Every Royal Rumble Match Winner Ranked (Part 1)

Alright, time for a big task.

While I could’ve just ranked all of the Rumble matches themselves and been done with it, I personally think ranking the winners is much more interesting.

There’s so much to consider when it comes to putting all of the competitors in a ranked list like this: How did they perform in the match? What were their stories going into the match? What did they do following their win? Not to mention outside factors surrounding the match and its winner.

So what am I ranking these men (and woman) based on? The main things I’ll be taking into account are their performance in the Rumble match (Entry Number, Eliminations, How did they actually win?) and what they did in the months following their Rumble victory, paying special attention to their title opportunity at the following Wrestlemania.

Finally, for people who won multiple Rumbles, I’m grouping their wins together and taking an average, so it doesn’t clog up the list.

26 – Vince Mcmahon – 1999

The owner of the WWE booked himself to win the Royal Rumble. Does any more really need to be said? Well, let’s say it anyway.

The ’99 Rumble was a pretty underwhelming one anyway, with the focus being taken away from the action in the ring far too often to see whatever Stone Cold and Vince Mcmahon were getting up to backstage. Which meant we couldn’t get a lot of the staples that make a Royal Rumble so much fun to watch.

At face value, Vince’s stats are quite impressive, he entered at Number 2, which is essentially the same as Number 1, and lasted over 56 minutes before winning the match. However, when you see what actually happened, it gets significantly more underwhelming. For one, Mcmahon was only in the match to eliminate Stone Cold, that was all he wanted to do, he didn’t care about winning the damn thing. He also spent most of the match sitting around on commentary or in the bowels of the arena beating up Stone Cold, and he was only able to succeed with an awful lot of help from just about everyone.

As for what he did afterwards, he forfeited his title shot because – and I can’t stress this enough – he never wanted to win the match, however in doing so, the title shot defaulted to the runner-up of the match which was, you guessed it, Stone Cold, COMPLETELY defeating the point of Mcmahon even entering the match in the first place.

It seemed like a really roundabout way to get Austin into the main event of Wrestlemania 15, and they really should’ve just given Stone Cold his third consecutive Rumble win.

25 – “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan – 1988

“First the worst” as they say…

I get that since it was the first ever Rumble match, WWE hadn’t quite worked out exactly what they wanted to do with it just yet, but this whole thing was just so underwhelming.

For a start, there were only 20 men in this match instead of the 30 that would be in from ’89 onwards and, after entering at number 13, Jim eliminated a measly 3 men before being declared the winner. Nevertheless, that’s all fine as long as he can use the momentum that something like winning the first ever Royal Rumble would give you, so what did he do two months later and Wrestlemania 3? Well…..ummm ran in and caused his enemies, The Iron Shiek and Nikolai Volkov to win their match via disqualification…..right.

Unfortunately the first ever Rumble match isn’t quite the amazing spectacle it would soon become, but everything’s gotta start somewhere.

24 – Roman Reigns – 2015

I really wanted to put Roman higher than this, but I just couldn’t do it.

It’s hard to describe the 2015 Rumble as anything other than a disaster. I felt like WWE were actively trying to piss off its fanbase by choosing to do the exact opposite of what we wanted to see at every opportunity, with things like Daniel Bryan being eliminated super early, and the Big Show and Kane boringly dropping everyone out of the ring like they were moving furniture.

It was all ok though because a conquering hero that we all loved was going to come and put a stop to it! A hero called……Roman Reigns……oh. Roman Reigns has perhaps never been hated more than he was on this night (and that includes when he “retired” The Undertaker in 2017) and it’s not hard to see why.

Roman had been booked terribly since the breakup of the Shield, to the point where any momentum he would’ve had coming out of that was long dead. It’s been said many times, but you have to fuck up HARD to get a crowd to boo The Rock in 2015, but Roman Reigns winning the Royal Rumble did just that.

23 – Big John Studd – 1989

“Second the best”, well, not quite.

While the match itself saw a whole host of vast improvements from its progenitor the previous year, the same cannot be said for the treatment of the winner.

Before the stipulation where the winner gets a world championship match at Wrestlemania was added, the whole thing seemed to feel rather purposeless; while it was still full of the fun things we expect from a Rumble, there didn’t feel like there were any real stakes.

As for Studd’s performance in the match, it was a fairly standard performance from a Rumble winner, entering at the ever-so-popular 27 and lasting a little over 12 minutes, with a tad underwhelming 2 eliminations. However, once again it’s what happened to him in the aftermath of his victory that drops him down this far. While I’m aware of what a big deal Studd was in his day, at Wrestlemania 4, all he was just a special referee for Andre vs Jake Roberts.

Imagine if that’s what became of this year’s Rumble winner, we’d all be fuming, and as such, I can’t bring myself to place it any higher.

22 – Yokozuna – 1993

Honestly, I’m surprised that this one got as high as it did.

Yokozuna’s performance in the ’93 Rumble was actually fairly impressive, lasting for just under 15 minutes and eliminating 7 men on his way to victory. Admittedly, his win was slightly undercut by the fact he won by throwing Randy Savage out after Savage stupidly tried to go for a pinfall…in the Royal Rumble.

Once again though, Yokozuna falls this far down this list thanks to what happened following his victory. At Wrestlemania 9, Yokozuna fought Bret Hart for the title and won, becoming the WWF Champion! That’s great! Well hold up for a second, we’re not done. For one, it wasn’t a clean win, since Bret was blinded by salt being thrown in his eyes. Secondly, the match was awful, thanks to Yokozuna skipping a large portion of the planned match due to being gassed. Finally, after Yokozuna’s victory, who should come out but Hulk Hogan.

Oh cool, are they going to staredown and set up a future confrontation? Are they going to restart the match so Bret can reclaim his title?

NOPE

Instead, Mr Fugi challenged Hogan to a match right there and then and Hogan beat Yokozuna in short fashion. Oh.

21 – Randy Orton – 2009 & 2017

I’m not still salty about it, honestly, I’m not.

You’d think a multiple time winner of the Royal Rumble shouldn’t be this low down on the list, but let’s break this down.

First up, 2009, and it’s not a good sign when I had to look up who won this match because I genuinely couldn’t remember (it was the only one I couldn’t remember too.) In addition to this, such a large portion of the match was dedicated to Triple H vs Legacy it shoved a lot of other cool stuff out of the way in the match. Orton actually lasted an impressive 48 minutes after entering at number 8, however thanks to Legacy doing a lot of the work for him, he only got 3 eliminations.

