The 10 Best Interactive Story Games on PS5
Gaming has evolved far beyond a focus on gameplay alone. Nowadays, gamers are also looking for games that take them on an adventure not only through the gameplay but also through the way that the narrative is laid out.
Now, we already covered a guide to the best story-rich games for PS5, but this one is slightly different. Where in the other article, there is a focus on the volume of content as well as the progression of the plot, this one introduces more games with strong character development and choice impact.
That said, there are fewer options to choose from in comparison to story-rich games on the new-gen console. However, it’s still a pretty loaded category so filtering the best from the average would be good to help you decide which game/s to buy.
This researched guide details eleven of the best interactive story games on PS5, including well-known titles and less popular, personal favorites. Enjoy!
Life is Strange: Remastered Collection
The Life is Strange series is perhaps the best representation of an interactive story game.
Created by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Square Enix, the game has been in existence since its first installment in 2015.
Life is Strange Remastered Collection was released in early 2022, and it includes remastered editions of the first two games in the series. These editions came with 4K-ready character models and many other visual tweaks here and there.
The stories and plot progression in both games remained the same, as expected.
The first Life is Strange game follows the story of Maxine Caulfield, who unlocks a special power she didn’t even know she had when a tragic incident involving her childhood friend and a gunman occurs.
That special power is the ability to rewind time, and over the course of the game, she’s forced to use it again to help overturn other unfortunate events.
The second game, Life is Strange: Before the Storm is a prequel to the first installment. The main character here is Max’s childhood friend, Chloe Price.
The story follows her struggles following the death of her father, and the resulting relationship that she built with a popular student at her school Rache Amber (another important character in the first installment).
Together, both uncover long-hidden secrets that lead to the search for Rachel’s birth mother.
Life is Strange Remastered Collection is undoubtedly visually better than the two games when they were initially released, but this is an experience that is almost completely focused on the story and not the presence or absence of 4K resolution.
The interactive story often presents you, the player, with choices that affect how the plot unfolds, so you feel like your actions have a genuine impact on the lives of the characters in the game.
If you’re just testing the “interactive story game” waters for the first time, there is no better introduction to the category than Life is Strange.
Life is Strange: True Colors
If you can buy the Ultimate edition of Life is Strange: True Colors, then you’ll have free access to the Life is Strange Remastered Collection too. It’ll be great to get the full experience of the characters in that way.
However, if you can only buy the regular edition, that’s also okay too.
Life is Strange: True Colors introduces new characters and a new story that you can still fully enjoy without the context of the previous installments of the game.
True Colors is a product of the work of developers Deck Nine, and it was published by Square Enix in 2021. It is the third main installment of the series, and it focuses on the story of a young lady named Alex Chen.
Alex, like Max in Life is Strange 1, also has a supernatural ability. She can experience the emotions of others in full, and she can read people’s thoughts too.
The latter sounds like a cool power to have, but the former proved to be more difficult to control, putting her in more trouble than she would like.
Considering the fact that she grew up being passed across foster homes, Alex tries to hide her powers as much as possible to avoid trouble.
She gets the perfect opportunity to start all over when her brother reconnects with her and invites her to start a new life somewhere no one knows about her and her ability.
Like the previous installments, the choices you make during Alex’s journey significantly affect her relationships with the people around her, and how the rest of the story unfolds.
Life is Strange: True Colors is not only one of the best interactive story games on PS5, it is one of my personal favorites across all genres.
Last Stop is a supernatural adventure game developed by Variable State and published by Annapurna Interactive in 2021. If Life is Strange was not quirky or weird enough for you, you should try this one for size.
The game follows the stories of three characters going through individually trying times in their various lives.
The first character is John, a working-class man that is stuck in a job that seems to be going nowhere with a young child to worry about.
John suddenly finds his world turned upside down when his body is switched with that of a young programmer named Jack.
Both men unsuccessfully try to make the best of the situation, but the only long-term solution is to find a way to make things go back to normal.
The second character is Meena, an agent working with an intelligence firm.
Her story is even more convoluted than John’s and it presents a series of twists and turns involving cheating in her marriage, getting spied on by her boss, and going on a top-secret mission.
The third character is Donna Adeleke, a young teenage girl still in school. She, alongside a few friends, gets involved with a strange man with skeletons in his cupboard.
