Nobody's Top 100 Games of All Time: 70-61

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70: Into the Breach (Subset Games, PC, 2018)


ItB is the second game from the makers of FTL, but it also has a lot in common with Slay the Spire. It's a fully deterministic strategy RPG where you can always see what enemies are going to do, how much damage that will inflict, and what your abilities will do to them. You need to protect your big battle robots and civilian buildings spread out around the map, and losing too many of either will end the game. Battles very quickly become puzzles about how to use your abilities just so to prevent any damage, and you still get all the long term upgrade and path strategy from FTL in the overworld.


69: Opus Magnum (Zachtronics, PC, 2017)


Zachtronics makes puzzle games where you have to make machines complete tasks as quickly as possible, with as few parts as possible, and in as few instructions as possible. OM brings that formula to alchemy. Every level gives you a few source elements and you need to use machines consisting largely of rotating arms, bonding sites, and transmuters, to create increasingly complex molecules. There isn't any educational value here since it's all fake science, but the solutions to each problem are more satisfying to watch than in any of their other games because it's so physical. It's a really nice game.


68: What Comes After (fahmitsu/Rolling Glory Jam, PC, 2020)


An extremely short game about a young woman who accidentally ends up on the train that takes the dead to, you guessed it, what comes after. The mildly annoyed train staff tell her to just talk to the other passengers until they can get her back home because hey, you might learn something. The game description says it's about "learning to love yourself", and while some of the ghosts towards the end can maybe get a little too sentimental, strong writing in other conversations more than makes up for it.


67: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords (Obsidian/LucasArts, PC, 2005)


KotoR2 is virtually identical to the first game mechanically, so it can really be seen as a giant story expansion. It doesn't have anything to match the famous twist, but it does have more and more varied worlds, a much stronger supporting cast, and a somewhat better take on morality than the original's approach of encouraging always picking the obviously good or bad choice. It would be a lot higher except that the game was rushed out the door and has a ton of missing content and a comically abrupt ending as a result. Still, everything up to about the 75% mark is great.


66: Final Fantasy X HD Remaster (Square Enix, Vita, 2015)


FFX is the last good Final Fantasy, dammit. You can see the beginnings of the hokey protagonists that would bring down some of the later games, and also the obsession with fancy cutscenes that ate up all of XIII's budget, but it also still has an innovative battle system, strong story, and Uematsu OST. The Sphere Grid is one of the coolest ways to level up I've seen in a JRPG; you can really tailor any character to fill whatever role you want. Even Blitzball is actually pretty fun. Some people might try to argue that no game was ever released under this exact title, but I feel like I'd know about it if FFX ever got an ill-conceived sequel bundled into the remaster. I'm pretty sure the story ended here.


65: BioShock (Irrational/2K, PC, 2007)


Look, BioShock's combat kinda sucks and it should've ended two hours earlier. I swore by Infinite as the best game in the series for a long time because of that. But everything else in the game is so top notch that I don't care anymore. This maybe has the best opening hour that's ever been in any game, period. The famous twist scene is genius. The atmosphere hasn't been diminished at all by time. There's ultimately no escaping its flaws, but BioShock is still a masterpiece that is as impressive now as it was when it was kicking off a game design revolution 14 years ago.


64: Mass Effect 2 (BioWare/EA, PC, 2010)


Considering I haven't shut up about this series for 10 years and ME2 specifically played a big role in me being where I am today, I think it's safe to say that this is a surprisingly low ranking. It sure is for me. But I think it's right. Partly because #64 is still really high in terms of 812 starting candidates, and partly because ME2 has the lowest lows of the series. The Suicide Mission and the loyalty quests for all your companions were brilliant innovations that are still influencing the genre today, but it was also full of pointless filler sidequests and was so obsessed with making Shepard and co "cool" that it sometimes jumps the shark. But not to worry: there will be much less qualified praise of ME a lot further up this list.


63: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (CDProjekt Red, PC, 2011)


For me personally, I don't think any series has ever improved as dramatically and rapidly as The Witcher did over three games. TW1 was, frankly, a bit shit and I didn't even bother finishing. TW2 wisely decided to just forget it ever happened and tell a fully independent story about a mysterious assassin who is methodically killing the kings of the land one by one. It's a strong action RPG with some great characters, but it really shines in how excruciating some of its moral choices are. It's a world led by bad people doing awful things, and often there are no unambiguously good ways to make it better. There still aren't many games that can hold a candle to its choices.


62: Why am I Dead at Sea (Peltast Software, PC, 2015)


You play a ghost who wakes up on a ship and needs to find out, well, you know. Thankfully, being a ghost means being able to possess the surviving passengers, read their thoughts, and move them around to talk with others and slowly piece together what happened. This is another one of those games that I'd really have to try to find a criticism of. It's got beautiful Earthbound-y pixel art, the writing is strong throughout, I still listen to Bill Kiley's OST regularly, and even the bad endings are satisfying. Oh, and it costs all of $5. This is one of the easiest recommendations on the entire list.


61: Okami (Clover/Capcom, Wii, 2007)


Okami is an interesting one because I personally consider it very Zelda-like, and apparently even the best 3D one, but others don't think it's similar at all. I think it comes down to what you care about in these games. Okami is very much in the Wind Waker school of being first and foremost about its world. You're not going to spend very long in dungeons, and it'll take half an eternity to even get to the first one, but you will be exploring for sidequests and new characters almost constantly. At the end of the journey, you'll remember the places and silly people you met much more than you will the brush techniques (items, basically) you collected or puzzles you solved. Oh, the places you'll go.


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