There are a lot of video games out there and in this of mobile and home-based gaming, the choices have never been greater. So how do you cut through the noise and find the “Best of” for any chosen topic? Well, we’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest and unforgettable games through the years.
For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best video games, our attention this time turns to games with a slight focus on redemption. From well-acclaimed action adventures to first-person spooky horror games, there’s a good choice to whet your appetite.
Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below and we’ll get them added on!
Sonic 3 & Knuckles
Despite Sonic having his share of issues in the gaming industry, his classic games are beloved by many who’ve played them. At the same time, the hedgehog himself has been making a comeback in the television and movie industry.
While Sonic’s taking part in a minor redemption arc as of late, it’s great to look back at one of his best games as it replicates a similar feeling. Sonic 3 & Knuckles are the combined entries of Sonic The Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles that Sega wanted to release in 1994 but couldn’t due to time constraint reasons.
The story occurs after the events of the second Sonic The Hedgehog game, where Eggman loses to Sonic and Tails. He crashes onto Angel Island and meets Knuckles The Echidna. With his wit, Eggman tells Knuckles that Sonic plans to steal the Master Emerald, a gem that Knuckles has been protecting for a long time. Unfortunately, Knuckles falls for Eggman’s tale and collaborates with him to stop Sonic.
After an intense fight with Sonic, Knuckles learns of Eggman’s lies after seeing him fly away with the Master Emerald. This convinces Knuckles to join forces with Sonic to stop Eggman, leading to their inevitable fight against him and Metal Sonic.
While the story isn’t the most complex, Sonic 3 & Knuckles had much content to offer in gameplay. It also helped Knuckles stand out as a character and become many fans’ favorite out of the trio. With the amount of thrilling music and content in this game, it’d be odd not to give it a shot.
The feeling of being accused of a crime you didn’t commit is one of the worst things that can happen to anyone. The Darksiders franchise tackles this concept on a grander, disastrous scale.
Darksiders follows War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. He’s in charge of keeping the Charred Council in check as their job is to maintain Heaven and Hell’s balance to save time for the humans to prepare for battle. Unfortunately, War’s called to Earth earlier than anticipated and tries to stop the Angels and Demons from fighting.
He encounters a powerful Demon and falls unconscious because something has sapped his powers. He awakens in front of a trial that blames him for Earth’s destruction. The tribunal binds a six-eyed demon named Watcher to War and sends him to Earth in an attempt for him to clear his name.
While hack and slash combat is frowned upon for its repetitiveness, Darksiders delivers in edgy locations and World of Warcraft-like character designs that blend well with the chaotic energy of the world’s setting. Furthermore, the game includes a few dungeon quests and backtracking elements akin to The Legend of Zelda and Metroid franchises.
Fans can expect War to meet many foes on his quest that fully capture the other-worldly atmosphere the game wants to emulate. The game also features a trading system for items you collect along the way, where you can obtain weapons and gear that can add an elemental attribute to your arsenal.
Murdered: Soul Suspect
The afterlife is a concept that we don’t truly understand. Most of us have experienced death during our lifetime, but only those that have passed can confirm what happens after your time runs out. At the same time, many films and games have come up with possible scenarios regarding the afterlife. Murdered: Soul Suspect is one of them.
Murdered: Soul Suspect follows Ronan, a detective with a mysterious past who meets his unexpected end during a brutal heist. However, Ronan awakens in the afterlife and learns that the only way to move on is to bring the criminal to justice with his wit and new supernatural abilities.
Despite being an adult in the game, Ronan’s mindset feels akin to a child’s. This is apparent in his back and forth banter with a psychic partner he picks up along the way named Joy. Like The Legend of Zelda, players will realize why Ronan’s fate correlates with his destined mission to bring his killer to justice.
Considering the setting is simply a realistic interpretation of Salem, fans may wonder why other cops aren’t getting involved. A possible counterargument is that this case needs to be solved by a ghost detective since the evidence is in the form of spiritual clues. To support this argument, players must utilize Ronan’s ghostly abilities. Some abilities include reading people’s minds and walking through walls to follow possible suspects.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Amnesia: The Dark Descent was one of the many survival horror games that took off thanks to popular streamers. Not only is the game surrounded by mystery, bloodshed, and cruelty, but it also touches upon a protagonist who wishes to correct his past actions.