He then went on to fight Triple H for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 25 in one of the biggest anti-climaxes ever. The build to the match was brilliant, with wife-kissing, Mcmahon punting and home invasions galore, and then the match happened and it was perhaps one of the most boring matches I’ve ever seen. Oh, and Randy lost, so that sucks.

So now we look to 2017 for some redemption an- Oh God the memories are returning, so much pain, so much pain.

I try my best to avoid checking the betting odds in the week before a wrestling event for fear of spoilers, but in 2017 it was rather hard to avoid because they were just so odd. Not only did no-one in the IWC really have any clue who was going to win, but the betting odds were fluctuating by the day, until suddenly out of absolutely nowhere, Randy Orton shoots up to the top with 7/2 odds of winning; and we all got very worried.

Then, following the worst number 30 entrance in history (thank you Roman) our fears were realised as Randy Orton claimed his second Royal Rumble victory.

His performance was nothing special this time around, lasting 20 minutes and ending up with only a single elimination. Granted, he did win the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania, but he would just as quickly lose it to Jinder Mahal, and I don’t want to talk about that right now because the pain just won’t stop.

20 – Sheamus – 2012

If you read these lists of mine often, then you might think I have it out for Sheamus a bit, and you’d be right.

While I think he’s been brilliant since teaming up with Cesaro, but I entirely hated pretty much everything he did before that; Case in point, the 2012 Royal Rumble and what followed it.

Sheamus’ performance was the definition of a “standard” Royal Rumble performance: entering at 23, lasting about 20 minutes and eliminating 3 men of little consequence along the way. With this Rumble, however, you have to factor in the fact that Jericho was originally planned to win this match, but when that got leaked online, WWE panicked and changed it for the sake of changing it. I understand the need for intrigue and mystery, but switching Chris Jericho for Sheamus? Come on.

Then what happened after. I really don’t want to talk about it, so I’ll just say 18 seconds and leave it at that. Let us shed a small tear and move on.

19 – The Rock – 2000

While I want to just sit here and type “The Rock didn’t win the 2000 Royal Rumble” over and over again, let’s look past it.

Generally, the 2000 Royal Rumble was a tad overshadowed by what came before it, with Triple H and Mick Foley putting on a brilliant match for the WWF championship. Not to mention, this was in an era where all of the big names were either out with injury, or just building themselves up, so it’s not a very star-studded match.

Rocky eliminated 4 men on his way to “victory” in this match. With the thing I will never stop mentioning, where both of The Rock’s feet touched the floor before Big Show’s meaning – and say it with me boys and girls – The Rock didn’t win the 2000 Royal Rumble. I don’t care if they used it in a future storyline, I’m still upset about it.

Speaking of future storylines though, The Rock ended up being on the losing end of his Wrestlemania 16 match, in yet another main event that became all about the Mcmahon’s stupid infighting.

18 – Batista – 2005 & 2014

Batista’s Rumble wins are both incredibly memorable ones, although not exactly for the best of reasons.

Everything was going rather well for Batista in the 2005 Rumble, he had a great storyline lined up for him and was being able to put on a fairly dominant display on his way to a Rumble win, but it all went wrong at the last possible second.

The story is well known, but let’s recap it again because it’s hilarious.

So Batista lifts Cena up for the Batista bomb for what is presumably the finish, but physics decides it’s having none of that. Instead, the force Batista lifts Cena up with causes Cena to over-rotate and it all ends up with both Cena and Batista falling out of the ring at the exact same time. Seriously, watch it back, there was no way to tell who hit first.

Unlike 1994, this wasn’t supposed to happen, so now we have mass confusion, with the referees stalling for time until they get some word from backstage as to what the fuck they’re supposed to do. At which point a furious Vince Mcmahon storms down to the ring (which is always funny), and upon launching himself into the ring, tears BOTH HIS QUADS. I thought Kevin Nash tearing one by walking was bad, but both of them, simultaneously, by simply getting into the ring.

Eventually, the match is restarted and Batista gets rid of Cena in short order, but his win will forever be overshadowed by the chaos that came before it.

Oh God, we’re still not done. Now we must turn our attention to 2014 and see what horrors it holds within.

Things went wrong here long before the Rumble even started, as Batista’s return was intended to be a surprise, but WHOOPS the internet got involved again and it leaked. Which meant instead of the big adrenaline high you get from seeing a huge return in the middle of the Rumble, we got a very slow and very boring promo on Raw to mark his return.

The main story of the 2014 Royal Rumble was about a little man who wasn’t even in the match, by the name of Daniel Bryan, you might’ve heard of him. Fans were so desperate to see Bryan win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, that any winner not named Daniel Bryan was going to get booed out of the building. Enter Batista.

I could tell you his stats, but it really doesn’t matter, the moment Batista eliminated Roman Reigns to win the match, all that would ever be remembered are the boos, the never-ending boos.

Batista would eventually lose his title match at Wrestlemania 30 after the aforementioned little man inserted himself in the match for one of the best Wrestlemania endings ever. Just a shame Batista was a complete non-factor in all of it.

17 – Lex Luger – 1994

So we’ve talked about the Rumble that accidentally ended in a draw, now let’s talk about the one that was supposed to.

Luger actually had the better performance of the two winners in the ’94 Rumble, with 6 eliminations in a little over 20 minutes. Normally I’d take how exactly they won into account, but the fact that both Luger and Bret Hart eliminated each other simultaneously makes it quite hard for me to place.

I’m just going to have to go on what happened to him following his Rumble win and well…let’s just say Bret was the real winner. After some confusion, it was announced that both Hart and Luger would wrestle two matches at Wrestlemania 10 and Luger won the right to fight the champion (Yokozuna) first. That match ended when Mr Perfect (the special referee) disqualified Luger.

Luger had pretty much every advantage going into Wrestlemania 10 and he couldn’t put it away, not to mention how his WWF Championship match was just used to further a separate storyline, not really anything worthy of a Royal Rumble winner.

16 – Alberto Del Rio – 2011

There are a number of reasons why Del Rio placed this low. First of all, Del Rio very nearly didn’t win the Royal Rumble, because none other than Santino Marella had rolled out of the ring earlier in the match and nearly won by blind-siding Del Rio after he believed he had won.

Although, when he finally did win the match, things didn’t really go much better for him, as his World Heavyweight Championship match opened Wrestlemania 27, and he lost to Edge, who then proceeded to damage Del Rio’s car. Even though Edge would retire very shortly after, Del Rio was once again denied the championship thanks to Christian beating him for it the very next month.

