The videogame industry is a myriad of techniques, gameplays, art-styles, nationalities, lore, and philosophies. Many reviewers use various criteria to judge this massively complex medium of entertainment, from tech specs, to gameplay, to how immersive it is. I for one highly value how immersive a story-centered videogame experience. I know that games like Call of Duty and the recent Halo entries are all about action and massive set-pieces, and this is all perfectly fine in it’s own right, but I’ve an affinity toward games that pull you away from your actual world, and swamp you with an actual psychological experience full of emotional turmoil and conflict. It’s really quite impressive how well developers have crafted these experiences that supersede mere entertainment, and step into the realm of something reminiscent of a great, classic work of literature. Thus, I have assembled a list of my top 10 most immersive games of all time. Enjoy.
Absurdly excellent art style, dazzlingly beautiful graphics, eerie noises, confounding music, deep, solid gameplay, and a storyline that is arguably one of the best in all of videogame history: of course Bioshock is my most immersive game of all time. I genuinely felt what Rapture and its denizens were doing to me; each bullet, each word, and each animation was absorbed in such rich splendor. Additionally, the philosophical themes, dystopia vs. utopia, existentialism, Ayn Rand’s ‘Objectivist’ faults, and exploring the true follies of man all added up to become a game that, if explored enough, entire weeks of conversation could be fueled by the massive amount of deeper content lying in this superb game. Oh, and don’t even get me started on that midgame twist that made me pause the game, walk away from my 360, and go off into a cold night to ponder my own existence. Never has a game impacted me so deeply and heavily, leaving me with so many questions floating in my head, left only to subjectively decipher.
This game is a marvel of modern video games. Released independently before being sold for retail by THQ, this game is, perhaps, the epitome of an interactive first-person experience. There are virtually no on-off switches amongst the countless objects you can manipulate (you can manipulate almost every object you see, somehow), but certain actions with your mouse, as you would do in reality, such as pulling down on a lever; you actually have to pull down on the mouse. This is simply a small part of the game’s brilliance, for aside from this, you are unarmed the entire time. There are the ferocious, relentless monsters that stalk the dark corridors of the game’s setting, a castle, and you must avoid them, run from them, hide from them, and even lure them in order to solve harrowing puzzles. The game never relents, and never allows you to calm yourself. Sure, there are calmer moments, but you are almost always on edge, and this pulls you into the game to a superb degree almost unmatched in the video game industry.
An unparalleled and truly unique art style, along with a vague plot that keeps your mind on everything that this game is literally pulls your consciousness away from your body, and entrances you in an unforgettable journey through places and enemies with no names, nor color, but more emotional and psychological pull than just about any other characters in all of the video game industry.