Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective and does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.
Among the many genres of video games, there is one that literally dominated the industry at one time. It's about quests. Now this genre has been significantly pressed by others, especially MMORPGs, but quests still have a worthy place in the hearts of gamers, and not only the old school. The editors, guided by the conclusions of our specialists, have prepared a special rating of the best quests to date, compatible with the PC platform and OS Windows. This review focuses on detective quests with a component of adventure and action, as well as games with a special, unique atmosphere and a unique plot.
- Rating of the best quest games on PC
- The best classic PC quests
- The myst
- The longest journey
- The best detective quests on PC
- Nancy Drew series
- Sherlock Holmes series
- Still life
- L. A. Noire
- The best atmospheric quests on PC
- To the moon
- Dear Esther
Rating of the best quest games on PC
|Nomination||a place||game name||rating|
|The best classic PC quests||1||The myst||5.0|
|2||The longest journey||4.9|
|The best detective quests on PC||1||Nancy Drew series||5.0|
|2||Sherlock Holmes series||4.9|
|4||L. A. Noire||4.7|
|The best atmospheric quests on PC||1||To the moon||5.0|
The best classic PC quests
In the first nomination, we will consider two quest-style games that combine all the features of the immortal classics of the genre. These are Myst and The longest journey .
The first issue is a real legend, a classic quest that won the hearts of gamers around the world back in the distant 90s of the last century, in the golden era of quest building. Since then, the game has successfully gone through many re-releases. An entire generation has literally grown on Myst. Throughout its history, the volume of official sales of this series of quests has exceeded 12 million, and the concept itself has spawned a whole subgenre.
The creators of the first The Myst and the founders of the whole game series were four professionals – artist Chuck Carter, sound engineer Chris Brandcamp and game designers Millers. The combination of the intellect and inspiration of these people became the factor behind the flawlessness of the game in key areas – graphics, game world, music and storyline.
Actually, according to the plot, Myst is a mysterious island that does not belong to our world. The main character of the quest falls on him – a certain Wanderer, who discovered a magic book with the same name, which opened a portal for him to this fantastic world. On the island, the Wanderer discovers a whole library of no less mysterious books, and now his task is to find the missing pages to the books, and in the end to unravel the mystery of the island. This extremely laconic description gives only an extremely distant idea of the richness, richness and originality of the game's plot. Many experts, including specialists, agree that neither before nor after The Myst had a more interesting and exciting story in the game.
Another notable feature of The Myst is its gameplay. The Wanderer player travels through wonderful worlds, using strange books scattered here and there as portals. Such a portal can be opened only by solving mostly complex, but extremely interesting riddles. Unlike many other quests, here the character has no deadly enemies, and the Wanderer cannot die from hostile units or the environment itself. All the difficulties he faces are purely intellectual and situational. He needs to solve all the puzzles and open all the portals, since to complete the game you need to visit all the worlds. The plot keeps the player in suspense until the very end, when on the basis of the collected information it is necessary to make an extremely difficult choice. In different parts of the game, alternative endings are implemented.
When it comes to difficulty, The Myst is one of the most difficult quests in history. This arouses double expert interest in this game as a kind of phenomenon, since excessive complexity often causes rejection among players. Here the situation is reversed – one of the most difficult quests has become the most popular in its niche.
- one of the most original, interesting and exciting stories in the genre;
- full-fledged reprints for modern platforms;
- quality of graphics in the latest series;
- beautiful, dissimilar game worlds;
- musical arrangement;
- high, sometimes annoying difficulty of passing and untangling puzzles.
The longest journey
The second place of honor in our rating is occupied by another classic quest, which, although it does not compare in popularity with the series The Myst, nevertheless, has become a real event in the gaming industry in general and in the quest genre in particular. The Longest Journey game (in Russian localization – Endless Journey) was created within the walls of the Norwegian company Funcom. The idea of the project belongs to the talented and at that time already highly educated developer Ragnar Tornqvist. The first original edition came out in November 1999.
The main character of the game is a young girl April, who left not the most prosperous parents, and lives in Newport in a boarding house, preparing to enter the art academy. Everything would be fine if it weren't for the strange hyperrealistic dreams, sometimes very frightening, that visit April almost every night. In them, the girl sees a fantastic world with no less fantastic creatures and disembodied otherworldly forces.
