ordered by The Agency, you’re informed that former Agency scientist Catalina Thorne caused this outbreak. Stating she performed unauthorised experiments, this led to her expulsion, and Crackdown 2 tells a tale of revenge. Seeing her infecting an agent cloning facility, she forms a terrorist group called “Cell”, who unleash Freak Pacific City’s population, claiming The Agency has its cure.
Except that’s not actually what happened at all. Through a series of collectable audio logs, it's revealed that The Agency manufactured Freak outbreak, providing incorrect public justification to maintain control of the city. Having seen her clinic invaded by Freaks, Thorne instead lead protests against The Agency and was targeted by their propaganda as a result.
It's a great twist, but it was no surprise to those who completed the original Crackdown, where it was revealed The Agency had manipulated Pacific City’s gang crisis behind the scenes, allowing them to save the day.
The sequel received mixed reviews, but this subtle revelation brings a whole new light to its plot.