Bio
Please be nice to me, I'm 5'6"
Personal Ratings
1★
5★

Badges


Replay '14

Participated in the 2014 Replay Event

Elite Gamer

Played 500+ games

GOTY '23

Participated in the 2023 Game of the Year Event

Pinged

Mentioned by another user

Organized

Created a list folder with 5+ lists

2 Years of Service

Being part of the Backloggd community for 2 years

Famous

Gained 100+ followers

Shreked

Found the secret ogre page

Listed

Created 10+ public lists

Gamer

Played 250+ games

GOTY '22

Participated in the 2022 Game of the Year Event

Busy Day

Journaled 5+ games in a single day

Trend Setter

Gained 50+ followers

Treasured

Gained 750+ total review likes

Adored

Gained 300+ total review likes

N00b

Played 100+ games

Popular

Gained 15+ followers

Well Written

Gained 10+ likes on a single review

Gone Gold

Received 5+ likes on a review while featured on the front page

Loved

Gained 100+ total review likes

Donor

Liked 50+ reviews / lists

Best Friends

Become mutual friends with at least 3 others

Noticed

Gained 3+ followers

Liked

Gained 10+ total review likes

Favorite Games

Metal Gear Solid
Metal Gear Solid
Final Fantasy IX
Final Fantasy IX
Sonic the Hedgehog 3: Complete
Sonic the Hedgehog 3: Complete
Snatcher
Snatcher

589

Total Games Played

080

Played in 2024

220

Games Backloggd


Recently Played See More

Ranma 1/2: Hard Battle
Ranma 1/2: Hard Battle

Jul 14

Mad Max
Mad Max

Jul 14

New Pokémon Snap
New Pokémon Snap

Jul 10

Slipstream
Slipstream

Jul 07

Bug!
Bug!

Jul 06

Recently Reviewed See More

Ranma 1/2: Bakuretsu Rantou Hen, not to be confused with Ranma 1/2: Chounai Gekitou-hen, still has jump mapped to a button. I am going to douse myself in hot water and transform into The Joker.

That aside, unlike Chounai Gekitou-hen, Bakuretsu Rantou Hen actually came out here as Ranma 1/2: Hard Battle, leaving Rumiko Takahashi's designs intact as opposed to Gekitou-Hen's localization, Street Combat, which threw characters like Ryoga out for the likes of... G.I. Jim. Christ. To be fair, I never thought Gekitou-Hen looked all that good to begin with, and it certainly doesn't play very well. Hard Battle thankfully improves on both fronts, even if it's a bit too simplistic for its own good.

Characters are still weighty and slow but nonetheless move with more fluidity than the previous game. Attacks are responsive, I never had any trouble judging where a hit or hurtbox was, and the impact of your punches and kicks feels satisfying enough to make this an easy weekend morning pick-up-and-play fighter. I just wouldn't come to Hard Battle expecting anything technical, it's a very straight-forward fighting game. You can mash out your special at basically zero penalty by tapping P+K, just corner your enemy and melt them, it's baby's first fighter and that's fine cause I'm a big dumb baby and I suck at these, generally speaking. It also has Ranma in it, and as I've established plenty of times elsewhere, I love me some Ranma 1/2.

That being the case, your own investment will likely depend on how much you like Ranma 1/2, too. On a system that's certainly not wanting for fighting games, Hard Battle is as white bread as it comes, perfectly competent and well-executed if lacking depth.

Side note: the timing of me playing this is a bit serendipitous, as a trailer for a new Ranma anime just dropped a few hours ago. The Urusei Yatsura remake was fantastic, so I'm really hopeful for this.

The main loop of Avalanche's Mad Max reminds me of those long nights fixing up an old sports car with my dad. Working together in the garage, listening to the radio and bonding... Except dad is a hunchbacked zealot named Chumbucket, and I'm busy welding spikes onto the side of the car so I can commit grand acts of vehicular terror.

