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Backlaugust 2021 - The backlogue is finished!
 
It's that time of year yet again! Now to copy over this post from ludist210...

Backlaugust: The Official Negative World Month for Decimating Backlogs! is back again for more action! So start looking through your backlog and get started!

Here are the "rules":

Games can be on any system, not just Nintendo systems. I know we're a Nintendo fan site, but most everyone here is a multi-console owner. So play a game on any system you want.

Let us know what you're playing. Mostly just so we can cheer each other on.

Play games you already own. A lot of people tend to buy a game then not play it, or play it for a significant amount of time and then put it down. This is what we're aiming for. Games that launch in August don't count.

Try to pick up games you aren't actively playing right now. Games you're currently playing can be allowed, but in the spirit of Backlaugust, let's try to make them games you aren't playing at the moment. Make it a game you haven't touched in a month or more if possible.

When is a game done? That's up to you! Mark a game off your backlog when you've seen the ending or end credits, or once you've seen enough of the game in a game without a "proper ending" (like an arcade-type game). You don't have to do or get everything unless you want to.

Finished games will be posted in the OP. Because everyone likes to see their accomplishments recognized. Just post when you're done and I'll try to update daily.

Last year, we finished a whopping 32 games. That might be a tough number to top, but if everyone pitches in, I think we can do it!

THE FINISHED PILE:
1. Anodyne - NSwitch - Mop it up
2. The Walking Dead Season Two - PC - Brick
3. Trine: Enchanted Edition - NSwitch - Mop it up
4. Child of Light - NSwitch - ludist210
5. Hue - NSwitch - ludist210
6. TumbleSeed - NSwitch - ludist 210
7. Tumblestone - NSwitch - Mop it up
8. Crysis Remastered - NSwitch - TheBigG753
9. Yoku's Island Express - NSwitch - Mop it up
10. Unravel Two - NSwitch - ludist210
11. Yooka-Laylee - Xbone - Mop it up
12. The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures - NSwitch - Guillaume
13. Banner Saga Part 2 - NSwitch - ludist210
14. The Way Remastered - NSwitch - Mop it up
15. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent - Xbox - TheBigG753
16. Okaeri! Chibi-Robo! Happy Richie Oosouji - DS - Pokepal148
17. Journey of the Broken Circle - NSwitch - Mop it up
18. Banner Saga Part 3 - NSwitch - ludist210
19. EQQO - NSwitch - Mop it up
20. Bouncy Bob - NSwitch - Mop it up
21. Quake (+expansions) - Xbone - Mop it up
22. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest - SNES (NSwitch) - TheBigG753
23. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - PC - Brick

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Posted: 07/26/21, 22:36:00  - Edited by 
 on: 09/01/21, 23:08:55
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So I started TumbleSeed last week, and I might have finished it? I dunno... For the purposes of Backlaugust, I'm calling it done.

Finished TumbleSeed (Switch).

The adventure mode (permadeath, procedurally generated) is ridiculously hard. If I could control the seed itself, I think I could manage easier, but the way the game controls makes it harder...that's not a bad thing. The idea of TumbleSeed is great. The execution...is lacking a bit. I still enjoyed it though.

Finished the four peaks though, so I'll call this "done".
Posted: 08/17/21, 18:37:46
Another one knocked out: Tumblestone

I remember being interested in this when I heard about it way back on the Wii U, but never pulled the trigger until it hit $1.99 on Switch. Unlike most match-3 puzzlers, this one isn't action-based, with instead having the goal of clearing the play field of all blocks; it's a nice change of pace. The story mode is surprising lengthy, I wonder if too much, though it does introduce a new obstacle or gameplay wrinkle in each world to shake things up and try to keep them fresh. The story itself is simple and mostly nonsensical, but was sometimes worth a laugh just from being incredibly stupid. I noticed that the Wii U version had online play, but the Switch one doesn't; seems like an odd exclusion, but I doubt I would have tried it anyway.
Posted: 08/18/21, 03:47:10
So I redownloaded Impossible Lair, tried it once in handheld mode, and was like... nope. Have to play this with a controller on the big screen or I'm never going to succeed.

@Mop it up Hey a bunch of my friends worked on that game!
Posted: 08/18/21, 21:31:25
Currently on Chapter 3 of Layton, and really not very far into Impossible Lair. I really do like the world map stuff. Very Wario Land. However...some of the alternate versions of these levels are crazy. I think there's a Tonic that lets you keep coins if you die, and I might have to just turn that on at some point. I've been too prideful to turn on any tonics that reduce my Quill count.

