The process: Earlier in the year we asked you, our readers, to rank nine different games per category in order of preference (or how interested you are in a game, if you haven’t played it before). We have taken those rankings, averaged them up, and the resulting list below are the top four games – three runners up and the winner.
Narrative is such an important part of a good game. It can enhance the gameplay to create a truly emotional experience, or indeed even be the very core of the experience. A good narrative can make a bad game bearable, or a good game truly memorable. And so, for many of us at Digitally Downloaded, this was the most important category of all.
Attack Of The Friday Monsters: This little download title on the Nintendo 3DS packs a heck of a narrative wallop. Mixed in with the nostalgia for life in regional Japan is a healthy dose of conflict between the innocence and free imagination of childhood and the painful realisations that come with growing up. Filled with classic juxtapositions, Attack Of The Friday Monsters is a truly emotional and rich experience.
Gone Home: More game developers need to take a leaf out of Gone Home’s book. Here’s a game that delivers its narrative through player interaction. Miss some writing on the wall? Then you’re going to miss some of the narrative. While this seems like a game ripe with potential to confuse players, in practice Gone Home shows us that you don’t need passive cut scenes to deliver a strong, engaging narrative, and the fact that it’s up to the players to discover it makes it all the more rewarding.
Pandora’s Tower: This last gasp for the Wii was also one of its finest experiences, and a big part of that was because of its hugely emotional narrative. On the surface it’s a bit disappointing that it’s the kind of “save the princess” style cliche, but that initial impression soon disappears as a complex and nuanced narrative starts to pull on the heart strings even as it engages with the mind. This is the kind of game that deserves reflection over a glass of fine red wine.
Persona 4 Golden: Sometimes it’s the classics that resonate the strongest. Persona 4 is no longer a new game – the original was released way back on the PlayStation 2, but the Vita remake has reminded us of just how strong this tale was. Part JRPG, part dating game/ relationship sim, Persona 4 Golden features a truly striking group of characters with complex motivations and individual histories and teenage problems. Learning about these characters is almost more fun than anything else the game offers.
Plus, you know, Rise Kujikawa.