COGconnected Presents: GOTY Awards – Best Narrative 2019
As gamers, we know the joy of delving into a world beyond our reality to experience an interactive adventure the likes of which no other medium has been able to replicate. These are entire universes in which their governing laws differ from our own, and almost anything is possible – certainly more than the scope of what we can do in our day to day lives. Beyond the mechanics of these places, what is arguably the most important aspect of immersion is a games ability to tell a unique story not only through appropriate prose and delivery, but creating something so utterly compelling that we struggle to put the controller down. A game’s narrative is crucial to its immersion, and in 2019 we have been blessed with a bounty of titles that captivated us, moved us, and left us in awe as the credits scrolled across the screen. Here are the top 10 best narratives for 2019.
Set in an alternate world during colonial times, a mysterious illness has broken out across the land and killed countless civilians. Playing as De Sardet, a noble representing the Merchant Congregation, players will sail across the sea to the new lands of Teer Fradee in the hopes of beginning a new life away from the plague and discovering a cure from the islands mysterious herbs. Greedfall blends colonial history with a rich culture of magic, as the natives of Teer Fradee simply wish to protect their land and the magical creatures who live there. Can peace be forged between the natives and the various factions of humanity settling the land? Can the plague be cured? The fate of thousands rest on your shoulders. Greedfall maintains a somber tone as you must forge alliances and use your skills as a noble to do what is best for the people, although choosing sides will undoubtedly change the political landscape.
9. Neo Cab
The neon lights illuminate the city in an eerie glow of advertisements, a low hum bustling in the night sky to keep the city alive in the dark. You are Lina, the last human cab driver in the city of Los Ojos. Your friend, Savy, has gone missing. Each fare you take can lead you to clues as to her whereabouts, but only if you can say the right things and ask the right questions. Afraid for your friends life, will you be able to get your passengers to talk during their brief ride in your cab? Will you find Savy safe and sound? What happened to her? Neo Cab is heavy on the narrative as you try to read your fares and walk the line between friendly conversation and interrogation. The urgency to find Savy makes it feel like every second counts, driving the story forever forward.
Following the climactic end of Gears of War 4, Kait, JD, Del, and Marcus are reinstated into the COG army as they work together to rebuild and survive against the Swarm. As the team assists in an evacuation, Kait is nearly kidnapped and begins to have terrifying visions of her past and of her mother. With the shocking revelation of her family’s connection to the Swarm, Kait sets out – against the will of JD – to uncover the truth of her heritage, the Swarm, and the Locust. Friendships will be tested, trust will be lost, and the fate of the world once again rests in your hands. More than a beautiful action set piece like the previous games, Gears 5 pushes these characters to their limits as they set out on an open-world journey to unravel a powerful and deadly mystery.
The continent of Fodlan rests divided between three nations who find themselves at peace: the Golden Deer, the Blue Lions, and the Black Eagles. At the center of these kingdoms rests the Garreg Mach Monastery, a neutral place of study. Players will begin their journey as a tutor at Garreg Mach, learning about the kingdoms and its people. Having rescued a representative from each of the houses, you will build a report with them until the climactic decision must be made: Which house will you side with? This not only drastically changes the narrative you’ll experience but lends itself to replayability with the option to see how each house plays out. Who will you side with? Will you take the time to fall in love or remain focused on the battle at hand? Fire Emblem: Three Houses is so much more than a tactics game, but instead doubles down on understanding the humanity of its characters and their situations.
6. Disco Elysium
It has been five decades since the fall of the commune. A revolutionary movement had overthrown the monarchy of Revachol, but an alliance of capitalist nations banded together to put the communist revolution to rest, and has since formed the Coalition to watch over this broken territory. As a detective of the Revachol Citizens Militia – one of the few government agencies allowed to function independently in the country – you’ve been tasked with investigating the death of a man found hanging from a tree. You wake up days later, disoriented and confused. After an emotional breakdown and prolonged binge-drinking, you have no memory of the case or who you are. Was this murder? Suicide? What happened, and what role did you have to play? Disco Elysium has proven to be the underdog of the year, winning acclaim at the Game Awards and capturing the attention of gamers worldwide for its classic isometric gameplay and haunting narrative of deception and mistrust.