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Heartwarming / Zero Punctuation

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  • Yahtzee has a long history of making jabs at Japan when reviewing games that were developed there, so when he begins his review of Yakuza 4 with a screen that simply reads, "The recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan was an unqualified tragedy, and Yahtzee offers his deepest sympathies to a country and people that has long held his admiration and respect", the words of condolence are especially touching to hear from him. The next screen reads, "This statement is given to karmatically balance out the following one" since the video was made before the disaster. Yahtzee pokes fun and makes jabs, but he's not the sort of person who would knowingly mock the country right after a disaster.
  • His entire piece on romancing Anders in Dragon Age II in Extra Punctuation, especially the part where he states that he doesn't want to hear any of his readers' versions of the story, since he doesn't want to ruin the experience.
    • And he named his Tepig Anders!
  • His surprisingly gentle pan of Portal 2, where he states that despite its inability to live up to the original Portal, it's still a great game in its own right.
    • He later named it Game of the Year for 2011 and the second best game of the 2010s behind Undertale.
    • For that matter, the fact that he could not find a single thing wrong with the original Portal, the first and only time such a thing has happened.
      Absolutely sublime from start to finish and I will jam forks into my eyes if I ever use those words to describe anything else ever again!
    • While he doesn't feel the humor in Portal 2 is as good as the original, not only does he still feel that the game is hilarious, he also praises it for not delving into The Cake Is a Lie meme, which he states the spread of ruined the line for him.note 
  • His review of inFAMOUS 2. It's both surprising and heartening to hear him praise the quality of the writing, especially since it's a sequel (having long been skeptical of sequels) and especially since it followed his Duke Nukem Forever review, in which he sounded genuinely disheartened. Bonus points for him reluctantly admitting that he was touched by the good ending, and in the Extra Punctuation column following it, his endorsement of the studio.
    All in all, well done Sucker Punch, they deserve to be bigger names than they are.
  • His real review of Duke Nukem Forever. Granted, he DID pan it because it didn't live up to the long wait, however, it sounds like instead of being mad or insulted (like how most of what he reviews does), he sort of sounds upset about the outcome. Even thought it doesn't seem like it, THIS helps prove that notion:
    I guess I want it to be good because that's how the story's supposed to end.
    • For similar reasons as for the Spec Ops: The Line example below: After watching the video once, it feels as if when he says he hoped Duke was going to be played seriously, he's just grasping at straws, trying desperately to believe it will end well, in stark contrast to his Foreshadowing that '"If Duke Nukem Forever doesn't turn out to be a shining, genre-defying masterpiece that cures at least two types of cancer, I and every other game critic are going to saw its bollocks off!"
  • The opening of his Devil May Cry 4 review, where he says he doesn't think all anime is bad, despite how much he bashes the subculture in his reviews. He continues to savage the game for the rest of the review (as he says, it follows certain trends he dislikes), but the bit at the beginning puts things into context.
    It would be very narrow-minded of me to say that all Japanese cartoons suck. That's like saying that all glam rockers are pedophiles. The fact is, there's bound to be about one thing to your taste, with all the different varieties of anime, whether you're into samurai or giant robots or serials about awkward young men very pointedly not having sex with a selection of eager women.
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  • His concept for a non violent game. It's about a van driver that dies and goes to hell, armed only with a basket of puppies, having to give hugs to The Legions of Hell.
  • In the ending of the Super Mario Galaxy 2 review, he admits it's fun despite bashing it for five minutes.
  • His admission that the White Phosphorous incident in Spec Ops: The Line made him feel "like shit afterwards." It so totally flies in the face of his Misanthrope Supreme persona that it actually humanized him a bit.
    • He then named Spec Ops as his Game of the Year for 2012note , even calling it one for the history books.
      • Even better, he remarks that Spec Ops singlehandedly stopped him from abandoning the military shooter genre, which he had a long and storied history panning in the years prior (this was, after all, the same year he began referring to the genre as "Spunkgargleweewee"). Considering that this came after giving Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 "Worst Game(s) of the Year" in 2011note  and Medal of Honor: Warfighter "2nd Worst Game of the Year", this is incredibly high praise.
  • The week after that, he admits he doesn't hate all cover-based shooting, he only hates when the interesting bits of a game serve it, not the other way around. it's a bit paltry compared to a lot of other Heartwarming Moments, but if you're a Gears of War fan then it's hard not to be happy.
  • The Walking Dead game actually has something surprising. You should all know that Yahtzee has a hatred for children, but during the game, he gets to a point when he has to either save a kid or save an adult. Knowing Yahtzee, you would expect his to save the man and let the kid die, when he then proceeds to save the KID instead. Surprising to see that Yahtzee will be nice to kids when it matters.
