Hey all!

I’d like to request recommendations (spoiler free!) for games where you need to make choices, take sides, kill or not kill someone, follow or do not follow orders, but where the consequences actually matter - and most importantly, where the choices aren’t “obviously good choice vs obviously bad choice”.

Give me games where I can choose to side with one kingdom or another, but there’s no clear moral high ground, or where I need to decide to save someone dear to me at the cost of innocent lives. I do not want things like “save all the children and get the happy ending and make flowers grow” versus “kill everybody and everything blows up and the world gets all its water replaced by acid”.

What games fit this requirement?

  • @LemmySoloHer
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    4 months ago

    Disco Elysium is a fantastic one. There are an insane amount of choices that shape how you go about the investigation of the hanged man and ultimately what happens beyond that investigation. Choices of who to side with, how to side (openly or playing multiple sides, etc.), choices that ultimately define what kind of detective you are (by-the-book boring, superstar douchebag, violent tough guy, Sherlock Holmes-esque genius, etc., including my favorite: Twin Peaks Lynchian detective that bases their decisions off of dreams, intuition and imaginary conversations with the dead body), and even how failing or succeeding at something can lead to progress in very different ways. If you fail to hit that person you tried to punch, or miss that shot with your gun, or utterly fail to convince someone to help you, you progress through in very different ways so that failing your way to the truth is just as satisfying and entertaining as succeeding your checks to get there.

    And of course Fallout: New Vegas. Whether you choose to support the New California Republic, Caesar’s Legion, Mr. House, or a truly independent New Vegas, none of them are perfect. Each succeeds in an ideal society in some ways but completely fails at others, leaving you to decide which imperfect system you feel is the right one for the world instead of shoving an obvious answer in your face.

    • Carighan Maconar
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      204 months ago

      Or maybe I am some kind of supercop… 🤔

      Disco: Elysium really is an absolutely fantastic game. Hard to describe how much it moved the goal post for these games.

  • @[email protected]
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    4 months ago

    The 3 series is the best at this.

    The first game in the series is Mass Effect 3, which is followed by Witcher 3 and the sequel to that is Baldur’s Gate 3.

    • Julian
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      314 months ago

      Can’t wait for the next one, I hear it’s gonna be called Half-Life 3.

      • @ConstipatedWatson
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        54 months ago

        Wait, what did you just say? So Half Life 3 is confirmed! Yay!

  • @ericbomb
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    544 months ago

    If you like randomly made stories, you can try Rimworld.

    You will quickly find yourself asking very difficult questions. Is taking on the cripple something you can afford to do? Is using medicine on a less valuable colonist smart? Do you let some of your colonists starve, or start a war with friendly neighbors? Cannibalism will make your neighbors hate you and some of your colonists might rebel over it, but that’s better than some of them starving… right?

    • AnonStoleMyPants
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      54 months ago

      I should play Rimworld one of these days. Always heard good things but just never got around it.

      • @[email protected]
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        24 months ago

        If you’re into colony Sims Rimworld is amazing! Biotech and Idology are also great DLC expansions that give you a lot more options. IMO Royalty is the weakest one so if you’re just starting out I might recommend passing on it unless you really love the game

    • @[email protected]
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      84 months ago

      And there’s a lot of things that are just up to chance too. My friend somehow managed to die to the ceiling fan in 2 separate runs.

      • @SlothMama
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        24 months ago

        It’s really easy to do, I died constantly at the beginning

  • DeepFriedDresden
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    404 months ago

    This War of Mine. Honestly can’t believe nobody else has mentioned it.

    You play as a group of civilians in a war torn country. By day you craft things needed for survival like a stove for cooking, guns for protection, barricades to prevent raiders. At night you send one person with a backpack to scavenge an area of your choice for things like food, medicine, supplies etc. The others will either sleep or guard the property. Things you do while scavenging have real effects on your characters. Decided to rob an elderly couple? Your characters will react based on their personality.

    Things become grim fast if you decide to start robbing supplies or get attacked. Your players get sick, become depressed, starve, get hurt etc. I’ve never made it to the end.

    It’s a great way to understand the struggles of being a civilian in a war. The Polish government actually recommends it for educational purposes and the devs have donated a lot of proceeds to charities serving people impacted by war, including Ukraine most recently.

    • @setsneedtofeed
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      4 months ago

      It’s very good, but the tone can be totally broken if you master combat. Killing soldiers doesn’t lower morale, so they are free targets.

      Depending on what locations spawn, it is possible to completely ruin the intended vibe. I’ve wiped out the military outpost and ended up with so many supplies I didn’t know what to do with them all.

