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The 25 Best Video Games of 2019

In 2019, the best games took the industry’s standard operating procedure and punted it out the window.

The 25 Best Games of 2019
Photo: Hempuli

Although it was released in the doldrums of March, one title on our list of the 25 Best Games of 2019 could serve as the anarchic manifesto of the entire year in gaming. The brainchild of Finnish indie developer Arvi Teikarti, a.k.a. Hempuli, Baba Is You is, ostensibly, a very simple pixel-art puzzle platformer. But it’s also one that doesn’t give players the rules to beat it, telling them that every single one of those rules aren’t just made to be broken, but must be broken in order to persevere.

The spirit of 2019 in gaming was one of disruption, one that took the industry’s standard operating procedure and punted it out the window. Logic says that only a certain level of production can make the games people love, that only by following the rules of what sells can a game find an audience, that only one company can own the ideas behind an IP, and that only by squeezing players dry through additional purchases can a game be made that people will keep coming back to. But that logic was always faulty, and this year, it failed.

This was a year where the best Castlevania game in a decade didn’t have Konami’s name on it, where Bethesda had nothing to do with the best Fallout title to come out in twice as many years, and where the best Star Wars game does the exact opposite of everything its publisher had been doing with the license for five years. And that’s just what was happening in the AAA arena. Indeed, those who ventured into the realm of indie games glimpsed developers taking wild, bold leaps of faith, subverting every genre imaginable, and doing so with great success. This was a year where the fearless side of the industry showed itself, and these 25 games are the greatest victors, the ones that dared the most, and won big. Justin Clark


Slay the Spire

25. Slay the Spire

Slay the Spire’s deck-building mechanic guarantees that every run will be an entirely new experience. You’re bound not only by the types of cards you gain in each run, but the literal luck of the draw in which you pull them in combat. As a result, even the simplest encounter is bespoke, and every decision is a finely tuned risk-reward gamble. The spire’s branching paths lead to events with their own branching decisions, the results of which determine whether you can, say, afford the merchant or if you can forgo a healing snooze in order to upgrade a card. Slay the Spire, the brainchild of Mega Crit Games, guarantees nothing other than your character’s starting set of attack and defense cards (and perhaps a modicum of fun), so each new run forces you to be maximally clever in wringing bloody synergies out of otherwise rocky randomness. But as brutal as Slay the Spire may be, these runs ultimately come down to smart luck. The game gleefully telegraphs what each foe is going to do in combat, so if you die, it’s because you haven’t prepared enough. Shuffle up and deal with it, because there’s always another—and another, and another—try. Aaron Riccio


Sunless Skies

24. Sunless Skies

Sunless Sea, from 2015, had players chart a vast and perilous ocean into which London fell. That game’s follow-up, Sunless Skies, delivers yet another intimidating journey into the unknown, only this time with the player slowly combing an airspace littered by the remains of destroyed ships. The sounds of this game vivify the “Britain of the heavens” setting, with the hissing of steam, the ever-creaking machinery, and the distant noise of cannons serving as constant reminders of a dangerous and overindustrialized world. As in Sunless Sea, greed and a thirst for exploration function as a double-edged sword, leading players to the darkest corners of the map or simply death. Developer Failbetter Games has proven itself again a skilled purveyor of Lovecraftian suspense, where our curiosities get the better of us in gradual fashion, as underlined by blunt and wry writing that’s deliciously typical of a traditional British mindset. Jed Pressgrove


Void Bastards

23. Void Bastards

A transport spaceship bearing an assortment of freeze-dried prisoners is stranded in a nasty nebula. There, pirates roam, monsters devour ships, and all the unfortunate citizens have been bizarrely mutated into murderous, foul-mouthed horrors. Once rehydrated, prisoners are shooed out into this unforgiving corner of space to scavenge derelict ships for parts until their probable death, after which the next unfortunate soul indicted for a comedically pedantic crime continues the work. And so on. The gears of capitalism turn even in these ruins of bureaucratic failure. As setups go, it’s a cheeky, immaculate framing device for a roguelike, and the amount of forethought that Void Bastards affords you is rare for this genre of game. It imbues the experience with a greater sense of consequence since you’re not at the mercy of randomization so much as your ability to plan and execute, as well as knowing when to retreat or when to avoid a ship entirely. An ideal run of Void Bastards is about planning, going on a run, and then having your plans upended by any of the different variables at work, requiring you to quickly adapt while coming up with a new plan. Steven Scaife


