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! The idea is to finish games during the month of August.
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 35 games. That might be a tough number to top, but if everyone pitches in, I think we can do it!
THE FINISHED PILE: 1. DooM Eternal - NSwitch - r_hjort 2. Lunistice - NSwitch - r_hjort 3. PowerSlave Exhumed - NSwitch - r_hjort 4. Lunistice - NSwitch - nate38 5. Storyteller - PC - Secret_Tunnel 6. Castlevania Bloodlines - Genesis (NSwitch) - Mop it up 7. A Short Hike - Xbone - Mop it up 8. Pokémon Trading Card Game - GBC (NSwitch) - Mop it up 9. The Revenge of Shinobi - Genesis (NSwitch) - Mop it up 10. Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker - PC - Hero_Of_Hyrule 11. Islets - NSwitch - r_hjort 12. Shadow Dancer - Genesis (NSwitch) - Mop it up 13. Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master - Genesis (NSwitch) - Mop it up 14. Tunic - Xbox X|S - Mop it up 15. Astro's Playroom - PS5 - DrFinkelstein 16. Oxenfree II: Lost Signals - NSwitch - DrFinkelstein 17. Halo 3 - X360 - Brick
I completed The Revenge of Shinobi as a nice break from Tunic, with liberal use of rewind of course. I never really heard anything about this series so I wasn't sure what to expect, thinking maybe it was Sega's answer to Ninja Gaiden, which it isn't. With all the shuriken-tossing action, it sometimes feels more like a side-scrolling shooter. For a ninja, this dude sure moves slowly. A weird quirk of the game is that colliding with an enemy itself doesn't cause damage, only knockback, so I would sometimes use this to avoid being hit by their weapon. With some of the mean setups in later levels, this almost feels required. I find myself wishing I had more Castlevania games to play instead...
@Shadowlink Thanks for info. It was a fun curiosity but I'm not interested in further pursuing the card game, though I can see why it would be popular. I'm a little surprised to see there were fewer types, though I s'pose having all 15 with the card game rules would have been pretty tricky.
My backlog busting has really taken an unfortunate backseat due to work, but I did boot up Little Samson yesterday, and that went to shit. But I went back into Islets today, instead. Not sure if I'll be able to beat it before the end of august, but I'm enjoying myself, so it's alright.
Beat a handful of bosses, unlocked a couple of new areas and gained a few new abilities. It's a really solid Metroidvania, this. I know there are more of those than any one person could possibly shake any one stick at, but if you're in the market for a reasonably challenging but not punishing Metroidvania, with a very chill and comfy vibe, this is it.
Look at that lush greenery, the warm sunlight reflecting off the moss and the light, fluffy clouds drifting by in the background. The whole game is this pretty. Also, made by one single dude. Apart from the soundtrack. Speaking of which:
Lots of lofi synthesizer up in this. Contrasts and complements the visuals so well.
I underestimated Islet's ability to hook me, and perhaps slightly overestimated its length. I played all night yesterday and all morning today, and Islets is in the bag. Spent about ten hours total, which is a good Metroidvania length, I think.
I'll probably go back and 100% it at some point, 'cause it just feels good to play. The combat's precise and has oomph, the movement has flow and the platforming is rewarding. A fine game.
Another Genesis title in the bag, Shadow Dancer! I thought it was a sequel to Revenge of Shinobi, but apparently the arcade version released prior to it, and just took a couple of years to show up on Genesis. This one feels even more akin to a scroller shooter ala Contra, with infinite shurikens allowing for mindless rapid fire, and one-hit deaths. Fortunately the enemy concentration is lower than in Revenge, but it still results in a more difficult game. Shinobi now has a dog following him around that constantly barks whenever an enemy is on-screen, adding a robust annoyance factor. The bonus stage between rounds is surprisingly easy to perfect and earn three lives. With just four sets of stages it's shorter than Revenge, though it would have of course taken longer if I had to master it to clear it; some of the bosses would have been a real pain on actual hardware.
Rounding out the series is Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master! Three games into this franchise and I still haven't quite figured out the timing of the double jump. Shinobi has learned some more ninja moves for me to mistime, such as a wall jump, and climbing across ceilings and pipes; this game really makes you feel like an incompetent ninja. Moves like a drop kick can be very useful. Compared to the previous, the stage design is generally easier and more fair, and I hardly used rewind at all until the final stage which is a ridonkulous gauntlet. Rigauntulous. These games show an issue with the Genesis controller having only three main buttons, as whether or not Shinobi tosses a shuriken or slashes with his sword is based on distance to enemy, but it feels inconsistent and often still throws a shuriken at slash range. Having a separate sword button would have been ideal.
