JP3’s Top Ten Best VNs of 2017
End of the Year Lists

JP3’s Top Ten Best VNs of 2017

4) Old Man’s Journey (Broken Rules Games)

Old Man’s Journey is breathtaking experience that stills, and words cannot properly capture. In a genre defined by fidelity to a certain aesthetic, Broken Rules lives up to its name by choosing a distinctly Western style for a unique view of the Mediterranean coast. Each backdrop could be hung in a museum and has rightfully been used by Apple to market the visual fidelity of their tablets. Only a handful of artists in gaming have managed this level of artistic creativity and depth and it says something that most of them operate in this genre.

However, art on its own isn’t enough for a place on this list. In one of the most effective marriages of narrative and presentation I have seen to date, Old Man’s Journey uses all its tools to craft a sweeping tale of one man’s trip back to his family. There is not one line of dialogue spoken or written in this game and there doesn’t have to be. The audience understands every heartbreaking moment as they journey with the main character: sharing his emotional baggage and his hope that its not too late to make things right. The ending can be considered somewhat cliché, but it isn’t unearned and I cannot imagine it closing out any other way.

And that is, seriously, all you’re getting out of me on this one. Go and play the game: you’ll be thankful you did.

Written by JP3 - December 31, 2017

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  • P January 2, 2018 at 11:43 am

    Almost half of those aren’t even VN… Story rich isn’t doesn’t always mean VN you know. Some of this are way closer to a point & click or just and adventure game than a VN. Though there’s still debate over what a VN really is, I don’t think A Mortician’s Tale, Herald, Detention and Old Man’s Journey are even close to being visual novels. Maybe they’re great games, but not of the VN kind.

    • VNsNowGuy January 17, 2018 at 2:26 am

      Hello! While I understand your point-of-view, I clearly disagree with it. If your argument is simply that there is more gameplay involved with those titles in particular than just a static image and narrative, I would remind you that the following games are marketed and accepted as visual novels that feature similar gameplay elements:

      – Danganronpa
      – 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors
      – Hotel Dusk: Room 215
      – The Silver Case
      – Symphonic Rain
      – Policenauts
      – Sakura Wars

      Now, outside of that, all I can tell you is that on this site, we have seen both Japanese and English creators evolve the formula. You may not see them as VNs and that is fair enough. However, none of them are without precedent and, if anything, should be commended for not sticking to a strict formula and giving us something still in the visual novel medium, but also uniquely their own thing.