While Del Rio would enjoy a brief run with the WWE Championship later in 2011 thanks to the Money in the Bank briefcase and Kevin Nash, his Royal Rumble win was most definitely a failure.

15 – Braun Strowman – 2018
(Greatest Royal Rumble Event)

You’d think the winner of the “Greatest Royal Rumble” would be a bit higher than this wouldn’t you?

Well, for one thing, this Royal Rumble was the “greatest” in size alone, with a record 50 entrants. Although at face value, Braun had an extraordinary showing – lasting 22 minutes and eliminating a record 13 men – ultimately I can’t bring myself to place him any higher simply because the match didn’t mean anything.

This was the very first of WWE’s event in Saudi Arabia, which meant nothing of real consequence was ever going to come from it. All Braun got for winning was a trophy which was destroyed in a couple of weeks and an ugly looking championship belt which we never saw again. Braun would win the Money in the Bank briefcase following his Rumble win but that ended in disaster too.

If we get a second GRR event in 2019, I certainly hope something better comes out of it than 2018’s.

14 – Shawn Michaels – 1995 & 1996

Again, someone who feels like they should probably be a little higher on the list, but the heartbreak kid’s Royal Rumble accomplishments really aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Shawn Michaels is often touted as being the first man to win the Royal Rumble from the number 1 spot, but that achievement becomes a whole lot less impressive when you actually watch the 1995 Royal Rumble. First off, entrants were coming in at a lightning pace, seemingly at 30-second intervals instead of the usual 90. This significantly decreased the run time of the match, with a match that usually lasts over an hour being decreased to a mere 38 minutes.

In addition to this, the list of participants in the match where a who’s who of absolutely no-one in WWF at the time. HBK, British Bulldog and Owen Hart were the only people of note in the match, so while Michaels’ 8 eliminations sound impressive, there wasn’t exactly anyone else in there to stand up to him.

Then he went to Wrestlemania 11 and lost to Deisel in boring fashion thanks to Sid being an idiot.

So why’s he in the middle of the list and not lower down? Well, his consecutive victory in 1996 was significantly more impressive than his first.

The field was full of legitimate competitors this time around, so when Michaels’ scored 8 eliminations this time around it seemed like a proper achievement. In addition to this, HBK won by eliminating Diesel, who had thwarted his attempts at the WWF Championship a year earlier.

Then following his win the ’96 Rumble, Shawn Michaels would go onto defeat Bret Hart in the classic 60 minute Iron Man match at Wrestlemania 12 to claim the WWF Championship and fulfil the boy-hood dream we keep hearing about.

So that’s part 1! Thank you very much for reading this far, part 2 will be coming your way on Monday, so make sure you follow me on Twitter @10ryawoo to see it as soon as it comes out. Until then, please share this around on social media and I’ll see you soon!

Ranking All 7 Pokemon Generations

Ok, I know, you don’t have to say it. You’re not going to agree with this list, I imagine very few people will, but hear me out.

I’ve wanted to make this list for a while, but it’s taken some time for me to put it together, because when it comes to picking your favourite Pokemon generation, there’s so much you have to consider. Game Freak always create such intricately detailed worlds that it almost seems like pulling them apart would be a disservice to everything that went into it.

I’ve also been thinking about what I’d like to see when Generation 8 launches later this year (more on that in a few weeks), so I’ve been looking back on older generations to see what ideas I can come up with.

First off, what constitutes a generation?
The widely accepted way to measure it is that, whenever a main series game with a new region and new Pokemon are released, that’s the start of a new generation. The main distinction that needs to be made here, is that remakes count towards the generation they  were released in, not the games they were originally based off; for example Heartgold and Soulsilver are Generation 4, not Generation 2.

Secondly, how am I ranking them?
As I’ve said, there’s so much to break down when it comes to how much you like a particular generation, so I’ve distilled it down into the following elements:
– The new Pokemon
– The new Region
– The new Features
– The Remakes (if any were released)
– Nostalgia

That last one is the main reason you won’t agree with this list. Everyone has different experiences with Pokemon at different times in their lives, so we’ll look back on certain games very differently depending at what time in our lives we encountered them.

Now you know the rules, let’s waste no more time and get to ranking all 7 generations of Pokemon.

7 – Generation 3

I feel a tad bad saying that this is my least favourite, because there isn’t really anything about it I hate, I just think a lot of things about it are a tad forgettable.

The new Pokemon – A bit of a mixed bag for me here, on the one hand there are some really boring Pokemon like Spinda and Nosepass, while it is also home to some awesome Pokemon like Rayquaza and Sceptile, not to mention my all time favourite Pokemon, Absol. The vast majority of Generation 3’s roster are Pokemon that I simply look at and think “meh”. Sure, I don’t hate any of them, but most of them don’t really any sort of emotion out of me at all, which is arguably worse.

The new region – I’d love to just say “too much water” and leave it at that, but this list is going to make people mad enough as it is.

I actually quite like the design of the Hoenn region, you’re in a pretty contained loop for the first half of the game, before eventually new paths start to open up and you find yourself crisscrossing all about the place. While I know that re-treading old ground can sometimes be a bit boring, it’s done just enough to make certain locations feel very familiar to the player which I think can really enhance a Pokemon journey.

All that said, when I compare it to other regions that we’ve seen, I can’t help but feel like it ranks quite low down overall. While the vast ocean does help to add some variety to your adventure, I feel like a lot more could’ve been done with your time on land.

The new Features – This is one of the strongest points in this generation’s favour, because Generation 3 added so much that we take for granted when we battle today. Abilities, Natures and Weather were all introduced into Pokemon for the first time, and it completely overhauled how competitive battling worked in Pokemon. Even if you weren’t a competitive battler then it added a much deeper level of strategy to the single player, to really pull you into one of the biggest parts of the franchise.

Then of course we had the addition of Double battles, which have now become the most prominent form of battling in the competitive scene, adding yet another layer of strategy to a system that was becoming more and more complex by the year.

Remakes – Generation 3 was our first taste of remakes in the franchise, with Pokemon Fire Red and Leaf Green giving us the authentic Kanto experience for the first time since the franchise began. While it wouldn’t break the kind of ground that later remakes would, it must be noted for starting a trend that carried on for years to come.

Nostalgia – This one is an absolute zero here, I didn’t experience a Hoenn game until Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire were released in 2014, and I didn’t play the originals until much later. Unfortunately for me, Generation 3 is simply the most forgettable of all the generations which is why I’ve put it so low.

6 – Generation 5

It annoys me to no end that they changed which colour corresponded to which legendary, but that’s not important.

