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Jason Oestreicher's Top 10 Games of 2016

You won't believe how much anime makes his list!

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Jason is known lovingly as "No, The Other-Other Video Guy" at Giant Bomb. He has participated in bar brawls, knows most of the words to Grease 2, and thinks he saw a ghost once.

10. Dishonored 2

Not being a fan of first-person games and being terrible at stealth in general, 2012’s Dishonored was a surprise hit for me. I grew to love the characters, adored its painterly look, and eventually found a play style that gelled with me. I played through it twice.

Dishonored 2 is quite simply more Dishonored, for better or for worse. It doesn't raise the bar, but I had already placed that bar pretty high. Environmental storytelling is a standout, the game's a looker, there's a ton of gameplay diversity, and... this all sounds great, right? It mostly is. But some missteps really prevented it from rekindling my love. In particular, the story beats were mostly dull and new characters seemed analogous to those in the previous game.

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09. Doom

I ripped. I tore. Huge guts. Big guns.

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08. Darkest Dungeon

I don’t think I ever exhibited masochistic tendencies prior to playing this game. During, however… I don’t know. Maybe? I would have to, right?

Your party members are subjected to truly abhorrent situations both by their dark selves and the grotesque Lovecraftian creatures they encounter. It’s stressful. I feel pangs of guilt as I push these poor souls on. But still I push them. Why? It’s a hell of a challenge. And the cartoony macabre aesthetic is unique and really cool looking and… these sickos probably deserve it anyway.

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07. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir

I’ll take the heat for putting a remaster on my list. Certainly a remaster that is done this well. Odin Sphere was already a fantastic game. Signature Vanillaware art, music, combat. I could just kiss it - warts and all. But a lot of those warts got removed with Leifthrasir making an already near-perfect game even more near-perfect-er and a joy to play through again.

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06. Street Fighter V

Listen, I’ve aired my grievances several times. I’ve had my heart broken and, frankly, am embarrassed by the state of Street Fighter. And yet, here it is on my list. And pretty high up too. Well, I’ve always maintained that, at its core, Street Fighter V is a pretty damn good fighting game. So while I’m still salty about things like the price of DLC and input lag, I can’t deny that I had a blast playing. Simple as that. That’s all I’ve got. Want a better explanation? Go check out what Patrick Miller had to say.

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05. God Eater 2: Rage Burst

Listeners of the Bombcast who tolerated the God Eater Minute segments knew this would likely show up on my list. However, I wasn’t so convinced. Each year that I do one of these, I briefly entertain the notion of presenting my critical picks. Then I take my head out of my ass and just put down what feels right--guilty pleasures and all.

Despite being a big fan of Monster Hunter, I guess part of me is feeling a bit of fatigue from it and the dedication it requires. I needed a break and God Eater 2 was there for me. It’s extremely solo friendly, light on busy-work, and, hey… some days I just want to come home, fulfill a pledge to my gigantic sword-gun, sprout sparkly anime wings, and listen to some fucking J-Rock, OK?

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04. Oxenfree

I know teens. I was one. I’ve watched all of Dawson’s Creek and think Joey ended up with the right guy (come at me). I also know ghosts. Pretty sure I got pushed by one once.

Oxenfree’s got both. Not ghost teens, but teens AND ghosts.

In my expert opinion, Oxenfree does a hell of a job of depicting each doing what they do best. The teens are (convincing) drama-filled shitbags and the ghosts are pretty spooky.

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03. Hyper Light Drifter

There is something so special about Hyper Light Drifter. A lot of what makes me smile about Hyper Light Drifter is the overall feeling I get while playing. Reductively, there’s a little bit of 2D Zelda and maybe some Fez. It evokes 16-bit aesthetics, yet doesn’t set into a mold. Instead, its masterful sprite work, animation, and soundtrack feel modern and unique. Hyper Light’s minimalistic approach to storytelling and user interface is effective and helped immerse me in its world.

When I’m there, I’m IN there. The look, the sound, and the feel. Combat is surprisingly challenging, but when I mess up, I own it--it feels like my fault. Likewise when I do well. I feel like a badass when I clear a room and The Drifter punctuates it by spinning his sword around and planting it in the ground AS A BADASS DO.

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02. Salt and Sanctuary

I’m a big fan of Ska Studios and their brand of 2D. I also enjoy me some Souls games (so do they, obviously). So when you tie these together it is very much like getting the proverbial chocolate in my peanut butter and very very much something that I find delicious.

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01. Overwatch

Hid my KDR. GOTY.

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83 Comments

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mrshmearo

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?

