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Nobody's Top 100 Games of All Time: 30-21

30: OneShot (Future Cat LLC/Degica, PC, 2016)

OneShot draws a lot of comparisons to Undertale and Earthbound, presumably because it's a wholesome game about a kid exploring a weird world. Personally, I think the more apt comparison is Calvin & Hobbes, because this game is about Niko's perception of and interaction with this world more than anything else. You play as yourself, a guiding eye in the sky directing Niko with his task of delivering an orb that happens to be the world's sun. But he really just wants to go home and have pancakes.

29: Persona 3 Portable (Atlus, PSP, 2010)

I say that P3 is my least favorite of the main Persona games, but the fact it's still #29 overall really emphasizes how meaningless of a distinction that is. They're all amazing games that much of the rest of the JRPG genre is still trying to catch up to, and P3 was what really kicked it all off. Personally, Portable is my preferred version because it's the only opportunity in the last three games to play a female MC, and also because of the original game's lack of social links for the male party members. Plus, you get to use a naginata as female MC, and that's objectively more badass than a sword.

28: Total War Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai (Creative Assembly/SEGA, PC, 2012)

Fall of the Samurai covers the Boshin War, when forces backing the Emperor and Westernization overthrew the Shogunate. It's the most recent setting that TW has done, which lets it play with technologies like telegraphs and railroads, as well as rifled weapons and ironclad ships, that didn't exist at other times in the series. But, it's also a setting trapped between eras and worlds, so you still have units fighting with swords and can recruit Civil and Crimean War veterans to train your armies. Base Shogun 2 is also extremely good and would've made the list on its own, but Fall of the Samurai is the best mode of the bunch.

27: The Last of Us Remastered (Naughty Dog/Sony, PS4, 2014)

I didn't finish TLOU the first time I played it because Joel is an asshole and I got sick of him. But I went back two years ago and finally knocked it out, and you know what? It's really good. I still have problems with the worldbuilding not really making any sense, but that's a minor knock against a game with some amazing settings and surprisingly good combat. Joel and Ellie's relationship is what really carries the game, though, because he does eventually stop being quite so much of an ass. The best bit has you play as Ellie, and thankfully they eventually realized they should just do the whole game that way. We'll get to it.

26: Stardew Valley (Concerned Ape, PC, 2016)

TLOU may not spare a thought for the farmers of its world, but Stardew Valley is all about them. You play a farmer doing farm stuff, like murdering monsters in abandoned mines, catcthing radioactive fish, and romancing a local villager by giving her rocks to eat until she wants to marry you. SV's sense of humor isn't quite as amazingly stupid as Rune Factory can get, but it does just about everything else better and has great multiplayer support. Concerned Ape hasn't stopped supporting it after four years and modders are still going strong as well, so on top of all that it's a game that just keeps growing and evolving all the time. Unless you're on Vita. :(

25: Final Fantasy VI Advance (Square, GBA, 1994)

I could post a screenshot of FFVI, but you've all played it and all probably know how important the above scene is to this ranking. FFVI has some of the best gameplay and characters in the FF series, but it's Uematsu's greatest soundtrack and some still unmatched scenes that make the game easily the pinnacle of both FF overall and the classic era of JRPGs. Are there things I'd change? Sure. It should've had EXP leak if it was going to make me use so many characters, character development could be spread more evenly, and so on. It's not perfect, but it's much closer to it than all but a few games have ever been.

24: Portal 2 (Valve, PS3, 2011)

Although recently topped by a game that wasn't eligible for this list, Portal 2 was the funniest game I'd ever played for a solid 9 years. Portal 2 was the first, and still only, full-length game in the series and expanded on the original's revolutionary design with new puzzle mechanics and a larger cast of characters. Johnathan Coulton came back with an even better credits song. Space Core wanted to go to space. It's got it all.

23: Left 4 Dead 2 (Valve, PC, 2009)

Alright, I didn't think this game would be this high, but I'm going to trust my voting results this time because it's way too late to think about changing it now. And honestly, despite my surprise at it being #23, L4D2 really is that good. It's a co-op experience that requires actually cooperating while still allowing you to play more or less however you want. The difficulty settings are varied enough to be whatever your group wants, and the Game Director AI will take care of adjusting it from there. I used to go back and forth on which of the two games was better because I prefer L4D's map design, but then they added those maps to 2 and made it a moot point. Now it's clearly the definitive version of this idea, at least until Back 4 Blood comes out.

22: Necrobarista (Route 59/Coconut Island Games, PC, 2020)

Someone who remembers my 2020 Top 10 from like a month ago might look at this ranking and go: "This ranking is totally incompatible with your other list! What gives, you fraud?" To which I'll say, "Walking to the Sky was really bleeping good, okay?", because yeah, that helped a lot. Necrobarista is about learning to accept death once it's already happened, and Walking to the Sky is about learning to accept its imminence. Together, they are Death: The Australian Visual Novel, and it turns out that's just the game I needed. Plus, the OST is a banger and, in an unusual bit of praise for a VN, it has some amazing shots in it.

21: Hades (Supergiant, PC, 2020)

If you remember what I said about Bastion a few posts ago, Hades is all of that with even more refined combat and a more involved story. Which is actually quite a feat, because it's also a roguelite, and I don't know of any other game that's ever managed to combine that kind of progression with a genuinely good narrative. But Hades not only does it, it does it while still keeping each run so fresh that I wasn't even bothered by having to beat it 10 times to see the end. And that's before talking about all the character subplots running alongside! Or all the weapons and items! It really is... almost... the best this genre has ever been. There's still one more.

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