I slept on this game when it came out. Pretty much had my fill for this particular brand of open world with all its tiny icons and repeating activities, and I found the Arkham Aslyum inspired combat about as played out. I'd also only seen roughly half of one Mad Max movie up to that point, and it was Beyond Thunderdome. Specifically, the part with the kids so I thought it sucked. There was nothing there to draw me in besides Larry Davis' repeated insistence that it was fantastic and worth my time, but I just wasn't having any of it, and it probably didn't help that The Phantom Pain was vying for my attention around the same time. That Kojima can put together a game unlike those HACKS and FRAUDS at Avalanche!

Whatever George Miller expected from Avalanche - unreasonable as it was - they put together a damn good Mad Max game, and I found it to be the perfect way to cap off the series-wide bender I started with Furiosa. Even at its most temperamental and finicky, Mad Max is so attuned to how I approach playing games that I was constantly running into something funny or exciting. Ramming into convoys, hooking War Boys out of the cockpit of their vehicles, chucking thunderpoons into the hoods of approaching cars and watching them burst into some of the best looking fireballs I've seen in a video game... it's is full of spectacle, and yeah, very little comes in the form of carefully controlled set pieces like George Miller wanted, but I'd argue that the organic chaos of Avalanche's Mad Max is what makes it appealing as a video game rather than a movie.

That said, as a product of 2015 game development, Mad Max is held back in some ways. The Arkham-style combat is very dry and one-note, reduced down to its barest state with little in the way of enemy variety to keep it interesting. The various side activities littering the world are also uneven in a way that's pretty typical of this sort of game, ranging from fun and engaging to busy work you'll only do out of some obscene obligation to completionism. Or because you want a level 6 harpoon (all but necessary by the third act) which someone decided to lock behind getting Jeet's territory to Level-0 and yes i'm mad about it, i hate disarming mines so much, i got this dog yapping in my ear the whole time and i keep getting blowned up because i'm Dumb as Fuck, also why can't i fast travel with the buggy, why do i gotta go to a safehouse and drive alllll the way out every time i want to use the buggy with the mine detecting dog it SUCKS! I take it all back, George Miller was right and he should be allowed to drive a war rig straight through Avalanche's studio.

Despite feeling somewhat limited and at times repetitive, I still had a lot of fun. Anytime the game started to drag, something wild would happen out in the open world and I'd perk right back up. Every lull punctuated by finding some dude standing in a minefield going "oy, don't come over here, there's boom traps all around and one of thems already got me buddy Pube Tubes-" before exploding like Tarantino in Django Unchained. Slowly assembling the best murder-mobile possible, then hauling ass across the desert, ramming into War Boys trying to fix up their rides on the side of the road, or peeling out from cover and t-boning a convoy's lead rig just feels good. I frequently found myself thinking "damn, the oil crisis can't come fast enough!" while careening into water-starved pilgrims during off-road chases, grinding them up in the wheels of the angel combustion herself: the Magnum Opus.

Still, I can't help but wonder what this game would look like if it released just a few years later with a more robust stealth system and a greater number of tools at the player's disposal. Sure, being a blunt instrument of vengeance is what results in the very pandemonium I've been praising the game for but imagine a version of this where you could play Mad Maxwell as being a bit more cunning, setting up traps, sabotaging fuel supplies before the enemy can detect you, or creating more elaborate ambushes to take out convoys. This isn't an Original Thought but I'd kill for a Mad Max game that implements something like the Nemesis System with a more diverse cast of regional warlords to take out. Mad Max is great, but it's also the bones of a better game.

The Phantom Pain, which launched alongside Mad Max, is comparatively more forward-thinking, and provides a much wider degree of freedom to its players. Maybe George Miller isn't wrong to say Kojima could make a fantastic Mad Max game, but you know, Kojima couldn't lock down his energy drink deal whereas I'm ambushing convoys in my Rockstar Energy buggy so... Gonna give this one to Avalanche. Sorry, George!

Thinking about that scene from Red Dragon where Dolarhyde has Fred Lounds bound to a chair, forcing him to look at photos of his crimes, but it's just snapshots of Psyduck floating down a river looking so serene.

