Top 20 Decision-Making Games: Prepare to Have Your Mind Boggled

decision-making games

For a video game to be considered a success, there needs to be clever writing; there should also be a well thought out story. And of course, players have to be engaged, which is why many games include choices, as it makes users feel like they are in control. Sometimes, though, these choices don’t have anything to do with how the game ends, countering the idea of including choices in the first place.

That said, some games take this idea and double it. Coming up are the top 20 decision-making games.

20. Top Decision-Making Games: Fallout: New Vegas

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New Vegas came out in 2010, and it is still regarded as being one of the best games in the “Fallout” series. The game considers all of your actions, from killing, stealing, or lack thereof. As players prepare to go off on certain quests, they may find that they are locked off due to their previous actions.

So it goes without saying that if you’re thinking of pissing off a character in the game, you might have to decide if an argument is worth more than unlocking a potentially new plot in the game.

19. Top Decision-Making Games: Telltale’s The Walking Dead

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The idea of players making choices in games existed long before The Walking Dead video game, but it’s certainly one of the games sporting this feature that players will never forget. I mean, you start playing the game, and within a few hours, you’re choosing which character lives and dies. Who does that?!

It’s a real Sophie’s Choice, and some of our decisions still haunt us to this day. But don’t feel dismayed: that’s the whole point of this genre of games, and The Walking Dead executes it perfectly. 

18. Top Decision-Making Games: Crusader Kings 2

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This game is an interesting one, because not only do your choices impact the gameplay, but the choices of other characters have the ability to impact you and your progress in the game as well. 

In Crusader Kings 2, players take on the throne of a kingdom in medieval Europe, and they are subjected to making various political choices, all while trying to expand their rule. Each choice, no matter how big or small, has the potential to have lasting impacts on the course of history. And to top it off, it’s how you interact with other characters that will impact history as well, because if you annoy a character too much, they may make the decision to have you killed. 

No pressure, though. 

17. Top Decision-Making Games: FTL: Faster Than Light

Source: YouTube/IGN

On paper, this doesn’t seem like a game where the choices that players make end up making a huge difference in the outcome. But that couldn’ be further from the truth. 

This game gives players a mission, which is to save the federation from a rebel space station, and players have a ship and a select crew to do so, but that’s it. Of course, one of the biggest choices players have to make is what weapons to use, but there’s so much more. Along the way, players encounter ethical and moral dilemmas, such as whether they should send crew members to a planet where they know they might meet their end, or if they should buy slaves to gain a new crew member. 

At its core, this decision-making game comes down to players deciding whether carrying out the mission is more important than doing what’s morally right. Do you sacrifice a few crew members to save the federation, knowing that would do more good than harm? It’s utilitarianism at its finest if you ask me. 

16. Top Decision-Making Games: Life is Strange

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Life is Strange is one of those games that changes quickly. Players take on the role of high school student Max, who finds out she has the power to rewind time.

At the start, most of the decisions and the rewinds focus on conventional teenage, highschool drama. But then life and death situations start appearing as the game goes on. What’s worse is that the choices players make when rewinding have lasting consequences, and players can’t see these consequences until later in the game.

So basically, if you feel good about your decision in this game, take it with a grain of salt, and don’t. At least, not until you can be certain later on in the game that what you did was correct. 

15. Top Decision-Making Games: Tyranny

Source: YouTube/IGN

Ever wanted to play a blood-lusting murderer in a game? Well, with Tyranny, individuals can do just that. 

At the beginning of the game, players enter Conquest mode, which is where they make most of their monumental choices. The twist, however, is that you don’t see the effects of these choices until later on in the game. In addition, most of the choices involve the conflict in the story of the game, and players essentially have to decide which they favor during the gameplay. 

14. Top Decision-Making Games: Heavy Rain

Source: YouTube/Full Playthroughs

Okay, this one is a dark one, and yet, it’s still so, so interesting. Hear us out. 