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Mezmero

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Holy shit this list is anime as fuck...and I love it. Thanks for everything you do Jason. Keep up the awesome work.

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AtheistPreacher

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I'm a little surprised that Dark Souls 3 didn't make Jason's list, and pretty flabbergasted that there's no Monster Hunter Generations. That aside, I think his tastes in games are probably the closest to my own of any of GB's editors. I look forward to checking out a few of the games on this list that I haven't yet gotten around to (like Hyper Light Drifter).

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Mystyr_E

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Edited By Mystyr_E

somebody put Odin Sphere.......nice. thumbs up.

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Colonel_Pockets

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Kirkhammer

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Chicken008

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Glad you have a lot of original picks.

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downpourguy

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Big games

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mrpandaman

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@atheistpreacher: I feel like the entire staff forgot that Dark Souls 3 even came out this year.

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Rustafur

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God Eater 2 @ number 5. Don't lie to yourself, Jason.

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Edited By JohnRabbit

Odin Sphere on this list just puts it over the top. Definitely on my personal GOTY list too.

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TheConArtist4

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@mrpandaman: Which is telling. If it had a big impact it wouldn't have been forgotten. Souls fatigue has set in I believe

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Musubi

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Jason is the best. THE REAL ANIME EDITOR.

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John_Wiswell

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Yeaaaaah Oxenfree and Hyper Light Drifter!

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ThineOarlock

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Edited By ThineOarlock

@atheistpreacher: I'm certain God Eater stole MonHuns lunch for Jason. I know that it did for me. Generations has some of the best gameplay in the monster hunter series, but that's unfortunately all it has. Four Ultimate, while absolutely basic, had a story that felt like you were accomplishing something, had some endearing characters and plenty of solo content. Generations ripped out ALL the story, and the solo content firmly stops at low rank, which for veterans is nearly childsplay.

God Eater is the best parts of MonHun, has a sizable cast of unique interesting characters and fucking MOVES. You go from picking a mission to fighting a monster, at least on PC where the load time is negligible, in under 20 seconds. There's no fiddling about tracking the monster down, or inventory management. and until pretty late game, the hunts usually take under 10 minutes. I can get three fights down in God Eater in the time Generations takes me to do one.

I'd never played a previous God Eater, and to be frank I probably won't go back (I like blood arts too much), but as a huge fan of monster hunter, I was pretty disapointed in Generations and God Eater is probably in my top 3 of the year. It's just solid unrelenting fun.

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FrodoBaggins

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Overwatch representing!!! I cannot help but like Jason more and more as time passes. Such a cool guy.

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darro

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Sees Hyper Light Drifter & Salt & Sanctuary on the list, list is instantly validated. I was looking forward to the former ever since I first saw the video of it a few years back and it did not disappoint. Just loved the whole aesthetic to that game and while it was pretty challenging at times, I persevered and it was worth it.

Salt & Sanctuary I feel is one of those games people have forgotten about this year, which is a shame since it a great game even if it pretty much a 2D Dark Souls but a well made one at that. Both of these games are in my top 10.

And Overwatch at No 1 makes this the best list thus far since it is also my personal game of the year.

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2-D

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Always appreciate Jason's input. He has very different tastes than all the other members of the crew.

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Edited By EricSmith

@mrpandaman: Yea, and they forgot about God of War 3, too.

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defordj

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I'd be interested in seeing your critical pick list as well, Jason!

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AtheistPreacher

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@thineoarlock:
To each his own and all, but I picked up GE2:RB and found it enjoyable, but no substitute for Monster Hunter. One thing that I found particularly burdensome was the number of missions one needed to do to advance ranks... in some cases, it was over a dozen. In contrast, Monster Hunter normally has something like five key quests per rank, and it's more about crafting equipment good enough to advance to the next level. GE2:RB was easy enough that I was rarely grinding for equipment, but rather just grinding away at story missions that weren't actually getting me any materials I wanted (easy especially if you have a shield that is double-strong against whatever attack element the aragami has, which takes their damage down to nothing).

It also doesn't help that I didn't really like the story or characters at all, and ended up skipping a lot of it just to get to the gameplay. This despite the fact that I like anime and JRPGs. The fact that Monster Hunter really has no story is actually a good thing from my perspective. Plus I just think Monster Hunter's core gameplay and monster designs still beat the tar out of any competitors (I was particularly disappointed by the number of dupe monster in GE2:RB... a ton of monsters that were basically palette swaps with different elemental attacks and weaknesses). The chief thing I liked about GE2:RB was that it was on a real console, but now that I've hit rank 15 and gotten the end-game equipment I want, I don't see myself returning to it anytime soon.

