Ground Punch’s Best of 2016 – Game Awards

After setting foot into a uniquely eerie Victorian setting, a world inspired by masterpiece paintings and architecture and décor from the 19th century, I truly understand the depiction of Layers of Fear as “psychedelic horror”. My mind had been beaten and battered and shattered. My senses had been toyed with, manipulated even. I was consistently terrified but remained inquisitive all the same. Layers of Fear is a psychedelic trip into the mind of a madman, based around story-focused exploration, a walking simulator with horror roots. You are tasked with exploring an infinite and ever-changing Victorian-era mansion in order to discover not only the past, but also the truth of this past. Of course, this is no ordinary mansion and your character is no ordinary man. As you soon find out, nothing is quite as it seems. Layers of Fear provides insight into the mad mind of an exasperated artist, his struggles, his fears and his psychosis. We experience this insanity firsthand, and Layers of Fear does a phenomenal job with these visual illusions and tricks and scares. I never knew what was coming next, a senseless necessity when it comes to horror. This submersion into the mind of our artist and the cohesion into the narrative of Layers of Fear is executed in precise and terrifying ways that I never expected, but thoroughly enjoyed.

Written by Kevin Atteridg

Horror is a hard category to nominate games for. In this day and age, horror could mean something as simple as “a lot of blood and guts”, or “unexpected jump scares”. But horror can even be described as something that makes you feel helpless and alone; how your mind reacts to isolating situations you have no control over. While gore certainly plays a big factor in Telltale’s Michonne miniseries, I feel like the choices you make are so devastating, they provide enough horror on their own. Michonne’s story follows her struggle to cope with the loss of her two daughters after the zombie outbreak, even as she shapes a new life and forms new relationships, several years post-apocalypse. It’s a gripping story that strips away the strong heroine we all know and love, and wears her down to her very core. As she comes to terms with reality, and learns to forgive and forget her past, Michonne’s own horror story comes to light, and Telltale has done a fantastic job of creating such a dismal, yet hopeful plot in just three episodes.

Written by Graydon Webb

The Amnesia Collection might consist of games that are old news by now, but the chance for modern console gamers to get their hands on these horror masterpieces should not be overlooked. Consisting of the hugely influential initial entry Amnesia: The Dark Descent, it’s companion DLC Justine, and the Chinese Room developed Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, this collection offers more great gameplay and immersive storytelling than some games can muster in a 20-hour runtime. While it is regrettable that no extra graphical polish went into these ports, and that there is a distinct lack of archival material for fans to dig into, for the asking price, there are few better horror games available on modern consoles.

Written by Jordan Leedertsen

Runners-Up: Devil Daggers, Dying Light: The Following, Inside, Neverending Nightmares, The Bellows, The Park, The Visitor.

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Ground Punch Staff

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