Untitled Goose Game

22. Untitled Goose Game

There’s an old Steve Martin quote about how comedy can be art, but anyone who deliberately sets out to make art through comedy has already failed. To that same point, developers House House didn’t set out to make a game with near-universal appeal with Untitled Goose Game—famously, the premise alone was a private joke shared on a Slack channel at work—but they stumbled upon it nonetheless. Untitled Goose Game is one of those rare experiences where it’s hilarious just existing in the world of the game, and in no small part for the way it plays it 100% straight, aside from a playful context-sensitive piano underscoring the player’s chaos. Just giving players the ability to waddle around a neighborhood and honk in people’s faces could’ve been the game by itself, but instead, it’s all about finding new, innovative ways to pull of various annoyance crimes within very basic but innately understood mechanics, and the payoff is almost always worth the effort. This is a game about true banal evil. So many so-called mature artists have attempted to edgelord their way into relevancy and found only a niche audience waiting for them, while House House’s Goose has managed to become the purest agent of chaos of our time, and managed to win the hearts and minds of the world. Clark


The Outer Worlds

21. The Outer Worlds

Obsidian doesn’t stray too far from their roots with The Outer Worlds, an open-world first-person RPG reminiscent of Fallout: New Vegas. The socio-political commentary isn’t subtle, as the player character awakens from cryosleep to a futuristic world on the edge of the galaxy run by megacorporations that own workers as property and will happily let colonies of people die if it benefits their bottom line. But The Outer Worlds deviates from the modern Fallout formula by including a Normandy-style ship that allows you to travel to different planets instead of just one large open area, with a crew who can be taken on missions. Helping the rebellious mercenary Ellie recover from a disastrous attempt to reunite with her disapproving upper-class parents lets the player embrace their humanity by offering her support—or take to darker instincts and just gleefully murder the elitist pricks. As for helping shy mechanic Pavarti, an asexual queer woman of a color, prepare for a date she’s nervous about, the whole enterprise is delightful in no small part for how it taps into our sense of belonging. The Outer Worlds might take players to far-away planets to fight battles that reshape societies, but it’s heart ultimately lies in its more interpersonal moments. Ryan Aston


Shenmue 3

20. Shenmue 3

Yu Suzuki’s Shenmue 3 comes to us almost two decades after the release of Shenmue 2. During that time, an incredible number of games took a page from the Shenmue series in one way or another. It’s almost subversive, then, that Suzuki chose to ignore modern mainstream conventions throughout this game’s long gestation period by doubling down on the kind of morally convicted and personal art that our corporate gaming world could stand to embrace more often. Almost everything in Shenmue 3, from its log-chopping minigame to protagonist Ryo getting reprimanded by his friend Shenhua for losing his cool, is devoted to themes like patience, diligence, and respect—all traits that go against the instant gratification of so many games released over the last 20 years. Those who describe Shenmue 3 as outdated just because it shares characteristics with its predecessors should consider that it’s not the past we’re seeing represented here so much as Suzuki, a creator with a holistic philosophy about how an epic game should be made and what it should say with its mechanics and narrative, choosing to herald a different kind of present. Pressgrove


Devil May Cry 5

19. Devil May Cry 5

Devil May Cry 5 invites players to cut up demons using a motorcycle that splits into a pair of giant buzzsaws. (“How’s that for road rash?” muses the demon-slaying Dante at one point.) Lizard-brained thrills meet over-the-top style in the latest entry in a series known for its sensory overload, reuniting series mainstay Nero with Dante—the classic Dante, not the younger, grungier doppelganger from the contentious DmC: Devil May Cry. The variety of the game’s combat is unmatched, with both Nero and Dante playable at different points in the narrative, presenting their own skills and powers for the player to master over a campaign that spans across various worlds and timelines. This sequel also adds a third playable character, newcomer V, who goes a long way toward challenging the core appeal of the hack-and-slash formula. Skinny and frail, V is able to fight his enemies only on the sly, commanding three demons to beat down foes from a distance before he rushes in to finish them off with his cane. And the mechanical variety that this unique tritagonist brings to the table is of a piece with game’s narrative concerning dysfunctional family dynamics. Aston


