Personal Ratings


GOTY '23

Participated in the 2023 Game of the Year Event


Created 10+ public lists

1 Years of Service

Being part of the Backloggd community for 1 year


Gained 100+ followers


Gained 750+ total review likes


Mentioned by another user

Early Access

Submitted feedback for a beta feature

Trend Setter

Gained 50+ followers


Gained 300+ total review likes


Liked 50+ reviews / lists


Gained 100+ total review likes


Gained 15+ followers

Gone Gold

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


Journaled games once a day for a month straight


Played 250+ games

Well Written

Gained 10+ likes on a single review

GOTY '22

Participated in the 2022 Game of the Year Event


Gained 10+ total review likes


Found the secret ogre page


Voted for at least 3 features on the roadmap

On Schedule

Journaled games once a day for a week straight

Best Friends

Become mutual friends with at least 3 others


Gained 3+ followers


Played 100+ games

Favorite Games

The House in Fata Morgana
The House in Fata Morgana
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
Heisei Pistol Show
Heisei Pistol Show
Silent Hill 3
Silent Hill 3


Total Games Played


Played in 2023


Games Backloggd

Recently Played See More

Heisei Pistol Show
Heisei Pistol Show

Nov 28

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Nov 21

Resident Evil 4 HD Project
Resident Evil 4 HD Project

Nov 16

Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4

Nov 09

Dead Space
Dead Space

Nov 07

Recently Reviewed See More

Funny that this has "pistol" in the title when it erupts with the force and bombast of a shotgun by your ear, explosive and unyielding, leaving you reeling as you try to reorient yourself. Constantly moving, never wasting a single breath, ensuring you can't look away. Tragedy as banality as comedy. Love is rainbow.
Heisei Pistol Show is a work that I have both no words and far too many words for. Rarely can anything — anything — strike a balance between sorrow and joy this effortlessly, bouncing the audience back and forth between having their hearts rended and making them double over with laughter. Slaughtering your way through Heart’s former assassin colleagues and then having your pistol say “I’m Pistol” in the Microsoft Sam voice every time it talks is the sort of thing that doesn’t sound like it works when it’s described to you, but flows perfectly when it’s actually experienced. I’m tempted to say that it’s all over the place tonally, but it really isn’t; nothing ever drifts too far from the through-line, with these shifts being core to the holistic affair.
Most notable about Heisei Pistol Show, however, is how it handles queer characters in a way that’s nothing short of masterful. Heart is a wonderful, awful character, both a victim of circumstance and someone who causes his own problems. Heart suffers because he is gay, but Heart also suffers and he is gay. Heart is abused by his father not because he is gay, but because he reminds his father of his mother. Heart is exiled by his family not because he is gay, but because he isn’t religious. Heart loses his friends not because he is gay, but because he refuses to accept their platonic love for him. Heart can’t find love because he is gay and thus limits himself exclusively to his clients that he serves as a rentboy, none of whom love him back. Heart can’t find love because he is gay and he’s lived his entire life in a society that hates him and his kind, and makes every attempt to hide what healthy gay relationships look like. Heart suffers because he is gay. Heart suffers and he is gay.
