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.
A good visual style certainly enhances a game’s experience. Whether to illicit an emotional response, charm us with cute character design, or draw us into an intense, realistic battlefield, it’s the art style of the game that is our most immediate and obvious connection to any game that we’re playing.
Time and Eternity: Possibly the most divisive finalist across all the categories in our awards this year, there were a lot of people that did not enjoy Time and Eternity at all. And then there were a lot of people that truly loved it. And for those that did, the art style was a big part of the reason the game was so engaging. Like a silly, funny, charming otaku JRPG, Time and Eternity had a lovely hand drawn quality that worked a charm.
Soul Sacrifice: One of the darkest games you’ll find on any console this year, Soul Sacrifice’s visual design drips with melancholy and menace. On the surface this is yet another game which features two tones; dark and darker, but as you spend more and more time in the game its nuances as a breathtaking gothic nightmare slowly reveal themselves, and the game becomes ever more compelling as a consequence.
Killer Is Dead: Lots of people out there claimed that Killer Is Dead is near-misogynist in its portrayal of women (not that I necessarily agree with that assessment), but what is undeniable is that the cel-shaded visual art style is slick and cool. This is what it would look like if Quentin Tarantino made a game.
Puppeteer: Of all the games that Sony has published in 2013, Puppeteer is perhaps the lowest-scale one. It’s a game that game and went, but those of us that did play the game loved the experience. A huge part of its charm was its brilliant and vibrant art style and theatrical presentation. Without it, Puppeteer would have been just another well-designed puzzle platformer. With it, it’s a truly unforgettable experience.