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GameSpot's Best Games Of 2017 #9: What Remains of Edith Finch

One of the most engrossing stories of the year.

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GameSpot's Best Games of 2017 has finally kicked off, so join us as we unveil what we thought were the 10 best games released this year. We recently revealed that the #10 spot went to Nier Automata this year. At the coveted #9 spot is What Remains of Edith Finch, which is available on the PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Read on to see why we chose it as one of the best for 2017.

GameSpot's Best Games of 2017

While What Remains of Edith Finch might look like a simple walking simulator at first glance, but its engrossing story makes it one of the most compelling games of the year. It shouldn't be missed, even by people who don't care for the genre.

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You play as titular character Edith Finch as you explore your family's old, mysterious, and larger-than-life estate. The premise is that there may or may not be a curse that ends up killing all members of your lineage in strange and unexpected ways. As you walk through the labyrinthine mansion and explore the rooms of your fallen family members, the game flashes back and allows you to relive your relatives' last moments. You take control of distant cousins, long-lost uncles, and more as you play out the moments leading to their bizarre deaths. What Remains of Edith Finch ends up feeling a bit like "Final Destination" in this regard, but these vignettes are often wonderfully imaginative and haunting, sticking with you long after you've completed the journey.

The narrative can be funny, dark, or heartbreaking, but it's always gripping and well-paced. What Remains of Edith Finch feels like a great page turner of a book that is full of unexpected twists and turns. It's a game that you'll want to recommend to friends as soon as you finish it. Without giving too much away, one of its greatest strengths is that it tells a story that can only effectively be conveyed through a video game. The impact is bolstered by top-notch voice acting and a surreal and magical world that is somehow still rooted in reality. If you decide to give What Remains of Edith Finch a shot, you'll be treated to one of the most surprising and riveting hits of the year.

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jimmythang

Jimmy Thang

Hi! I'm Jimmy Thang and I'm GameSpot's Tech Editor!

What Remains of Edith Finch

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Phazevariance

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1 - BoTW

2 - Odessey

3 - HZD

4 - Nothing else past here matters.

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deactivated-5abc14ca5e8cc

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Mahardy is still #1 on the list of arrogant people at Gamespot.

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KratosBeard

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Horizon zero dawn is definitely the best game this year

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Good_Coop89

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I'm pleasantly surprised by the lack of fanboyism in these comments (so far).

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Ember_to_Flame

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Edited By Ember_to_Flame

number 1 this year is evil within 2, stop messing around please. 2nd is HZD, 3rd the Surge, 4th Wolfenstein 2 and 5th Destiny 2(not the dlc). I would want to say mass effect but it didnt have that Epic M/E feeling to it, I liked it but its no top 10. Something tells me Nintendo has had a great year of titles but idk since I dont own a switch.

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l33tg4m3r

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Edited By l33tg4m3r

Ugh no! I feel like this site is biased to walking simulators. This "game" wasn't deep or thought provoking or really anything. Just a few random stories that don't really go anywhere and a "twist" at the end that you would have to be blind to not see coming. 2017 was one of the best years ever for gaming and you choose a 2 hour long borefest....

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videogameninja

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Edited By videogameninja

Been meaning to get to this but with a year in gaming that has been cram pact with big name AAA titles that have been releasing on a monthly basis its easy to see why this may have slipped under my radar.

With that being said I'm not a big fan of the walking simulator genre. For a genre predicated on the concept of little in the way of gameplay the narrative has to be at the forefront of anything else. I think it's fair to say in most circumstances this is the case for titles like this but due to not really offering anything else it's not (IMO.) good enough to just have a good storyline or narrative... they NEED TO HAVE A GREAT ONE!

I myself am wary of this genre as more times than not I have left these experiences underwhelmed. The funny thing is that most of them start out strong but by the end they usually spiral downward to the point where I don't even care about the main plot anymore. Then there are some with the opposite problem.

Games like Gone Home, Virginia, Everybody' gone to the rapture, etc... despite their praise have only reinforced this apprehension in my own mind. I was really interested in Firewatch but the aforementioned titles put it on the backburner so to speak.

For those out there in the same boat who have given Edith Finch a try how does it fair? Is it similar to those other titles or does the narrative really step it up to the point where it avoids the pitfalls and missteps of other walking simulators?