Generation 5 is perhaps the most polarizing of the generations, with the majority of Pokemon fans either ripping it to shreds or standing firm in its defence with no middle ground. This means that I get to upset both sides of the argument, when I say I do feel pretty in the middle on it.

The new Pokemon – This is definitely the weakest part of this generation, it was clear that the Pokemon Company were going for a soft reset on the franchise when Generation 5 was released. A whopping 156 Pokemon were added in this generation – the most ever added in a single generation – and I can’t really claim to be a fan of many of them.

We had the overall worst set of starter Pokemon (not counting Snivy, who I adore) and pretty much all of the legendaries rank among my least favourite. The rest of the Unova dex had a lot of Pokemon that weren’t bad, but I certainly wouldn’t call any of them my favourites (again, except for Snivy).

The new Region – Say what you will about it being a circle, but I really love the Unova region. This was the first region to not be based on a region of Japan, and they really did a great job with it. They nailed the Urban vibe and, as someone who grew up in London, it felt very homely, in a strange way.

While I would’ve prefered a more interesting layout than a simple circle, the fact that the region doesn’t have to cross over itself at all means we were able to get a larger amount of variety in the feel and design of every route than a lot of other layouts have allowed for in the past.

What really made the region feel alive however, was all the characters that inhabited it. Although not every character was interesting (*cough*Cheren), I did actually feel like I was going around the Unova region and meeting as many different people I could, which is something that not enough Pokemon games have done, before or since.

The new Features – There isn’t a great deal to be proud of here.

We got the addition of Triple and Rotation battles, which are a feature that I personally loved, but nothing ever came of them for the franchise as a whole, to the point where they weren’t even programmed into the Generation 7 games at all. We also had the addition of seasons, which were a nice thought, but all it really meant was that we had to explore every route 4 times to see everything.

There were also a couple of minor changes, like TM’s having infinite uses and the battle sprites animating, and while those are nice to have, I’d hardly say they were groundbreaking.

Remakes – While there were no remakes, we instead got sequels, with Black 2 and White 2 marking the first time we’d had direct sequels in the Pokemon franchise since the release of Generation 2. Given that Generation 5 had (to my mind) the best story in the franchise, giving it a sequel was a great idea and something I’d love to see more of in the future.

Nostalgia – While not at zero, my nostalgia for this generation isn’t very high. I played Pokemon Black and White not long after they came out and actually had a lot of fun with them. However I stopped playing the series for a couple of years shortly after they came out, meaning I missed Black 2 and White 2 completely, not playing them until 2016. I do look back on my time in the originals fondly, I don’t have a great deal of nostalgia for the generation as a whole.

5 – Generation 1

I’m not even sorry.

Generation one gets a whole heap of bonus points here for simply being the one to start it all and I understand why so many people will rank it much higher than this in their personal lists. However, this is my list, and it’s my rules and to me, while nothing that came after it would be possible without these games, it’s hard to argue against the fact that later generations do a lot of stuff better.

The new Pokemon – I’ve got no complaints here really, while I don’t love every single Pokemon in the gen one dex, I most certainly don’t hate any of them either (except for the one YOU really like, which totally sucks). While I think other generations had better Pokemon than these, this was certainly the most consistent generation in terms of the quality of designs.

The new Region – Granted, this is down to the hardware limitations of 1996, but the Kanto region isn’t exactly the most interesting region we’ve ever seen. Game Freak did impress with their use of music and the Game Boy’s limited colour pallet to make it feel like each area was as unique as possible, but most of the routes in the game do feel very samey. In addition to this, I felt that the Pokemon weren’t themed to the routes as much as they were in later generations, with some quite random Pokemon popping up in places you wouldn’t really expect them to.

The new Features – Once again, it’s hard to complain about anything here, since everything was new, and while a lot of things weren’t quite at the quality we expect from the franchise today, it laid the groundwork for everything that came after it.

Remakes – It’s a bit hard to remake a game when there are no games to remake, so there’s nothing really to say here.

Nostalgia – While I wasn’t around at the time to experience these classics as they came out, over the years I’ve found myself looking back more and more fondly on the Pokemon that came from this generation. It feels as though everyone elses nostalgia for generation 1 has rubbed off on me a bit, so strangely, I do feel a little bit of nostalgia here, despite not being born when they were released.

4 – Generation 6

Many people seem to hate this generation, due to it being one of the biggest examples of the games becoming more “aimed at kids” (even though Pokemon’s always been aimed at kids, but let’s not go there). X and Y in particular are definitely the easiest Pokemon games in my estimation, but there’s a whole lot more to Pokemon than just its difficulty.

The new Pokemon – This generation added the fewest new Pokemon to the franchise so far, with just 72 being added (not counting Mega Evolutions). Few in number they may be, but I like pretty much all of them at least a little bit. Pokemon like Slurpuff and Aromtise aren’t exactly the height of Pokemon design, but Pokemon like Aegislash, Malamar and the always beautiful Talonflame being some extremely good additions to the roster. I also want to make special mention of the two cover legendaries in this generation, while they’re not my favourites they’re certainly among the top of the crop, which is quite difficult considering just how many legendary Pokemon there are now.

The new Region – When it comes to region design, I think the Kalos region is far and away my favourite. It may have something to do with it being the first time the franchise had entered the land of three dimensions, but it seems the whole region was designed to be full of grand sites that would blow you away when you witnessed them for the first time. Having Lumiose City as a central hub for the entire region that you would keep coming back to really made it feel like a proper capital city for the region, and having certain bit of the region locked off for the first portion of the game, meant you kept discovering new things, even when you came back to old places.

The new Features – I’ve already mentioned the leap to 3D graphics, which were very impressive for what could run on the 3DS at the time, but we also got a couple of other major additions to the franchise. First of all we got the brand new Fairy Type, which was the first time a new type had been added since generation 2, adding a much-needed counter to the extremely powerful Dragon type. Then of course we have perhaps my favourite feature to ever be added in a new generation, Mega Evolution. While it sucks that we’ll likely never get any new ones, what we did get was really great to see giving some Pokemon brilliant new designs and a huge boost in power.

Remakes – Generation 6 gave us the wonderful remakes for Generation 3 in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. While I have my grievances with generation 3, the newer mechanics in place here, along with some brand new ideas like the Dex Nav meant that these remakes were a much more enjoyable experience.

Nostalgia – While it’s not overly high, since these games were only about 5 years ago, generation 6 was responsible for getting me back into Pokemon after I stopped playing it for a few years, so it holds a special place for me in that regards.