At a certain moment, it turns out that strange dreams are by no means “games” of the brain, but a reflection of a parallel world. April finds out that reality is actually divided into two worlds – Stark and Arcadia. The first is our usual world of science and technology, in which there is no place for anything supernatural. Arcadia is the embodiment of all possible human ideas about magic, sorcery, fantasy peoples and races, epic confrontations between Good and Evil. There is a fragile balance between the two worlds, the violation of which threatens with catastrophic consequences. It is in Arcadia, according to the plot, that April falls, and she has to find herself in the thick of fantastic events.
As such, there is no single goal in the game. The player will have 'just' fascinating journeys through a huge and incredibly beautiful game world, studying the principles of the existence of mystical Arcadia, meeting interesting characters, unraveling complex puzzles and solving problems to maintain Balance. The plot captures from the first minutes, and gives an exciting pastime.
Despite the age of the game, The Longest Journey boasts amazing graphics. This even applies to the main character – April Ryan has earned the honorary title of one of the most beautiful heroines in the history of video games. The quest itself at one time became the Game of the Year according to many specialized publications. The sequel Dreamfall: The Longest Journey should not be confused with the original quest, since although it talks about the further adventures of April, this game is still not a direct continuation of TLJ.
In 2014, the game was fully re-released for the platform iOS and received the Remastered prefix to the name.
- impressive, captivating storyline;
- a large and colorful game universe;
- wide freedom of action;
- musical accompaniment;
- long journey;
- high-quality Russian localization.
- sometimes drawn-out dialogues.
The best detective quests on PC
The second nomination in the rating of the best quests according to the version includes a selection of games of this genre in the style of a detective. This subgenre for quests is one of the most organic and natural. After all, where else, if not in a detective story, is it most appropriate to solve puzzles, guess riddles and unravel all sorts of plot intricacies.
Nancy Drew series
And the first number in this collection is a whole series of quest games about the girl detective Nancy Drew. This is perhaps the largest game series in the history of the genre, consisting of as many as 33 parts, each of which is a separate full-fledged game. The series started back in 1998, and up to the present day it keeps a stable user interest – the release of the 33rd part is planned for 2019.
The Nancy Drew series has a direct literary basis. All games are based on the corresponding literary works written by a group of authors under the collective pseudonym Caroline Keane. That is why each individual game has its own storyline with an intriguing plot and plot. The player is always required the same thing – to reincarnate as Nancy, accept a challenge in the form of a complex case, travel the game world, collect evidence, interrogate suspects, unravel puzzles and, in the end, solve the case.
Most of the games in the series are characterized by high-quality graphics, a convenient and typical quest interface, several difficulty levels, and alternative endings. It must be admitted that some games in the series met with mixed reactions from fans, up to almost disastrous results. However, against the background of general positive feedback, some unsuccessful innovations are lost.
For a long time, the New Disc company was engaged in Russian localization of the series at a professional level, but at some point the studio stopped working on the project for technical reasons. However, the fan community took up the baton pretty quickly, and quality amateur translations were not long in coming.
The 'official' target audience for this quest series is teenage girls. This is indicated by both the style of the game itself and the complexity of the game puzzles (not too high). However, the success of the series has long left the boundaries of the initially targeted target audience, especially considering the fact that the genre of quests itself is now going through hard times.
- a huge game series;
- original plots;
- impressive, killer-gardener twists and turns;
- a large community of like-minded fans;
- high-quality musical arrangement of locations;
- professional Russian localization of most of the games.
- there are frankly failed episodes in the series.
Sherlock Holmes series
The second number in this nomination of the rating will consider another series of quest games in which the central character is not just anyone, but Sherlock Holmes himself. The scale of the series is much more modest than Nancy Drew – only 8 games were released. But still, this product of the Frogwares studio is able to captivate the player for a long time and give unforgettable emotions from the main feature of quests – the 'eureka!' The series evokes doubly warm feelings among fans of the original work of Conan Doyle, since the plots of the games are in many ways similar to all volumes of the classic detective novel, and everyone will be pleased to interact with their favorite characters who have come to life.
The games are designed in the style of a classic quest with a predominantly first-person view. All games, starting with the first, have a panoramic view function. The player controls, depending on the specific episode, either Sherlock Holmes, or Holmes and Watson, or some other additional characters.
