3. Metroid Prime (2002)
In a word: Cryptic
Playing through a grand story is one thing, but discovering it piece by piece is even better as far as I’m concerned. Of course, the basic story of Metroid Prime is relatively straightforward. After receiving a distress call from the Space Pirate Frigate Orpheon, Samus finds that her old foe Ridley isn’t quite as dead as she once thought him to be after the events of the original Metroid. As the Orpheon goes into meltdown, she pursues Ridley to the nearby planet of Tallon IV, a former Chozo colony, and soon becomes embroiled in the Space Pirates’ nasty plot to breed a new kind of Metroid through exploiting the planet’s Phazon reserves.
While it sets the scene for a truly excellent game (one of my favourite games ever, I might add), it’s the logbook-based back story that I really love, and I think it’s not only a great way of delivering Prime‘s narrative, but its sporadic nature also encourages what the Metroid series is arguably most renowned for– exploration. You’re not only uncovering the story as you find these logbook entries, you’re also uncovering the world around you, and the gradual seep of information really helps that narrative to grow and get stuck underneath your skin as you play. Moreover, when you do in fact piece it all together, it’s an absolutely enthralling read, and let’s face it– not many games can say their story is as good written down as it is played…