Katana Zero

18. Katana Zero

The indie scene this year—and really, this whole decade—was dominated by action platformers utilizing pixel art. While it’s easy to peg Askiisoft’s Katana Zero as the latest in a series of conspicuously trendy indie titles, the game’s aesthetic belies the nuance beneath its mechanics and script. On the surface, it’s a challenging action platformer centered around a samurai, but it takes some of the tritest video game mechanics in recent memory—things like slow motion and stealth—and repackages them in exciting and inventive ways. Weaved in between the game’s tight combat and smooth traversal is an enthralling narrative filled with political intrigue about the nature of drug addiction and a negligent government peddling the stuff. It all makes for a thought-provoking action romp through a neon-drenched dystopia that has one of the year’s most catchy and thumping soundtracks. In a nutshell, Katana Zero is John Wick in the Matrix with a samurai sword. Jeremy Winslow


Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

17. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice boasts the same feudal atmosphere, gorgeous Edo-period aesthetic, and samurai- and ninja-focused gameplay as Nioh, but only one game comes close to finding, and emphatically so, that certain X factor that eludes even the best examples of a Souls-like. Funny enough, Sekiro is FromSoftware’s most forgiving game, neutralizing the idea that cruel tutelage is the only way to craft a Souls-like. That doesn’t make it easy, per se, but it does mean that the game must find other ways to enforce the player’s discipline and patience. Where Bloodborne taught players to abandon their shields, Sekiro tasks players with taking the next crucial step—teaching them to stand up for themselves, to deflect and break an enemy before granting them release. You must strike them down unseen, to study and understand how they move before actually attempting to engage. Here, you’re made to respect your enemies, the world they set out to protect, and the fact that you’re not a master here. That, more than anything, is the true essence of a FromSoftware game. Clark


Amid Evil

16. Amid Evil

Like last year’s Dusk, developer Indefatigable’s Amid Evil is the retro shooter all but perfected, this time expanding the template of fantasy FPS classics like Hexen and Heretic. Its variety is staggering, with each intricate level trafficking in not just unique enemies and environments, but different modes of progression. These fantastical worlds fold back in on themselves, funnel you through narrow walkways, or spit you out into massive arenas filled with dark minions to dispatch. The maps feed you weapons in differing orders because each one feels powerful and viable in different situations: the sword sends out a wide arc of green energy, the mace hurls spikes that pin enemies to walls, and the trident turns each target into a lightning rod if you fire long enough. They hardly design shooters like this anymore, and the blistering heavy-metal style of Amid Evil seems to exist for asking one loud, reverberating question: Why the hell not? Scaife


Manifold Garden

15. Manifold Garden

Many puzzle games attempt to get players to think outside the box, but Manifold Garden is the first to do away with the box entirely. Taking the physics of Portal to an extreme, these impossible, Escherian environments have no borders, which is to say that unless your path is impeded by a wall, if you travel in one direction for long enough, you’ll eventually end up right back where you began. This, in conjunction with gravity-altering powers that allow you to turn any surface you can touch into your new floor, radically and recursively redefines first-person traversal. A chasm isn’t the obstacle you might at first think it is when you can just continue to fall forward until you reach the other side. By contrast, once simple block puzzles become increasingly complex, given that a block won’t necessarily stay on a switch as you shift the gravity of the room around. Infinity has long been beautiful to mathematicians, so think of Manifold Garden as a visually stunning way for the rest of us to get caught up, and giddily so, in the concept. Riccio


Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

14. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order quickly gets its biggest fan service out of the way when, on the Wookie homeworld of Kashyyyk, players scale a moving AT-AT walker and team up with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s guerilla tactician Saw Gerrera. The rest of the game more quietly fills in the blanks, allowing players to soak in an atmosphere that’s at once new and familiar, and ultimately entirely about how people cope with survival. The claustrophobic, corpse-filled tunnels on Dathomir serve as a meditation on death, whereas the massive tombs left behind by the Force-wielding Zeffo speak to a life’s legacy. Just as all things connect in the Force, so, too, does Fallen Order neatly link protagonist Cal’s travel to the ice-planet Ilum to the ritualistic, uncompleted portion of his Jedi training, and the exploration of Bogano’s uncharted plains to the secret Holocron that the planet houses. There’s no room for recklessness here. For one, the parry-based lightsaber combat requires careful, deliberate action, and your friendly droid companion’s Metroid Prime-like scanning gives biological depth or military backgrounds on each foe, making them far more than fodder. Every life—and death—is important, right down to the terrifying, inevitable showdown with Darth Vader himself. Riccio


