What qualifies as “story” in video games runs a wide gamut. In many games, the entire story can be summarized with something along the lines of “Bad Guy is doing Bad Things – go thwack him repeatedly until he stops.” Some games like Limbo eschew traditional story altogether, and try to flesh out their narratives through atmosphere and visual/auditory cues. Others, like Skyrim, infuse their world with so much backstory and text that whole libraries couldn’t contain the number of unique books and stories told in their worlds.
Mass Effect 3 is blazing new trails in terms of story. It takes significant risks, and flies in the face of the way some people play games. However, it largely succeeds in telling a story whose scope and impact are far beyond almost anything we’ve seen in gaming to date.