Soon enough, their curiosity gets Donna in trouble, and she is faced with the real possibility of losing everything and everyone that she once knew.
All three stories run parallel to each other at first, but they tie together in the final chapter of the game.
You get to control each one of the characters, and you make decisions about what they say in specific situations, alongside some minigame interactions.
You also get to choose one of two options for each character in the endgame, to decide how the rest of their story will go.
The impact of your choices here may not be as heavy as they are in the Life is Strange games, but they make for a really participative experience nonetheless.
That story and the gameplay mechanics make this one of the best interactive story games on PS5.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes
The Dark Pictures Anthology was released in 2019 from the stables of Supermassive Games, creators of the critically acclaimed Until Dawn game from 2015.
The series contains cinematic, interactive horror games that take this list from “paranormal” to “scary”.
Man of Medan was the first installment of the series, and House of Ashes only arrived in 2021, two years after the series launched.
The game follows the same format as the previous installment, putting the player in the shoes of a group of people dealing with dangerous situations. Your job is not so simple – keep as many alive as you can.
This game offers a high level of cinematic quality, interesting locations, and characters that you can really sink your teeth into.
Everything about the sound is almost perfect too for a horror game. The voice acting is excellent, and the sound effects are sufficiently terrifying. In fact, this is easily one of the best scary games for PS5.
Regarding House of Ashes‘ approach to an interactive story, you get five playable characters. with parallel narratives that are sufficiently influenced by the choices you make, both in terms of action and dialogue.
There are several scenes where you have to make an important decision before you can progress, and those decisions affect the relationships between the characters and the progression of the plot.
If you want an interactive experience that has just the right amount of horror but probably won’t scare you shitless, then House of Ashes is a good place to look.
The Last of Us
More than enough has been said about The Last of Us games since the release of this first installment in 2013.
The second release in 2020 was a fantastic game too, but there seems to be a popular consensus that the first one had a better story. Considering the theme of the topic, I decided to go with that one.
The game was remastered for the PS4 in 2014, so you might want to get that version for visual and performance upgrades.
To recap the story that you’re probably already familiar with, The Last of Us follows the adventures of a smuggler named Joel.
Joel tries to get a young girl named Ellie safely across the post-apocalyptic United States brimming with cannibalistic creatures.
Cannibalism is not all you have to worry about though, because even the humans that are not infected cannot be trusted. It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and you have to do everything you can to survive with your companion.
Part of surviving is making several important decisions at key stages of the game to progress the story.
At certain points, you control the young girl, Ellie, and there are even brief moments in the opening sequence when you control Joel’s daughter, Sarah.
Regarding the game’s approach to an interactive story, The Last of Us has more active gameplay than the other games discussed so far, including combat.
However, what the game does brilliantly is how it unfolds almost like a movie. Cutscenes blend perfectly into regular gameplay sequences, as well as QuickTime events.
The depth of character of the protagonist, and even the NPCs, also contribute to making it feel like you’re inside a movie rather than playing a game. It’s just…surreal.
This is all stuff you’ve probably read or heard about the game already though, considering how popular it is in the industry. One of the best interactive story games on PS5? Check.
Detroit: Become Human
Detroit: Become Human is another one of my favorite games of all time.
The game already promised a lot since the release of the short film, Kara, in 2013, and it is safe to say it delivered on that promise when it was eventually published by Sony Interactive Entertainment five years later.
Detroit is as interactive as it gets when it comes to video games, and it offers the widest selection of dialogue choices and possible endings of any games in this guide.
In fact, there are at least 40 different possible endings that depend solely on the choices that you make during each playthrough.
This means that even when you complete the game the first time, you can still replay many events that alter the final outcome. Replay value on steroids!
Like Last Stop and House of Ashes, you get to control multiple characters simultaneously in different stories that run parallel to each other at first, but converge somewhere down the line.
The general idea is that the city of Detroit, sometime in the future, faces an android revolution.
The androids that they built to be their slaves begin to gain sentience and revolt at the way of life that they’ve been forced into. Sound familiar?
The three characters that you control are all androids, each with its own motive and contribution to the overall story.
Depending on the choices you make, humanity may fall. Try not to attach too much emotion to those decisions, will you?
