TSN’s 2017 Top Games List

Hello Dear Friends!  I hope you all had Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.  This is (was) my favorite time: Christmas Night.  It’s the long exhale after the climax where everyone can relax and play with their presents, while basking in the relief that it’s over.  I saw some awesome videos of kids opening up presents on Christmas Morning (the Nintendo Switch unwrapping was amazing), and I, myself, received Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild , my very own PS4, tons of git cards, a special vase, and a bunch of other awesome gifts!I’m (was) also off Tuesday and Wednesday and figured now is as good of time as any to (start working on)  post my 2017 Best of List for gaming before the elderly year grows older (sadly it died before I could finish.  Alas); however, mine is going to be a little bit different from the others I’ve seen floating around.  As of today, I’ve only finished five games on the dates indicated:

  1. World of Final Fantasy – 2/19/17
  2. Journey – 3/22/17
  3. The Room – 5/16/17
  4. The Room Two – 5/27/17
  5. The Room Three – 8/15/17

There’s no doubt which the best game out of all of those is.

Obviously, I loved WOFF and The Room series was one of the best for puzzle games ever, but you can see how I’m not really in a position to adequately talk about games based solely on the ones I played this year.  However, since I did watch a ton of Let’s Plays, I feel as though that would be the better population from which to draw my Top 10.  So without further ado…


10. Detention

Though this initially comes off as a spooky/horror game, it’s much more.  Have no doubt, there are harrowing parts (those really tall ghosts.  Hell.  No), but that’s not the inner spirit of the experience.

9. The Witch’s House

There’s a lot to be said about a game where you’re killed by a teddy bear, and I said a bit of it here with my review.  Created with RPG Maker, don’t let the cute, sprite graphics lull you into a false sense of security.  You will die.  A lot.  Gruesomely. And shockingly.  The puzzles are quite clever, and the RPG mechanic works surprisingly well for a horror game.  I also cannot stress how much the ending messes you up and literally turns everything on its ear.  It’s worth it just to play through for that.

8. Inside

In the vein of games with shocking endings, Inside notches it up to the “what the absolute fuck?!” level.  At no point did I expect to see what I saw, and where The Witch’s House is heartbreaking in its horror, Inside is flat out disturbing, but absolutely fitting for the setting.  The game is exactly what you’d expect from the creators of Limbo.  It has similar gameplay, but the story goes much deeper and, as such, is ripe for the theorists.

7. Rakuen

I had to scramble to place this in my Top 10, because I just finished it the other day.  I knew it was going to be a tearjerker when I saw the hospital setting, and I figured out what was going to happen at the end, but that did nothing to lessen the sorrow.  This is a beautiful game that expertly weaves a far too recent and real life tragedy with a parallel fantasy world.  What your character (called only The Boy) does in Morizora’s Forest is echoed in his hospital home, and this goes for the people he helps.

Rakuen is a puzzle game that plays like an RPG without the random battles, so if you’re not a fan of those, you don’t have to worry about them.  This isn’t to say there aren’t any enemies, but there’s only one type (nor do I think it’s really an enemy, but that’s edging spoiler territory), and there are no confrontations with it, only avoidance.  While this was a game I could’ve played myself, there were some creepy parts that I’m glad I only had to watch.  Combined with some overly cutesy things, it gives Rakuen a bit of Mood Whiplash, but this is not a critique, merely an observation.  The soundtrack is wonderful with vocal performances that are not only gorgeous, but serve an integral part of the story.  Make sure you have some tissues ready for the end.

6. The Mass Effect Trilogy

Even though I watched the first game in 2016, I didn’t finish the other two until last year, so I’m going to count that I finished the trilogy then.  This is the only game on the list that I plan to play in the future, and I decided that based on watching the LP by Olizandri.  There’s too much to say about Mass Effect to really get into it here (and most of you probably know about it already lol), but rewatching the ending with the knowledge of what came before under my belt completely changed my perspective on it (either that or the ending was updated to show more than what happened to Joker and EDI; I’m really not sure).  I have a great deal to say about it  when I finally get to my review in addition to comparative essays (e.g. how Reaper indoctrination is similar to the also hive-minded Jenova’s mental manipulation), and I’m looking forward to exploring all of its angles and discussing it with all of you fine people when I do.