Each individual game is built around a separate plot, which may closely overlap with the original novel, or it may go far to the side. One way or another, in each part the player will have to unravel another intricate case. To do this, you will need to carefully research the locations, communicate with the characters, tensely ponder the options for the development of alleged events, build inferences and, of course, apply deduction – where can we go without it ?! By the way, the game will offer a convenient tool for this – the Deductive Table.
On the whole, Frogwares' definitely successful game product is not without its drawbacks. And if most of the criticism from the players is purely subjective, then the cardinal changes in the appearance of the main characters look at least a strange decision of the developers.
The entire game series was created originally for the PC. The most successful episodes were later ported to other platforms – Xbox, Mac, Nintendo Wii and others. The first episodes of the quest were reissued and updated.
- high-quality graphics;
- high intellectual component;
- dynamic action sequences;
- panoramic view starting from the very first game;
- voiced by Vasily Livanov in one of the parts.
- dramatically changing appearance of the main characters from series to series;
- not everyone likes the abundance of bloody scenes.
And again in our ranking is a talented woman detective, only not Nancy Drew, but Victoria McPherson – an FBI agent and the main character of the Still Life trilogy of quests. To be precise, this game series can be considered a trilogy only if you add the very first game that bore a different name – Post Mortem, and two issues of the Still Life quest are actually its continuation. Post Mortem came out in 2003, and the first Still Life quest two years later in 2005.
The game takes place in the early 2000s in Chicago. The main character is exclusively engaged in the investigation of the bloody serial murders taking place in the city. The criminal is so cleverly covering his tracks that the FBI for a long time cannot find a single worthwhile lead. One fine day, Victoria McPherson accidentally finds the diary of her grandfather Gustav at home. Victoria's ancestor was also detectives, and, as it turned out, he was investigating a similar series of murders with identical handwriting, but that occurred overseas – in Prague in the 1920s.
The separation of ages is one of the notable features of this quest. The player will actually move in time, playing either for the modern FBI employee Victoria, or for her grandfather, the detective Gustav. Links between the grisly murders in Chicago and the long-forgotten similar crimes in Prague will gradually be discovered.
As in any other detective quest, in Still Life the player will have to wander around the dark back streets a lot, collect evidence, interrogate witnesses, consult with forensic experts, and keep various murky personalities as informants. The contrast between the technical arsenal of the modern FBI sheep and the vintage detective's tools of the early 20th century will be interesting.
Unlike Post Mortem, in both parts of Still Life, the game is played not from the first, but from the third person. Game objects are three-dimensional, backgrounds are two-dimensional. The second part – Still Life 2 – in the opinion of most users turned out to be not as exciting as the first, and besides, it contains unpleasant bugs. However, it is in the second part that all the riddles open, so no matter what, after passing the first part, the incentive to go through the second game will be rather big.
- fascinating plot;
- play in two eras;
- high-quality graphics (at the time of release);
- musical arrangement.
- a lot of bugs in the second part.
L. A. Noire
The list of the best detective quests is completed by the undisputed leader of the 'fan sympathies' in this subgenre – the gloomy, but unusually fascinating and atmospheric L. A. Noire. This is a relatively new game developed by Australian studio Team Bondi and released in 2011. With an overwhelming success and a string of rave reviews from prestigious industry publications, L. A. Noire was quickly ported to a variety of platforms other than PC.
The action takes place in Los Angeles in 1947. The main character is LAPD police detective Cole Phelps. Cole is, obviously, investigating crimes. To do this, he conducts operational-search activities, involving other characters in the game. In the course of investigative actions, all sorts of unforeseen situations may arise, forcing the protagonist to chase the intruders, engage in firefights, and try to outwit the enemy.
As you can see, this game has a significant action component that has become an important factor in the success of the game. The mixing of styles makes this game not only and not so much a quest as a full-fledged action-adventure detective simulator. In addition to the story missions themselves, L. A. Noire has another game aspect – the main character can and is sometimes forced to take calls on a police radio, later dealing with another street crime.
The character can move both on foot and in various cars, which will be provided to him as he progresses in the game. The player also has access to equipment of 10 suits with different properties, including those that increase defense or even shooting accuracy.
- fascinating plot;
- graphic arts;
- noir atmosphere;
- action component;
- insufficient optimization.
