Baud Attitude’s Games of the Decade, Part 2

Continued from Part 1, here’s games 20-11 of the Baud Attitude Games of the Decade list, starting with a “Don’t play this in the dark” game that I am still rather proud of finishing.

I even played some of it in the dark.

20. Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Frictional Games, 2010)

I like horror games, but Amnesia: The Dark Descent nearly broke me.

You wake up in a creepy castle with no memory of how you got there – this is not a spoiler, it’s literally the title of the game – and then you spend your time being chased around and frequently killed by enemies that you can’t look at because they can see you better when you’re looking at them. It gets double marks for making you manually open doors and having all of the doors open TOWARDS you, generally meaning that you are backing towards something that is chasing you while you are trying to escape it.

It’s not the most visually-amazing game, but the sound design… eeesh.  Whoever is responsible gets my firm admiration.

19. Sakura Dungeon (Winged Cloud, 2016)

If I was making a list of “most influential games”, 2014’s Sakura Spirit would be on this list. It wasn’t a particularly good visual novel, and you only got about two hours of reading for your ten bucks, but it caught the eye of just about everyone when it hit and lead to a flood of cheap and naughty video games, most of them visual novels or match-3s where your efforts were rewarded with lewd anime illustrations.

Sakura Dungeon stands out in the crowd because it took a visual novel engine and turned it into a competent first-person dungeon crawler, naturally one where you were rewarded with lewd anime illustrations.  It wasn’t completely original – it was basically a revamp of 2013’s Demon Master Chris – but that earlier game was limited in its audience by being confined to Mangagamer and similar sites.  The Sakura series was proudly on Steam.

Also the main character is a hero who wakes up a demon lord with the intent of killing them but then one thing leads to another and you wind up besties and team up to repel alien invaders to save the world. 10/10 would fight lewd anime girl monsters for 20 hours again.

18. Batman: Arkham Origins (WB Games Montréal, 2013)

Picking a single “best Arkham” game is a regular Sophie’s Choice scenario.  I can rule out Arkham Asylum because it was published in 2009, but after that?

All of them are games  based around letting you live the fantasy of being a billionaire playboy who beats the hell out of the disadvantaged criminal element, and honestly that’s the sort of escapism I can get behind at times.

Anyway, I have no complaints to register with either Arkham City or Arkham Knight, but I went with Origins solely because it had the best boss fights.  It was also the first where I actually got the knack of the combat system.

Yes, I managed to finish the two games before it without knowing how to do a simple combo. They’re not exactly hard games.

Sophie’s choice all sorted out, then.

17. Mario+Rabbids: Kingdom Battle (Ubisoft, 2017)

I love the Rabbids. I know that kind of ruins any sort of credibility I might ever have aspired to, but I cannot help laughing at their particular brand of dumb.

Taking the Rabbids, mashing them together with Mario characters, and making an X-Com knockoff with them? It shouldn’t have worked. It worked brilliantly. Rabbid Peach was a particular highlight, which is probably why they built an expansion around her.

16. Gravity Rush (Team Gravity, 2012)

It’s a game about a girl named Kat, with a cat named Dusty, who solves small problems for people and also saves the universe.

Despite suffering from memory loss and living in a sewer tunnel, Kat’s main superpowers are sheer optimism and cheerfulness and a willingness to drop everything to help people and also she can redefine gravity in her immediate vicinity and suddenly “up” becomes “down” or possibly “left” and she is falling into the air At Speed, generally flailing quite a bit and occasionally killing completely innocent bystanders who never get mentioned again by anyone who doesn’t want to personally discover how the last guys died.

Originally a Vita exclusive – so nobody bought it – it got a PS4 release that also nobody bought. I finished it on both and it’s one of my few Platinum trophies. Wasn’t a big fan of the sequel, but the original is top-notch.

15. Overwatch (Blizzard, 2016)

I’m not one for multiplayer-only PVP games, but I AM a sucker for giant stompy robots. So I bought Titanfall when it was heavily discounted in, like, 2015?

Titanfall has very little to do with Overwatch, but it taught me that I could enjoy entirely-multiplayer games as long as I got positive feedback in the form of filling up progress bars at the end of every match and as long as mecha were involved. And Overwatch has a girl that rides around inside a mech and another girl that IS a stompy robot, and there’s a progress bar that occasionally fills up and goes PING and then you get to open a loot box full of cosmetic items for every character you DO NOT play.

Seriously, I would like to start a brand new Overwatch account at some point, play 20 or 30 matches as a single character, and then drop like a hundred bucks on loot boxes. I suspect the fountain of loot that came out of those boxes would be distributed to every character except the one I’d played those matches on in a way that would defy any reasonable statistical distribution. But I digress.