I’ll echo a common sentiment I see shared about this game and say that it makes so many pieces of queer media look toothless by comparison, especially in more recent years. Many of these works are made by and for queer creatives, but so many fail to strike balance. Either queer trauma is used, is weaponized, is swung like a baseball bat to cripple and wound any gays in the audience so the straights can feel like they did something by "experiencing something hard", or queer trauma is ignored wholesale in order to keep up the "comfy vibes". I played The Big Con earlier this year and dropped it because it was billed me to as a solid piece of queer media and instead existed as this soft, mealy blob-thing seemingly designed for people who say “be gay do crimes” and “FALGSC” online and then get sweaty palms when they think about shoplifting a pack of gum. Nobody in that world had ever had a single negative thought, ever, about queer people in 90’s North America. I don’t mean to turn this into a rant where I’m just shitting on a different work, but it really illustrates how many worlds of finesse apart a creator like Parun was long before it was even remotely popular to be tackling subject matter anywhere even approaching this in video games.
I wouldn't dare erase the experiences of these other creators by suggesting that these aren’t accurate to lived experiences — there are enough dipshits out there doing that already — but it always leaves me a little raw to never see me on the screen. Characters who aren't living their saccharine, gumdrop lives where everything in their world is completely fine and without conflict, but neither are they defined exclusively by external traumas and hatred, never possessing the agency to do anything besides be abused. Where are the characters who have lived complex lives? Who have suffered, but have found joy? Even if it ends in tragedy, where are those who have found catharsis in themselves and their loved ones in the quiet moments? Are they all locked away in Japanese RPG Maker games from 2008?
The messaging can be a bit clumsy in terms of what it's trying to get across, even after some scrutiny; Tokimeki's song calls out to "Indians" in feather hats who all look like T. Hawk, "Slums" made up entirely of dark-skinned characters, and Koreans, whose history of being discriminated against in Japan has been well-documented for decades. I'm still uncertain if this is simply a bit of off-color humor inserted into the bit or if it's a genuine and well-intentioned call of solidarity from one oppressed group to a few others; knowing what I know about Parun and his other work, I'm inclined to believe it's the latter. I'd like that to be the case, too.
After I beat the game, I saw Parun say that he liked reading fan theories of his work, and that he hoped the players of Heisei Pistol Show would come up with some for him to check out. I’m at least a decade and a half late to the party, but allow me to try, regardless.
The game is Heart's dying dream; a fantasy land conjured up in his final moments, flashing through vignettes of his life. Heart, in reality, is the rentboy Matsumoto tells his friend about, who contracted herpes, killed his friend, and committed suicide by cop. The dying dream itself is hyperreal, in the Baudrillardian sense. It's a simulacrum of reality that Heart escapes to — or perhaps is forced to escape to, his hallucinations resulting from his herpes meningoencephalitis — wherein he relives a version of his life as a musical, as kabuki theater. His friends are there, and he metaphorically guns them down, abandoning them in reality. His unrequited lover is there, and Heart actually guns him down, just as he does in reality. At the end of the dream, Heart is shot, told he's never known love because he was so desperate for it that he would latch onto anyone and everyone, and then he's out of memories. He imagines himself at the concert from his childhood once more, now the starring princess he always dreamt he would become, and he quietly passes away with a smile on his face.
At least, that’s the way I saw it all play out. I thought it was a remarkably straight-forward story once all of the ending reveals wrapped up, but then I got to a dev room where Parum’s authorial mouthpiece character told me that he thought I was dull if I believed that I had it all figured out after a single playthrough. He then gave me a list of Mulholland Drive-tier questions that I needed to answer if I wanted to have a real shot at deciphering everything that happened. It ruled. I wonder if I’m close to what he intended.
There's a bitter irony that the one person who might know all of this for certain is the one person that we can no longer ask.