The best atmospheric quests on PC
The third nomination in the rating of the best games in the quest genre according to the version is the games in which the developers were able to embody a completely unique atmosphere. Here in the first place is not the intricacy of the game puzzles, not the difficulty of passing, but psychological immersion in the game as an alternative reality, or, as an option, heartfelt empathy for the feelings of the characters. Actually, the term 'atmosphere' is more or less applicable to any of the quests described above, but this collection will focus on those games where this component is brought to the fore.
To the moon
Let's start with the most controversial quest in our entire review. And this ambiguity concerns primarily the visual component – graphics. Despite the fact that the game was released relatively recently – at the end of 2011, the graphics in it look like 'hello' from the early 90s of the last century. To The Moon was also heavily criticized for its primitive gameplay. But the rest of the game has received such a heap of various awards, nominations and rave reviews that you can close your eyes to these obvious shortcomings.
The main characters in the game are employees of the futuristic organization Sigmund Eva Rosalyn and Neil Watts. The organization is engaged in the practical application of the latest scientific advances – 'implanting' clients-customers with desired memories. Most often, this service is ordered by clients whose days are almost numbered. So they try to replace their memory in order to at least create a convincing illusion that they have achieved what they dreamed of.
In the game, Eve and Neil work with another dying client – an elderly man named Johnny. Plunging into his memories, scientists discover for themselves and for the player an amazing story of an unusual client. His cherished dream is to visit the moon. That dream will never come true, and Johnny's last chance to die happy is to trust the Sigmund staff.
This game is a kind of interactive story, the pages of which the player turns over, going through locations, solving riddles, re-reading the dialogues of the characters. You gradually immerse yourself in Johnny's memory, discovering layer after layer of the reasons why his life turned out that way, and where this desire to fly to the moon came from.
This is a story about love and devotion, life and death, the meaning of life, eternal human values and everything that makes even an inveterate cynic silently ponder. Amazing musical accompaniment contributes to piercing emotions.
To The Moon has been nominated for multiple awards and won the GameSpot Best Story title. In 2011, the game had the highest rating on Metacritic. Rarely has a game in this genre been truly called a work of art by critics, and To The Moon is just one of those games.
- lively and original plot;
- acute emotional component.
- primitive graphics and gameplay.
Continuing the theme of 'soulfulness' in our rating, consider another unusual quest – Machinarium. This is the most classic point-and-click quest, executed in the original style and having its own unique charm.
The action takes place in a kind of post-apocalyptic world, where a whole civilization of robots lives. Moreover, cats, dogs and other creatures in this world, namely in the city of Machinarium, are also mechanical. The protagonist of the game is the robot scavenger Josef, who, ironically and tragically, ended up in a junkyard.
Robot Josef will have to get out of the trap, get to the city and save the mayor, who was previously infected with a serious illness by the representatives of the Black Hats gang – a criminal organization terrorizing peaceful robotic inhabitants. Overcoming a lot of obstacles and solving many situational puzzles, Joseph does everything that is required of him. All this time, he yearns for his girlfriend, whom he also lost through the fault of the Black Hats.
There is no introductory video that would explain the plot of the game in Machinarium. Why Joseph ended up in a junkyard, what he needs to do, and what is happening here in general, the player guesses in the course of the action – the robot periodically indulges in touching memories and mental anguish.
Machinarium has important features that make this quest significantly different from other games in the genre. So, the main character can interact only with those objects that are in the immediate reach. In addition, Josef can stretch and contract his own body (body) – this is done in order to reach something suspended high or squeeze into a narrow passage. There are no dialogues in the usual quest format in the game. Instead, animated 'thought clouds' are used.
Difficulties with passing certain areas can be solved without Google – the game has its own walkthrough guide, which can be accessed by going through a simple scrolling shooter game. Also, a convenient system of hints and hints has been implemented to help the player.
The Machinarium game is an example of maximum return with minimum investment. The development budget was limited by the personal and extremely modest funds of the creator – Jakub Dvorski. Last but not least, the work on the game took quite a long time – three years. But when the quest was released, the reaction of the public, critics and specialized publications was enthusiastic. The game has received the most prestigious awards, including 'Quest of the Year' and 'Best Indie Game' by a number of industry publications, as well as 'Excellence in Visual Art' at the 12th annual Independent Games Festival.
- original idea;
- impeccable visual style;
- sound design;
- non-standard ideas;
- empathic involvement;
- high-quality Russian localization in the final version of 2017.
- too short;
- many puzzles are nearly impossible to untangle without a clue.