5. Little Nightmares

I’ve watched both the original game and the two currently released DLCs, and, were it a game I could conceivably play (if I wasn’t a wuss puss), I’d have no problems doling out the ducats for all.  The DLCs are apparently inexpensive yet quite expansive in both exploration and storytelling.  There are traces and hints of what went on in the main game all throughout, though just the former is enough to give me full fledged nightmares for days (nothing little about that).  There are no cut scenes, and players are obliged to piece together the story from what can be observed in the levels.  Like Inside there are quite a few theory videos out there to either explain or spark new perspectives.  Whether you play this game in the light of day to ward off the eeriness or in the midst of darkness where the nightmares prowl is entirely up to you.  I, for one, will continue watching my Let’s Plays in the sun and covering my face at necessary moments.

4. Ori and the Blind Forest

This game is literally a work of art.  From the visuals to the music to the poignant story, Ori bookended me with tears.  While not wholly tragic, the game uses sorrow for emphasis and forces you to examine where your full allegiances lie.  I did an almost about face about a particular character once their true motivation was known.  Moon Studios should be both commended and supported for future endeavors.

I considered stopping the LP when I first started so I could play myself, but I’m glad I just continued watching.  There is no way in hell I could pull off those sweet, platforming moves that Cry so brilliantly preformed (though there was some Power of Editing involved lol.  No hate though).  It’s a Metroidvania game, so there’s a lot of backtracking to open up areas previously unattainable.  Also, did I mention the soundtrack?  I did?  Well let me mention it again, because I need to download it.

P.S. The name of the setting is the Forest of Nibel and there’s both fire and mist.

3. Valiant Hearts: The Great War

Ya’ll if you want to ugly cry, please play or watch this game.  Where Ori had me misty (hey that’s what “Nibel” means!), Valiant Hearts made me bawl.  My husband stopped playing Destiny 2 to make sure I was okay, and the friend he was playing with asked if everything was alright.  THAT’S how serious I am about what this game did to me, and it’s not even what you’d expect.  It hits hardest because it’s unexpected and just so wrong.  There’s a wonderful video by The Closer Look called “How to Make the Audience Cry,” and it explains what concept universally causes it and why.  I’d recommend watching it only if or after you’ve watched/played Valiant Hearts.  It’s not a major spoiler, but a game/story like this should be experienced untainted.

2. The Last of Us

I had a long talk with myself about whether this or the number one game would have that place, but in the end, I decided it based on after effects.  Which story haunted me more?  Which caused more of an existential crisis?  While TLOU certainly vied with the first question (especially in any intelligent discussions about it), the number one pick literally blew the second out of the water, but that doesn’t mean the tale of Joel and Ellie is worth any less.  It is a very close second, and, along with the first, is one of my more essay-like reviews.  I have a lot to say about this game, and I see the ending from multiple different points of view.  Understanding loss, I understand why what happened did, but I can also see why there is a great deal of negativity about the decision and the game mechanic that makes you (the player) part of something you might find reprehensible.  Because I not only suck at stealth (seriously…you should see me in Assassin’s Creed: Origins.  It would be embarrassing if I had any shame…), I’m also a wuss puss when it comes to any kind of horror, and I utterly abhor being chased.  When something like this comes after you…

…TSN says nope and covers her face.

I was also completely wrong about Ellie’s peculiar attribute in terms of what caused it, and that was proven with one of the saddest deaths in the game.  Then when I thought I’d figured it out again, that wasn’t the case either.  However, while I might rail against my inelegance, I’m often happy to be wrong in these cases, because it means I could use my “wrong” suppositions in a story of my own and I get to be surprised!

Speaking of which…I have a soft spot in my heart for TLOU, because it has damn near the same plot as the first novel I wrote.  In a different setting and a different relationship between the “Joel” and “Ellie” characters, but “experienced, morally grey bad ass with a devastating loss in his past (that he witnessed first hand) hired to take an inexperienced, young woman to pre-determined location and on the way they learn to love each other” plus the spoilery stuff at the end of TLOU is exactly the same, and I’m a bit shook.

This is one of those games that every gamer should experience.  I’m not one of those “hates cut scenes” people so they don’t bother me in the least, enhancing the narrative rather than taking away especially in this case.  I can’t wait for the second part to come out.

And my number one game of 2017 is…

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The State of the Gamer: 8/29/17

<–The State of the Gamer: 8/22/17          The State of the Gamer: 9/5/17–>

A weekly post updated every Tuesday detailing my current gaming projects.  I have quite a backlog of games to either play or watch, and I’m hoping a weekly article will assist with my progress as my other accountable posts have done with reading and writing.  I have an account at Grouvee, which is a essentially Goodreads for gamers, so please feel free to friend me there!

