For some gamers, video games are all about the quality of its gameplay. However, for others, nothing will make us love as game more than a story and world that we can really get wrapped up in. Yet, all great games must end, even if we don't want them to. While they often continue in novels, the best way to see a game's story and world continue is in the visual realm of comics.
Last of Us: American Dreams
The Left Behind DLC of The Last of Us did a pretty good job as a prequel to the game, but a little extra story never hurts. Since Naughty Dog continues to maintain the will-they, won't-they guise on whether or not they will make a sequel to The Last of Us, the only story they can continue to tell in the comics is that of Ellie before Joel (though watching Joel be brooding and violent before Ellie might not be such a bad story either).
The Last of Us: American Dream focuses on the developing relationship of Ellie and Riley set amidst the confines of an oppressive military boarding school. Although the art style leaves behind the gritty realism from the game, it tells a poignant, fun story and gives the reader a glimpse into a new, rebellious Ellie that is just as fun as the teen we grew to love in the original material.
What's better than playing an atmospheric, bone-chilling, survival horror game? Reading about the different stories instead so you don't look like a wuss when your first instinct is to drop your controller and run away from the TV. No, joking aside, Silent Hill has mostly had some amazing stories throughout their games and that continues in the side stories and character-expanding comics. The world of Silent Hill is brought to life in a way that was once impossible with current game graphics of the day, telling some visceral, terrifying tales.
Silent Hill: Dying Inside - Dying Inside has five issues, but tells two different stories. The first two issues tell the story of Dr. Troy Abernathy and his patient Lynn DeAngelis who sought to make a movie in Silent Hill, but came back with severe delusions. The doctor takes her back to the town in hopes to cure her, but finds that he has entered a world of his own inner fears. The following three issues tells the story of a group of goth kids that find Lynn's movie and go to the town in order to make their own film for quick cash. Both stories feature a demonic little girl named Christabella as the antagonist.
Silent Hill: Three Bloody Tales - Like its name suggests, Three Bloody Tales features three standalone stories that take place in the town, Among the Damned, Paint It Black, and The Grinning Man. From non-believers and pranks gone array, to a man willing to suffer for his art, each tale within is more chilling than the last.
Silent Hill: Dead/Alive - Dead/Alive ties in with both Dying inside and the standalone Paint It Black short story in the Three Bloody Tales anthology. In Dead/Alive, Dr. Abernathy, Lauryn (the goth protagonist from the second half) and Christabella return, as well as Ike from Paint It Black. The story focuses on Christabella, who has escaped Lauryn and meets a witch that wants to create hell on earth.
Silent Hill: Sinner's Reward - Across its four issues, Sinner's Reward tells the tale of hitman Jack Stanton who chases after a fellow hitman that has abducted his wife and taken her to Silent Hill. Upon entering to search for his wife, Jack finds himself confronted with the many sins of his past.
Silent Hill: Past Life- This four-issue comic takes fans back to the origins of Silent Hill back in 1867 following criminal and gunslinger Jeb "Hellrider" Foster and his wife Esther Monroe who have both moved into town, proving that this little town has always forced people to come to terms with their past.
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Metal Gear Solid
Unlike other video game comics that expand the world, story, and characters presented in the game, the Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty comics actually just tell the events of the first two games. Considering the graphics were less than stellar for both, it is great to see the games play out in stunning visuals and not having to sit through another tedious remake of yet another old game.
However, the best part of the Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty comic is that many of the scenes that involved Raiden were replaced with scenes that involve Snake. Though there is less nude cartwheeling and Raiden is painted as less of a wuss. So there's that.
One would think that Mortal Kombat with its multiple realms, powerful gods, gratuitous violence, and shadowy intrigue would be a ripe inspiration for the world of comics. However, it was not until the approaching release of Mortal Kombat X that the game made an entrance into comics with the simply named Mortal Kombat X.