Regarding Layton...I have to say I'm not knocked out by Azran Legacy. Every other Layton game seems to have an initial hook that is so captivating, that I can't help but unravel the mystery. This game just doesn't really have that.

I also just don't like the second Layton trilogy as much. The first three games were like Indiana Jones...but you find out that there's always some practical, but absolutely ridiculous explanation for everything. In the later three games, it's like ACTUAL Indiana Jones, where you find out that the mystical myth or legend is actually true. It was way more fun in the first three games.

Also, Emmy is totally the ultimate third wheel character. She serves absolutely no purpose, other than maybe kicking something every now and then.
Posted: 08/18/21, 21:50:19  - Edited by 
 on: 08/18/21, 21:53:35
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow seems to be longer than I thought it was. I don't know if I'll be able to finish it before the end of the month. I've only finished Chapter IV.

Maybe I'll go back to the Halo Master Chief Collection and beat each of the Halo games since those are probably much shorter.
Posted: 08/19/21, 07:05:31
Finished Crysis: Remastered (Switch) last night.

Overall I didn't like this a whole lot. Barring a few pretty good missions late in the first half of the game, I found it mostly lackluster. The entire second half of the game I thought was legitimately bad; right when it felt like things were starting to come together, the game goes in a completely different direction and it's not a good one - repetitive linear levels, escort missions, lots of defending against waves of enemies, and an absolute mess of a final boss encounter. I find it hard to believe this game reviewed as well as it did for reasons other than the "face-melting grafix!1!!1" and the ridiculous specs needed to run it at the time.

I think I'll try and do Splinter Cell: Double Agent (OG Xbox version) and Donkey Kong Country 2 (NSO) before the end of the month.
Posted: 08/19/21, 16:50:44
@ludist210 I also enjoyed Child of Light on Wii U, I might have even played it for a previous Backlaugust. I think most RPGs overstay their welcome, so I thought it was a good length and any longer would have gotten stale.

@Zero You mean Tumblestone? Uh oh, does that mean I can't be critical of it or else I'll get beaten up? It's uh, totally a 10/10 game, honest! No really!
Posted: 08/20/21, 03:58:50
Another one rolls into the goal: Yoku's Island Express

Its mix of platforming and pinball mechanics works pretty well, and I like that it focuses mainly on exploration and discovery without having to worry about survival. The world feels thoughtfully designed and there's some wonderful and varied artwork in the various different sections of the island. With that said, the game shows some cracks at times during backtracking, since certain sections can be a pain to go through multiple times. Playing out the main adventure was definitely the best experience, while tracking down all collectibles wasn't always fun, and I ended with looking up how to nab the last few goodies. Overall, I enjoyed the game, but I can't help but wonder if I would have preferred it as a linear level-based platformer...
Posted: 08/22/21, 18:16:49
@Mop it up I'm kind of surprised we haven't seen more games like this over the years, given the cult status of games like Kirby's Pinball Land, Pokemon Pinball, Sonic Spinball, and Metroid Prime Pinball. Definitely makes me wonder what more can be done with this interesting "pinball adventure" subgenre.
Posted: 08/22/21, 19:17:02
Unravel 2 (Switch) is on the finished pile. Loved it from start to end, hate that medals were tied to speed-running (some levels took a lot of time). I also didn't like that the double-jump mechanic didn't get unlocked until the second half of the last level. But I would highly recommend it as a co-op game.

I started Banner Saga Part 2 (Switch) as well. We'll see if I finish before the end of the month.
Posted: 08/23/21, 20:06:37
Another completion collected: Yooka-Laylee

This was one of the first games I had started playing on Xbox Game Pass, so it was before I was familiar with the way it handles games leaving the service. I had collected around half of the game's goodies, and luckily it was in this month's second batch of Gold games, so I decided to pick up where I left off and bring it home.