Resident Evil 2

13. Resident Evil 2

Less a remake than a complete reimagining from the ground up, Resident Evil 2 uses the original 1998 PlayStation game as a rough outline for a relentless new horror experience. Police officer Leon Kennedy and college student Claire Redfield are fleshed out with detailed backstories and motivations, and each offers a unique experience across shared locations within Raccoon City’s police department. Borrowing the impressively realistic graphics engine of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, the game returns to its horror roots by shunning the stale action-driven set pieces that caused the series to stagnate. Each new scenario escalates the threats to the survivors, climaxing with the arrival of Mr. X. The hulking, unkillable, ever-stomping, and quite stealthy tyrant’s relentless pursuit of Leon and Claire effectively transforms Resident Evil 2 into a nerve-racking game of cat and mouse, where every previously simple task, from unlocking doors to solving puzzles, is capable of being interrupted at a moment’s notice. In a game of brilliantly realized sound and fury, Mr. X is the game’s ultimate embodiment of the perpetual menace of death. Aston


Bloodstained: Ritual of Night

12. Bloodstained: Ritual of Night

It has never been more obvious until this year just how much Konami was the albatross holding back their best creators. In the case of Koji Igarashi, the long-suppressed ideas denied us when he was kept from developing a new 2D Castlevania game for a decade is bursting from every square inch of Bloodstained: Ritual of Night. This is a game whose unfathomable wealth of unleashed creativity feels vengeful, a requiem of fury mourning all the Symphonies of the Night that could have been. Several Castlevania games worth of ideas have been crammed into Bloodstained, and it’s miraculous that they all fit together in one package of unhinged gothic glory. Every room contains a surprise, every path has a dozen ways to approach, and every monster is possessed of an evil beauty. Pickups create a slew of new, fascinating options for someone’s particular style of play, and the player is burdened with the task of choosing an approach and sticking with it long enough to make progress. There’s just so much game here, and so much beautifully crafted gameplay to boot, meeting and quite often surpassing the standards set by Igarashi’s PlayStation and handheld work. Clark


Lonely Mountains: Downhill

11. Lonely Mountains: Downhill

Lonely Mountains: Downhill, in which your goal is to bike down steep and curvy trails without taking a spill or worse, doesn’t look like much on the surface, given its primitive polygonal graphics. And yet, few games put forth such a convincing illusion of momentum and traction as this one does as you zip down hills and apply the brakes to avoid sailing off crags and slamming into big rocks. The experience is exhilarating, nerve-wracking, and merciless, but failure goes down easy thanks to over-the-top body and crash physics that make the game partially register as physical comedy. The most ingenious aspect of Lonely Mountains: Downhill is how exploratory it can be. You can stick to the tracks and cross checkpoints in straightforward, fundamentally sound fashion, or you can try blazing your own path via a seemingly endless number of potential shortcuts, inviting ridiculous displays of crash-test-dummy hijinks. Pressgrove


Death Stranding

10. Death Stranding

Hideo Kojima’s first game away from Konami, Death Stranding, finds him tearing down the familiar structure of the open-world game and building it back up again as something weirder, more deliberate, and more honest about what it is. It transforms basic traversal into the entire conceit rather than more or less a time sink between story missions and side activities. It peels away the artifice of open-world structure, revealing the dressed-up delivery missions underneath while declaring that they’re a worthwhile pursuit in their own right. And once you’ve totally internalized that idea, the tools the game provides become enthralling revelations: You eventually build sprawling highways and ziplines that propel you across arduous terrain. You’ve worked for them. You’ve earned them. Death Stranding is an admirable experiment for big-budget game design, playing like one long, bizarre, and startlingly persuasive argument that the journey is fulfilling in its own right. Scaife