I live in hope that we'll soon get a Monster Hunter game for the Switch, so that I can stop playing it on a goddam handheld.

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Vashyron

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Over the goddamn moon that Hyper Light Drifter made it on someone's list.

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WrathOfGod

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Edited By WrathOfGod

Hell yeah, back-to-back best GotY picks from the Ace Triker.

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@atheistpreacher: Oh, In terms of pure raw gameplay, there's no question that Monster Hunter is a superior game. There's lots of fiddly bits that have become a bit of a drag over the years, but I still put 100+ hours plus into Generations. The only thing I think monster hunter should steal or tweak and steal is the ticket system. They're way to easy to get in GE, but the concept of having something you can turn in to get the piece you need is really awesome. Having to grind the same monster over and over for a 4% chance at a pallium isn't something I love about Monster Hunter.

I liked the story because its essentially garbage anime. I personally like garbage anime, so I enjoyed it, but that's entirely personal and I absolutely get why someone wouldn't like it.

Honestly, it's probably just fatigue for me. I put 300ish hours into 3U, 500+ hours in 4U, another 100 in generations before falling off it.

And I'm secretly suspicious that MHXX (Double Generations??) will be a switch launch title. The timing is right, its a perfect fit and is a GIGANTIC get for a launch title....but it'll probably only be a launch title in japan.

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AtheistPreacher

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@thineoarlock:

Sounds like we're on roughly the same page. I admit to a bit of Monster Hunter fatigue myself. And I entirely agree that tickets are a godsend in God Eater.

I don't know whether MHXX will be on the switch, but the fact that they've confirmed save transfer might not bode well for that. Although they did have that utility to transfer saves between 3DS and Wii U for 3 Ultimate, so maybe...

Yeah, I'm not really into garbage anime. I like good anime, like Mushi-Shi, Kino's Journey, Ghost in the Shell, Ergo Proxy, Paranoia Agent, Texhnolyze (this last being my absolute favorite, but very much not for everyone).

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Edited By Dartastic

Hyper Light Drifter? Check. Overwatch? Check. Street Fighter V? Check.

...nice.

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Luchalma

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Edited By Luchalma

Jason's one of my favorite guys on the site. Really glad to have more people with different taste in games. Cool list.

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TheCoffeyHaus

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Edited By TheCoffeyHaus

Darkest Dungeon!

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Edited By csl316

Whatever, man, Odin Sphere is on my list, too. As is Salt & Sanctuary, hurrah.

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chango

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Awesome.

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WynnDuffy

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Edited By WynnDuffy

The GOTY podcasts didn't completely cover how rotten Street Fighter V still is so let me add a little bit for anyone that hasn't been following this debacle. This is mostly in regards to the overpriced DLC:

Capcom says "Hey we won't release more than one version of Street Fighter V, you don't have to buy any more versions!" ...YAY! But...

For $40 with Super Street Fighter IV (required SFIV) you got: Re-balance, 10 new characters, 25 new ultra combos for existing characters, 5 new stages, a revamp of the game's menu systems, new character trials, new offline game modes, new online game modes, the replay system for online matches, better online lobbies and a few other minor additions.

For $15 with Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition (Required SSFIV) you got: Re-balance, 4 new characters, some other very minor tweaks. AE 2012 was a free re-balance patch.

For $15 (DLC upgrade, $40 retail with every existing DLC costume) with Ultra Street Fighter IV (Required SSFIV or SSFIV AE for DLC upgrade version) you got: 5 new characters, 4-5 new stages, new character trials, a YouTube export tool nobody used and some tweaks to the online.

For $30 with Street Fighter V's new season pass you get: 6 characters and one free costume for them. That's it.

They have still not fixed the lobby searching not displaying country flags of players & their connection quality (it's bugged, not a missing feature) and it still has netcode/one sided lag problems 9 months after release. Capcom have yet to acknowledge these issues despite constant complaints. Also, SFV is missing features that SFIV has had for years, such as online training mode and region filtering for player lobbies.

The costumes were much cheaper for SFIV and allowed you to buy costumes in packs giving you a discount, they also put the DLC on sale which has never happened with Street Fighter V as of yet.

If you choose to only use fight money, you're unable to buy any of the DLC costumes except the story mode ones. You can buy one or two characters after exhausting the single player content and then the grind becomes like a mobile free to play game. So spending only fight money is not really feasible.