Closing out Backlaugust is Tunic, just in time! It sometimes reminded me of one thing I liked about Outer Wilds, where sometimes progression is tied to simply gaining knowledge of how to do something or get somewhere. Collecting game manual pages is a unique and interesting way of tying puzzles together. I liked exploring the world and figuring things out, though the final set of puzzles was too technical for my liking, similar to stuff like sudoku. Conversely, I disliked the slow and tedious combat. I don't think I'll elaborate any further, so as to not invoke the wrath of its fans any more than I may already have!
Alrighty, it's the last day of Backlaugust but I've been trying to play a few games this month! I've completed a few this month and two were backlog games! First up...
After Tears of the Kingdom I realized I've really neglected my PS5 this year. I played Stray at the start of it but then it's been Nintendo all the way since. Good problem to have and all, but with other incoming titles I needed to work through, I wanted a PS5 game but a shorter one. So I opted for Astro's Playroom. This short but sweet 3D platformer comes free with every PS5 and it's a really solid title! It comes in to do two things, be a fun sampler of platforming action and to celebrate the Playstation's legacy. I'm not particularly connected to that legacy, but I definitely appreciated the way I felt like I was in an awesome museum exhibit about the Playstation brand. The platforming was fun and straightforward. I'd honestly appreciate a Banjo-Kazooie-sized game starring Astro. However, for what there was here, I enjoyed it. It didn't overstay it's welcome and I didn't 100% but the game is well setup for me to go back and do so. The final boss was even a fun surprise. It never felt boring at all. Huge win, and again, free!
Then there was...
Oxenfree II: Lost Signals
With Oxenfree II, well it's not a very old game at all but I pre-ordered it on the eShop and didn't get to play it when it first came out. So in my book that's a backlog title, just one of the most recent additions. I replayed Oxenfree to prep myself for it and I think it really added to the experience. However Oxenfree II doesn't require it by any means to be enjoyable. The story in Oxenfree II was really a solid one, paired once again with strong voice acting. The lore gets built upon more and I am here for it. It's spooky. It's interesting. This isn't quite a point and click, but it borrows from them. I don't usually like P&C games but I'm surprised at how gripped I've been with this series. I highly recommend for any gamers who like a good story and that thick sense of intrigue.
@DrFinkelstein Despite being included with PS5, Astro's Playroom does seem like a game a lot of people overlook, so nice to see some appreciation for it! I don't have the opportunity to try it out meself, but it did look like fun.
I know you didn't ask me, but I'd say Halo 3 holds up, definitely better than the first two. The story is kinda stupid, but it still has lots of fast 'n furious action and grand setpieces. It's best played in co-op I feel, if you have the opportunity.
I appreciate your insight nonetheless! Is Halo 2 required gaming? Is it wise to play them in order at this point?
I felt the Halo story itself was not impressive, so hearing 3 isn't changing much there is, well, expected I suppose. I'd love to try it in co-op but my main opportunity would be my wife and that's not quite a good option for FPS games. She's not into those much. It's worth an ask though.
I love the Halo series, but I dunno if I'd say they're required. If you look at gameplay and it seems fun, it'd be worth checking them out. Halo 2 is a bit rough around the edges, but I love it so much for how daring it was in escalating the scope of the gameplay, setting, and story from Halo 1. It aims big and falls short in some places. Few games just go for it like that.
Today, it is a kinda rough FPS from 2004. If you can forgive the datedness and care to play it, I'd definitely say go in order. If you get tired of Halo 1 you can drop it. If you just wanted to play the most polished version, you should probably look at 3 or Reach.
@DrFinkelstein I wouldn't call Halo 2 required gaming, however Halo 3 does directly begin where Halo 2 leaves off, so if you don't play 2 then you may have no idea what's going on story-wise. If you're planning to play the whole series eventually or want to follow the story, might as well play them all in order. The campaigns are relatively short across them all, and you could probably blast through Halo 2 in about 5 hours or so.
Another Backlaugust comes to a close! Thanks to all who took the time to participate, perhaps I'll see you all for Shocktoberfest!
Out of curiosity I was browsing a little of the reception for Tunic, curious what others had thought. A lot of people seem to compare it with a game titled Death's Door, with many saying it's the better of the two. This one's also on Game Pass, so I'll have to put it on my list and check it out! Maybe for next Backlaugust... although it may leave Game Pass before then so will probably have to sooner...
Anyhoos! Here's the score breakdown for the games I played this time:
A Short Hike - 8.5 Tunic - 8 Pokémon Trading Card Game - 7 Castlevania Bloodlines - 7 Shinobi III - 7 The Revenge of Shinobi - 6 Shadow Dancer - 6