Shadow’s Six – Best of 2017

It’s that time of year again. The time when we look back on the year and decide – in some strange arbitrary fashion – which games reign supreme!

Today we’ll be revisiting the realms we’ve explored, reminiscing on the rivals we vanquished, scrutinizing the structures we built (and destroyed), deliberating about the dungeons we discovered, and judging the year’s journeys. Who will survive all of this speculation and come out on top?

This was a year that featured a new console; new entries in many long-standing franchises including Mario, Persona, Assassin’s Creed and more; entirely new IPs; and even the birth of a new genre. Many exceptional games will fail to make the cut, but for those who do… the glory will be all the sweeter. So without further delay, it is time for me to reveal the best games of 2017.

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Persona 5 – Stolen Moments

The Persona series’ Velvet Room has always defined each game. In Persona 3, the room appeared as an elevator representing one of the game’s core story themes. In Persona 4, it is a limousine shrouded in fog signifying our protagonist’s current transient state. Persona 5 ups the symbolism a notch by making the Velvet Room the prison that is meant to be a window into the lead character’s current peril.

Within the first hour of your time with Persona 5, you’ll come to the realization that the story here is not light-hearted. For all that the music is extremely up-beat, what we’re dealing with her is a story of misfits ground down by the world and trying to strike back – to reclaim some sense of life for their lives. In Persona 5, our protagonist – known by the code name Joker – forms a group of thieves known as the Phantom Thieves of Hearts and seeks to right the wrongs of the society that has failed him by stealing the twisted hearts of the wicked who are preying upon the innocent. Sounds simple, right?


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Muses: Atlus’ War On Free Publicity

I know guys, it’s hard to believe… two muses posts right in a row. By now we’ve all heard of Atlus’ archaic restrictions on Persona 5 content, but for those who haven’t, take a second and go visit the Atlus website to see them outline their restrictions and to read their subsequent threat to their fanbase.

Reactions have been seen all over the internet, from content creators both big and small. Forbes called it ‘Ludicrous and Absurd’, Jim Sterling released one of his best videos ever entitled ‘Oh Atlus, Honey, no…’ discussing the topic, and even Square Enix has released statements about how this type of thing hurts sales more than it helps (although it was in a Japanese interview so links are hard to find).

Now that I’ve had some time to think about it, and since it is a subject that touches fairly close to home as a streamer who mostly streams JRPGs, I wanted to take some time to actually go into detail about my thoughts on the subject.

Note: This article was written before the recent update, but I’m still going to post it because the basic content is still fitting. The update to the policy outlines that they’ve lightened the restriction to 11/19. I fully expect that in a few months we’ll hear that they’ve lifted it entirely. The video will touch a bit more on the lightened restrictions.

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Muses: Difficulty in Video Games or ‘Why I Hate Dark Souls’

Video Game Difficulty is a hot topic these days as a new barrage of games spotlighting difficulty as one of their core values continues to arrive. Whether we’re talking brutal platformers trying to emulate the success of ‘I Wanna Be the Boshy’ or the action adventure sub-genre known as ‘Soulsborne’… difficulty is being brought into the spotlight more than ever.

There are many different ways to make a difficult game. Both Souls and Boshy are among the first games mentioned if you ask people about challenging games, yet the two take a completely different approach to difficulty. What I want to do here is explain the way I look at a game’s difficulty, and touch on why I find some difficult games fun while others atrocious. So for those of you out there who keep asking me why I dislike Dark Souls… here’s your answer.


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The Shadow’s Sixty Countdown – The Top Six

This has been a long time coming. When I started brainstorming for this list at the beginning of the year, I never would’ve imagined how difficult it would’ve been to try to recall and rank every game I’ve ever played. I spent weeks brainstorming the list, and my original first draft had around 110 games overall. I spent an agonizing month gradually narrowing the list down from those 110 to the 60 here – I used every trick I could think of to rule some of them out. Some games I went back and played again, watched footage of them, tried to see how much I could actually remember about them, and if I could write a convincing argument for why they were awesome. Afterall, if I couldn’t convince myself, then maybe they weren’t as good as nostalgia painted them, right?

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These final 6 games were always on the list. While the rest of the Shadow’s Sixty changed dramatically from draft to draft, very little about the Top 6 has changed from the start. These games are the best I’ve ever played, and there was very little question in my mind about which games belonged up top. And that is why I am so pleased to reveal this list to you – the final entries in this, my Shadow’s Sixty. So let’s get to it and unveil gaming’s greatest, as I see it.

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