-BEST WALKING SIMULATOR YET? NINJA APPROVED-

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silv3rst0rm

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@videogameninja: I do agree with you but...

Is it the games that start strong and end up lacking or is it just your interest towards it that can't last for the whole game length?

Same happenned to me with such "Games".
I first have a "wow" factor for a couple of mins / hours then comes this "meh" feeling that makes me drop them before I even manage to get to the end or if I manage to get through it I feel underwhelmed.

It must not be the games themselves but the way we "blast" through it?
Maybe these games should be taken in small sessions...?!
They can't all be "failing"?

It's like a kid story at night time!
Read them one and they'll listen with interest,
Read them 12 and on the 3rd / 4th one they'll totally lose interest.

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videogameninja

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@silv3rst0rm: Could very well be. Being completely objective I can't rule such a thought out. Personally I think it could also be in part due to pacing issues between the narratives and the players freedom to go about and explore.

Having titles that are so narrative dominate but without a (somewhat.) "guiding hand" can sometimes hurt the flow and pace of the story. The vanishing of Ethan Carter is one title that comes to mind. While I was engaged in the actual narrative there were many moments were I was left scratching my head as to what to do next. Given the scope and size of the environment it's reasonable to see how someone could go around "looking" for the next hint or clue for a good 30 minutes before stumbling upon it and as a result the narrative picking back up.

However, those 30 minutes are usually more frustrating than they are rewarding once one figures out what they are to do next.

-DOUBLE EDGED SWORD NINJA APPROVED-

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soul_starter

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Reading this just makes me realise how few new games I played this year. This does sound very interesting though.

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Spirit_Requiem

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Edited By Spirit_Requiem

My personal Top 10, regardless of opinions what an inedible year for games.

1- Zelda BOTW

2- Persona 5

3- Nioh

4- Mario Odyssey

5- Horizon Zero Dawn

6- Sonic Mania

7- PUBG

8- Nier Automata

9- Arms

10 - Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

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deactivated-5b6fca28803ac

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If this is in top 10 then dragon quest heroes 2 better be in here.

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NeverMore0

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I still haven't played this game! What am I doing with my life?

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BeantownSean

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@NeverMore0:

Living it hopefully. I haven't played it or many games at all this year.

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puckpuck85

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Edited By puckpuck85

my list

10. Zelda: Breath of the Wild

9. Evil WIthin 2

8. Nier: Automata

7. Wolfenstein II

6. Destiny 2

5. Nioh

4. Persona 5

3. Cuphead

2. Super Mario Odyssey

1. Resident Evil 7 (VR)

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redviperofdorne

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@puckpuck85:
Destiny 2 over Zelda? lmao I'm nearly in tears right now.

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puckpuck85

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Edited By puckpuck85

@redviperofdorne: well considering this is my list, gfy. Zelda is a wildly overrated game imo, (and yes i beat it). The gameplay mechanics the game relies upon; korok seeds, stamina wheels, egregious weapon durability, etc., are all frustrating empty cornerstones.

People have raved how, "its the most full open world game theyve ever played." I couldnt disagree more. A handful of puzzle mechanics recycled to obtain korok seeds. Shrines that quickly become a grind, (esp needing 4 to obtain a reward). I began asking myself, whats the point of scaling that enormous mountain, when theres just a rock, with a korok underneath it waiting for me? Or a sword that will break in ten swings?

Nothing felt like it was MINE, or that i earned it. Aside from armor, everything else prematurely breaks. The frustration of needing to be in earshot of your horse to summon it was also a poor mechanic.

The world itself is stunning to behold, I just wish there was more incentive to thrive in it. Once all the hype died down i found myself thinking botw was mediocre at best. A fair 8. I will take OoT and MM anyday over this game.