3 – Generation 2

Generation 1 may be what started it all, but generation 2 is when the franchise really started to look like what it does today. To me these are the games that truly showed that the Pokmon franchise wasn’t just a fluke success and had the power to become the juggernaut it is today.

The new Pokemon – I’m not going to be very popular for this, but the Pokemon of generation 2 are probably my least favourite part of the generation. There aren’t really any that I flat-out dislike, but generally across the whole generation I found the colour pallet for the Pokemon to be rather dull and there wasn’t a huge amount of variety. Granted that is in part to the introduction of Dark and Steel types, so there were a large amount of grey Pokemon that needed to be added, I just feel that some of the Pokemon could’ve been made to look a lot brighter and more interesting visually.

The new Region – While Johto does suffer from some of the same problems that the Kanto region did, I find Johto having a kind of warmth to it that Kanto didn’t. The music and route design make it feel like the entire region is perpetually in early autumn, when it’s still warm but the nights are getting longer and it’s starting to rain more often. I just love the feeling as you wander through places like the Ilex Forest and Violet City.

The new Features – As you can imagine from the first sequels in the Pokemon franchise, there was a lot added in these games. As I mentioned above, we had the introduction of the Dark and Steel types to balance out some of generation 1’s more overpowered types. In addition to this was so many other features we take for granted today, like Shiny Pokemon, friendship as a stat for all Pokemon – not just Pikachu – and breeding, which would become a feature integral to competitive Pokemon very quickly. Finally, the addition of a female player character in Crystal really was sending out the message that Pokemon is for everyone and it’s here to stay. Which is impressive for games that were originally planned to be the last in the franchise.

Remakes – Just a tad early for that, don’t you think?

Nostalgia – I’ve got a fairly middling level of nostalgia for these games, while I didn’t play them as a kid, the remakes in generation 4 and 3DS re-releases meant I’ve spent a fairly large amount of time in Johto and I think back on those times rather fondly.

2 – Generation 7

This generation is another one that tends to split the fanbase pretty heavily, and while I try my best not to get involved in fanbase civil wars, I loved the generation 7 games. Nintendo once again pushed their hardware to its limits with the Alola region and once again tried their hand at a fairly complex story (and succeeded if you ask me).

The new Pokemon – While I don’t love all of the Pokemon in Alola, for the first time ever in the Pokemon franchise I really feel like all of the Pokemon generation 7 added actually are properly themed to the Alola region. Sure, plenty of other generations have a handful of themed Pokemon, but every single Pokemon that was added in generation 7 just screams “Alola” to me. Along with that, there were plenty of solid designs, with some of my favourite starter and legendary Pokemon come from this generation and there were plenty of other designs to be happy with as well.

The new Region – The Alola region is absolutely gorgeous, how they got that game to run on a 3DS I will never know. The whole region feels like everything flows together so well, instead of other regions which just have “the sandstorm area” and “the snowy area”, all of the different climates that are around the place make sense in terms of the region design.

Having the game spread across 4 different islands was also a really good idea, as it made sure the designers weren’t hampered by having a single landmass to work with. Each island felt like it had its own theme and vibe to it, and it meant things were always feeling different throughout my journey.

The new Features – This is perhaps where this generation has its weakness since, while there were a lot of features, a lot of them felt experimental and I doubt we’ll see many of them in future games. Things like the Rotom Dex and Z-moves, though cool, are the height of gimmicks for the sake of gimmicks to me. I can’t see either of those – along with things like Battle Royales and Alolan Forms – making a major return to the franchise anytime soon.

The trials were a neat replacement for the standard gyms, and while I did enjoy them, I still think I prefer having Gyms to face instead of Totem Pokemon. SOS Chaining was also a very cool feature, but it only really matters if you’re an avid shiny hunter such as myself. We did see the death of HMs though, so that’s pretty cool.

Remakes – Nope, sorry Sinnoh fanboys.

Nostalgia – Since this is the latest generation, there hasn’t really been any time for me to form nostalgia for this generation, however I do think in the future I’ll look back with a great deal of nostalgia for the land of Alola.

1 – Generation 4

Speaking of Sinnoh fanboys…..

I don’t think anyone would be surprised when I say that my favourite generation of Pokemon, is the one that introduced be to the franchise.

The new Pokemon – Admittedly, this generation did  add a handful of stinker Pokemon, I’m not really a fan of any of the “baby” Pokemon that were added, and a lot of the additional evolutions to existing Pokemon like Magmortar, Rhyperior and Tangrowth weren’t all that hot either. However, this generation makes up for it because the Pokemon that were good in this generation, were REALLY good.

While I can take or leave Torterra, both Infernape and Empoleon are brilliantly designed starter Pokemon. We got another winner of a regional bird in Staraptor, and in my opinion the best early route Pokemon in Luxray. Then you take a look at some of the mid-game Pokemon and it’s great all across the board; Garchomp, Lucario, Spiritomb, Electavire; I could go on.

Then you’ve got the legendaries and just wow…. This generation’s legendaries were themed around the creation of the universe and I really can’t think of any Pokemon better at visually representing those concepts than the Creation Trio as pictured above. I mean, just look at Giratina, that thing is terrifying, and absolutely fits it’s role as the ruler of what is essentially Pokemon’s version of the underworld.

The new Region – Sinnoh is a bit of a mixed reason for me. There are plenty of cities that seem so unique and full of life, such as Jubilife, Canalave or Eterna; then on the flip side you have some of the most generic cities in the franchise like Pastoria and Veilstone. That said, the routes have a nice variety and having Mount Coronette as the center piece of everything gives the region a nice layout that works well with how the story plays out in Sinnoh.

The new Features – While generation 4 was a little light on big features, since a lot of them were just gimmicks to take advantage of the DS’s two screens. Though we did get the extremely highly praise Physical/Special split, allowing Pokemon that didn’t have a great deal of use competitively in the past rework their move sets in order to play to their strengths much easier.

A big feature that perhaps gets taken for granted now however is the addition of wi-fi to the franchise, which took battling and trading from something you did in the playground to something you could now do with people all across the world whenever you wanted. It’s something that properly formed the idea of community and bonding that Nintendo have tried to push so hard with Pokemon in recent years.

Remakes – Generation 4 gave us our second round of remakes with Heart Gold and Soul Silver releasing in late 2009/early 2010 depending on where you live. These games really showed what Game Freak can do with these remakes and a large portion of the fanbase hold these up high as the best entries ever in the franchise.

Nostalgia – Naturally, the nostalgia is very high for this generation since it was my introduction to the franchise. I’d tried my best to review these generations with critical eyes, but I’d be lying if the nostalgia didn’t factor into my love of it. This is the generation I have to thank for hooking me into my favourite gaming franchise after all.