It’s okay when FromSoft does it.
Sekiro is guilty of everything that its staunchest defenders attack other games for. An unforgivably bad camera, bosses with surprise second phases, dreadfully simple and overpowered parrying, a near-complete lack of depth both artistically and mechanically, and a thematic retread of what the studio has been doing for fifteen years now all culminates to create something that can peak at the heights of interesting but mostly just lingers in the trenches of bland.
I knew that I wasn’t going to like Sekiro about an hour into it, but I also knew that it would be incredibly easy for someone to point out that I'm a quitter and say that I just didn’t like it because I was bad at the game. You get that a lot, with FromSoft’s titles: the implication being that the difficulty is the sole reason why anyone could ever dislike it. Set aside the red-headed stepchildren that are titles like Dark Souls II and Dark Souls III, where the premier Soulsheads are often pretty harsh on them, and look instead to the darlings like Bloodborne, and Elden Ring, and Sekiro. There are a certain amount of criticisms that you’re allowed to make — farming for blood vials or spirit emblems is boring, certain builds or weapons are imbalanced compared to others — but start pointing out flaws in the underlying systems themselves, and watch the wagons get circled as you’re told that you just need to git gud to appreciate them. I’ll outline what I disliked about the game itself in a bit, but all of this preamble is required to explain why I felt so compelled to finish Sekiro, in the hopes that it’d allow me to speak with some degree of authority.
I have to wonder if Hidetaka Miyazaki ever feels like Victor Frankenstein looking at the monster he's created. The ethos of the earliest Souls games were largely about strangers coming together to overcome the challenges imposed by the brutal and uncaring world they inhabited. Miyazaki famously said that he was inspired by an icy road on a hill that he needed a stranger's help to get over, and that he himself also helped a stranger get over; it was "a connection of mutual assistance between transient people", he said, because he couldn't stick around to thank them or else he'd get stuck again. This laid the foundations not just for the jolly co-operation summons of the original Dark Souls, but certainly reflected players on a more meta level, as well. We're all transient people to one another online, and we'll talk about these games for tips and guides and then dip out to take on the challenges with new information, often to never hear from the other players again. We get what we can and give what we're able.
Yet there's been an inarguable change, I feel, in the way that fans of the newest games talk about them. The seeds were certainly first sown with the whole "PREPARE TO DIE" garbage from the western Dark Souls marketing campaign, but there's been a marked shift in the way that people discuss these games. Complain that it's too hard, and you'll now immediately be met with derision instead of advice: well, you're just bad, you need to git gud, you just don't get it. God help you if you decide to drop the game because you're not having fun. There's no faster way to prove that you're a casual who hasn't earned the right to talk about it. Sekiro discussion in particular is especially noxious, with the community that exists today largely believing that anyone who has any complaints whatsoever is just mad because bad. Even if you beat the game, complaining about it is unjustified because you're actually still bad. If you were good, you would have liked it. Your complaints are because you're bad, thus they're invalid; any praise must then be because you're good, and thus valid. I complained about the shitty camera to a friend and he immediately shot back that it was my fault for being near a wall, and that it's actually intended behavior for it to fuck up near terrain because it'll push clever players to the middle of rooms where they'll be safer. This is the level of discourse we're operating at here. A decade and a half of making these third-person action-adventure games and they still can't fix the fucking cameras, but it's actually because they're playing 4D chess against the player. Can you imagine anything else getting this much leniency?
The camera is really the thing I want to hammer home as the worst element here, because it alone has killed me more than any other enemy in the game. I don’t know how FromSoft still haven’t figured this out. I intentionally sped through most of the game, skipping a lot of the optional content primarily just because I wanted to roll credits, and even most of the mandatory bosses introduced new problems with the camera. Guardian Ape would throw me into a wall that the camera couldn’t phase through, which meant that it tried to go for a birds-eye view and got me killed because I couldn’t see what was happening in time to block the follow-up; Summoner Monk similarly backed me into a wall and brought us both so close to the camera that our models turned invisible and I had to guess what the pattern was, effectively with my eyes closed; Sword Saint Isshin’s Phase 2 jumping attack would break the lock-on whenever I dodged under it, because the camera couldn’t keep up with where he was going. Mini-bosses like the Lone Shadow Longswordsman and the Lone Shadow Vilehand would similarly eat the camera with some of their dashing moves, and bounding off the head of the latter after dodging his sweep caused the camera to get stuck in the ceiling so hard that it started flashing Electric Soldier Porygon at me for a few seconds until it freed itself. It’s so blatantly wrong that I’m astonished both that it made it to production in the state that it’s in and that it isn’t a complete dealbreaker for significantly more people than it is.
I mentioned to another friend that I was having some trouble with Owl and that I was going to call it quits for the night there, and he excitedly mentioned that Owl had his favorite boss theme in the game. It was at this exact moment that I realized that I couldn’t actually recall a single track from the entire ten or so hours I had played up to that point. Even after rolling credits, I still don’t remember anything aside from the fact that I thought Divine Dragon had a cool theme. Music is constantly playing over every sequence of the game, ambient tracks and combat tracks alike; if you aggro an enemy, kill them, and then immediately aggro another, the combat track will start, fade out, and then start from the beginning again. Moving through an area to quickly cut down enemies who don’t alert the others when they aggro can make the combat track start itself over what I managed to get about five times in a row. It’s kind of funny in how sloppy it is.