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Since the release of the first game in the series, Dragon Age: Origins, the world of Dragon Age has been expanded in not just a series of novels, but five different stories told in the comic medium. Although the comics didn't truly begin to roll out until the release of the second game, with its likeable characters yet terrible gameplay, the stories that are told help flesh out the universe and fill in some gaps that were previously missing from the lore.
Dragon Age - Taking place before the events of Dragon Age: Origins (presumably) and spanning six issues, the simply named Dragon Age gives readers a deeper look at the relationship between templars and mages as well as the Circle and apostate mages through the eyes of the faction neutral character Gleam, who is the child of both a mage and a templar and raised outside the Chantry. Although only touched in Dragon Age: Origins, this comic helps establish the troubles that they would later see play out in the second game.
Dragon Age: Until We Sleep, Those Who Speak, The Silent Grove - While sold as different stories, these three comics all cover the same arc. In these three issues, Bioware bound together the three fan favorite goofballs of Varric, Isabella, and Alistair to help flesh out a piece of lore that was mentioned briefly in the games, somewhat explored in the novels, and now finally solved in the comics - what happened to King Maric (Alistair's father) and what promise did he make to Flemeth in his youth. Not only does it explore some interesting piece of lore, but it also shows off areas that gamers have not yet seen like the Tevinter Imperium and Saheron.
Dragon Age: Magekiller - Taking place before and during the events of Inquisition, Magekiller is the most recent Dragon Age comic with its five-issue run wrapping up in April 2016. The story of Magekiller follows the tales of the eponymous mage-killer Marius and his handler Tessa as they do the impossible task of killing mages in the capital of all magic and the Teviniter Imperium, Minrathous. Magekiller covers everything from the rise of the Venatori to the behind-the-scenes work these characters did for the Inquisitor.
Gears of War
In a collaboration between Wildstorm, DC Comics, and Epic Games, the Gears of War comic finished its 24-issue run in 2012. The comics feature three story arcs as well as several standalone issues that expand the Gears of War universe, filling in gaps that were left open between the original game all the way to Gears of War 3 as well as introducing several new characters to the universe. Typically, the story arcs cover the Delta-Ones as they go to various places to investigate problems and leave a brutal pile of Locust Horde bodies in their wake. The standalone issues, however, generally focus on certain secondary characters like Tai Kaliso and Jonathan Harper, giving readers not only their back stories, but a broader look at the world.
Like Dragon Age, the Mass Effect Universe is built upon by both novels and in comics. Instead of introducing new characters, these different comics focus on already established characters from throughout the series. Thankfully, the quality of the art and storytelling make up for the lackluster story telling in the original trilogy and give hope for new stories in the upcoming Andromeda game.
Mass Effect: Redemption - Set prior to Mass Effect 2, Redemption follows Liara T'Soni who is working for Cerberus to recover the dead body of Commander Shepard after the destruction of the Normandy. She is pitted against the Shadow Broker who is working against her to retrieve his body to turn it over to the Collectors. This four-issue comic also ties in heavily with the Mass Effect 2 DLC Lair of the Shadow Broker that further covers Liara's story.
Mass Effect: Evolution - Set long prior to the games in the year 2157, Evolution tells the tale of humanity's struggles during the First Contact War. However, it primarily explores the origins of the Illusive Man and his organization Cerberus.
Mass Effect: Invasion - Invasion happens after the events of the second game and focuses on Asari badass Aria T'Loak as she fights against Cerberus, which seeks to invade her seedy city of Omega.
Mass Effect: Homeworlds - Spanning four-issues, Homeworlds serves as a prequel to Mass Effect 3. Each issue focuses on a different member of Shepard's team on their respective homeworlds as they fight against the Reaper invasion. Character stories include James Vega, Tali, Garrus, and Liara
Mass Effect: Foundation - As the longest comic set in the Mass Effect universe, throughout the 13 issues of Foundation, a number of different stories are told. Some issues jump back in time to Mass Effect 2, while other tie in with the Citadel DLC featured with Mass Effect 3. Overall, Foundation gives a look at the behind-the-scenes action of each character on the Normandy during their service with and against Cerberus. However, Foundations was not meant to expand the characters so much as it was meant to give a broader look at the universe as a whole.