    • @B0NK3RS
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      34 months ago

      TWOM is so good. What you say about things going bad fast is very true and the repercussions of something minor are real.

      • DeepFriedDresden
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        74 months ago

        I was a bit aggressive on like my second playthrough and ended up killing a couple people to get their medicine. The guy that killed them was too depressed to scavenge and killed himself. Then another person got depressed because of that and wouldn’t do anything. Then she got sick and died shortly after. I was too sad to play for awhile after that one.

        • @ByteJunk
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          14 months ago

          I feel the same. I’m too traumatized by a couple of my playthroughs to play it anytime soon… But what a great game.

    • @ByteJunk
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      14 months ago

      I was going to mention this game, +1.

      Trying to desperately survive in a world that’s upside down, fighting the hopelessness and trying to survive just one more day and slowly realising the you’re just one day closer to death…

      Man, it’s a really great game, but I can’t play it again anytime soon.

  • Aielman15
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    394 months ago

    The obvious answer is Pathologic. You play as one of three possible characters in a black plague-infested town in the russian steppe, trying to help people and survive.

    As days go by, the situation worsens and, in order to survive, you are forced to make very hard decisions. Can you spare the food for the others? Will you rob someone of their medicines? Will you risk going to the most dangerous parts of the city, where the stench of infection permeates the air?

    I’ll quote The Nocturnal Rambler’s review of the game, which is one of my favourite video game reviewers:

    Making it to the end of a day is a genuine accomplishment in this game, considering all the work you have to do to stay alive, and that the game really doesn’t care if you live or die. It won’t hold your hand to make sure you get through to the end; it’s entirely possible to make it through 10 days and then back yourself into a corner where you have absolutely no hope of survival, short of loading a save from a few (in-game) days ago. Or perhaps to save yourself the agony of replaying several hours of the game, you end up in terrifying, desperate scenarios where you have to sell your only weapon for a few scraps of bread, or murder a child for the medicine he’s carrying while you’re about to die from infection. That’s true horror right there.

    It’s not an easy game and it’s not a good game, even. It’s old and dated and janky, but it’s also full of charm and personality. I wouldn’t say it’s a game meant to be played, as much as it is an experience worth going through. You won’t have fun playing the game. Even if you can overlook its pain points, it’s an objectively oppressive game that will make you feel miserable from beginning to end, and increasingly so. I wouldn’t say it’s for everyone, and I don’t mean that in an elitist way. Some people simply won’t stand this much bleakness during the time they are supposedly spending to find entertainment.

    • ElTacoEsMiPastor
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      54 months ago

      Interesting are all the points you share. I’ve never been so convinced to try a game even after being explicitly told it’ll not be fun. Give me that sweet pain.

      • Kiwi_Girl
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        34 months ago

        Hope you enjoy it then. Please update us when you get around to it!

    • @[email protected]
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      44 months ago

      From what I heard, Pathologic 2 is basically a 2019 remake of the original, so it should be prettier, less janky but still basically the same game, right?

      • Aielman15
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        4 months ago

        I have heard very good things about it, but I can’t talk for myself, as I haven’t played it. My only recommendation is to stay away from the console versions of the game, as I tried it on Xbox One and it was unplayable (heard the same about the PS4 port, too). Maybe it’s better on next gen, but I wouldn’t risk it.

        Two things worth mentioning:

        • The remake only has one character, the Haruspex. If you want to play as the Bachelor or the Changeling, you’ll need to grab the original game.
        • There are difficulty settings in the remake. I would leave them as default, as I think the difficulty of the game, and the conflicting decisions you’ll need to undertake because of it, is an integral part of the experience. That being said, if you really like the game and want to see it through, you can tweak the difficulty a bit, and accessibility is always a plus in my book.
        • Again, this is just hearsay as I haven’t played it, but from what I’ve gathered, Pathologic 2 is more a retelling than a faithful remake. Same setting and same ending, but a different road, so to speak. You could play either one and then move on to the other if you like it.
  • @[email protected]
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    304 months ago

    I’m a big fan of Tyranny by Obsidian Entertainment. Classic CRPG, isomorphic for the majority of it. The game starts with you making decisions that set the initial state of the world as you lead the army that finishes your evil overlord’s conquest of the world. Then the game truly starts and goes on to be one of my favourite CRPGs of all time.

    • JamesBean
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      54 months ago

      The word you’re looking for there is ‘isometric.’

    • Lycist
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      34 months ago

      Popped in to mention Tyranny, saw it was the first comment.

      Absolutely LOVE Tyranny, its got so many morally questionable choices to make! I really, really hope Obsidian makes a sequel!

    • Keegen
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      4 months ago

      One of the few games where I gravitated towards the lawful evil route because it just felt so natural. It’s such a shame we will probably never see a sequel.