Game of the Year 2018: 1st Place

(You can read 2nd & 3rd place here, and 4th and 5th place here)

NOTE: This review will only contain some minor story spoilers from the Chapter 1 stories.

Where to begin with Octopath Traveler? I suppose since it’s a game about lots of different people’s stories, I should tell my own story about my experience with Octopath Traveler.

I normally wouldn’t go into why I bought a game when talking about it, mostly because the answer is usually that I saw it on the new releases list, thought: “Sure, why not” and that was that, but Octopath had a very different feel to it than most games. I’d seen it briefly advertised in a few Nintendo Direct streams, and while I thought it looked interesting, it wasn’t really something I was into since old-school hardcore JRPG’s typically aren’t my thing.

In the build up to it’s release however, I kept hearing about it more and more, but not in the way I usually hear about games in their build up. I had a couple of friends who were really looking forward to it and they would often retweet art and other content related to the game long before it had even come out. While the demo definitely aided this, I’d never really seen such a dedicated group of people so into a game before it had even been released. Normally, when I see people anticipating a game that much – especially a new IP – it’s on a huge scale, like with No Man’s Sky; but this wasn’t like that. It was such a niche title with such a dedicated fanbase, I couldn’t help but be intrigued, so I bought it.

Instantly upon beginning the game, it became clear to me just what was going to be unique about this game….It’s uniqueness. It sounds stupid, I know, but stick with me. While, yes, the cutscenes are all scripted and you can’t make choices to influence what happens, everyone’s journey through Octopath Traveler will be a unique one, and all the systems in the game are setup to aid that feeling.

You have to pick what character you want to start your journey with, which determines two main things. One, the character you pick as your starting character can’t be removed from your party until their story has ended, meaning they’ll be with you for pretty much your entire journey. Two, it determines what other characters are closest to you. While you can technically get them in whatever order you like, you can’t fast travel at the start of the game, so you automatically pick a direction to go in and get all of the characters in that order. So what does this achieve?

Well, the order I encountered all of the characters really did affect how much I connected with each of them. I started at H’aanit and went round the map clockwise, and sure enough by the end of the game, my main team was, H’aanit, Ophilia, Cyrus and Tressa, who were the first four characters I encountered. It goes without saying that very few people are likely to take the exact same path as you, meaning everyone who plays the game will connect with different characters in different ways, so everyone really does have an experience that feels unique.

So that’s what drew me into the game in the first place, but I don’t stick with just any old game for 5 months, so why didn’t I get bored and start playing something else? This is where we get to the meat of exactly why this game has such a hardcore fanbase, why I’ve ended up buying art and charms based on this game; it’s the characters.

If you take each of the character’s stories at face value, there isn’t really anything unique about them. A woman aims to kill the men who murdered her father; A man seeks vengeance on the man who betrayed him; A young girl seeks to travel and see the world against the wishes of her parents; and so on. While those stories aren’t that special, when you take these carefully created and extremely nuanced characters and drop them into those stories, suddenly it begins to feel like something new, and I become invested in a way that I never would’ve without those characters.

The idea of each character having their own “chapters” in their stories that are all separate is something that I wasn’t too sure on at the start, but I realised it was exactly the kind of storytelling that was needed to make sure that all of these characters got time to form and grow without it feeling like a big entangled mess; not to mention it’s a type of storytelling that is only really possible in a video game.

By the end of each character’s first chapter, I felt I knew exactly who they are, what their goals are and most importantly, why they’re going on this journey. The game took as much time as it needed to make sure that I was fully behind every single character and wanted to see them succeed in their quest.

Octopath Traveller, is much more than just a set of stories however, there’s a hell of a lot of “game” to this game as well.

Before I start talking about the mechanics, I should mention that I haven’t played many old-school JRPG’s like this one, and as such I don’t really know what aspects of the mechanics are unique to this game and what’s come before, so i’m just going to talk about what I did and didn’t like about it.

It’s a turn-based combat system, which has always been my preference to real-time since I like being able to take the time to think and strategize, and a turn-based system is best to allow me to do that. Each of the characters has a “job” which determines what weapons they have by default and their special skills, additionally, further down the line in the game you can unlock a secondary job for each of the characters. All of this allows for a massive range of different team compositions and strategies, all of which adds to the uniqueness that I’ve been talking about.

The boost system is also a very good idea. Boost Points build up every turn, unless you use boost points that turn, and depending on the type of ability, they can increase damage, or cause an attack to occur multiple times. This combines well with the “Break” system, where each enemy will have weaknesses to certain weapon types or magical elements and exploiting their weaknesses enough will break them, making them lose a turn and take 50% more damage than normal.

These two simple concepts add a whole new layer of complexity to the combat, it means you have to pick your spots carefully and plan several turns in advance to get the most damage possible out of your characters. This is especially important later on in the game, where you unlock “Divine Skills” that only work when a character has been boosted to maximum.

While you won’t need to use this deep level of strategy for every random encounter, where it really shines is the boss fights. The bosses are deliberately designed to be seemingly overpowered, with a large amount of health and high damage attack, in order to force you think about this tactically. It can be quite the shock at first, when you wander into the boss fight and it wipes the floor with you, but once you get the hang of the way you’re supposed to think, it’s a thrilling experience, with many of the late game bosses bringing extremely tense scenarios, leading to some of the most satisfying victories and most crushing defeats.

Perhaps the biggest indicator of just how much I love this game, is the fact that I’ve scoured the web to find as much merchandise and art that I can, and bought way too much of it. Charms, art prints, t-shirts, I’ve bought so much stuff related to this game, and the only other game I’ve ever done that with is Pokemon. Even the soundtrack is absolutely brilliant, if I’d have wrote my “Music in Video Games” list now, “Battle at Journey’s End” would absolutely be on there as one of my favourites.

Octopath Traveller is an absolute triumph in game design and storytelling, it takes something truly special to occupy my mind for as long as Octopath has, and I still haven’t seen everything it has to offer. It is far-and-away my favourite game of the year and I am certain that this will stand for many years as one of my favourite games of all time.

And there you have it! Thank you very much for taking the time out to read this, if you’re looking for more then follow me on Twitter @10ryawoo to know when new stuff is posted, and make sure you also follow @lauren_cmonster who edited this article.

Thanks again for reading and I’ll see you soon!

Game of the Year 2018: 2nd & 3rd Place

As we move another day closer to 2019, it’s time to continue looking back on the year that was and talk about another two awesome games from 2018.