World of Warcraft
As one of the longest and most popular MMOs to date, the World of Warcraft has spread it seedy tendrils across a plethora of different media to explore the lore, because, let's face it, no one reads the quest text while leveling. From novels and short stories, to comics and Korean manhwa, there's a lot that a gamer can explore in the World of Warcraft.
World of Warcraft: The Comic - The comic was originally scheduled with two story arcs spanning six issues each, but ended up being two story arcs spread across 25 issues. The comic would later end in order for Blizzard to explore the realm of graphic novels. The issues cover content from before the MMO all the way up to the Lich King expansion. The first 14 issues follow King Varian as a slave up to Onyxia's defeat. The issues that follow and runnall the way to the end of the comic are more Horde-centric, following Garona and her son Med'an as they attempt to stop the cult that seeks to revive the Old God C'thun.
World of Warcraft: Ashbringer - Following up on the popularity of the original comic, the four-part Ashbringer tells the origin story of Alexandros Mograine and the legendary blade Ashbringer. Set before the Lich King expansion, readers watch as the Lich King's hordes ravage the kingdom of Lordaeron and Highlord Alexandros fights back as best he can.
World of Warcraft: Curse of the Worgen - This five issue comic was published before Cataclysm diving deep into the then-new race of Worgens introduced in that expansion. The story follows famous detective Halford Ramsey who, after Gilneas is rocked by a series of animalistic murders, aims to bring the perpetrators to justice. However, delving in to the years of twisted history of the town, he finds that he may have gotten in over his head.
World of Warcraft: Pearl of Pandaria - Set before the Shattering, the Pearl of Pandaria gives a glimpse into what the Pandarens were doing before the mist of the islands cleared. Following Chen Stormstout's niece Li Li, she leaves the safety of her turtle island home atop Shen-zin Su in order to pursue her dream of being an adventurer and find her uncle Chen, running into all of Azeroth's many perils along the way.
After the original comic book reached its end, fans demanded a comic series that focused on either the Alliance or the Horde. Blizzard answered, but initially cancelled a full comic series in lieu of graphic novels.
Dark Riders - In Dark Riders, the mage Karlain and his warrior son Mardigan have the usual father and son problems compounded by a barrier of magic and steel. However, after a mysterious murder forces them to work together in search of a powerful artifact, father and son may just do a little bonding.
Bloodsworn - The story of Bloodsworn follows an orc Malgar who has given up a life of violence for the more peaceful venture of hunting alone with his wolf. However, when a nearby town is laid to waste by centaurs, he is faced with no choice but to take up his axe again alongside his horde allies.
Although drawn by Korean artists, officially making them in the manhwa genre, the following are often marketed under the Japanese term, manga, a term that is already established in the west.
WarCraft: The Sunwell Trilogy - Set in the time before the Burning Crusade expansion, The Sunwell Trilogy follows the fall of Tarren Mill where Blue Dragon Kalecgos rescues a human girl on his way to investigate the mysterious Sunwell. This manhwa details the events that lead to the opening of the Sunwell and the subsequent raid that follows.
Warcraft: Legends - Told across five volumes, each with multiple chapters, Legends is actually a collection of short stories. Each chapter in a volume is a different story covering minor characters like Trag Highmountan, the Tauren hero reborn as an undead, Hemet Nesingwary, the greatest hunter in all of Azeroth, and more major characters like Draka, Jaina, and Thrall.
World of Warcraft: Shadow Wing Trilogy - Although called and intended to be a trilogy, because Tokyo Pop went bankrupt, the third volume was never published. The previous two volumes follow up after the Sunwell Trilogy, this time following Tyrygosa and paladin Jorad Mace as they wind up together in Outland. Surrounded by dragons and carefully watched by a mysterious death knight, the pair find themselves struggling to survive.