Top 50 Modern Adventure Games
“Modern adventure games?” you question with a look of incredulity on your face. “Since when is there such thing as an adventure game anymore? I thought they died over a decade ago!?” Adventure games may not sit on the pedestal they once did but there has been something of a resurrection, maybe even a renaissance, in modern adventure, and the genre has seen many new directions and experimental formats. The AGS engine has allowed many novices to try their own hand at making the classic retro-styled point-and-click adventure. Indie developers have tried all sorts of out-of-the-box ideas for the genre. Online Flash portals have brought a measure of attention to the point-and-click Flash adventure. And even big console developers have occasionally made some adventure games by integrating “action-oriented” forms of gameplay to make it more appealing to action fans. In this list we will focus on modern adventure games which are mostly commercial and/or indie. These are the adventure games that will go down in history as the best in the genre.
The Walking Dead
The fact that so many gamers- not just aventure fans!- are saying The Walking Dead is their best game of the year so far for 2012 is really a big deal. Even if you don’t like the TV show you’ll STILL love The Walking Dead as a game. It’s that good. Once you start playing the game, many of the characters will actually start mattering to you. The storyline is complex and full of plot-twists. There is real character development. The dialogue is excellent. And there are some great scares waiting for you. Telltale Games have been making adventure games for a while now, but they’ve finally created their legacy!
If you have even a passing interest in either the adventure genre or sci-fi/cyberpunk fantasy worlds, you owe it to yourself to play Gemini Rue. The best two games in the genre from the past decade are probably Machinarium and Gemini Rue. The storytelling is simply astounding, and the plot twist is one of the best in any form of storytelling- whether books, movies, or games. You’ll never see it coming. Everything just seemed to come together for this game. The art style and hand-drawn graphics are breathtaking and incredibly atmospheric, the story is almost unrivaled in its impact on you, the voice acting is top notch, and best of all, it has one of the most emotional, atmospheric soundtracks I’ve ever heard in a game. Gemini Rue is a game that only comes around once in a while and you won’t forget about for a while once you’re done.
Machinarium is my favorite adventure game since Grim Fandango. Period. It’s game that makes an air-tight case for games being art. The graphics shouldn’t be called graphics. Call them masterful hand-drawn paintings instead. The soundtrack should be called enchanting melodies. And the simple but utterly charming story of a robot who has been exiled to a scrap heap will touch you. Machinarium is a prime example of why point ‘n’ click adventure games are not dead and just how much potential is still left. It was created by people who clearly love the genre with the aim to deliver a top-notch entertainment for all those gamers who really miss the magical world of adventure games. Every element–even the smallest ones–are crafted with exceptional care and polish by people who clearly knew what they were doing and loved it. This level of detail is hard to find in most modern games that seem to be mass produced, so it is a very refreshing feeling to see a title that is made with such care and passion.
The Longest Journey
Considered one of the finest adventure games ever made, The Longest Journey is up there with LucasArts’ and Sierra’s retro classics. The plot is so epic it can even get a little confusing at times, but the storytelling is wonderful and keeps a focus on character. You’ll especially appreciate when the modern sci-fi setting suddenly meets up with a fantasy world. It’s quite an adult game too; the dialogue is mature and intelligent, there’s quite a bit of swearing and some nudity throughout. The puzzles are mostly clever and there is a ton of conversations to be had. You’ll visit 150 locations over 50 hours of gameplay. All in all, it’s a beautiful game.
Dreamfall: The Longest Journey
In Dreamfall, the sequel to the acclaimed The Longest Journey, you take on an epic journey of exploration and adventure as you venture through a thrilling and emotional storyline. Dreamfall features a fully interactive world with beautiful music, stunning graphics, fascinating characters, and unparalleled gameplay variety. However, there are two faults that make it stumble. First is the ending, which is a cliffhanger to a game that will probably never see a sequel. Second, is the addition of stealth and action sequences that should have been left out. It’s still a great game, though.
This game saved the genre all by itself, in the time of dire crisis. Without Syberia in 2002, we would not have 15+ adventures per year now days. Sokal’s emotional story of Kate Walker and Automatons touched the hearts of players around the world and renewed the faith in Adventure games once again. Setting focus on the characters and letting them develop the well written story was a brilliant plan that worked. Also, featuring great and detailed 2D pre-rendered graphics with well animated 3D characters, superb sound and dynamic background music, Syberia was and is a masterpiece.
Syberia II, which picks up where Kate Walker left off in the original, is just as good as the first one, if not a little better. In the sequel, Kate continues her journey to find the fabled Syberia and the mastadons, only to find that such a journey may take more than she first anticipated. The player will be taken to mysterious and far-away lands like before, but prepare for more dangers along the way in your quest as you are dodging bounty hunters, a crazed Orthodox Catholic priest and his sect who will stop at nothing to keep you from completing your quest, as well as many other perils that await you. Benoit Sokal’s vision in computer-graphic form shows that he is truly still one of the visionaries in story-telling as he takes many, many concepts that were not tangible before and makes them even more tangible now. If you enjoyed the first Syberia, then Syberia II is a definite must-have for those that enjoy a wonderful story and a great point-and-click adventure.