Now, in the ranking of the best PC quests, according to the version, we will pay attention to the once super popular subgenre – platforming. At one time, almost every first computer game was exactly a platformer – 'oldfags' well remember the first series of Super Mario, the immortal Prince of Egypt and the like. In the conditions of modern capacities of personal computers, the quest-platformer can earn popularity only if there is a distinct 'zest'. And Limbo certainly has one.
This is a story about a little boy who is trying to find his sister, and not just anywhere, but in Limba – an eerie and gloomy border world, where, according to Catholic tradition, the souls of unbaptized children vegetate in anticipation of the Last Judgment. In this terrible place, a lot of dangers await the boy, and he will have to die countless times from an unfriendly environment and chthonic monsters, starting his path again from the previous starting point.
For those who have just seen screenshots of game scenes from Limbo, it may seem that graphics are almost in last place here. However, from the very first minutes of the game it becomes clear that this is not the case. Cool black and white minimalism of the picture is not a bug, but a feature. Soft, lifelike animations add physical authenticity (as much as the term is generally applied to platformers) and help you immerse yourself in this surreal action.
The dynamics of the game are perfectly balanced – the unhurried passage of sections is evenly diluted with rapid chases, acute dangers and other 'adrenaline generators', including sound design.
Against the background of all the listed remarkable qualities, it is worth emphasizing that the main component of Limbo is the atmosphere. Pinchingly dreary, gloomy, frightening in places, but certainly bewitching and beautiful in its 'otherworldly' aesthetics.
The game was so successful that dozens of other studios immediately wanted to repeat this triumph. Even outright clones appeared, repeating almost all the ideas of the original. However, no one managed to achieve that invisible combination of qualities that captivated the hearts of a huge mass of fans around the world.
- original idea;
- game mechanics;
- balance of 'calm' and 'adrenaline' areas;
- minimalistic but exceptionally high quality graphics.
- the abundance of vulgar 'platforming' clichés in the third third of the game;
- too short.
And at the end of the rating of the best PC quests in its 'atmospheric' part, let's consider something completely unusual. This is an experimental arthouse project by University of Portsmouth professor Dan Pinchback. The music for the game was written by Pinchback's colleague, composer Jessica Carrie. Dear Esther is pretty far from the classic quests. Many experts classify this mesmerizing game as a kind of telenovela with travel, quest, and even a bit of horror.
The action takes place on a god-forsaken island, where once there were people and even did something, as evidenced by abandoned buildings and no less abandoned ships and boats near the coast. Post-apocalyptic desolation, decay and despair reign here. The only thing that has not yet turned into ruins is the old lighthouse, which still shines with a pulsating red searchlight for no one knows. It is this lighthouse, shining in the distance, that is the goal of the game. The character needs to get to the lighthouse. What for? Unclear. This will probably become clear at the end. What kind of island is this? What did the main character forget here? Where have all the people gone? Who is Esther? This puzzle game asks more questions than it answers, and as you progress it becomes clear that this is the essence of it.
There are no external enemies or allies in Dear Esther, no environmental hazards, no clear backstory, not even a hint of action. All that the player needs to do is to wander in the character's body on a mysterious island, explore locations, gradually moving towards the goal – a lighthouse. However, it quickly becomes clear that the essence of what is happening is not at all in the journey, and, moreover, not in those elementary puzzles that will have to be solved in order to move forward. The whole point is in snatches of the protagonist's monologues, which resemble short letters that begin with the address 'Dear Esther …' They gradually reveal the inner world of the protagonist, mental anguish emerges, and the deepest life tragedy is revealed. It becomes clear who Esther is, and the player begins to guess what this strange place is, and why the main character is here.
This is a meditation game, a puzzle game, a thinking game. Here, the player willy-nilly will be imbued with an atmosphere that can dive frighteningly deep into his own subconscious. Dear Esther leaves a unique aftertaste, makes you think about eternal values and your own life in general.
For all the art house and unlike anything else, Dear Esther was a resounding success. The game paid off for its creators in the first six months of sales on Steam. For a Russian-speaking user, an offensive drawback is the lack of professional localization. There are only amateur translations of text subtitles. But this, of course, is not a problem of the game itself, but of a strange lack of interest in it from professional studios.
- extremely original idea;
- enchanting landscapes;
- sound and musical design;
- unforgettable aftertaste;
- acute emotional component.
- in English only.
Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.