If you haven’t read my 4th and 5th place picks then make sure you check them out here before reading these ones!

As with yesterday, I’ve only played games on PC, HTC Vive and Nintendo Switch, so I haven’t played anything that wasn’t on those platforms, and I won’t be covering early access games since they’re not finished.

There’s no more time to waste, so let’s get to it.

3 – Omensight

With most of the games on this list, I end up talking a lot about one thing in particular that stood out to me and made it worthy of being on a Game of the Year list; this isn’t the case with Omensight. There isn’t one thing that stands out to me when I play Omensight, because it’s just all really well designed and so much fun.

The basics of the game are that the world has ended and you, the Harbinger – a deity like being whose job it is to stop the world from ending, have to relive the final day of the world over and over again to work out how to stop it. You can’t just do whatever you like however, you play through each day by following around one of four characters that are related to how the world ended.

Each character has very different personalities and for the most part are at each other’s throats the whole time. The game makes sure to not frame anyone as the bad guy at any point, but at the same time does point you towards a few assumptions early on, which get subverted later down the line. The writing forces you to see the complexities of the land from every angle, to the point that you find yourself naturally distrusting certain characters, which can affect your actions and decisions in the short-term, to both your advantage and detriment.

While the levels are mostly linear there are various points where you can branch off and explore, and the game encourages this, as pretty much everything in the world gives you further understanding of the story you’re caught up in.

The story also scales quite nicely, but with every new discovery, the threat of whatever is causing the apocalypse closes in more and more. While you’re never actually under any real-time pressure, the game does a good job of keeping you on edge towards the later half and you’re never truly safe, which is quite hard to achieve when you’re literally playing as an immortal ancient spirit.

That said you’re not immortal in battle, and for me this is what brings the game up from a great game, to one of the best of 2018. So much attention to detail went into the story, and in a game like this, I often go in expecting the gameplay to not be anything special in order to flesh out the story; but that’s not the case here.

A lot of time and attention was clearly put into making the combat and platforming mechanics of the game feel great. While the camera could be a bit more cooperative, every jump and swing of the blade feels important in this system. While most fights aren’t particularly challenging, you can’t just sit there and mash the attack button to progress.

The different abilities and attack types that you can unlock add just enough complexity to the hack-and-slash combat to stop it being boring, while not so much as to overwhelm you. I’m generally not massively into a hack-and-slash combat system, but here everything flows so well and feels impactful that I can’t help but have tonnes of fun playing it. Whether I’m hacking through waves of enemies or a single boss, there was never a boring fight.

Omensight is an extremely well-rounded game, with a compelling and popular story with a unique style of telling it, gameplay that matches up with that story perfectly and it never stops being fun to play at any point. I look forward to going back to this one at some point next year to experience it all again.

2 – Pokemon Let’s Go! Pikachu/Eevee

What? A Pokemon Game on my game of the year list? No way.

To the surprise of precisely no-one, I really enjoyed this year’s addition to the Pokemon franchise. I’d never played a game set in the Kanto region before, so this was also a brand new Pokemon experience for me and I was very happy with it indeed.

I’m not going to sit here and review the core Pokemon mechanics, because I’m sure you know whether or not you like them by now, so let’s just look at what’s new.

First of all, I think this was a great insight as to what the Nintendo Switch can do for the Pokemon franchise. Pokemon games always seem to be the ones that push the hardware to their limits and you can tell Sun and Moon were desperate to break free of the shackles the 3DS had them in. While it wasn’t the huge leap that we got from DS to 3DS, you can see that the developers were getting used to using this new hardware and this will have certainly given them the experience they need to make next year’s games look stunning.

I loved having Pokemon run around in the overworld in order to encounter them. It adds so much liveliness to the world, that the older games now look sparse in comparison. The new catching mechanics are something that seem to have split most people right down the middle, and I don’t really know which camp I fall into if I’m honest. I had a lot of fun with the new level of interactivity that this system provides, however being unable to battle a Pokemon, and thus having very little control over the catch rate, was rather frustrating. Moving forward I’d like to see some sort of hybrid of the two systems, or at least the option to choose.

The integration with Pokemon GO seems to be a fairly welcome feature as a whole, and as someone who didn’t use it at all during my main play through, it isn’t something that will hinder you should you choose to ignore it. Similarly the Pokeball Plus is a nice little peripheral that is a cool add-on for any big Pokemon fans, but I found the regular Switch joycons to be just as good to play the game with.

The game was also filled with lots of little easter eggs and subtle nods to earlier games in the franchise, this kind of stuff was really nice to see as a fairly long-term fan of the franchise, and seeing Jesse and James in an actual game for the first time in forever was a fun little thing to see.

Aside from the new stuff, this game is still filled to the brim with all the Pokemon flavoured goodness that has been in the franchise forever. I felt that just enough was shaken up to justify these remakes, but not so much as to completely suck the identity of the franchise out of them.

As a whole, the Let’s Go! games were a very faithful recreation of Kanto, which makes use of all of the lessons we’ve learnt in game design since the originals launched. I feel like this was another great outing for the Pokemon franchise, and seeing how the developers have been able to use the hardware has got me extremely excited for when Generation 8 is launched in 2019.

So there’s 2nd and 3rd place! Share this around on social media if you enjoyed it, thanks to @magiclollyl on Twitter and make sure to follow me on Twitter @10ryawoo where it’ll be really obvious what game I’m going to talk about tomorrow for my Number 1 pick and favourite game of 2018! I’ll see you there.

 

Game of the Year 2018: 4th & 5th Place

This one was really hard to organise.

As where with pro-wrestling, it’s fairly easy for me to pick one match over another, and thus rank them quite quickly, I find it much harder to do with games. Since games have so much variety to them, almost all of my favourite games every year appeal to me in different ways which makes it much harder to just plainly rank them based on enjoyment.

Add to that the fact that I played more games in 2018 that ever before and you’ve got yourself a rather tricky task when it comes to picking out the best. That said, I’ve mulled it over for pretty much all of December and I’ve got a top 5 that I’m happy with.

Since I have a lot more to say about games than I do about wrestling matches, I’ve decided to split this up into three posts, with 4th and 5th today, 2nd and 3rd coming tomorrow and finally number 1 will be revealed the day after.

I should also mention that the only platforms I own are PC, HTC Vive and Nintendo Switch, so if a game didn’t release on any of those, then I haven’t played it and won’t be ranking it. Additionally, if a game is still in early access, then I also won’t be considering it, since I don’t think it’s fair to review an unfinished game, I will instead rank those games in the year they eventually release.