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Manu_PT

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My favourite platform (PC) is getting less and less relevant games. I mean, it has more quantity with the biggest exclusives library, but nothing relevant, all based on f2p, mobas and the recent battle royale hypetrain. Wich is sad as "my platform" used to be the most important in videogames scene imo. This year best games were mostly console exclusives. Yeah I´m not that fanboy to ignore it. My top 10 list:

1- Zelda BOTW (Nintendo switch) * Exclusive

2- Mario Odyssey (Nintendo switch) * Exclusive

3- Persona 5 (PlayStation 4) * Exclusive

4- Horizon Zero Dawn (PlayStation 4) * Exclusive

5- Evil Within 2 (PS4,PC,Xbox)

6- Nioh (PS4,PC)

7- Northgard (PC) * Exclusive

8- Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Nintendo Switch) * Exclusive

9- Sonic Mania (PS4,PC,Xbox,NSwitch)

10- Gravity Rush 2 (PlayStation 4) *Exclusive

I hope we get a 2018 as good as 2017, wich was superb! And I hope PC gets relevant exclusives again... missing the old Quake/DukeNukem/MDK/Black&White days when PC had exclusives pushing the boundaries... sick of this early access/indie/f2p/moba scene.

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BeantownSean

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Edited By BeantownSean

@manu_pt:

PC is less about exclusivity and more about flexibility IMO.

You have 6 "exclusives" that are exclusive to "That" platform. Meaning if a person doesn't own both the PS4 and Switch/WiiU, then that are missing that title just the same; that is not a PC condition.

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Manu_PT

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@beantownsean: Didn´t understand your point of view. What´s the problem with having a PS4 and a Switch? Or having a PC and a PS4? It doesn´t matter, they still console exclusives. I didn´t imply anything you´re saying, all I said is that PC doesn´t have exclusives pushing its hardware boundaries anymore. Is all indie, moba, rts, f2p. I was alive when stuff like Crysis 1, Quake 1, Soldier of Fortune, Exhumed, heretic, MDK, dropped by! They pushed the PC boundaries in their time. PC needs those exclusives. That´s all I said. The market is all based on pubg, cs, dota and early access. I don´t like that. Was just an opinion because I´m watching my fav platform changing to a state that I´m not a fan of.

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ribhu672

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@manu_pt: you say pc don't get relevant games anymore and yet you skipped the 3rd highest rated game this year divinity original sin 2 which is as of this moment a pc exclusive.

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Manu_PT

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@ribhu672: I own Divinity 2. I liked the first one better! No way I could put it on my top 10, but that is just a personal opinion, not the universal truth by any means! However I put another PC exclusive on my top 10, Northgard, wich usually doesn´t make it in any top 10. So I think is fair. If you didn´t play it yet, do it now.

Also let me be clear. I talked about PC exclusives that push the hardware boundaries, I mean, PC hardware. Divinity runs on a 5 year old Intel graphics laptop! I want something like Crysis, Quake, Duke Nukem 3d, Soldiers of Fortune, Exhumed, etc BACK! Exclusives that use the platform potential. I don´t want my GTX1080 to be only stretched on some ubisoft/EA console port bruteforced to higher resolutions/Framerates while running on the same console assetts. I want PC exclusives doing it!

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silv3rst0rm

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I played through this game and some other games like this and in my opinion, it shouldn't even be counted as a game but as an interactive novel.

To have such a "game" in a top 10 of the very best games of the year is a joke itself.

It's as if we'd put an instrumental song from a video game OST amongst the very best songs of 2017.
It would never happen as they don't belong to the same category at all!

Don't get me wrong, the "experience" I had with this game was a good one, I enjoyed it for what it was but in such a well rounded year filled with amazing titles, I'd never dare include this in a top10, not even a top 50.

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ZmanBarzel

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@silv3rst0rm: Oh good, the "it's an interactive novel, not a game!" argument. Haven't seen you since the last time a game like this got praise/award/nomination.

"It's as if we'd put an instrumental song from a video game OST amongst the very best songs of 2017."

No problem with that. I'll start with some of the tracks from "Persona 5."

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Manu_PT

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@zmanbarzel: I´m pretty sure he is dissing on Broken Sword series, All Sierra games on the 1990s and TLOU. Oh wait.....

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Jenilya

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I actually never heard of this game, huh. Guess I'll have to read more into it, must be decent if it is in the top 10 games.

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Salt_AU

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It came in at 34th on my game of the year list.

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Zer0Day

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This wouldn't be on my top 10 this year at all, but I did appreciate it for the story it told, the bittersweet narrative tone, and its rather innovative melding of a few art styles with the small amount of interactivity present in this style of game.