  • In DayZ, him talking about how so far all the players that he met tried to kill him when he runs into a player right after barely surviving a battle with an entire horde of zombies. Said player proceeds to give him some blood packs. (When he gets smacked down almost immediately by another zombie, he moans he's a waste of blood.)
    • From the same review (and an earlier installment of Extra Punctuation): Many a Minecraft fan was pleasantly surprised to learn that, despite Minecraft not making his Top 5 of 2011 listnote note  and Yahtzee's well-known aversion to replaying gamesnote , he has been playing Minecraft's hardcore mode in his spare time for awhile now.
  • His retro review of Half-Life where he sounds quite openly relieved at the end to be able to state quite uncategorically that, fifteen years on, the game is still good.
    • His follow-up article on Black Mesa, an HD fanmade remake of the original game, counts as well.
    • Even moreso in light of the fact that he generally looks down upon remakes, an opinion he made beyond perfectly clear at the end of his Fear 2 Review. Yahtzee is rarely the type to change his mind on these sorts of things, so the fact that Black Mesa got through with only a couple of minor complaints certainly qualifies.
  • Despite Yahtzee's hatred for Moral Choice systems, it's rather heartwarming to know that, aside from a few exceptions, he almost always chooses to pick the good paths.
    • And usually lampshades it when picking the bad path gives better rewards, meaning he deliberately took the harder route.
  • While he completely tore Never Dead a new one in its review and eventually ranked it "4th Worst Game of 2012", he did respect its intentions of being a unique experience, even going as far as to defend it to a degree during his top and bottom 5 of 2012 video. He seemed more disappointed in its failings than genuinely angry, which is rare for him.
  • In Yahtzee's review of Crysis 2, he mentions liking Alcatraz because he can seem immortal and yet feel very vulnerable due to the wounds sustained at the start of the game, despite him a silent protagonist (As mentioned in his Dishonored review, he usually hates these, but in this case it may be because the game establishes that Alcatraz can't speak), and got really pissed off at Prophet for body snatching Alcatraz and completely forgetting about him in the third game, minus a mention in a video for newcomers to the franchise.
  • At the end of his Dragon Age: Origins review, he thanks everyone who took part in a contest where Escapist fans could make their own Yahtzee themed games.
  • In his Wind Waker HD review, Yahtzee mentions that it's one of his favorite Zelda games because of all of Link's character quirks. He even mentions that he doesn't care that the latter part of the story returns to the traditional formula, because by then he's invested in the story.
  • His review of Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, aside from giving the game a rare positive review, he also states that he prefers Luigi over Mario because he finds him easier to relate to given how he seems closer to a normal person.
  • His video on A Link Between Worlds is less a review of the game and more an intervention for Nintendo, noting that while he has given them tons of shit in the past, he wants them to succeed as they're the only hardware maker that still makes video game consoles and not inferior PCs.
    • The credit animations say it all—The first two frames are of Sega and Nintendo making what look like nooses— the last one shows they were actually building a swingset to play on together.
  • His review of the Strider reboot. He states the game doesn't bring anything new and innovative, but what it does have it does very well, comparing it to a pie that isn't anything he hasn't eaten before but is still a tasty pie.
  • Yahtzee's review of Epic Mickey highlighted the camera controls, personifying the camera being uncontrollable. During the Stinger, the imp hides in the bushes before jumping and ambushing a runaway camera. The last image has the imp, all beaten up with an equally beaten up camera, using said camera... to film a wedding.
  • His review of Dark Souls II, he admits that despite his complaints, even if the game was just "more Dark Souls" and cash grab, he still enjoyed the game despite the faults in it, notably the change in focus to your Heroic Mime over the world the game is set, stating that he liked learning more about the game's world and preferred it be the focus rather than a Heroic Mime.
  • While he has frequently taken shots at Call of Duty, he admits that he liked the original Modern Warfare and felt that the death of one of the game's playable characters was a well done Player Punch, which he feels the sequels have missed how the moment being unexpected gave it power and have just resorted to trying to include a shock moment every game, which ceases being a shock if the player expects them.
  • His review of Bayonetta 2, he deflects criticisms of Bayonetta being a sexually objectified character and goes into details on who he likes for "giving representation" to the demographic of "people who are capable of enjoying themselves", having gotten tired of all the grim and depressing protagonists in gaming.
  • His Extra Punctuation column on Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, where he recounts the tale of an orc he became particularly attached to by the name of Khosh the Drunk, a Mook who had killed him in combat twice before Yahtzee eventually brainwashed him after he fled from a duel, and whom Yahtzee trained and help him climb up the orc hierarchy, eventually having him become a backstabbing bodyguard for one of the enemy Warchiefs. He even admits to feeling "genuinely sad" when Khosh was killed after Yahtzee's ambush on said Warchief went terribly wrong. He ends the article by imagining that there was a new star in the sky that night, albeit a sweaty little green one that drank too much.