With all of the complaints and negative reactions I'd seen for this title, I went into it with pretty low expectations, which probably ended up working out for me. Overall, I ended up enjoying the game as a throwback N64 platformer, and while I probably wouldn't argue against the first world being the best and most-realised, I felt the second and third ones were quite good as well. The fourth and fifth start to fall apart a bit, particularly the fifth where it's tough to keep track of everything without notable landmarks, but they still have their moments. There's a nice variety of activities throughout the worlds to keep things interesting, utilising many of the duo's moves in one form or another. The best part was when first starting out in a world, as I could explore it in any direction and there was lots to discover and see. Things did start to feel a bit of a pain when it came down to there being only a few collectibles left in a huge world, with no real indication of where to look; the first world is the only one I completed on me own, the rest I looked up a video to locate the last few goodies.

With that said, I don't think the game lives up to the Banjo-Kazooie pedigree, and it wasn't unrealistic for people to expect as much given it's many of the same people. It feels more like an evolution of Banjo-Tooie, which I personally loved but I know most BK fans didn't, which I actually find kind of surprising. I would have thought the devs would also know what fans like about the original over the sequel, and instead of these huge sprawling worlds of YL, they'd design smaller compact worlds like those in BK. The game doesn't have the same charm either; there aren't enough unique visual landmarks in most worlds and characters are very stiff and non-expressive. I guess this is the problem with the devs not continuing to make platformers in the years between BK and now, and didn't hone their craft.

I s'pose that leaves me with some mixed feelings; I feel it failed as a Banjo-Kazooie successor, but still succeeds as an N64 throwback platformer in general. Since I knew it was going to do the former, I could still enjoy it as the latter.
Posted: 08/24/21, 18:40:19
I'm on the 4th mission of Splinter Cell: Double Agent (original Xbox version, playing via BC on Series X). I haven't played any of the classic Splinter Cell games since Chaos Theory back in 2005, so hearing Michael Ironside and Dennis Haysbert bantering back and forth has brought back fond memories. Since 2005 was also during my hazy college days I don't remember a lot of the specifics of what was new in Chaos Theory gameplay-wise, but I'm pretty sure Double Agent (its direct sequel) has added quite a few new mechanics, as well as some structural changes.

This game still looks really nice, and I'm glad this one also got "X Enhanced" up to 4K. The lighting still looks really impressive for a 2006 game, and with better character models it could probably pass for a 360 game. The enemy AI is a bit frustrating, something I just experienced with Crysis. Even on Normal with two additional higher difficulties, guards have pretty incredible hearing and vision. Definitely has been an adjustment, but I feel like I'm used to it again now through three missions.

I'm not sure yet how I feel about the "trust" system. You have a sliding bar between how much favor you have with the government (your employer) and the terrorist group you've infiltrated, and you don't want it to tip too far in one direction, so you have to balance which objectives to complete on behalf of which side. I like it in theory, but the issue so far is that depending on which side assigns you the next mission, you'll start off with better equipment/items if it's the same side you did good for in the previous mission. But otherwise you'll get stiffed. And if it keeps alternating between a gov't mission and a terrorist mission - which I won't know without looking it up - I will continue to get stiffed because in the first mission where I could pick sides, I skewed more towards the terrorist group.

We'll see where this all goes, but so far I'm really liking this game.

Also started DKC2 during lunch. Only a couple levels in, not much to really say at this point. Staying on the topic of Rare platformers...

@Mop it up

I also enjoyed Yooka-Laylee and never felt like it deserved the vitriol it received. Having not played an N64 platformer (or any other new ones in that vein) in such a long time, a throwback platformer like YL was just what I was looking for at the time. There were some polish issues when it was new (particularly with the camera and framerate) and I don't know how much of that has been improved since, and there are some other things they probably could have modernized without compromising the overall goal of making an N64-style 3D platformer, but I found the core game to be a really good time. I was a backer and I felt like they mostly delivered what they promised.
Posted: 08/25/21, 20:58:21
I finished The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures, i.e. the first game in that collection. Does it count?
Posted: 08/25/21, 21:26:01
Largely agree with the Yooka-Laylee talk here. Went in late with lowered expectations but enjoyed it well enough. It's kind of a Diet Banjo, which is good enough for me given the dearth of 3D collectathons over the past couple decades. I actually 100%ed it, no less.

Still enjoying Mario Golf 64 but some of the mechanics are weird; lately my shots seem to be flying wildly off-course (I'm using Mario) and I'm not sure what the reasoning behind it is. Do higher-drive characters just have more randomness to them to balance out the cast?
Posted: 08/26/21, 00:59:32  - Edited by 
 on: 08/26/21, 00:59:49
Banner Saga Part 2 (Switch) is in the books. I bought them all on the cheap a while ago and wrapped Part 1 pretty quickly, then just...stopped. Part 2 really grabbed me and story got really interesting, and my tactics got better. I do like that your choices really do feel like they matter.

