Ground Punch’s Best of 2016 – Game Awards

From character models, to backgrounds and vistas, and all the little things in-between, these games offer a sense of style and beauty that only the greatest of artists can create.

Firewatch oozes with color, with style, and with gorgeous elegance throughout. The game has a bold palate of colors, colors which pop off of the screen, even without the highest graphical fidelity. With the direction of renowned artist Olly Moss, who helped to design the world and visual style of Firewatch, Firewatch is wholeheartedly a game that will stand the test of time. Whether it’s the small saplings or the sprawling masses of trees, the shimmering bodies of water, or the glorious and majestic skyboxes, Firewatch radiates with so much substance and style. The style and grace of the art engulfs players as they explore the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming. Whether you are investigating noisy campers, or finding a new turtle friend, every moment is made special by the art direction. While generic shooters will come and go year over year, Firewatch is, and will remain, timeless.

Written by Kevin Atteridg

We as humans are intrinsically attracted to what is comely and repulsive. Developer Playdead understands this juxtaposition perfectly and uses this wisdom in Inside to create a game that is both charming and repugnant. Primarily monochromatic with subtle colors popping through, Inside is at once alluring and horrific; the lighter colors invite us in, but the darker colors elicit the human fear of the unknown. Inside is unknown, alright, and Playdead deliberately plays with our fears to make this an evocative and terrifying experience from beginning to end.

Written by Jeremy Winslow

From its opening moments, Hyper Light Drifter grabs your attention with its dazzling pixel art. Despite looking simple on the surface, Hyper Light Drifter injects an incredible amount of character and detail into every inch of its colorful sci-fi world. Every sprite is lovingly crafted and every pixel is painstakingly arranged. This attention-to-detail is done with a purpose, as the game lacks any dialogue or text from which to glean its story, therefore relying entirely on its visuals and environmental storytelling to convey to players the lore behind its world. Populated with vibrant shades of pink, blue, and green, Hyper Light Drifter’s 2D world remains visually diverse across each of its four different areas; the snowy mountains to the north, the aquatic city to the east, the cherry-red forest to the west, and the barren wasteland to the south. Thanks to developer Heart Machine’s superb art direction, Hyper Light Drifter was a pure joy to gawk at and stands out as one of the best looking games of 2016.

Written by Kelson James Howerton

Runners-Up: Aragami, Battleborn, Dark Souls 3, Devil Daggers, Dishonored 2, Dues Ex, Final Fantasy XV, Overwatch, Owlboy, Ratchet and Clank, Severed, The Last Guardian, The Witness, Virginia.

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