The story follows Daniel, who finds himself in a mysterious castle while suffering from amnesia. While adventuring through this structure, Daniel finds a note that details what he’d done before waking up here. The document states that he’d taken a potion to wipe his memories and has a monster called Shadow hunting him. However, his mission involves ending the life of his baron, Alexander. Therefore, you must guide Daniel through this dangerous castle to complete his brutal request.
While the game wishes to haunt players through jump scares, eerie sounds, and limited protection, the story also wishes to showcase Daniel’s change of heart. Throughout the game, Daniel experiences flashbacks detailing the cruel actions he’d committed before drinking the amnesia potion. This involves him accidentally letting the Shadow creature free and murdering innocent victims.
The game also has a “choose your own adventure” mechanic within its gameplay that’s integral to its ending. While players learn of Daniel’s mistakes, they also serve as his omnipotent judge. Consequently, players must decide Daniel’s fate once he encounters Alexander in the game’s final act. This allows them to feel more immersed in this game’s world and its protagonist.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a game where players control a monstrous human being who wishes to redeem himself from his past mistakes. Purchase Amnesia: The Dark Descent if you want to help Daniel achieve a proper ending.
Red Dead Redemption
With its characters, seamless open world, and online experience, Grand Theft Auto has become Rockstar’s go-to franchise over the years. On the other hand, the studio’s also produced other beloved series, including Red Dead Redemption. Red Dead Redemption not only set the bar for quality wild west themed games but its fantastic storyline, characters, and characters helped it achieve this feat.
The game follows John Marston, a former outlaw who learns that the government has taken his wife and child. The government will only return them if Marston hunts down three criminals that were once a part of his gang. Therefore, the game takes the player on a western adventure where Marston must betray his former friends to secure his family’s safety.
Considering “redemption” is in the game’s title, gamers should expect John’s desire to redeem himself to fuel his motivation. Having to condemn your former friends for crimes that he also took part in creates tension and pivotal scenery for John’s reflections. Some of which truly shines when John comes face to face with his former buddies, as many of them remain the same while he has changed.
Although he’s working for the government, John doesn’t receive an ounce of respect. John’s change of heart matters not to the government. They still view him as a criminal regardless of his grand development. At first glance, one can argue that he’s changed before the game begins. However, his slate isn’t entirely clear. By bringing in his former allies, John’s giving up his past identity to fit within the government’s view of an honorable citizen.
From that perspective alone, players can expect the game to have emotional scenes that’ll stick with them for a lifetime.
Although Sony continues to deliver quality sequels for many of its beloved properties, they have other properties fans want Sony to take out of its vault. The Infamous franchise is one of those that fans desperately want to see reimagined or reintroduced to this latest generation’s line-up.
Spawning two games, Infamous follows bike courier Cole MacGrath who finds himself amidst an explosion that destroys several blocks of his city. While Cole survives the impact, something feels off about him. The accident grants Cole electric powers, but the public pits him as the cause behind all this. To clear his name (in a sense), Cole aims to restore peace in his city using his electric powers.
Unfortunately, he’ll encounter several antagonists who wish to stand in his way. Although the player can change Cole’s destiny via the game’s Karma system, the true path leads toward a middle ground. Even when Cole commits a good deed, an external source will reverse the outcome. For example, Cole can capture a criminal in the game and receive praise. However, a blunder made by one of Cole’s allies allows the criminal’s friends to swoop in, save them, and murder the officers Cole fought to protect.
If that’s not enough, Infamous’s ending makes Cole’s actions during the game appear less heroic and more villainous. This twist is not worth spoiling, but it will change players’ opinions about their choices in the game. While the players will adore Cole’s efforts to bring peace to the city, they’ll be bewildered about his destined fate.
If ever someone you love goes missing or is kidnapped by a heinous criminal, you’ll do whatever it takes to retrieve them. Pinstripes is a game with six beautiful hellish levels that’ll challenge the protagonist’s determination to find and rescue his daughter from a kidnapper.
As touched upon, Pinstripe follows an alienated minister named Teddy, who goes on an emotional adventure in the afterlife to find his daughter and her kidnapper. Throughout his journey, the game will unveil the secrets surrounding Teddy’s past and events that inevitably lead Teddy to his nemesis, Mr. Pinstripe.
