Game of the Year 2022 – Best Narrative

Game of the Year 2022 Best Narrative Header

Writing in video games has come on leaps and bounds in the last 15 years. Where the medium started off with simplistic score chases, head-to-head battles, now we’re regularly treated to video games that feature narratives no less nuanced or powerful than the best of film, TV and novels. Yet they often have to go beyond as well, the inherent interactivity of a game capable to giving you the choice and ability to decide how a narrative unfolds.

2022 has had another batch of great video game stories to tell, many of which will stick with you long after you’ve finished them. Our winner for Best Narrative, though? Don’t worry, it won’t send you to sleep.

Game of the Year 2022 Best Narrative Winner is Citizen Sleeper

Sometimes it is the smallest stories that have the biggest impact – the actions taken may not be world changing, but they matter to the individuals involved. Citizen Sleeper is essentially a collection of these stories, though you also experiencing your own as a Sleeper, a human mind put into a robot body.

Set in a future on a drifting spaceship, Citizen Sleeper also features many of today’s struggles. Do you have enough money for food? Do you skip work for a day so a colleague can go to work while you look after their child? Do you join the local gang to earn money? Will your actions let down your business partner down? All of these are things to consider while you look out for your own survival, and every story has a strong impact. What makes Citizen Sleeper the best narrative game of 2022 is how relatable it is for the majority of us.

– Aran S

Pentiment – Runner Up

A game revolving around one of the most fascinating and fractious periods of history, it’s no surprise that Pentiment’s narrative takes the player through a myriad of complex theological and philosophical issues. What is surprising, however, is how skilfully these grand narratives are presented through a plot that takes the best aspects of murder mystery fiction and marries them with light RPG mechanics in a twisting and emotional story.

What starts as a low-key tale of a manuscript illustrator trying to finish his apprenticeship becomes something far darker and more convoluted, whilst managing to feel both epic in scale and claustrophobic in atmosphere. A single playthrough of Pentiment reveals a narrative that takes you in unexpected and exciting directions, but the true scale becomes apparent once you realise that almost every major decision you make has alternative options that can see things turn out differently.

– Steve C

God of War: Ragnarök – Runner Up

This was always going to be a contender, the original game having taken a popular yet unlikeable character and somehow gracing the grumpy God of War with some welcome humanisation.

Prophecy and parenthood are the two narrative pillars that hold up this closing act in Kratos’s Norse saga, with God of War: Ragnarök introducing meaningful characters who aren’t just there to be on the receiving end of a gnarly QTE. Some of the humour is hit and miss, but Christopher Judge’s performance is masterful.

– Jim H

Honourable Mentions (in alphabetical order)

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