Hypnospace Outlaw

9. Hypnospace Outlaw

Hypnospace Outlaw conjures up an entire internet, circa 1999, populated by overly busy GeoCities-like pages, Tamagotchi-like virtual pets that poop all over your screen, and a mix of chiptunes and a fictitious electronic subgenre called Haze. As an enforcer, your job is to crack down on copyright infringement and illegal downloads, but the gameplay’s cross between Papers Please and Pony Island constantly throws narrative out the window by taking you down delightfully written rabbit holes, like a site dedicated to horror film descriptions, the fantasy-themed Sanderverse, and the weird history of anti-communist artist W. E. Briggs. The content of these sites is fictional, but the need to connect shared by their creators—angsty teens, lonely veterans, and scam artists—hits close to home. The awkwardly immersive—and immersively awkward—design of everything, right down to the tab-unfriendly HypnOS browser, is gaming’s equivalent of the slow food movement, requiring a deliberateness and investment from players that’s rarely as rewarding as it is here. Riccio


NeoCab

8. NeoCab

It seems strange that it’s taken so long for a developer to make a game that takes the idea of driving a cab seriously in any regard outside the actual mechanics of driving someone through an open world to their destination for extra cash. NeoCab tells the other side of the story. You have no control over the driving, but you have full control over the conversations, the people you meet, and how you react to the stories they tell or their physical condition when they get in your car. Despite taking place in Jeff Bezos’s wet dream of a dystopia—one tech company has its fingers in almost every pie, and is ruining everything as a result—the particulars of NeoCab’s premise are unabashedly written with its side-eye trained intently on our soul-crushing gig economy, and it chooses to have the brutal conversations we don’t have nearly often enough about what it’s doing to us. The game posits a world where the Zoomers of today are the bitter, marginalized near-cyborgs of tomorrow, trying to become more like machines so corporations will treat them like people. Through your choices, it can go from absurdist and hilarious, to heartbreakingly nihilistic and sad, but there’s such aching beauty and fascination for humanity—or at least, what humanity should be—in all of it, regardless. Clark


Ape Out

7. Ape Out

Indie developer Gabe Cuzzillo’s Ape Out is a masterpiece of desperate, reactive play that not only gets you to behave like a rampaging gorilla, it forces you to adapt like one. There’s a simplicity to the game that’s reinforced through an aesthetic that’s redolent of Saul Bass’s work, with the protagonist gorilla as an angry splash of orange across a nonspecific concrete backdrop and the encroaching gunmen an anonymous white. And there’s literal music to the experience, each action generating a drum beat on the jazzy soundtrack to push your percussive rampage into an instinctual, bloody sort of grace. You have no kill counter, no combo meter, no experience points—only the chase, the fragile tear for freedom that finds you grabbing meat shields, hurling bodies, pounding through doors, and perhaps ducking a flock of shotgun-toting goons to keep moving as you tap into a primal, propulsive sense of purpose. Even as Ape Out continues and its limited toolset should begin to grow stale, the game only clarifies its brilliance. Where it initially forces you to cast aside ingrained video game habits, its trickle of new variables—different types of enemies, enemy groupings, and room layouts—eventually has you unlearn habits from Ape Out itself. Scaife


Devotion

6. Devotion

Building from their prior creep-out, Detention, Taiwan-based developer Red Candle Games’s foray into first-person horror with Devotion is even more awash in cultural specificity. Set mainly in a wondrously detailed Taipei apartment, the game traces the evolution of that small space over time. Its furniture, photos, and decorative trinkets change places through the years, from the birth of a child to the growing rift of a marriage. Though it deploys Taiwanese folklore to restrained yet truly frightening effect, you don’t have to be familiar with the culture to be unnerved at how precisely Red Candle calibrates an eerie dreamspace. The developers morph the everyday detail of something like Gone Home into an absorbing nightmare of spatial trickery, with themes of subjugation and ambition that feel as universal as its various frights. That the game will perhaps forever be associated with the censorship that saw it removed from sale due to pressure from the Chinese government is unfortunate, because it’s a vital work of East Asian horror in its own right. Scaife


Baba Is You

5. Baba Is You

A puzzler in which the player manipulates the rules of each level by forming short phrases with movable words, Baba Is You turns programming syntax into inventive and peculiar fun. Crabs can be refashioned into keys, the player can move a wall by literally becoming it, and the winning condition for a stage can, and often must, be reimagined. Finnish developer Arvi Teikari gives his game a nervous audiovisual aesthetic; every object pulsates to a quirky synth-laden soundtrack, hinting at the transformations that are about to occur. Some of the player’s attempted solutions can be adventures unto themselves, leading to reconfigurations that exude a wacky charm despite not translating to success. On other levels, the creative possibilities are limited because of sentences that cannot be split apart, requiring more heavy thought from the player about what can be done to advance. Baba Is You’s alternation between experimentation and brain-stumping logic makes it as compelling and challenging as any puzzle-based game this year. Pressgrove


