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MajorMitch

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MajorMitch • 

@theflamingo352: Thanks for reading, and totally agree it's neat how different people have different preferences! I think each squad functions different such that different people's brains will click with them to varying degrees. I also think, after playing through the game with all of them, I've come to see the game differently. You get exposed to so many different ways of seeing the board via different squads, you eventually accumulate this wealth of useful knowledge. This game is great.

Still, I don't know how you can fare better with Blitzkrieg than with Steel Judoka or Flame Behemoths :P

@minipato: Thanks for reading! I thought the Steel Judoka would rely more on board position RNG too, but I've not had an issue with it. Their attacks seem just versatile enough, my only real issue is the Judo Mech's attack is very picky in tight spaces. I won a 4-island game on hard with them the other day, and didn't have much trouble at all, which surprised even me.

The Flame Behemoths are great :) They're the next ones I want to try on hard. In some ways they might be my favorite to play as well, even if I've found the Rift Walkers and Judoka to be more reliable. There's just something fun about burning everything, and you list out a lot of things that make them strong. Swap Mech rules.

You might be right about Charge Mech on Zenith Guard. My victory with them I used Abe on it to negate the self-damage, but then I had a harder time getting Laser Mech into position without any of the movement aids. A lot of people love the Hulks, and I admittedly need to try them again, but they didn't feel as natural of versatile to me. I kept getting into situations where I couldn't attack because I had too much smoke in the way, or the smoke would not kill enemies fast enough and I'd get overwhelmed. Not enough so that I lost, but it felt tougher than with some other squads.

Totally agree on Frozen Titans and Blitzkrieg ;)

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MajorMitch

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MajorMitch • 

@slag: Thanks Slag! This was a lot of work... it took me way more time than I expected. The more I looked at it the more I realized how tricky ranking years is, and just how many nuances are involved. I tried all sorts of experimental approaches, and some of them influenced this list to varying degrees (such as giving points to every game I've played based on enjoyment, and totaling it all up). But nothing felt 100% right, I don't think there's any definitive way to do this. I also realized how close most of these years are. Large portions of this list are splitting extremely thin hairs.

Definitely agree with you that that 2012-14 period mostly felt like a letdown due to how great the previous 5 or so years had been, and I tried to account for the standards of the day here. And man, that 2007-2011 period was kind of crazy, and tough to follow up. So in a comparative list like this (where no year is bad), it's hard not to place 2012-14 on the lower end. And even 2011 felt like a step down too, just to a lesser degree. I know a lot of that's due to my taste in those particular games; I obviously love Dark Souls, but a lot of other 2011 games didn't do it as much for me. And 1 or 2 games can only carry a year so high, like a 1996 as you highlighted.

1993 is a year I often hear as being among the best as well, but it's maybe the 1 year where I can't find a game I love. That's probably a lot due to my age and not having a PC at the time, so I missed stuff like Doom, Myst, etc. I also wasn't big into arcades, and I think that was a big year for stuff like Street Fighter and/or Mortal Kombat stuff? Regardless, there just really wasn't anything from 1993 I go crazy for, only a few decent games I liked. And that's a lot of how a list like this shapes out, what games connect with individual people. I realized while doing this that somewhere around the 2003-2010 period was my personal sweet spot, and 2005 was my peak. And there's no great scientific explanation for it!

I'm pretty happy with the format I settled on, so thanks! It was tricky to figure out how to present this, and I thought about splitting it into multiple parts since it was long. I also considered a list, went with a blog to have more editorial freedom, but maybe some day I'll put it in a list. If I ever bother with an update years down the road, that's likely what I'll do. Be curious what your version would look like if you get around to it! Ranking every game you've played sounds like a process :)

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MajorMitch

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MajorMitch • 

Hot take: Okami is a good video game.

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MajorMitch

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In honor of SteamWorld Heist, a really good video game :)

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MajorMitch

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Edited By MajorMitch • 

@cjduke: There's actually a really interesting, but really long, video that was posted recently about that lack of meaningful platforming (or gameplay in general) in Mario Odyssey that I enjoyed watching. I think his tone is maybe a bit harsh at times (Joseph Anderson if you're familiar), but I found myself agreeing with a lot of his high level points, which he backs up with a lot of examples from the game.

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MajorMitch

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MajorMitch • 

Neat list! Also want to say I appreciate you took the time to write out your thoughts on each game, and it is all very well written too. I feel like I understand more about your gaming tastes and how this list ended up how it did, which is rare to get from these kinds of lists. 3 other quick thoughts:

1. You do a great job explaining why I found Zelda so magical, which is in its world design. It's in some ways an intangible thing, but you find a good way to illustrate it.