Currently Playing: 2

Title: Final Fantasy Type-0
Series: Final Fantasy/Fabula Nova Crystallis
Genre: Action RPG – Fantasy
Developer: Square Enix
Platform: PlayStation 4
Release Date: October 27, 2011
Date Purchased: May 18, 2017
Date Started: June 18, 2017

Progress: Chapter 2 – Preparing for second official mission

I liberated the town of McTighe and gathered all of the citizens for the mayor’s speech.  For my trouble, I received a turbo ether.  I couldn’t figure out for the life of me how to gather phantoma, so I quick google search was necessary.  I may do the McTighe mission again just to make sure I’m collecting as much of it as I can.  The coliseum still hasn’t opened, but I have faith.

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The State of the Gamer: 8/22/17

<–The State of the Gamer: 8/15/17          The State of the Gamer: 8/29/17–>

A weekly post updated every Tuesday detailing my current gaming projects.  I have quite a backlog of games to either play or watch, and I’m hoping a weekly article will assist with my progress as my other accountable posts have done with reading and writing.  I have an account at Grouvee, which is a essentially Goodreads for gamers, so please feel free to friend me there!

Currently Playing: 3

Title: Final Fantasy Type-0
Series: Final Fantasy/Fabula Nova Crystallis
Genre: Action RPG – Fantasy
Developer: Square Enix
Platform: PlayStation 4
Release Date: October 27, 2011
Date Purchased: May 18, 2017
Date Started: June 18, 2017

Progress: Chapter 2 – Leaving on first official mission

No time to play.  Hopefully this weekend; if not, when I’m on vacay in September.  Then I’m playing the hell out of this every day and finishing it.

Title: Final Fantasy V
Series: Final Fantasy
Genre: RPG – Fantasy
Developer: Square
Platform: PlayStation
Release Date: December 6, 1992
Date Purchased: Unknown
Date Started: June 17, 2017

Progress: Walz Tower

I finished Walz Tower, and with the levels gained there, managed to take down Shiva.  So now I have a new summon, and I have more Jobs I can switch to, which I haven’t done yet.  I might wait to gain some levels on the Jobs I have now, which are:

  • Knight – Bartz
  • Black Mage – Reina
  • White Mage – Galuf
  • Blue Mage – Faris

I think I’m only around Level 12, but I don’t know the exact ones.  My next stop is Karnak.

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The State of the Gamer: 8/15/17

<–The State of the Gamer: 8/8/17          The State of the Gamer: 8/22/17–>

A weekly post updated every Tuesday detailing my current gaming projects.  I have quite a backlog of games to either play or watch, and I’m hoping a weekly article will assist with my progress as my other accountable posts have done with reading and writing.  I have an account at Grouvee, which is a essentially Goodreads for gamers, so please feel free to friend me there!

Games Finished This Week: 1

Title: The Room Three
Genre: Puzzle, Mystery
Developer: Fireproof Games
Platform(s): iOS, Android
Release Date: 2015
Date Purchased: May 28, 2017
Date Started: May 28, 2017
Date Finished (1): July 4, 2017
Date Finished (2): August 15, 2017
Playing Duration (1): 37 days
Playing Duration (2): 79 days

Admission time.  I watched a video of the last two alternative endings.  The puzzle for one of them was really difficult, and I just couldn’t be bothered.  Regardless, I really liked not only this game, but the entire series.  I’d highly recommend it to anyone who likes point-and-click puzzle games.  I don’t think I paid more than $3 for more than a single one of them, and the first one is free.  I’m not going to do an official review post for either of them, since there’s really no need; however, I did review each on Grouvee, and I’ll see about rating them on Amazon, since I played through my Kindle.

Let me know what you think if you decide to try them!


Currently Playing: 3

Title: Final Fantasy Type-0
Series: Final Fantasy/Fabula Nova Crystallis
Genre: Action RPG – Fantasy
Developer: Square Enix
Platform: PlayStation 4
Release Date: October 27, 2011
Date Purchased: May 18, 2017
Date Started: June 18, 2017

Progress: Chapter 2 – Leaving on first official mission

No additional progress this week.  Hopefully, I’ll find time to play this weekend.  I’m on vacation the first two weeks in September, so I’m hoping to really get some play time in then.

Title: Final Fantasy V
Series: Final Fantasy
Genre: RPG – Fantasy
Developer: Square
Platform: PlayStation
Release Date: December 6, 1992
Date Purchased: Unknown
Date Started: June 17, 2017

Progress: Outside Walz Castle – Grinding

No progress on this one either.  Since I finished The Room Three, and I typically play that Tuesday nights, I’m hoping to trade that for this, but since it’s already 9:30 and I have more to do, it doesn’t seem highly likely tonight.

