We’re in the home stretch of the Nintendo Enthusiast game of the year awards! The best story award goes to the most compelling narrative in a video game on the Nintendo Switch.
- Deltarune Chapter 2
- Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
- Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!
- Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
2021 best story winner: Deltarune Chapter 2
The winner of this year’s Nintendo Enthusiast best story award is Deltarune Chapter 2, a game that masterfully merges an ongoing tale of friendship and identity with a bunch of gamer memes. As Ben talked about in his best indie game piece, Deltarune takes what Undertale started in 2015 and runs wild with it. Chapter 1 introduced most of the concepts that make this world different from the original, while Chapter 2 puts a wild spin on the established themes. We explore a different Dark World based on the internet this time and meet new characters, from the goofy Sweet Cap’n Cakes rebel group to the 100%-designed-for-the-internet-to-drool-over Queen. We also deepen our relationship with Susie and Ralsei, while classmates Noelle and Berdley get some major character development. We even learn much more about the townsfolk this time around – helping Undyne and Alphys get to know each other is a particular treat, and learning just how low Asgore has fallen is heart wrenching.
Toby Fox, among other things, is a comedic genius, tapping into internet pop culture to craft hilarious dialogue custom-designed for a generation of gamers who came of age online. But funny or serious, the story is largely told through characters and their dialogue. The main push of Deltarune Chapter 2 is Kris’s relationship with everyone else. I find myself wanting to know more about what happens to all of these characters, to the point where I’ve been trawling web communities for more information.
The episodic nature of Deltarune only helps to enhance one of the best parts of the story: the fan speculation. While Undertale had many details hiding in the background, Deltarune pokes at it little by little. Deltarune Chapter 2 in particular has some juicy morsels for the theorists to chew on. There are a few references to a certain character who may or may not exist. We get to know Sans a little bit better. Spamton in particular is a hook that leads down all sorts of roads.
Deltarune tells a story that could only exist in a video game. Your choices influence how characters treat the main character and even how the main character responds to you, the player. While it’s still early in the whole game, Deltarune Chapter 2 takes what Undertale and Chapter 1 did before it to create a number of worlds full of characters you’ll grow to love and care about. Its experimentation with the nature of the medium places an emphasis on player choices and is slowly subverting that relationship with the playable characters. But before all that gets too heavy, you’re playing Punch-Out!! in an arcade that’s too big for you, or you’re riding a plastic swan across a lake of battery acid. It balances its drama and its humor well and tells a story of identity, connection, and determination masterfully. I can’t wait to see what the next chapters bring.
For these many reasons, Deltarune Chapter 2 is our best story of the year winner at Nintendo Enthusiast. We only have a couple awards left to go now!