    • He gushed about the Orcs in Middle-earth: Shadow of War, bemoaning the fact that the game was about Talion instead of them, mentioning he loved overhearing a conversation between two orcs that carpentry was really like fighting when you thought about it.
  • While Yahtzee's videos regarding E3 are predictably cynical, it's pleasant to see his depiction of Nintendo in them as being like an elderly relative he's come to pay a visit to. It hammers home the idea that, while usually disappointed in their conferences, he doesn't look down on them in the same way he does Microsoft or Sony.
  • The Extra Punctuation on Undertale wherein Yahtzee admits that he is extremely impressed by the game's writing, especially admiring how heartfelt the story and its message about the value of showing kindness in the face of hostility is, noting that "anything that can touch my stony heart deserves a good hard analysis."
    • And for the kicker, he hadn't reviewed the game officially by the time he released his "Top 5 of 2015" video.
      Yahtzee: As always, only games that have been reviewed in Zero Punctuation are in the running for the Top and Bottom 5. That being the case, bear with me a moment. (Cuts back to opening theme) Reviews: Undertale Undertale is a good game. (Closing credits roll) Etc. Etc.
    • And remember that line where what he doesn't mention in his reviews he thinks is a good part of the game...?
    • There is also the last line of the Extra Punctuation column, when he talks about the bad ending of Undertale, and how the game "would resent ME for doing it." Key word here? "Would". Yahtzee didn't do a Genocide Run. He couldn't.
      After all that, there's also a bad ending, if you wantonly murder every single thing in the underworld, and I almost resent the game for having it. After doing such a good job at making me care about the characters, it seems borderline psychotic to include it at all. The fact that it exists means we have to do it if we want to see all the content. But on the other hand, the pacifist ending concludes with the game practically begging you not to delete your save and start again, and completing a genocide run has permanent effects on the game that persist even to ensuing games. So while I may resent the game for including the option of a genocide run, it doesn't seem to be as much as the game would resent ME for doing it.
  • Considering how defiantly offensive Yahtzee usually is, his removal of a transphobic joke from the Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons review and his apology in a corresponding Extra Punctuation counts as this. Of course, this isn't surprising when you remember that Yahtzee is offensive because it's funny, not because he enjoys upsetting people.
  • During the Top 5 Games of 2013, the #2 Best spot (for Papers, Please) is "Drifting away to sleep while surrounded by kittens and money." Awwww...
  • His The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is this for many a Nintendo fan: for all of his bashing on Nintendo, Yathzee throws away the review he was gonna do and instead has a long chat with Nintendo about their recent failures and praises them for making a gaming console made for gaming and not online stuff.
  • Considering how he lambasted the original Titanfall and made fun of its rapidly dwindling userbase after the first six months, it's heartening to see him regard Titanfall 2 as 'basically all right,' noting that while the writing is a Cliché Storm of the highest caliber, the game itself is put together competently enough to hold his interest and he even appreciated how its characters developed, which is more than he can say about Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare. Considering how he previously noted that "anything I don't complain about is probably okay" and his noted tendency to despise sequels, this actually comes across as high praise.
    • He liked it so much, in fact, that he actually named it one of his Best Games Of the Year!
  • In the Capcom 5 video, he noted Resident Evil 4 had been ported to 11 different gaming stations and apparently a toasternote ; but because it was in his words "fucking sweet!"; going as far as to cite the game as one of the most influential games of the sixth generation and going on well to this day. He rates it as one of the most important games in the medium; a honor he usually reserves for games like Silent Hill 2; and that's no mean feat to appease someone like him.
  • Yahtzee's review of Persona 5 was surprisingly positive (for Yahtzee anyway), given that he'd never played a Persona game before, and his usual attitude about JRPGs.
    • And even more surprising, he named it as one his favorite games of the year!
      • And while he still preferred Persona 5, he did eventually warm up to Persona 4 as well.
  • His "E3 2017" video has him at his nicest towards Nintendo, expressing genuine surprise at Nintendo for their new angle for Super Mario Odyssey (even if it did draw the Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) parallel, but then again this is something the fans caught onto as well) and even joy at a new Metroid game (once again, even if he does say to exercise extreme optimism as we only got a logo for the game and nothing else, you can hear how excited he is for this game).
    • Furthermore, in the Super Mario Odyssey review, he states that a new Mario "gammon soiree" means that "Nintendo are turning a profit this year, YES!" and he sounds genuinely thrilled about it.
  • Yahtzee has a habit of turning a game's title into a Running Gag, by swapping it out for increasingly silly variations (eg Homefront: The Revolution becomes Homefront: The Refrigerator, then Backyard: The Renovation, then Human: The Resources, then Hurdy: The Gurdy). But in his review of A Hat in Time he changes it to Hatty Time...then continues to call it Hatty Time in order to communicate his affection for the game ("Oh boy, I get to play more Hatty Time today!"). Even more surprising is that he named Hatty Time his second-best game of 2017!