Anyway, that complaint aside, Overwatch has become one of my “I need something to distract myself for like half an hour while I work out” games and was largely responsible for me going to my doctor and having her say “Huh, your blood pressure is where I want to see it”, so it deserves a spot here.

14. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo, 2017)

Most of my attempts at playing Zelda games before Breath of the Wild ended shortly after finishing the tutorial, at which point I would breathe a sigh of relief, put the controller down and promise to get back to the actual game part at some point. I never actually got back to the games, and I figured I would just never GET the whole Zelda thing.

Then came BOTW, and it turns out that taking a mix of Ubisoft tower-climbing and map-unlocking and Bethesda-style running around and completely ignoring the main quest and slapping a Zelda skin on the whole thing made for a Zelda game I could actually have fun with. Bonus points for not having a terrible tutorial and for hiding the frustrating mandatory stealth missions far enough into the game that I was too invested to quit by the time I reached them.

13. Nier: Automata (SquareEnix, 2017)

In general, I HATE games with multiple endings, and Nier: Automata has over twenty endings, at least five of which are mandatory if you want to see the whole story.

Fortunately, most of the rest are silly “bad” endings.

For example, one mission starts by being ordered to go and help another character.  If you simply choose to go the other way instead, abandoning them to their fate, you get a Game Over and the end credits roll.  You can get a second by eating bad fish and dying.  I got a few of these naturally through play, decided the process of getting the rest would be too tedious, and watched them on YouTube.

Even setting those aside, it took a fair amount of effort to keep playing through the game’s “B” and “C” routes to get through the story endings.

On the other hand, it has hot robot girls, massive bosses, Platinum-style melee combat, bullet-hell shooting, weird abstract wireframe puzzle-solving, MOOSE RIDING, and a story that beats you over the head with increasingly-depressing endings before you finally get to a spark of hope. Also, it later inspired a really enjoyable raid in Final Fantasy XIV, which brings me to…

12. Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers (SquareEnix, 2019)

…Yes, it’s another MMORPG expansion. And, believe it or not, it didn’t wind up in this position just because I wanted to take advantage of the segue opportunity from talking about Nier.

I got back into FFXIV earlier this year, which was probably a bad move if I’m honest. MMOs are a genre for people with WAY too much free time on their hands, or at least for people who can set a lower priority on almost every other aspect of their lives. You know, like school and work and basic social interactions.

Still, FFXIV kind of discourages the grind mentality through a number of daily and weekly lockouts and has a solid single-player story. It’s worth playing as a Final Fantasy game, not just an MMO, and the Shadowbringers expansion may just be the best Final Fantasy I’ve ever played.

Full disclosure: I’ve really only played I, VII, X and a little bit of II and VIII. AHEM.

It has the best villain, anyway, and I would recommend anyone interested in a really good Final Fantasy game with a really good villain plan to set aside three or four hundred hours of their lives to start the game from scratch and grind through the base game and the previous two expansions so you can play Shadowbringers and see for yourself.

You can play through the Nier raid once you’re done with that. It will be fun!

Side note: I really didn’t play many games released in 2019 this year, so let’s just go ahead and save me writing a separate Baud Attitude Game of the Year post and say this is it.

11. Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (FROM, 2014)

Spoiler: This is the only Dark Souls game in this list. If you’ve gotten to this entry and said “Well, at least he’s putting Dark Souls II down here at number 11 where it belongs”, you may be disappointed. I genuinely like Dark Souls II the most of the trilogy, despite the world not making any sense in places and the whole Adaptability stat mess.

Look, I’d have Demon’s Souls on here if it was from this decade. Does that make it any better?

Anyway. Dark Souls II was my third Souls game, and the first where I really got into the multiplayer aspects of the series – in fact, I quite believe that the game is designed around encouraging multiplayer in a way that the other entries were not. Coming from the first Dark Souls, the opening to II is brutal – you have very little direction in which way to go, you have limited healing options, and the early zones LOVE to swarm you with pain-in-the-ass ambushes.

Then you get to the Cardinal Tower Bonfire, probably your first Bonfire after leaving the game’s hub town, and there’s a friendly merchant right there and the ground is CARPETED in summon signs, every one of them another player offering to help you push further into the world. It’s like, we’ve all stuck it out to get this far, let’s go together from here.

The Fume Knight from the DSII expansions is also has my favorite boss of the series, or at least the one that was most satisfying to finally take down.

Part three tomorrow! What incredibly brave and unusual choice will I make for the ULTIMATE GAME OF THE DECADE?

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