  • germtm.
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    274 months ago

    Spec Ops: The Line is a pretty decent pick when it comes to having “morally ambiguous choices”. the game itself states that there are no “real good choices” and thus, you must pick between the two evils.

  • RHOPKINS13
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    254 months ago

    Pokémon. You get to choose from Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle for your starter. And everyone you know will judge you for which starter you picked.

  • @Fridgeratr
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    254 months ago

    Baldur’s Gate 3! The amount of ways the game can play out is extremely impressive. There are a lot of tough choices to make that can greatly affect your party and even the world as a whole

    • @Frogster8
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      84 months ago

      I’d disagree tbh, so far most of the decisions seem pretty clear cut

      e.g save village vs side with hoblinss goblins to kill everyone (vague enough to not be spoiler hopefully)

      • @[email protected]
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        4 months ago

        Some are harder as you go, but yeah nothing is too hard until the end of some storylines in act 3, which is of course what you would expect.

        • @[email protected]
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          44 months ago

          I’ll be honest, I really didn’t come across any. The “challenging moral decisions” werenot hard choices, no matter how many of my party members took them out of context and got pissy.

          Unpopular opinion, but for a game with such immaculate writing for two Acts, Act 3 is such a fucking shit show of mediocre writing and forgotten story threads.

          • @[email protected]
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            34 months ago

            Not that controversial, I also didn’t think act 3 was up to the par of 1 and 2.

            I felt like the last 3 big decisions you make were pretty hard. I’m not sure how to do spoiler tags otherwise I’d be more specific

        • soli
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          14 months ago

          I also disagree. Even discounting the large number of choices which were just a binary where one side was cartoonishly evil, I didn’t remember any I found impactful.

          I ended up following The Emperor path in Act 3 . There wasn’t a moment where I got to weigh up the pros and cons of each major path, as I had decided I didn’t trust Raphael already and he doesn’t give you enough detail to do so if you don’t play along when you meet him at the start of Act 3. If I had then maybe the Orpheus stuff could have given me pause, but that’s not how it played out.

          I think part of this was playing as Tav though, as the decisions with real emotional weight are all centered on origin characters and I didn’t dictate what my companions should do for things that were so personal. Shadowheart’s choice in Act III strikes me as one that probably would have hit.

          But the bigger issue is I think Larian just isn’t very good at writing evil. You never get those moments of practical evil. I don’t remember ever having to consider doing something horrible for the greater good or being desperate enough to do something compromising out of self preservation. It was all evil for evil’s sake.

          which is of course what you would expect

          Nah. I would expect there to be difficult choices before the final act, especially in a game so long.

  • @Nibodhika
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    244 months ago

    Life is strange is very close to what you’re asking, in the game you can rewind time to a limited degree to try different thing, but sometimes your actions only have consequences much further into the game. Even the things that you can rewind and try different things there’s rarely a clear better choice, since all of them are morally ambiguous, do you take a picture of the security guard harassing a student or do you intervene? One is obviously better, but the other gives you proof which you might need later on.

    • @[email protected]
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      54 months ago

      Amazed I had to scroll this far to see LiS mentioned.

      There’s a decision in the first game that legitimately made me get up from the computer and walk away. Absolutely fucking brutal game.

      • misery mansion
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        34 months ago

        I know exactly the part you mean and same. Amazing moment. I also LOVED the sequel. Criminal that it didn’t do as well as they wanted because I want them to make an even bigger version next. True Colours was pretty good though

    • @LifeCoffeeGaming
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      94 months ago

      +1 for Frostpunk. Great city builder where the choices you make are often between the lesser of two evils. Very difficult, expect to lose your first few runs!

    • wia
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      34 months ago

      SO STRESSFUL!

      I love this game so much. I have to constantly walk away from the stress lol.

  • @Moghul
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    4 months ago

    Cyberpunk, and specifically the Phantom Liberty DLC.

    I know 2077 has a bad rep for its terrible release, but the game excels in storytelling and mocap above all else. The DLC is accessible at the end of the prologue and requires that you make several hard choices which have a major impact on the dlc’s conclusion.

    The DLC is also chok full of side quests and contracts that don’t affect the overall story but can affect your relationship with various factions, and that are affected by other choices made outside the DLC. The quests also feature various difficult choices. Do you kill the guy you were hired to kill, or do you give them a second chance so they can get treated for the cyberpsychosis that made them lash out in the first place?

    I can’t recommend this game enough, honestly.

    Edit: If you want more details, or have questions, just ask. I don’t want to spoil too much.

    • @yamanii
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      44 months ago

      Oh man that choice was hard, I legit paused.