Disco Elysium: Final Cut
Disco Elysium is another interactive story game on PS5 that focuses heavily on immersing the player in its world without the need for active gameplay such as combat. In that sense, it is one of the best single-player games for PS5.
When you start the game, the first thing that stands out is its unique, oil-painting-like art style. There’s nothing quite like it, and it looks really good.
However, when you get into the meat of the game itself, things get even better with the way that the story is presented.
Disco Elysium was developed and published by ZA/UM in 2019, but the Final Cut was only released two years later to introduce voice acting, new vision quests, a new streamer mode and visual and performance updates.
The best way to describe the game itself is that it feels like reading a visual, interactive novel.
The progress of events is determined by skill checks and dialogue trees, and your actions or inactions have a visible effect on intangibles such as the protagonist’s personality traits, ideologies, and pain threshold.
Speaking of the protagonist, your guy is an amnesiac detective charged with solving a murder case. If nothing else was convincing enough for you, I think that bit of info should do the trick.
Road 96 may not have the clout that Disco Elysium enjoys in gamer circles, but it is also a quality representation of what an interactive story game should be.
The game was released in 2021, but it did not arrive on the PlayStation until April 2022.
The premise is based on a fictional state undergoing a presidential election. Your characters’ objective is to leave the country, but the process of doing so is where the meat of the story lies.
You will be taking over multiple characters across multiple procedurally generated scenarios, but the objective is the same.
The people you meet along the way, and the experiences that you encounter are the things that really make the story shine.
Like other options in this guide, your main mode of interaction is through dialogue options, but there’s little to suggest that those dialogues have a significant influence on how the story pans out.
Regardless, Road 96 is an experience worth having if you’re looking for the best interactive story games on PS5.
The Forgotten City
The Forgotten City is a video game adaptation of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim mod. The game was developed by Modern Storyteller and published by Dear Villagers and Film Victoria in 2021.
Skyrim itself is a fantastic game, but it takes an impressive level of effort and creative genius to take a mod of it and make it into a full-blown game that is also excellent.
The game is set in ancient Rome, where your character stumbles upon a community governed by the “Golden Rule”.
It’s a pretty messed up rule that states that everyone in the community will die and be turned to gold if any one of them commits a sin.
When you get to the city, there is an election about to happen, and also the suspicion that it will be accompanied by a murder. Hence, your objective is to stop the murder before it happens and avoid the breaking of the Golden Rule.
Luckily, the rule does not affect you because you’re trapped in a time loop, so you can always restart from your last checkpoint if it is broken by you or anybody else.
It’s a very interesting premise, without a doubt. The story progression is marked with many dialogue encounters where you’re given choices of what to say.
Every member of the community has a story to tell, so you’re going to be doing a lot of talking, especially if you want the side quests that branch off as a result of information that you glean from conversations.
As the game progresses, you will gain more knowledge about things that will happen before they do, since you have already lived the scenario before.
You can use this to your advantage and get people to help you out with stuff so you can handle multiple situations simultaneously.
The game does have some combat, but it’s very light and easy. This is built to be an interactive story game after all, and it does that pretty well.
The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe
The Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe was developed by Crows Crows Crows, who also published the game with the help of 22nd Century Toys in 2022.
The game is a console port of the old PC version. If you’re familiar with that version, then you’ll be excited about this because it includes a bunch of new content.
The story is centered around a character named Stanley, who discovers that all his colleagues have vanished without warning.
He sets off walking around the office to try and figure out what happened, accompanied only by the voiced narration of the game.
There are several possible paths to follow in this mystery game as you find a way to various endings.
The gameplay is mostly just you walking around the premises and interacting with objects to find clues, but the interaction between yourself and the narrator really keeps things interesting.
It’s not the most visually exciting game out there, but The Stanley Parable is one of the best interactive story games on PS5.
If this guide was expanded to discuss interactive story games on the PlayStation Store as a whole, including games for previous gen consoles, there would be a few other gems in there.
As it is, I’ve tried to limit the options to games that were released around the time that the PS5 was launched, and games that got specific PS5 upgrades/updates.
However, if you don’t mind older titles, my top five biggest recommendations would be Heavy Rain (2010), Beyond: Two Souls (2013), Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (2015), What Remains of Edith Finch (2017), Until Dawn (2015), and Oxenfree (2016).