Players take on the role of a father, who is out to find the Origami Killer, who kidnapped his son. Individuals have to find clues in order to complete the mission, but the Origami Killer does not make it an easy process. And thus, players are faced with some serious moral choices. All we’re going to say is that, at one point or another, players might have to decide whether or not to mutilate themselves or kill someone else with a family.

So, yeah, it’s not an easy game to play, but it’s definitely an interesting one, and if there’s a decision-making game that deserves credit for pushing the limits of the players, it’s this one. 

13. Top Decision-Making Games: Until Dawn

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Are you really surprised to see Until Dawn on this list? You shouldn’t be. It’s the ultimate decision-making game, particularly for fans of the horror genre.

The premise of the game is relatively basic, with a group of teenagers going on vacation together to an isolated cabin. And then they start turning up dead. But here’s where players come in. The game focuses on the concept of the Butterfly Effect, whereby seemingly innocuous decisions could result in devastating consequences further down the line. Throughout the game, individuals control different teenagers, and they have to make certain choices, which, unfortunately, could result in the death of a character. In order to get all eight characters to survive, you’re going to have to be tactical. Are you up for the challenge?

12. Top Decision-Making Games: Papers, Please

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Papers, Please is one of those games that is extremely easy to underestimate. On paper, the game centers on the fictional country of Arstotzka, and players take on the role of an immigration officer, who has to either deny or grant entry to foreigners.

Sounds easy, right? What if I told you that as political tension in the country increases, players have to keep track of new regulations and rules, making the decision of whether to grant access to immigrants that much harder. Do you still think it’s easy? If you’re saying yes, we’re just going to wish you the best of luck, and hope you’re right. 

11. Top Decision-Making Games: Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines

Source: YouTube/IGN

An RPG game, The Masquerade turns players into a vampire that has to maneuver through a story. The game presents players with several choices that they have to make, but the game really starts before it even begins.

Perhaps the most important choice players will make in this game is which clan they want to join at the start of the game, as this will change how you interact with characters and which quests you go on. That and the relationships you form throughout the game will depend on which ending you get. Oh yeah, did we mention that there are different endings? Well, there are, making this an excellent decision-making game. 

10. Top Decision-Making Games: Dragon Age: Origins

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Unlike some of the other games on this list, if you make the wrong decision in Dragon Age: Origins and there are consequences, you will see them immediately. While not true for some, and some consequences do appear later in the game, it’s safe to assume that in this game, all of your actions have consequences, which you will either see seconds later or not until the latter stages. 

In this game, players always have to be on their toes; there is no time for slacking off in Dragon Age: Origins. Bring your A-game, or be prepared to cause some serious damage to the characters in the game. 

9. Top Decision-Making Games: Westerado: Double Barreled

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Okay, this is a cool one. Players are set off on a mission across the wild west to track down the man who murdered their family. The twist, however, is that the game randomly generates the killer, and thus anyone could be the man who murdered your family. With that, players have to be extremely careful about the choices they make when tracking him down. For instance, if you threaten the wrong person, they might not give up the clues they have about the real murderer. Additionally, if you choose to go off on quests, it will depend on which you choose, as some can lock away paths, leaving clues unfound. 

Like Dragon Age: Origins, approach this game with the mindset that all of your decisions have consequences. 

8. Top Decision-Making Games: The Wolf Among Us

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A game that revolves around a murder mystery and a conspiracy plot, what more could gamers want? 

In this game, players take on the role of Sheriff Bigby Wolf as they try to solve a murder. While the choices players make do not necessarily change the story of the game, they will determine which kind of Sheriff Bigby Wolf they take on. Some will become the hero, while others may turn into the exact thing they are trying to stop. The final scene of the game is also determined by the player’s actions, especially their actions toward other characters in the game, so be aware. 

7. Top Decision-Making Games: Dishonored

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Again, we have a game where all of your actions have consequences. Well, they can potentially have consequences. 

In Dishonored, players take on the role of Corvo Attano, the royal bodyguard to the empress who is assassinated, and Attano becomes the prime suspect. To clear your name, you have to rescue the empress’s daughter. It’s not an easy mission, though, as you have to seriously consider the actions that you take in order to reduce panic from civilians. For instance, while it may be easier to kill everyone in your path, how much good do you think that will do when you’re trying to make your claim that you’re not the killer of the empress? We’re going to give you a hint: it’s not going to do a whole lot. 