I don't think there's a better game to illustrate what I dislike about modern Pokemon than this bloated, dry, and positively uninspired sequel to Pokemon Snap, a Summah classic and one of my favorite games of all time. Yeah, the Zero-One is back, you can bean Pikachu square in his smug face with an apple, even Todd is here, but staples of the original game feel so lifeless, so by-the-numbers, and all the charm is dulled under layers of glossy topcoat.

There's a certain uniformity of design in modern Pokemon aesthetics that makes everything too clean for my tastes. Characters feel like they're fresh off the factory line, bland drones still covered in flux and flash. Looking at Todd is like looking at someone you know who has fallen prey to the body snatchers, there's a wrongness to him, a certain soullessness that makes me think "oh no, they got you too...?" And then I flash him in the face repeatedly with my camera, blinding him so I can escape. Modern Pokemon is packaged in a way that is so nakedly product that I can't see past it, and I know this is a very weird statement to make considering these have always been products. Anyway, the stink of chemical sanitization is all over New Pokemon Snap. I don't like it!

You'd think the gameplay would be New Pokemon Snap's saving grace, because it's really hard to botch a formula that boils down to "take pictures of Pokemon so Professor Oak can say "wwwWONDERful" while looking at Snorlax's taint," but man, after the first three hours I just stopped having fun with this. The core mechanics are largely the same, but there's just so much more of it. More levels divided into different tiers with different times of day that are packed with more Pokemon, so many Pokemon that they're spilling from the trees, constantly dancing and playing and growling and screaming in your periphery while you try to settle on what the hell to even take a picture of. The bloat spills into the main gameplay loop, forcing the player into a grind where they need to constantly redo courses to raise their levels so they can take pictures of glowing flowers so they can get not-pester-balls that need to be thrown at more plants to change elements of the level that open new routes and new stages.

There's also LenTalk Requests, which help the player track special events and photo opportunities, but even this comes with the caveat of being too much. By the time I beat the game, I had over 120 requests available to me, and man, I'm not doing all that shit. The game is very finicky about marking requests complete anyway, and it won't let you submit photos that satisfy requests taken on your first trip through a course because you need to be given the prompt first. I eventually disengaged from the requests system entirely because it just meant having to take even more trips back into courses that I was already growing bored of.

This might all be more involved than the Nintendo 64 Snap, but to me that's not necessarily a positive. What I find appealing about the original game is that it's essentially an arcade on-rails shooter with a simple but satisfying loop and a unique photography gimmick. It also released near the height of Pokemania and came with the whole Blockbuster printer station hook, so there's very much this "moment in time" quality that adds to its charm, not that the game is lacking in any when played in isolation or separated from when it released. It was just you and your camera, taking pictures of Pokemon for the love of the craft, and Professor Oak looking at pictures of Eevee and going "oohh, hehe... very good!" Some of us grew up to be Professor Oak, but damnit, I'm young at heart and just want to take some pictures of Pokemon without feeling like it's a second job.

BUT IS IT A SUMMAH GAME?

The original Pokemon Snap was a certified Summah hit, but Summah is not passed down by rite, and taking a picture of yourself attempting to knock a Raichu off his surfboard-tail into Sharpedo infested waters does not a Summah make. No, just like every other game in this year's series, New Pokemon Snap has to be put to the test and evaluated... I am a strict observer of Summahtology, after all.

Durability testing is a critical part of my methodology. You have to make sure the game itself can stand up to the harsh conditions of the Summah season. The heat, the waves, being pecked at by gulls... Crack a game open, pull forth its juicy innards and dip them into some hot butter, then take a bite. If it's tender and sweet, then you got Summah meat. So, in the case of New Pokemon Snap, I decided to create my own Pester ball using an old Burger King Pokeball container filled with a compound created from bleach and ammonia I had lying around.

My landlord, having realized my rebellious spirit can no longer be contained within manmade walls, has evicted me. The worst part of all? New Pokemon Snap is not a Summah game.

But that won't stop me from havin' a Summah. I got some old boots I'll be cookin' up on the grill, and then it's another night under stars. You don't need walls and a roof to enjoy the Summah. If anything, they just get in the way.

<< PREVIOUS REVIEW || NEXT REVIEW >>