The best games of 2012: Best Narrative

3 mins read

As voted by you!

Through the month of November, we asked for you to vote for your favourite games of the year. You did (and in incredible numbers – thank you for that), and now it’s time to announce the finalists and the winners. Each day we’ll be revealing a new category.

How it works

The five games you’ll see below are the top five games for each category based on the reader’s votes. They are listed in no particular order. The final game is the winner.

If there are six games listed, then there was a tie for the 5th finalist in that category.

We’d love to hear what you think about each category, so please do let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Best Narrative

The Finalists:
The Last Story – What happens when the creator of Final Fantasy stops making Final Fantasy? He makes a game with all the emotional impact of a Final Fantasy game, and calls it something different (though thematically the same thing).
Journey – Journey’s art style was minimalist, but breathtaking. As it its narrative. Here is a game that made a legion of gamers tear up, and for good reason – rarely has a game had a character connect with a player quite so much as it does in Journey.
Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater – This might be an old game, but the narrative is a classic for a reason. Long cut scenes tell a classic espionage story that is made all the more effective with the 3D adding a level of visual depth and focus that wasn’t there previously.
Max Payne 3 – This might not be the commercial hit that Rockstar was hoping for, but the game was a critical hit for a good reason – it continues to fly the flag for an almost-dead genre, and that genre – Noir – has always been a reliably entertaining one.
The Winner:

Lollipop Chainsaw

This might be a surprise to anyone who hasn’t played Lollipop Chainsaw – after all, from the game’s boxart to its promotional material, Suda’s latest retail release suggests it is nothing more than a cheerleader-and-zombies excuse for sexploitation.

Play it, though, and the game reveals itself to be a very different kind of game. Lollipop Chainsaw’s Juliet Starling denies expectations at every turn to be a real postmodernist hero – a cheerleader who is smarter and more empowered than her peers, and the game itself is from start to finish making fun of anyone who bought it on its marketing campaign.

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  • MGS3's plot was a little too hands-off for my liking in a video game, but yeah, I see the appeal there. Journey is also a classic.

    That said, my personal vote is for Mass Effect 3 – the original ending. I thought it was ballsy and an intelligent way to finish off the trilogy.

  • Precisely the thing I love so much of about MGS3's narrative is how well-integrated it is with the gameplay. MGS3 makes a great case (IMO) for why it should be a piece of interactive entertainment/art rather than just a movie. The storytelling feels quite organic and is paced perfectly to my liking.

    Sure, Kojima is an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink storyteller, which means that he sometimes undermines his own good work with silly randomness (see: whenever Ocelot randomly meows in the midst of a heated conflict). Him and his writers also tend to cram in wayyy too much unnecessary dialogue.

    The ending is brilliant though (discounting the triple agent nonsense), and surprisingly affecting to boot. Christopher Nolan and Kojima share a tendency to incorporate awkward pseudo-philosophy into their scripts, but the theme of choosing loyalty between friends and authority actually worked well for me.

    That's enough ranting. My favorite narrative of 2012 is obvious if you've read some of my recent tweets and NL postings, but suffice to say you'll be hearing a lot more about it on this very site, hopefully coming up very soon.

  • triple agent nonsense? If you're calling that relatively simple endgame plot twist 'nonsense', then I wouldn't recommend playing through any other MGS games (not to mention, that plot twist is what sets up every single game that chronologically follows MGS3) . And Ocelot meowing is clearly the best part of the game.

    Kojima games are great because they're so quirky. Wouldn't have it any other way. And if they didn't have the pointless level of attention to detail that they do, they wouldn't be anywhere near as good as they are.

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