    • Later, in his Hunt Down the Freeman review, he goes on a rant about the current, rather sorry state of the video game industry (during which he calls Valve out for allowing to Steam be flooded with lazy asset-flips and the AAA publishers for being more interested in making lootbox-laden Skinner boxes), but he makes an aside where he acknowledges that there are still some games out there that are made with "love and artist integrity", using A Hat in Time as an example.
    • Yahtzee's love of A Hat in Time is particularly noteworthy because games like Yooka-Laylee, Sonic Forces and the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy caused him to dismiss the entire 3D Platformer genre as a pointless failed experiment (because most platformers have gone back to 2D). It's heartwarming that one of the games he has loved the most came from a genre he had completely written off.
  • Despite being especially cynical during his E3 2018 video, Yahtzee included this line in the stinger (which remains very critical itself), showing that despite all the characteristic cynicism he still acknowledges what genuine passion there may still be within even the most corporate parts of the industry and urges viewers to approach showings at E3 critically but not necessarily dismissively.
    • "But at the same time it's a mistake to dismiss everything out of hand, as any genuine passion a developer had for their own contribution can shine through even the densest corporate machinery. Assume I said the same thing about every game: 'Could be good or bad, but there's no way of knowing until it's been played through by someone who isn't being paid to shill for it.'"
  • There's something adorable about the fact the the "Yahtzee annoys his girlfriend with" and "Yahtzee's girlfriend annoys him with" series of videos are just Yahtzee and his girlfriend Kess playing games that they like while trying to get the other one to like it too — especially when playing Kirby's Epic Yarn, which Yahtzee mentioned in the second video was the viewer's favorite to watch them both play.
    • Guess what? Now they're married. Gabe even came to America to attend Yahtzee's wedding.
    • Without wanting to pry too much into everyone's personal lives, Episode 14 of Dev Diary uses "Where do you get your ideas?" as a jumping-off point to discuss the virtues of seeking out new experiences—illustrated with pictures of Kess on a boat somewhere, and Ben going dogsledding.
    I got to feed the puppies!
  • In his review of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, despite his well known dislike for the series, he ultimately admits he didn't dislike playing through the story mode and even had some moments of enjoyment playing Donkey Kong; he just wishes there wasn't so much buzz and hype around the game distracting from other great games that deserve attention.
  • His appreciation of Subnautica having an actual ending, unlike other open world crafting games, giving him a chance to bid farewell to his prized "Fortress Ocelot Alpha" as he lifts off into space.
  • For as much as he likes ragging on about Nintendo, it can be quite sweet hearing him positively reminisce about Breath of the Wild and how it's an example of how a post-apocalyptic sandbox should treat the player and exploring its world when compared to how Rage 2 just bores him in those regards.
  • Yahtzee using his "review" of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) as a Trojan Horse to review Disco Elysium, an indie game he feels is more deserving of greater awareness. Though he finds the game far from flawless, Yahtzee is certainty a Fan of the Underdog.
  • His idea of improving The Last of Us Part II: cut the unnecessary parts of the game, and use that money to make a game about a butt-sniffing cartoon dog whose Character Development is not needing to sniff butts anymore. One gets the idea that his own dog Pepper was part of the inspiration for that concept.
  • Yahtzee admits he actually cried during Spiritfarer, specifically during Alice's sendoff, and wasn't even self-conscious about it.
  • In his review of Shantae and the Seven Sirens, while Yahtzee finds the game mostly middling, he explains in his research that he didn't know that Shantae was a long-running series and was surprised to discover it had the same development studio all this time. Curious about the context, he decided to play the previous instalment, Half-Genie Hero, and he ends up assessing that "It's not bad at all!" The best part is that he's not even being backhanded about it; he sounds genuinely surprised yet pleased by how good it is, and comes to the conclusion that WayForward got complacent with Seven Sirens, but are otherwise more talented than he originally took them for.
  • Back in 2018, in Yahtzee's Hunt Down the Freeman review, he sounded genuinely distressed at the state Valve was in if his long betrayed rant was anything to go by.note  Fast forward two years later and he names Half-Life: Alyx his fourth best of 2020, almost as if he's forgiven Valve for their blunder.
  • There's something heartwarming about Yahtzee deciding to give a spot on his usual yearly Top 5 Best to two games rather than one, with the only other time a game getting a shared spot with another was 2011, where he named Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 the worst games of 2011. It's undercut by the two games being Frankenstein-stitched together, begging for a Mercy Kill.
    Yahtzee: "So fuck it; I'm squeezing them both into the 2 slot, because 'indie' can also be short for 'indie-cisive'!"


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