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Top 10 Conspiracy Themed Video Games

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Kurt Hvorup
Script written by Kurt Hvorup How good these games are is no conspiracy! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Conspiracy Themed Video Games. To have your ideas turned into a WatchMojo or MojoPlays video, head over to http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and get to it!
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Top 10 Conspiracy Themed Video Games

Get out your red string and tinfoil hats! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Conspiracy Themed Video Games.

For this list, we’re looking at the games that best deliver on secret agendas, age-old plots against the state, and all manner of convoluted yet compelling schemes. As we’ll be discussing narrative while identifying why these titles are so adept at weaving in conspiratorial yarns, please note that there will be major spoilers ahead.

#10: “Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst” (2016)



While we admire developer EA DICE for their work on the original “Mirror’s Edge”, its sequel “Catalyst” stands out just a bit more. For starters, the city of Glass – the game’s setting - is clearly defined as a totalitarian realm where people are divided by caste and social media is a means of monitoring all. As parkour-reliant courier Faith Connors goes about her usual routine of dodging the police and making risky drops, she becomes aware that the government has plans to introduce nanomachine-based control into the mix. Of course, Faith being the disruptive sort means that players get their shot at fighting the system, one open-world mission at a time.

#9: “L.A. Noire” (2011)



Nothing like a hardboiled detective going up against the criminal underworld of 1940s Los Angeles, huh? “L.A. Noire” initially seems as though it’ll play out as just another crime procedural, albeit one that’s faithful to the time period and sporting the advanced MotionScan performance capture technology. We guide detective Cole Phelps through many a grim case of murder and mayhem... and then the plot begins to explore themes of police corruption and the complicated lives of veterans after the war. By the story’s end, “L.A. Noire” has much to highlight about the ways in which authority figures use and abuse vulnerable people for personal gain, and it’s as provocative as it is devastating.

#8: “XIII” (2003)



Based loosely on a long-running comic book of the same name, “XIII” is not shy about wearing its conspiracy thriller heritage on its sleeve. Right from the outset, the player is dropped into the shoes of an amnesiac man, who immediately has to contend with persistent assassins and hints of a less-than-admirable past. From there it’s a matter of running and gunning through a succession of themed levels, all the while being drawn into a plot to kill the U.S. President and topple the government from within. This is the stuff that high-quality pulp fiction is made of, and thanks to its stylized cel-shaded art style, it holds up beautifully.

#7: “Beyond Good & Evil” (2003)



In “Beyond Good & Evil” you play as photographer and orphanage caretaker Jade as she sets out to investigate rather strange disappearances. The game’s framing of her efforts as a blend of stealth infiltration, melee combat encounters and the photography mechanic are what made this game such a classic, but the story, which involves human trafficking and a plot to stop life-draining aliens adds intrigue and atmosphere to an already stellar experience. It also doesn’t hurt that “Beyond Good & Evil” cleverly uses the initial hook of a private investigation to mask a much more personal story.

#6: “Max Payne” (2001)



We might be hooked in by the slow-motion gunplay and the neo-noir affectation, but the darker mysteries at play are what keep us drawn to “Max Payne”. Developed by Remedy Entertainment, it tells the story of the titular New York detective who opts to dive into a deep-cover operation after the loss of his wife and child. Before long, though, players are pulled into layer upon layer of competing schemes – drug distribution, secret military experiments, even a mysterious cabal – as Max tries to attain some semblance of justice. Unraveling the plot one shootout at a time doesn’t cease to be entertaining, especially with Max’s voice actor James McCaffrey infusing plenty of pathos and dry wit into the role.

#5: “Dishonored” (2012)



Plague riddles the streets, the reigning Empress is dead, and her bodyguard Corvo Attano is accused of treason. Thus begins the harrowing yet endearing dive into steampunk shenanigans that is “Dishonored”, a spiritual successor to the likes of “System Shock” and “Thief: The Dark Project”. Much like those earlier titles, the player spends much of their time sneaking around and parsing out the details of the larger world – but here it’s a matter of pinpointing who betrayed Corvo and why. The amount of detail in the world’s history and mythos, coupled with a marvelous watercolor painting aesthetic and truly dark and interesting character reveals make this a story you have to experience for yourself.

#4: “Assassin’s Creed II” (2009)



Building on the framework of the original “Assassin’s Creed”, this sequel picks up nearly 300 years later in the midst of the Italian Renaissance. Players guide Ezio Auditore in his years-long quest to avenge the murder of his brothers and father... only for fate and certain political machinations to offer another path. “Assassin’s Creed II” makes use of both its central revenge plot and the exploration of its open world to lure the audience into a deeper tale of age-old feuds and violence begetting violence. For those also keen on historically-inspired drama and science-fiction twists, the game delivers on that count too.

#3: “Perfect Dark” (2000)



Once upon a time, few quite grasped the sleek beauty of a well-paced action game quite like Rare. Their spiritual follow-up to 1997’s “GoldenEye 007” opted for a change in many aspects: a woman as the globe-trotting spy protagonist, an original mythology and backstory... and a truly unexpected conspiracy plot. Initially, “Perfect Dark” aims to deliver what appears to be quite the familiar spy thriller tale, albeit with Rare’s love of unorthodox weapon design and the slick confidence of its heroine Joanna Dark. However, the game proves itself more than meets the eye once dueling alien armies and a scheme to replace world leaders with clones come into play.

#2: “Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty” (2001)



When Hideo Kojima wants to make a point, he’ll make damn sure to hammer it home in blunt, methodical fashion. That’s key to understanding why “Sons of Liberty” initially presents itself as another tense action-thriller focused on the exploits of Solid Snake, before pulling out the rug from beneath our feet. In reality, Kojima and his team used this pretense to set up some of gaming’s most eccentric yet intricately plotted political machinations – ranging from information control to the subtle rigging of presidential elections. That plus greater emphasis on precision shooting and a bold decision to switch the player character made for a game that still feels relevant today.

#1: “Deus Ex” series (2000-)



Nothing else feels quite as right here than the series best known for weaving conspiracy thriller fare into its intricately designed worlds. “Deus Ex” emerged right at the dawn of the New Millenium to both embody the spirit of the immersive sim genre and deliver tense, action-packed tales about shadowy corporations lording over humanity. Its legacy would be carried forth in the 2003 sequel “Invisible War” before the series went on a long hiatus and developer Ion Storm closed shop in 2005. However, thanks to the efforts of inheriting studio Eidos Montreal, the original game’s themes of societal breakdown and corporate powers dominating all live on through 2011’s “Human Revolution” and its direct sequel “Mankind Divided”.
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