2. Reading your Mario Kart section on how you struggled with the bottom of your list mirrors the struggle I had with the bottom of my own top 10 for 2017. After a lot of internal debate I realized I wasn't going to be able to create a full top 10 without some games I had big problems with. And that's a weird feeling to have when making a list like that, and not one I'm used to having, in spite of all the praise heaped on 2017. Was interesting to see your thought process there.

3. Totally agree with you that a lot of games in 2017 were too long, in a detrimental way.

Again, good list! Thanks for sharing.

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MajorMitch

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@gunstarred: You're not making me excited about the second half of Metroid talking about those bosses ;)

I've definitely noticed you take a lot of damage in this game from everything. Not used to that in Metroid. And I've also noticed that the checkpointing can lock you in with little health right before a boss. That's kind of annoying... sounds like that may only get worse. This game is pretty weird really.

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MajorMitch

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MajorMitch • 

@slag: Interesting, I wasn't aware of the lineage of people working on the game. Either way, the way SR has its distinct sections that don't double back is less interesting to me. I'm in either area 3 or 4 (don't remember), and have never gone back to an area after I left it. Then within each area I feel like the path is laid out pretty directly in front of you. That means it doesn't feel like I'm exploring, but rather going through a straight-shot gauntlet, which feels more like a linear action game- not a bad idea, but that's not what I like about Metroid (I'm also not yet convinced it does the pure action thing super well either). What I like about past Metroid games is the web-like nature of their worlds, and how it all constantly wraps back in on itself. That made me connect with the worlds in a way I don't here.

As for the dousing, that also ties into world design. You use that to locate items, where in games with more intricate worlds it was paying attention to the world design that led to items. So the dousing seems like another piece that serves to funnel you through without engaging with the world.

Anyway, I also didn't like the original Metroid II as much, for similar reasons (plus some other technical stuff). It's one of my least favorite Metroids too. So there probably is a source material issue here for me. Then again, the story of this game is literally about Samus hunting Metroids, so in a way it makes perfect sense that it would be more linear and combat focused. Totally fine, just makes it not as much for me. I think AM2R did a great job at recreating that same general world and story, while also re-interpreting it and fleshing it out into a slightly more open, Super Metroid-style world. (It was also paced a lot tighter and shorter, SR seemed stretched out a lot, almost unnecessarily so.)

Apologies on the Metroid wall-o-text ;)

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MajorMitch

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@fakekisser: Haha, we can form our own anti-PUBG club!! But no, I think PUBG is really cool, just not going to be for everyone such as us. It is kind of insane how widely it caught on though, for me I'm just not into pure multiplayer games nearly enough to invest. Not worried about feeling left out though, we can form our own paths here! :D

@slag: It's interesting, to me Samus Returns barely feels like a Metroid game. I don't think it's bad, but it's different in a way that's not grabbed me as much. I think it has a lot to do with the world design, which I don't think is as strong. If I hadn't played AM2R last year I might actually have a more favorable view of Samus Returns, but when I compare the 2, it's very clear that one of them grabbed me a whole lot more. That makes it hard to not be disappointed with the other.

I think Edith Finch is a great game in that genre (with a few kinks), and I also think I'm less into those in general- sounds like you and I are on a similar page there. I also think I hold those kinds of games to higher standards over time. If all it does is tell another good story (which Edith Finch certainly does), that's not quite enough for me these days, unless it's like the best story I've ever heard (which it's not). I put Gone Home on my list the year it came out, and I'd still probably call it my favorite such game due to how meaningful the interactions were to me. Edith Finch comes close in some ways, but not quite enough in 2017. Still, definitely a good game worth playing! :)

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MajorMitch

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MajorMitch • 

Cool list Slag! I'll be really curious how you feel on some of these games after you finish them, particularly those bottom 2 of Horizon and Nier. Especially if you do everything in them, they can be big games to 100%.

I really want to play at least one of the Divinity Original Sin games, but have just not found the time. I kept swearing I'd play the first from 2014, but other games kept grabbing my attention, and here I am now in the same boat with its sequel. If I do manage to find the time, which would you suggest playing? (Because playing both is almost certainly a pipe dream at this point.)

I'm still in the middle of Samus Returns, but I've struggled getting into that one so far. Hoping it turns around for me. Fire Emblem and Uncharted are also games I've considered playing, but maybe I'm a little burnt out on those franchises at this point, as I've struggled to muster up the enthusiasm to start them. Glad they hit the right notes for you, especially Fire Emblem, which is a franchise I really like. Might have to get around to that sometime.

You know, I thought you'd like this Zelda given your love of Dragon's Dogma :) Not only the climbing, but also the feeling of just going on an expedition when you set out across the world. Totally agree on that trailer too, it's wonderful.