Ground Punch’s Best of 2016 – Game Awards

Whether it be through jaw dropping cut scenes, fascinating in-game lore, or environmental storytelling, these are the games that offered the richest narratives, and told the best stories in 2016.

Following the narrative prowess displayed in The Last of Us, Naughty Dog returned to the story of treasure hunter Nathan Drake with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Much like The Last of Us, Uncharted 4 puts a revitalized focus on story-telling, while still sticking to the action-packed roots of the previous titles. Picking up after the events of Uncharted 3, Uncharted 4 tells a gripping story about family, obsession, and sacrifice. Like the previous Uncharted games, the story is carried by its lovable cast of characters, expertly written dialogue, and phenomenal performances. The performances of Uncharted 4 are driven even further by the game’s excellent use of facial capture that enhances the emotional expression of each of its characters, and highlights the subtle emotional moments of the game. All of this comes together to cement Uncharted 4 as not only the best Uncharted story so far but also as the best story told in a video game this year.

Written by Kelson James Howerton

The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine demonstrates what a good narrative means, taking players on an incredible journey. Blood and Wine sinks its hooks into you from the very beginning and doesn’t let you go until the end credits roll. Even after the end credits, the narrative hooks you back in with side missions that are just as well written and engaging as the main story. This is a game that other developers will hopefully be taking notes on, and will incorporate its ideas into their own projects. Well paced, well written, and great characters all combine to make Blood and Wine one of the best narratives in games this year.

Written by John Murray

You might say, “Not another Batman story!”, and it is certainly true that the world is not lacking when it comes to tales involving the Caped Crusader. However, Batman: A Telltale Series takes a significant number of risks; allowing the player to make decisions and forge their own story, centering the story on the character of Bruce Wayne over the character of Batman, and taking liberties with established characters. The result is a story that feels fresh and new, engaging and exciting, but most of all feels personal in ways I wasn’t expecting. Practically every character means something to Bruce, be it through shared histories, shared ambitions, or shared ideologies, and as such, they mean something to the player. Telltale not only delivers one of their best narratives to date, but their unique take on the beloved hero has me eagerly anticipating the next chapter, and while players will have to suffer through a litany of technical issues, quite simply this game is a must for any fans of the Dark Knight, or just those looking to sit down with a great short story.

Written by John Bennett

Runners-Up: Battlefield 1, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Dishonored 2, Final Fantasy XV, Firewatch, Fragments of Him, Inside, Mafia 3, Owlboy, Quantum Break, That Dragon, Cancer, Virgina.

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Ground Punch Staff

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