When I say narrative I guess I mean a plot or the illusion thereof which compels you to want to progress. Include anything you want, it can be something that the game allowed you to create or something delivered in a very linear manner, or anything in between, but provide a brief explanation of what it was in particular that you found engaging.
The Witcher 2-Absolute tour de force. Hugely ambitious and impressive narrative, tightly controlled, populated by fully formed characters and factions, lavishly realised through graphics, voice acting and game mechanics. Not a moment wasted, perfectly paced. A gaming feast more or less unequalled in terms of pure immersive narrative for me. Absolutely the high water mark for how games can tell linear stories in my opinion.
Bastion-Gameplay as a form of narrative revelation. An astoundingly rich world economically explored and explained, You advance into blank space but before long realise that an entire world has quite literally been built around you.
Shogun 2-Simulate your own feudal war. It’s all there-economy, military, espionage, diplomacy, Family politics, all on a stage shared with an AI fully empowered to interact with the game, and the narrative, with as much commitment and creativity as the player. The only limit to the drama is your ambition.
Dragon Age: Origins Unoriginal but superbly polished lore. The weight of history and culture is tangible throughout, if sadly compromised end game by your character being totally overpowered and outside of all that.
Psychonauts-A series of vignettes which are each as creative as the entirety of most good games. Mechanics designed to interact fully with the story; beautiful aesthetics; some of the best dialogue going; At its strongest moments, the most compelling manifesto of what PC gaming as a unique medium should be.
Bioshock- Obviously the conflict between the actual gameplay and the narrative was enormous and tremendously frustrating, but the story as told through the linear elements, audio records and mise en scene is one of the best going. A commentary on the excesses of Randian Objectivism and modernist ideologies set in an underwater dystopia is still one of the most impressive blueprints for any game, Rapture is still one of the most incredible places in gaming, and the big reveal is a genuinely incredible moment.
Thief II: The Metal Age-Brilliant level design. A game which tells story through its use of space and environment as much as it does plot.
Mafia II-Very strong linear narrative with superb production values, accompanied by sandbox elements very cleverly designed to accentuate the key elements and ideas being explored.
Dungeon Keeper 2-The overall plot was entirely throw away, but like Psychonauts DKII managed to make every level unique, and so the campaign was effectively twenty individual stories which remains an impressive feat for gaming and a more or less unrivalled one for a real time strategy game. One level might be a siege, the next you would be capturing a monastery to overthrow a vampire fortress, the next was an RPG-alike which required that you forgoe the management elements in favour of exploration of dungeons with limited numbers of high level creatures to progress.
Half Life-I don’t think it’s aged well sadly but it was the first game I played which arrested me with it’s narrative rather than require me to more or less make it all up in my head. Enthralled and terrified like nothing else at the time due to its clever meshing of plot and level design. Seemed like there was simply nothing else around that even tried that.