Starting Banner Saga Part 3 today.
Posted: 08/26/21, 15:52:17
I enjoyed the first level of Yooka-Laylee quite a bit, but fell off at the snow level.

Also, I think the Switch version was generally well-received. It supposedly has quite a few improvements over the initial release.
Posted: 08/27/21, 19:21:33
I have found a way to another completion with The Way Remastered

This is made as an homage to PC side-scrolling adventure games of the 90s. With the "remastered" in the title, I actually wondered if it were an old PC game brought back until I looked it up after finishing it, which I s'pose is high praise for what they attempted to achieve. It takes a while for the protagonist to gain some abilities, but once the game reaches that point it provides some nice puzzle challenges. I felt like it ended right before everything came together for one last elaborate puzzle that utilized all abilities to their fullest, though. The platforming sections can quickly be a pain due to the stiff controls and the man's weak knees, being unable to survive more than a five foot drop, but fortunately there are frequent checkpoints. The story is simple but decent. Overall, it seems like a good throwback, but probably not really my kind of thing.

@Guillaume That was originally a separate release before the two-pack, right? If so, sure, counts in my book.

@TheBigG753 I can't compare to what Yooka-Laylee was like early on, but I didn't notice any performance issues. The controls and camera are two things which shouldn't have felt like an N64 game! I had to switch to the manual camera, which then meant having to babysit it, but it was still an improvement over the auto.
Posted: 08/27/21, 20:03:14
Finished Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent (Xbox). I'm glad to have finally played this, which was essentially the end of that era of Splinter Cell game, while the next-gen version of Double Agent may have marked the transition to the "modern" Splinter Cell of Conviction and Blacklist. This game is a bit of a transition as well, as its where the story started to become more personal for Sam and was less about a series of infiltration missions and foiling the latest terrorist plot.

The "double agent" plot allowed them to implement more variety, both in terms of having more diverse locales as well as different types of mission objectives. In both respects, I feel like they may have been inspired by the Hitman games of that era (and to be honest, playing as bald Sam Fisher also had me forgetting at times that this wasn't a Hitman game! ). Playing on Normal might have been a bit too easy, in spite of the enemy AI being unforgiving and unpredictable; it wasn't until late in the game that I felt like I really needed to use all of Sam's available tools, though I also feel like some of the levels don't encourage or sometimes even allow a wide range of approaches. Though I am cognizant and forgiving of the fact that this game predates 15 years of advancements in the stealth game genre. I suspect I'd find a lot more replayability on the higher difficulties.

The story felt poorly executed, especially on the intended emotional front. Perhaps this was better realized in the 360/PS3 edition. I never felt the attachment to some of the characters in the terrorist group that the story portrayed Sam as having a deep attachment to. Also, many of the story's most exciting and important events happen during cutscenes between missions. Maybe this is a big reason why the series shifted to becoming more action-focused with Conviction, as they wanted more of this "cool stuff" to happen during gameplay (but IMO they went way too far in that direction).

Overall, an interesting snapshot of that moment in time. A cross-gen game, but one where the previous generation version was in line with the original style of game, while the next-generation version was more of a departure. The result is a game that plays like Chaos Theory but with a storyline that seems more befitting of an action game. I'm curious at this point to check out Pandora Tomorrow (the one SC game I've yet to play any version of), but I've really come out of this wanting to replay Chaos Theory sooner rather than later, and for the first time really experience that game as it was meant to be experienced.
Posted: 08/28/21, 20:05:37
I cleared the fan translation of the Japan only DS chibi robo game. What a hoot that game was.
Posted: 08/28/21, 20:50:59
I've come full circle with completing Journey of the Broken Circle

I'm pretty sure I got this one for free from owning one of the publisher's other games. It's a simple little platformer about a circle searching for its missing piece, which as you've probably guessed, is an obvious allegory for relationships. The characters met along the way are placed into the slot and have an ability, which helps add some variety to the levels, but it's never very challenging else when the physics get a bit wonky. The story it tells is decent and is probably relatable to a lot of people, but I felt the writing is a bit too matter-of-fact and didn't have enough subtlety. The graphics are too minimalistic for my tastes. It isn't a bad game, but not really my kinda thing.
Posted: 08/29/21, 00:43:38
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