As far as any complaints about the price of the game etc, I do think some of that is valid. I'm not a believer in the $/hour ratio when it comes to art and entertainment, but like anything else, most of us need to choose where to spend our money. This was an experience that lasted about 1 hour 45 minutes for me, so take that as you will. HOWEVER, I also understand that a lot of love was put into this (it's clear by playing it), and people need recoup the development costs. All in all, while I don't think that the price should factor into any review score or award consideration here, I do think that, were I recommending this to a friend, I'd mention this and let them make their own decision.

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redviperofdorne

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Edited By redviperofdorne

@zer0day:
I agree the price is a bit much, I think it would have been more reasonable at $10 than $20 but at the end of the day, I felt the game was so satisfying that the amount I spent on it didn't really irk me. Especially when I've spent more money on games before that did disappoint me.

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couly

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Gamespot loves their over priced walking simulators.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

@couly: lol it was $8 when i picked it up which seemed just about right for the 4 hrs or so it takes to complete. It does have some minor gameplay sections so it's better than gone home by a country mile.

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Pyrosa

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Edited By Pyrosa

@deviltaz35: Yes, but have you played Country Mile yet? One continuous road to walk, all fully narrated. ;)

(Actually, hang on -- I can get that done in Unity by Friday.)

But seriously, I enjoyed Gone Home for free, so I'll be picking this up on sale this month.

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Brettsky128

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Edited By Brettsky128

As a person who loved Dear Esther and hated Gone Home, I wonder if I'll like this one?

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lostn

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@Brettsky128: I don't see why not.

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GirlUSoCrazy

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Edited By GirlUSoCrazy

Hard to ignore such a recommendation, I will try to get my hands on it.

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phili878

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Never heard of this....

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Pyrosa

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A LOT of people keep recommending this, even though it's a walking simulator. I'm absolutely buying it at the next sale this month.

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DEVILTAZ35

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@Pyrosa: only buy it if it's less than $10 as it is very short and kind of silly for the most part.

What helps is the acting ability of the narrator which really does sell the game well throughout.

However if you can play this on PC otherwise it is a technical mess which really hurts it. The Pro is still shaky, Xbox One X tries to iron out the terrible Xbox One frame rate but it's still far from smooth.

The dev just gave up on this game unfortunately and never bothered to patch it to fix the performance on the consoles.

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VoidPointer

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I'm almost reluctant to admit that I don't like this game, at all. None of the stories clicked with me, it appeared to be artsy for being artsy's sake, and the overarching story wasn't really that interesting. I guess the game just doesn't work well if none of the stories really click with someone, but that's just my hypothesis.

Now, that being said, I can see the appeal from a neutral point of view. It appears to be made with a lot of effort, the level design is well done and carefully crafted, the voice acting is superb and the actual writing was skillful and well done in my opinion.

Hooooowever... top 10 game of the year? Not for me, personally. If this wasn't an independent developer who I like to support on principle, I would have refunded the game.

Please don't hunt me with pitchforks and torches now. I'm allergic.

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Pyrosa

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@voidpointer: No, that was a very fair review. I too have played many games that are technically masterful, but just bored me after a night or two.

In this case, I'm willing to buy & try the game; maybe it clicks, but maybe it doesn't. Supporting indies is always good in any case.

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SarcasticJuice

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Great game, even if the gameplay is at a bare minimum. That fish cannery vignette was pretty mind-bending. It felt like a good representation of increasing schizophrenia.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

@sarcasticjuice: Way too repetitive though , it was novel at first but not how many times you have to cut the damn head of a fish. It was comical though the way it was done as you just knew the outcome from the start.

I did like his version of the world though , that was some of the best parts of the whole game along with the comic book stage :) .

It plays out like a B grade movie but it was pretty predictable how each scenario would turn out as soon as you start it which rendered a lot of it pointless unfortunately.

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deactivated-5bd1e31726b43

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Never got around to playing this game. I am playing life is strange right now and it is pretty good. I may have to give this a try after my backlog dies down a little.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

@Legend_of_Link: It doesn't compare to Life is Strange but it's worth a playthrough if you find it in a sale for $5 to $10 just try and play it on PC for best results.

It can't be understated how much better this is on PC compared to the console versions.

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mdinger

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@Legend_of_Link: It's a pretty good game, but I wouldn't have put it in the top 10. If you liked The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (and to a lesser extent Gone Home), you'll almost certainly enjoy it.

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