Role playing games tend to have long convoluted plots that eventually tell an epic story. Like any good movie or book, those plots can be reasonably predictable or can suddenly blind side you with something you never saw. Some plot twists are so truly unexpected that players talk about them for years afterwards. The following are the top ten best plot twists in role playing games.
10. Borderlands – This hybrid role playing game and first person shooter had you searching for a lost vault filled with treasure for the entire game. During the final scene of the game you find the vault and open it, only to discover that it never held any treasure at all, but instead held an enormous monster that you had spent the game being trained to kill. The reversal of expectations is what sets this plot twist apart from the usual fare.
9. Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice – This game stars you as main character Mao who is trying to become strong enough to defeat his father and become Overlord of the Netherworld. Throughout your strange quest, you are guided by an obsequious butler named Geoffrey. Near the end of the game you learn that Geoffrey is actually the ultra-famous Super Hero Aurum and his entire purpose for guiding you was to make you worthy of killing. The twist comes entirely out of left field and is just the right balance between serious and hilarious for this humor filled game.
8. Valkyria Chronicles – From the very opening moments of Valkyria Chronicles, a young woman name Alicia is a key member of your squad. She is a member of the scout class, which means she is fast, but not particularly powerful. Then, late in the game you discover exactly how deceptively powerful she really is when she is revealed as a powerful Valkyria, an angel-like being with immense power. There is no warning at all for this shocker, though it is reasonable to expect someone will be a Valkyria given the title of the game.
7. Final Fantasy VII – This is one of the best know plot twists in the history of video games. About halfway through the game, the main villain of the game, Sephiroth, kills off Aeris, love interest and constant companion since the start of the game, of the main character Cloud. The full motion video sequence of her death is moving and emphasizes the shocking nature of this plot twist.
6. Star Ocean: Till the End of Time – This game feels like most science fiction role playing games. You control a small party of individuals who are trapped in an ever growing epic story that threatens to destroy everything they know. You only learn exactly how literally true that is when it is revealed that the heroes are actually character in an MMORPG and the villains are anti-virus programs trying to destroy the heroes. It is a fourth wall breaking twist that either thrills or disappoints, depending on your expectations of the game.
5. Shadow Hearts: Covenant – This game starts with you controlling Yuri, the protagonist of the previous game as well, during the start of World War II. You are soon joined by a beautiful woman named Karin to assist your battle. Genre expectations make you think the two will become romantically entangled, but that isn’t the case, and it is a good thing. At the end of the game, Karin travels back in time and ends up becoming Yuri’s mother. Little sequences throughout the game hint at this twist making it enjoyable to play through a second time and see all the clues that were in the game.
4. Dragon Warrior III – The first two Dragon Warrior games were set in the same world. The third game in the series starts on a world that is clearly Earth and has no apparent tie to the previous iterations. But, in the final section of the game, you learn that not only are the games connected, but Dragon Warrior III is actually a prequel. Your hero turns out to be the legendary hero Erdrick that is constantly referred to in the previous two games. It is a nice twist to not only see where the hero came from, but to actually engage in the battle that made him famous.
3. Final Fantasy VI – In the vast majority of role playing games there is some villain whose goal is to destroy the world. Final Fantasy VI takes this one step further by actually letting the villain succeed. And he doesn’t succeed in the last few minutes. He succeeds halfway through the game. The second half of the game is played in a world that has been decimated by the ultimate villain of the game and the reason this happens is because you failed to stop him. It is a great twist that basically doubles the size of the world map and doubles the length of the game.
2. Chrono Trigger – Aeris may have died in Final Fantasy VII, but she wasn’t the primary main character of the game. In fact, depending on how you played the game, she might have been reasonably unimportant to your game. Crono, on the other hand, is unquestionably the main character of Chrono Trigger, and up until his sudden death, is required to be a part of your party at all times. His death is epic because it comes at the hands of the final villain of the game. Even though the scene is scripted, you practically expect a game over screen to accompany it. The plot twist gets even better because you have the option to choose to let him remain dead and simply finish the game without him. The ending if you do is quite depressing, but at least the game gives you choice.
1. Knights of the Old Republic – Bioware deserves nothing but accolades for this epic plot twist. Throughout Knights of the Old Republic, you hear stories about the evil Darth Revan and your mission throughout the game is to defeat his protégé. You need to learn about him from others because you are suffering from amnesia. Then, near the end of the game your memories are returned, and you learn that you are actually Darth Revan, the villain you believed to be dead. The game then gives you the choice to discard your old ways or to return to the path of the Sith. It was a twist that absolutely no one saw coming despite a remarkable number of hints along the way and yet does an amazing job of putting together all the pieces of the story in a logical way.