TL;DR - Fuck this game, even ignoring that many people think it's more boring to spectate than SFIV, it feels like Capcom are only interested in putting out DLC costumes and trying to get eSports advertising money. They don't care at all about the player base at home. We didn't get a better deal by them moving away from releasing and charging for new versions.

p.s. Can you tell how butthurt I am? Because I REALLY AM.

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deactivated-5e60e701b849a

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Wait, you're not cumming paragraphs about how Doom is the be-all-end-all of all shooters ever and you have anime on your list? With Overwatch on top? Man, you're the coolest motherfucker on this site. (And probably the biggest reason why I'm still visiting this place. Love ya, fam.)

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Naoiko

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Odin Sphere Is amazing!!!

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Cluter

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@whatshisface said:

Wait, you're not cumming paragraphs about how Doom is the be-all-end-all of all shooters ever and you have anime on your list? With Overwatch on top? Man, you're the coolest motherfucker on this site. (And probably the biggest reason why I'm still visiting this place. Love ya, fam.)

Doom is real good. Like, top 2 good. Overwatch is also good. Like, top 2 good. Anime, however, is for jerks... fam.

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deactivated-5e60e701b849a

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@shatteringlast:

Anime, however, is for jerks...

What are you trying to say with this?

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elite49

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@whatshisface: hahahaha I wouldn't expect that from Jason. There's a reason I've followed him and Dan from GI over to GB. His tastes are different and he got me to play Snatcher which is one of my favorites now. The way you describe DOOM is the most accurate depiction I've heard on this site. It's far from being as godly as most of them depict. Anyway, great list Jason.

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abrasion

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Edited By abrasion

Who is the giant monster choking Jason in the preview thumbnail?

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Jelzer

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Edited By Jelzer

Great list. It's nice to see Hyper Light Drifter get some love. HLD was criminally overlooked for best style.

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Zeik

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I really need to pick up that Odin Sphere remake. That's exactly the type of thing I would be championing around GOTY time, but I never got around to it.

Oh well, I'll just have to devote my championing to the criminally overlooked Trails of Cold Steel instead.

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Edited By Dray2k

I fucking love Salt and Sanctuary. I think it is way better than Dark Souls 2 and 3.

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Zeik

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@atheistpreacher: I like Monster Hunter, but I eventually realized I kinda hate playing it on a handheld. Many of these derivative MH-likes, like God Eater or Toukiden, aren't quite as well designed or mechanically deep as MH, but being able to play them on a console ends up making the experience so much more enjoyable in the long run.

If they make a MH for the Switch I'll be all over that shit, but if they continue to ignore console audiences that series is probably dead to me.

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Turambar

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Not as much anime as I expected.

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ToySoldier83

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Edited By ToySoldier83

You can find your Overwatch KDR... if you wanted that is and honestly no one does.

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Demonsoul

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Wait where is Dragon Quest Builders?

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Cluter

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Edited By Cluter
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xerseslives

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Jason and Alex are our only hope for Overwatch getting its due.

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@thineoarlock:

Sounds like we're on roughly the same page. I admit to a bit of Monster Hunter fatigue myself. And I entirely agree that tickets are a godsend in God Eater.

I don't know whether MHXX will be on the switch, but the fact that they've confirmed save transfer might not bode well for that. Although they did have that utility to transfer saves between 3DS and Wii U for 3 Ultimate, so maybe...

Yeah, I'm not really into garbage anime. I like good anime, like Mushi-Shi, Kino's Journey, Ghost in the Shell, Ergo Proxy, Paranoia Agent, Texhnolyze (this last being my absolute favorite, but very much not for everyone).

Have you seen Lain or Hanabai Renmei? Your list of favorites is much like my own - except I found Texhnolyze to be way to depressing and nihilistic. I mean I am a jaded Gen Xer but not
Texnolyze jaded.

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ripelivejam

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Edited By ripelivejam

i have to go back, but i was surprised at how much i was getting into salt and sanctuary, despite how much it, erm, borrows...

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sockmonster

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Today I learned that Jason has the best taste in games at Giant bomb

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ebinBraveheart

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Edited By ebinBraveheart

@whatshisface said:

Wait, you're not cumming paragraphs about how Doom is the be-all-end-all of all shooters ever and you have anime on your list? With Overwatch on top? Man, you're the coolest motherfucker on this site. (And probably the biggest reason why I'm still visiting this place. Love ya, fam.)

That makes you sound like you visit this site just to have someone validate your own opinions. Which is a weird thing to do. I love listening and reading these guys opinions despite mostly finding myself disagreeing with them.

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Kryplixx

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Ohh poor Dark Souls.. lost and forgotten it seems.