What helps this game stand out from others with similar plots would be its storytelling and art style. Teddy and his daughter are no longer amongst the living, as the adventure takes place in the afterlife. This allows the developer to add supernatural elements to areas in well-known locations like tunnels or forested areas. These elements often echo the trauma and hardships that swell in Teddy’s mind during his quest.
Mr. Pinstripe serves as an entity that binds everything together. His excessive taunting toward Teddy fuels his angst and regret of having lost his daughter to him. Mr. Pinstripes’ actions toward Teddy’s daughters are cruel, only adding to Teddy’s guilt. Teddy will feel unworthy to be his daughter’s father when he succumbs to many dark thoughts.
Pinstripe is an emotional adventure that will make any gamer shed tears while playing through it.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Fire Emblem: Three Houses is the latest instalment in the beloved tactical RPG franchise. However, the former offers spectacular visuals, compelling gameplay, and different story routes to keep players invested.
For the most part, Fire Emblem: Three Houses takes place in the medieval land of Fódlan. You play as a professor (gender depends on your preference) who must guide students in their academic studies and prepare them for battle. The twist is that you must choose between one of three houses, each containing a colorful cast of characters led by a royal figure. Each house offers alternate tales worth exploring and storylines that’ll move you.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses features the same unit-based combat as prior entries. However, this game grants players more freedom to explore and interact with their chosen houses’ variety of students in many different ways. Some of these interactions include: dining with students, fishing, and picking up occasional side quests. That’s all well and good, but I would argue the different paths cause players to replay the game many times.
The Blue Lions’ path, harboring the royal Dimitri, is one of the game’s best narrative paths. Not only does this showcase a new side to Dimitri’s behavior not found in the other two paths, but the redemption quest he undergoes is a sight to behold. He’s done many ruthless things to children and innocents but has a past shrouded in bloodshed. He’s also developed depression and guilt and endured betrayal at the hands of his former friend.
This is only one tale among two others that fans can explore in this instalment of Fire Emblem. You’ll have to purchase Fire Emblem: Three Houses to find out more.
No one wants to live their lives rotting in a jail cell. The harsh reality is that most people today find themselves living such a life because of the crimes they commit. However, there are games featuring protagonists who receive one last opportunity at freedom.
Freedom Wars is an action RPG with themes involving freedom, redemption, and a corrupt futuristic society. The story follows the player’s created avatar, whose deemed a criminal simply for existing. To gain their freedom, players must fight giant monsters and complete different forms of labor.
This game will grant players a future of prison life that they’d never want to occur in real life. Players cannot interact with objects or roam freely if their sentences aren’t at a specific amount. You’ll not only have to fight dangerous monsters but fellow criminals who find themselves in the same predicament as you.
Freedom Wars perfectly captures what a corrupted society could look like if run by indecent human beings. For example, your character can get more years added to their sentence by sleeping in a bed designated for you. While it was a fun game for many, its depiction of a futuristic society is nothing but dreadful.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
Star Wars is a classic franchise with a worldwide following because of its incredible books, films, and many new television series. While many people are familiar with it because of its films, others explored its other offerings. One, in particular, comes from its many video games.
Even though Star Wars: The Force Unleashed has criticisms, many found its themes mature and critical to the protagonist’s development. This game allows the player to control a new Sith warrior named Starkiller, who also serves as Darth Vader’s new apprentice. Your mission is to take down every remaining Jedi that stands in the empire’s way.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed introduced many neat ways for players to feel like a true Sith. You’ll utilize Palpatine’s iconic lightning attacks, send enemies and objects flying with the force, and perform insane acrobatic lightsaber attacks. While it aims to deliver a true rebel and Jedi slaying experience, the story also holds up quite well.
Starkiller comes off as an obedient servant to Vader’s wishes early in the game and doesn’t feel hesitant to carry out the tasks. Throughout the game and his many fights, players will witness Starkiller reflecting on his actions. These subtle instances lead up to a redemption arc for him as he goes on to fight Palpatine and save many rebels from suffering a cruel fate.
So, there we have it, our pick for the best video games through the years that delve into the redemption theme.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!