Finally, before I get started I’d like to mention the other games I loved this year, but didn’t quite crack the top five, so: Dead Cells; Two Point Hospital; Into the Breach; Super Smash Brothers Ultimate and Return of the Obra Dinn, were all great games that I had considered for this top 5 at some point.

Now, let’s get onto what did make the top five, starting with….

 5 – Moonlighter

This was a game that, despite its May release, I didn’t find this one until a couple of weeks ago. However, once I started playing it, I played it every single day until I had completed it, and boy was it a fun time.

The basic premise of the game is that you play as Will, a simple young man who runs a shop called Moonlighter, and he lives in a town that was built around a series of mysterious dungeons full of weird and wonderful artefacts and treasures.

There are two different sides to the core gameplay, the first is the dungeon crawling. This has the many rougelike elements you’ve come to expect from games such as these, with random generation of rooms and progression through “floors” of a dungeon to progress. However, in this game your goal is slightly different. In most games of this genre, such as Dead Cells or Binding of Isaac, your goal is to collect upgrades and items along the way to eventually get to a boss and kill it to beat the dungeon, but that isn’t really your goal here.

There is a boss at the end of each dungeon (more on that in a bit), none of the items you pick up along the way will actually make you stronger or better in any way, instead your goal is to collect as many of these items as you can, and then escape the dungeon to use these items in the second side to the game.

The combat really feels nice, and with a variety of different weapon classes to choose from, you really can play the game whichever way you feel best. It follows the rules which I think all roguelikes should follow: Every enemy is easily killable on its own, however if you fill a room with them in a balanced way then it’s a difficult but fair challenge to clear every single room.

The boss fights are in a similar vein, it’s a fair challenge because I know all of their attacks are easily dogable, I’m just not good enough to dodge them. It’s that kind of game design that makes me determined to keep trying over and over when I die, and not just get frustrated and give up.

That second side of the game is where you manage your shop. You put out your items you retrieved from the dungeon on display in your shop, and then during the day people will come in and buy the items from you. As simple as that sounds, the developers were very clever in the way they implemented it.

See, instead of just slapping the item out and letting people pay the price for themselves, you have to be a proper merchant and assign every item a price. Of course, people won’t just pay whatever price you put on it and you have to gauge the reactions of your customers to work out if you’re undercharging or overcharging for an item. In addition to this, an item’s popularity in the town will fluctuate depending on how much of it you’re selling, and how much you’re selling it for. If an item isn’t in very high demand people won’t pay all that much for it, however if an item is extremely popular in town, you can bump the price up a bit and no-one will mind paying the extra coins.

This side of the game has a really nice level of strategy to it, since you can use the prices of items you already know to work out what a good price for a new item would be. It also means that during the day, you’re not just sitting there waiting for the cash to roll in, you’ve got to be paying attention to your customers to work out your prices and also make sure no-one tries to steal anything…

Of course, you don’t just earn money for the sake of it, so what is there to spend that money on? The spending of money is pretty well split in this game between three things: buying better gear for your character; buying upgrades for your shop and buying new facilities for the town, which will provide services to you, such as weapon enchantments and money investments.

These kinds of games that essentially work as one big loop of tasks that all feed into each other, is one that can often get quite tiring after being done for too long, so Moonlighter gets around this by giving you an endgame goal right at the start.

The town has four main dungeons just outside it, however at the start of the game three of them are closed. In order to unlock each dungeon, you have to defeat the boss of the previous one. Every new dungeon you unlock will have tougher enemies and deadlier traps, but will also provide much more valuable treasures.

Your main goal however, is to unlock “the 5th door” which is a final dungeon which has remained locked for centuries and you want to see what’s behind it. Each of the four dungeon bosses holds a key, so you need to defeat them all, this makes sure you feel like everything you’re doing has a sense of purpose to it, and it’s that exact driving force that kept me involved in the game the whole way through.

This game comes together beautifully, with both sides to the game stopping the other one from getting too tedious, and a main quest that really drives you achieve and see everything the game has to offer. If you’re a fan of dungeon crawlers, but also want something a bit new from the genre, then this is absolutely one you should check out.

4 – Quarantine Circular

This is a much harder one to talk about.

Quarantine Circular is a game made by the wonderful Mike Bithel, who made one of my favourite ever games in Thomas Was Alone. Bithel’s games are always so masterful in how they tell their stories, and since that is what drives the entire game, it’s hard to talk about it as a reviewer, since I don’t want to spoil a moment of it.

I’m going to try my best to do it without spoiling things, but anything I do spoil will be from the first chapter only so I can illustrate some of my points.

The game tells it’s story mostly through the dialogue between characters, although there are visuals on the screen whilst it’s going on to draw you in to the feel of the world. The basics of the story is that, the world has been almost wiped out by a disease unknown to the human race, and the military has captured an alien that they suspect might be to blame.

Most games at this point would drop you right into things, with the important military people interrogating the alien to try to get information out of it. That doesn’t happen though, instead the first two chapters you play as a low ranking engineer on the military ship with the simple job of installing a translator so the alien can understand humans and vice-versa.

This is a great way to introduce the player to the world, since you spend the whole of the first two chapters playing as a character who doesn’t really have much idea of what’s going on. It allows the game to explain things to you in its dialogue without it sounding like it’s solely for the audience. It also makes sure that it doesn’t present the alien as an antagonist in the first two chapters. While you do have the option to be mean to it, the game encourages you to simply listen and learn about what this alien is like from a personality perspective, which is very important for later chapters.

In Bithel’s previous game, Subsurface Circular, which was made in a similar style to this game, you played as one person the whole time which worked really well as you were solving a mystery. However in Quarantine Circular, you play as almost every character involved in the story at some point. While this could’ve taken away from the luster and mystery a little bit, it’s written in such a way that all it really serves to do is allow you to understand each of the characters as the story progresses. In order to make some important decisions later in the story, you need to understand exactly what every single character is thinking, and this is perhaps the best way to achieve that.

Oh, and did I mention, you get all of this for less than £5?

When it comes to pure story based games, I don’t think there was anything that drew me in or left a greater impression on me looking back on it now. Bithel always seems to knock it out of the park with these games, and if we get more of these in the coming years from him I’ll be very happy.

So that’s 4th and 5th place in my game of the year rankings! If you enjoyed it then please share it around. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @10ryawoo for more impressions on games as they come out through 2019, and @magiclollyl for editing this. Lastly, make sure to come back at the same time tomorrow for my 2nd and 3rd place picks!