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Participated in the 2023 Game of the Year Event

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Being part of the Backloggd community for 3 years


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Favorite Games

Disco Elysium
Disco Elysium
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition
Metroid: Zero Mission
Metroid: Zero Mission


Total Games Played


Played in 2024


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Game Finished In 2024 #11:

So I got a PS5 for myself for my birthday, as I figured now is probably a good time to hop on one. To christen this, I decided to play the pack-in game, Astro's Playroom. That this console even launched with a pack-in is honestly a feat in its own right, considering the practice seemed to have died long ago. The last true pack-in was what, Face Raiders for the 3DS? That game is about a 45 minute long tech demo.

Astro's Playroom is a tech demo as well, but it's significantly more robust. It presents itself as a 3D platformer demonstrating the capabilities of the Dualsense controller, with each of the four areas having unique gimmicks to this end. As a demonstration, it does the job. The Dualsense isn't a particularly feature rich controller, admittedly, so most of the gimmicks end up being ways to do gyro control on the thing, with the adaptive triggers and rumble capabilities adding flavor to the whole thing.

Under the tech demo though, is an astonishingly polished game. On a visual level, it looks and runs great. The level design is well done, and while it's never groundbreaking, that's not the goal. The secondary goal of Astro's Playroom, or perhaps even the TRUE primary goal, is the celebration of the Playstation's legacy. Littered throughout the levels are dozens of easter eggs referencing titles that were important to the platform, from Ratchet and Clank to God of War to Castlevania to Monster Hunter to Bloodborne to FF7 to Resident Evil to- you get it. Getting to point at the screen and go "I recognize that thing!" never got old in the game's brisk runtime. It made me realize how much legacy Playstation really has, and how deeply stupid Jim Ryan was for trying to dismiss it. Hell, one of your main collectables is random Playstation accessories, from the Eyetoy to the Playstation Move and VR to the LCD screen you were supposed to attach to the PS1. The level design is quite clever with where collectibles are hidden, too. Unless you're thorough, you probably won't catch everything on a first playthrough, making the game just a bit more replayable for people who want to 100%.

For a game that's free with the console, it makes a great first game to play on it and I can easily see myself going back for the 100%.

Game Finished In 2024 #10:

I have a love/hate relationship with fighting games. I love fighting games, fighting games hate me. This puts me in a tricky spot, as although I really like games like Blazblue, King of Fighters, and Persona 4 Arena, I often find myself chafing against them on even a fundamental mechanical level. The path to improvement, even to a baseline competency, is confusing and I sometimes feel genuinely incapable of doing it, as even with hundreds of hours across the genre these struggles never get easier. There have been a couple games that I've been able to click with better, like Guilty Gear Strive, DNF Duel, Cross Tag, and SamSho, but even among those Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising is on another level.

The original Granblue Fantasy Versus was a flawed gem, or a great first step. The game had great potential, which was never capitalized on despite two seasons of DLC, because it launched without functioning netcode. Two months before a global pandemic. The roster launched in a very sorry state too, with a paltry 12 characters, requiring those two seasons to even start approaching a state that could be called "complete". It was patently obvious to everyone that this game could easily be given a new lease on life by getting that netcode fixed. I had resolved to hold off on picking the game up until they did. Unfortunately, development issues meant they had to make an entirely new game, Fortunately, Rising is the game that Versus should have launched as.

The improvements Rising made are evident on every level of the production. In addition to finally fixing the netcode, the game launched with a truly full roster, with every DLC character folded into the base game, and functionally a pass worth of additional characters right off the bat. Mechanical improvements have been added too, with both small and big tweaks. Versus took a unique spin on the traditional fighting game format by adding cooldowns to special moves in exchange for allowing you to input them with simply a direction and a button, like Smash. Motion inputs are a touchy subject among fighting game fans, and while I sympathize with the idea of motions having the potential to add depth to a game, and with fears of long running games abandoning their legacy mechanics, but I feel like a new game like Versus is the perfect opportunity to try more experimental input styles in a fighting game, with no prior baggage. Unfortunately, the original Versus tried to have it both ways, with cooldowns being shorter if you used a traditional input to perform them. This functionally made simple inputs pointless, as it was always better to just use the traditional input unless you were in a situation where the difference was irrelevant. Rising all but removes the distinction, and now traditional inputs only have a marginal advantage, so minor you can turn off traditional inputs altogether. Many games have tried to simplify inputs, but Rising is the first game that feels brave enough to fully commit to this simplicity. This commitment pays dividends, as each character feels approachable due to all sharing the same basic control scheme, and over time my stable of characters I play has widened due to how easy and enjoyable it is to pick up new characters.

The game makes sure you know how each character works, as well, with built in guides to show you what a character can do. It won't completely replace Dustloop, obviously, but this in-game consideration is important nonetheless. Despite the simplified movesets, each character still feels unique, and cooldown management combines with meter management to make for compelling decision making, especially with the addition of Ultimate moves, which cost 50% meter to use, giving meter much more functionality than in Versus.

There is also a concentrated effort to expand the options outside of just ranked ladder. Grand Bruise, a completely separate game mode, is a Fall Guys-like minigame compilation that exists as a lower stakes alternative to fighting. There is also a story mode, which is a bit rudimentary but was overall enjoyable, and gave me a way to log this game.

It is not all perfect, most notably the existence of a paid battle pass with FOMO content. The experience of actually grinding the pass is quite pleasant, and I look forward to each one, because they give me an excuse to play more of the game, but it is unfortunate for latecomers who miss out on the exclusives, including one of the few times an Arcsys game has done costumes.

It's pretty safe to say Rising is my favorite fighting game. Perhaps in an ideal world where I am better at the genre, there are others I would like more, but for where I'm at this one meets me there in a way very few ever have. This also makes it easy to recommend, even to people who don't know a lot about the genre.

Game Finished In 2024 #9:

This is gonna be a bit of a weird one. A couple of circumstances aligning led me to playing this utter curiosity of a game.

For context: Mighty Action X is a game in the universe of Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, the Rider show about gamer doctors, a premise exactly as cool as it sounds. Mighty Action X is the action game Gashat [a cartridge representing a game that allows one to become a Rider by inserting it into the Gamer Driver] of the protagonist, Emu Hojo, aka Kamen Rider Ex-Aid. This is that game defictionalized, to the point the splash screens include the in-series game maker Genm Corp. This was released on the 3DS and included as a promotional bonus with another Kamen Rider game

As a game, there is very little to actually talk about. It is a completely standard platformer. A normal run takes approximately ten minutes to see everything, and a full playthrough would be maybe an hour at best. Unfortunately, with this game never being officially released in English, as the series it is from never was either, the menus are unreadable to me and there are no good guides online I could find to go for 100%. But going for 100% wouldn't really change much, all things considered.

The main appeal, perhaps the only appeal, of the game, is being fanservice for people who like Kamen Rider Ex-Aid. I like Ex-Aid, so this pleases me for what it is. The fact it exists is enough, honestly. I chose to give this no score because it feels weird to.