Play the game and clear your name, but make sure you’re doing it the correct way, not the easy way. 

6. Top Decision-Making Games: Mass Effect

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Most people have probably heard of Mass Effect, considering the franchise has four video games, a comic book series, a theme park ride, and seven novels. One could say it’s popular, and for that reason, we’re giving it a spot on this list. Yet despite its credentials, the premise is somewhat simple.

You’re in a galaxy of aliens, and as Commander Shepard, you have to make decisions about space battles and political intrigue. Perhaps why the game is as popular as it is is because your choices in the game have impacts on characters. Players can lose characters and never see them again, or a character could be with you until the end, even if you didn’t want them to be. 

Keep your squad alive in this game, and always think situations through before sending characters on certain missions. In the end, it might not be worth risking them.

5. Top Decision-Making Games: Analogue: A Hate Story

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In this game, players attempt to solve a mystery by searching through the personal logs of a long-dead colony. The game has an interactive narrative, and players have to talk to the computer’s AIs to get new clips of information. The information focuses on the deaths of members of this colony. 

The player’s choices can be looked at in two ways. When you’re talking to the AIs, your interactions amount to Yes and No choice responses, and thus, you have to be careful about which route you go down. Additionally, players will also have to decide which bits of information they think is valuable as they shift through different text logs. It’s not as advanced as some of the other games on this list, but it’s certainly more realistic in terms of sifting through pages of information. 

4. Top Decision-Making Games: Depression Quest

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Speaking of realistic games, we thought now is the best time to talk about Depression Quest. 

This text-based, interactive story gives individuals an opportunity to see what it’s like to live with depression. It’s an important game, as mental health awareness is needed now more than ever. The options in the game may seem dull, but they have a huge role to play in the personality of your character. For instance, sometimes you have to decide whether you want to go to the party or stay home, or whether you want to work at your desk or stay in bed. Choices like this are extremely significant in character development, even if you don’t think so at the time. 

3. Top Decision-Making Games: Detroit: Become Human

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Aside from the fact that Detroit: Become Human isn’t afraid to tackle social issues like politics, slavery, and discrimination, it’s also a game where the number of outcomes and branching choices is staggering. Seriously. At the end of every chapter, the game shows players a chart of the choices they have made, and all the paths they have unlocked. It also shows you the paths you didn’t unlock, which gives an indication about whether the choices you have made thus far have been helpful in your progress in the game.

Detroit: Become Human is a game that depends largely on the choices players make, but unlike other games, it reminds us of those past choices. 

2. Top Decision-Making Games: The Stanley Parable

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The Stanley Parable is quite eerie, especially the more you play. Users find themselves alone in an office, with no sense of direction or purpose other than listening to the voice of the narrator.

Not only do players have to make choices about where to go in the office (sometimes you’re presented with three doors and have to choose which one), which results in strange situations depending on the selection, players also have to decide whether they want to listen to the narrator or not. And if you decide not to, don’t be surprised if the narrator takes up a, well, harsh tone with you. That’s all we’re going to say about that one. 

The Stanley Parable is eerie, it challenges the mind, and in some ways, it’s completely relatable. The fact that the game centers around the art of narrative is just a bonus. 

1. Top Decision-Making Games: Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

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Just hearing about the premise of this game is enough to freak people out. And yet, it’s also enough to make them want to play the game for hours on end. If you’re so lucky. 

Here’s how the game works: Shattered Memories is divided into two parts, where the first part has the players exploring Silent Hill and avoiding the Things That Go Bump in the Night. And then there’s the second part. The part that involves the therapy sessions—and the psych evaluation. 

In the second part, players participate in therapy sessions where their psych profile is determined. Depending on what happens in these sessions, the game changes accordingly. The world changes to reflects your answers, and if that doesn’t freak you out, you’re braver than us. 

Featured image: PixaBay

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