Pathologic 2

4. Pathologic 2

Pathologic 2 is a hand around your throat. Few games have so vividly bottled despair and desperation, asking you to cast aside any and all preconceptions about what to value in a video game as you examine what you’re willing to hoard and what to peddle to save your skin. And fewer still do it with such overpowering, nightmarish style, at once theatrical and dreamlike. To be sure, the game, from the Russian-based Ice-Pick Lodge, requires some getting used to, but with the difficulty modifiers added since its initial release, the only real obstacle toward learning the nuances of its world have fallen away; the modifiers make it much easier to get into the game, without compromising the sense of place or misery. Pathologic 2 is a game built to cut you open and show you your soul, brimming with so many thrilling turns away from traditional game design that if it doesn’t become an instructive text, the medium will only be poorer for it. Scaife


Control

3. Control

Home to the Federal Bureau of Control, the government’s paranormal secure-and-contain agency, The Oldest House is a sterile, brutalist setting at odds with the calamity escalating within. The player takes control of Jesse Faden, the agency’s new director, as she battles against an extradimensional invasion alongside other FBC agents, all fighting for the same thing: control of our reality. This is a game that makes the mundane terrifying. A room of possessed, demonic government agents pales in comparison to a malevolent telekinetic sailboat anchor, or a common household refrigerator that demands to be watched at all times lest everyone around it succumb to its violent wrath. Beyond this, Control compels with the backstory of Jesse and her brother, whose hometown of Ordinary was torn apart by a reality-altering slide projector later taken by the FBC, revealed in partially redacted government files and audio recordings. Such diary mechanics aren’t uncommon in video games, though Control’s cleverness comes in its layering of its deep lore with a discomfiting ambiguity. The game might be confined to one office building, but the endless chain of paranormal conflicts that take place within The Oldest House reach out to worlds far beyond our own. Aston


Outer Wilds

2. Outer Wilds

There are six unique planets in Outer Wilds to explore, and your curiosity will lead you to die in dozens of ways on each of them, before a Majora’s Mask-like time loop returns you to the start. Stand in one of rustic Timber Hearth’s geysers, and you’ll learn that being propelled through the trees isn’t what kills you, so much as your subsequent landing. Spend too much time marveling at the labyrinthine corridors and fossilized remains hidden within Ember Twin and you may learn firsthand that the sand is going to keep rising, gravitationally pulled off nearby Ash Twin like an orbital hourglass, until it either crushes or suffocates you. Falling through a black hole surprisingly enough doesn’t kill you, but running out of thruster fuel before reaching the science satellite at the other end of that wormhole certainly will. Death is at the center of Outer Wilds—literally so, in that its solar system’s sun is going supernova in 22 minutes—but what makes the game such a unique and enriching experience is how much it has to say about life. It’s not about winning so much as it is about what you accomplish and learn along the way. Riccio


Disco Elysium

1. Disco Elysium

It’s a common and well-documented complaint that role-playing games don’t always do the greatest job at truly letting players play a role. You’re typically just along for the ride, and calling the shots when it comes to crucial dialogue or combat. Disco Elysium, then, is the closest the world will ever get to having a playable William S. Burroughs novel, and even he would’ve needed a lot more drugs to connect the dots in all the labyrinthine and utterly bewildering ways that player choices here wreak utter havoc on the world and your sloppy, drunken burnout of a detective. It’s not enough that solving the game’s central mystery—a murder tied to a worker revolution in the city of Revachol—takes so many cruel and bizarre twists and turns along the way, or that the game’s art style feels like someone trying to capture the experience of watching Battleship Potemkin on acid, but that the protagonist’s stats actively work both for and against you the whole time. Your mental and emotional health is a torrent that can carry you away at any moment whether you feel prepared for it or not, which might be the most real part of such a deeply surreal experience. Your detective’s failures can weigh on him, making him emotionally unqualified to make certain decisions down the road, arrogance can lead him to take actions based on his rage, and his embarrassment can give away his secrets when his self-confidence drops. His every emotion has a voice, sharply written and impossible to deny, and they will have their say, during one conversation or another, and if the dialogue goes awry, never has a game of this sort made it so abundantly clear that you have no one to blame but yourself. Clark

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