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The State of the Gamer: 8/8/17

<–The State of the Gamer: 8/1/17          The State of the Gamer: 8/15/17–>

A weekly post updated every Tuesday detailing my current gaming projects.  I have quite a backlog of games to either play or watch, and I’m hoping a weekly article will assist with my progress as my other accountable posts have done with reading and writing.  I have an account at Grouvee, which is a essentially Goodreads for gamers, so please feel free to friend me there!

Currently Playing: 4

Title: Final Fantasy Type-0
Series: Final Fantasy/Fabula Nova Crystallis
Genre: Action RPG – Fantasy
Developer: Square Enix
Platform: PlayStation 4
Release Date: October 27, 2011
Date Purchased: May 18, 2017
Date Started: June 18, 2017

Progress: Chapter 2 – Leaving on first official mission

I finally got some play time in this week.  I explored the entirety of the school and figured out how to switch characters.  I’m still not completely comfortable with the battle system, but since the very next thing I’m doing is fighting, I suppose I’ll get more practice in.  I’m assuming after this first official mission, I’ll have access to the Coliseum where I can do CBA’s leveling trick.

Title: Final Fantasy V
Series: Final Fantasy
Genre: RPG – Fantasy
Developer: Square
Platform: PlayStation
Release Date: December 6, 1992
Date Purchased: Unknown
Date Started: June 17, 2017

Progress: Outside Walz Castle – Grinding

I did not play this at all last week, but I’ve decided I’m just going to move onto Walz Tower instead of trying to grind up enough levels to defeat Shiva.  I’ll come back later.

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The State of the Gamer: 8/1/17

<–The State of the Gamer: 7/25/17          The State of the Gamer: 8/8/17–>

A weekly post updated every Tuesday detailing my current gaming projects.  I have quite a backlog of games to either play or watch, and I’m hoping a weekly article will assist with my progress as my other accountable posts have done with reading and writing.  I have an account at Grouvee, which is a essentially Goodreads for gamers, so please feel free to friend me there!

Currently Playing: 4

Title: Final Fantasy Type-0
Series: Final Fantasy/Fabula Nova Crystallis
Genre: Action RPG – Fantasy
Developer: Square Enix
Platform: PlayStation 4
Release Date: October 27, 2011
Date Purchased: May 18, 2017
Date Started: June 18, 2017

Progress: Chapter 2

Did I play Type-0?  No, I did not, and no that’s not a typo *runs away*

Title: Final Fantasy V
Series: Final Fantasy
Genre: RPG – Fantasy
Developer: Square
Platform: PlayStation
Release Date: December 6, 1992
Date Purchased: Unknown
Date Started: June 17, 2017

Progress: Outside Walz Castle – Grinding

I did some brief leveling this weekend, while watching Adventure Time, because grinding is kind of boring.  I want to get to Level 13 before I take on Shiva again, but now that I’m thinking about it, I won’t have the Level 2 black magic anyway (Fire 2), so I’ll probably just continue onto Walz Tower next time I play.  I can (hopefully) come back for Shiva right after that.

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The State of the Gamer: 7/18/17

<–The State of the Gamer: 7/11/17          The State of the Gamer: 7/25/17

A weekly post updated every Tuesday detailing my current gaming projects.  I have quite a backlog of games to either play or watch, and I’m hoping a weekly article will assist with my progress as my other accountable posts have done with reading and writing.
I have an account at Grouvee, which is a essentially Goodreads for gamers, so please feel free to friend me there!
Original source of the banner art is located here.

Currently Playing: 4

Title: Final Fantasy Type-0
Series: Final Fantasy/Fabula Nova Crystallis
Genre: Action RPG – Fantasy
Developer: Square Enix
Platform: PlayStation 4
Release Date: October 27, 2011
Date Purchased: May 18, 2017
Date Started: June 18, 2017

Progress: Chapter 2

No progress this week.  I’m still at the school and still trying to find time to play.

Title: Final Fantasy V
Series: Final Fantasy
Genre: RPG – Fantasy
Developer: Square
Platform: PlayStation
Release Date: December 6, 1992
Date Purchased: Unknown
Date Started: June 17, 2017

Progress: Walz Castle

I’m still at Walz Castle, but I managed to loot the basement and snag myself 3000 GP and an Elf Cloak.  That stupid harpy down there attacked me three or four times, but I was able to run away, though it killed/knocked out two of my characters.  I attempted to fight/obtain Shiva, but she and her cohorts kicked my ass even though I took the advice on GameFAQS of switching everyone to a Black Mage and casting Ice.  I’m going to do some leveling and give it another try.  I might look up another walkthrough and see if there are any more tips, or I may just continue on to Walz Tower and come back for her later.

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