The narrative is dreck, of course, and I doubt anyone was expecting much different. It’s the same story FromSoft has been telling for years now — unnatural life and resurrection, it’s all cyclical, you can choose to either break the cycle or keep it going, blah blah blah — with the added twist of “honor culture is actually dishonorable”, which has been massively oversaturated for longer than anyone reading this has been alive, and Sekiro has absolutely nothing interesting to add to the conversation. It’s certainly present. Owl shows up after seemingly dying, decides to be evil, actually dies unceremoniously, and the game just kind of moves along without really being interested in how or why any of that happened. I’ve seen praise for the story, and I can’t honestly believe that anyone is cheering this on. This is the fourth time FromSoft has shown that time is a flat circle in class, and the irony of how they keep doing it over and over again is really kind of giving me a kick as I type it out. You certainly can’t say they don’t believe in it.
Souls combat was never mechanically deep, but made up for it predominately just by giving you a lot of options. Sekiro throws this out in favor of exclusively allowing the player to play as a squishy, dex-based katana-wielder who dies in two hits on a good day and has to perfect parry the world or be crushed beneath it. I respect, in a way, the sheer commitment to this singular playstyle, but I also don’t think there’s any depth here to actually make me want to play this over any other similar action game. You get a parry and you get some basic sword swings, and if you’re a really good boy, you get to do Ichimonji Double. The actual parrying itself is ridiculously forgiving, and you’ll just end up psyching yourself out if you read online that spamming it will reduce your parry window to about seven frames; it’s active for so long and you’re actionable again so quickly after you use it that you’re in no real danger so long as you just keep hammering away at L1 fast enough. The fact that this got a port for the Stadia — with its inherent input lag that you can count in geologic time — should indicate how core these so-called “strict reaction times” actually are. What you’re left with once you get past that mental barrier is a game where you hit R1 until orange sparks fly, hit L1 until orange sparks stop flying, and then repeat the process from the start. When the kanji for danger occasionally appears, you get to hit either the jump button or the dash button. It is fucking boring. I managed to no-hit all three phases of Isshin not because I had downloaded him and completely figured out a perfect counter for every single one of his combos, but because his AI broke and he kept spamming the thrust attack in Phase 2 and the lightning sweep in Phase 3. I was getting rolled before that, because he was actually using his entire arsenal. I didn’t outskill him, I just got lucky that he kept picking the exact same attack over and over again. It’s like I got double-perfected by a world-class Zangief player and then in game two he just sat in neutral and spammed SPD. Sure, I’ll take the win, but it’s not because I earned it. I didn’t win, he just lost. Sekiro occupies an incredibly awkward middle ground between something slow and simple like Dark Souls and something fast and complex like Devil May Cry or Bayonetta. The game is instead fast and simple, and I can’t think of anything that is less for me.
Speaking of, I think FromSoft has indicated with their last few releases that they’re no longer interested in catering to players like me. That’s fine. I say this with my teeth gritted and steam coming out of my ears, but, really, it is fine. They’ve clearly found a new audience who loves them dearly, and every new game they put out sells millions of copies and sweeps the Game of the Year awards from every publication giving them out. This beat Death Stranding and Resident Evil 2 at The Game Awards! It’s the fifth highest-rated game on Backloggd of all time! It’s sold over ten million copies as of September of this year! Clearly I’m the odd man out, here. What use is it even to complain? What reason would they have to listen?
I’ve been getting this sort-of old man doom sense lately — not just for game discussion, mind, but for a lot of things — about how saying what you feel about something doesn’t actually accomplish anything if you’re not in a position of power to change it. It’s got a purpose to just let others know how you feel about any given topic, but what does it actually do? If I find a group of like-minded individuals who think I nailed it with this review and agree that FromSoft ought to return to the good old days where they made shitty, clunky games that launched blatantly unfinished, what does that accomplish? If a group of Sekiro fans come in and dunk on me for just not understanding the game, what does that accomplish? I put myself through the ringer beating a twenty hour-long game that I hated, and for what? So that I’d be more credible when I said it was a pile of shit? What does that accomplish, then, when someone comes in and says that beating the game doesn’t mean anything and I’m still bad and that’s the only reason I hated it? Without anyone involved actually being in a position to change anything, what use is discussing it at all?

A large part of what bothers me is that I don't feel I've really gotten anything I value from my time with Sekiro. It's not just because of the difficulty; I do plenty of difficult things, play plenty of difficult games, and it's all given me something I value. Every piece I write makes me feel like I'm a little bit better at writing, and it helps me appreciate the writing of others more. Every fighting game I play tends to have wildly differing mechanics between them, but the fundamentals of squaring off against another player are transferable. Every song I compose makes me feel like I've got a deeper understanding of music. What I get from playing Sekiro is that I'm now better at Sekiro, which is a game I have no desire to ever touch again. There's hardly anything that plays quite like this — which is a massive point of support for those who love it — so I may as well have gotten nothing for all my time spent. There's nothing wrong with what I'll affectionately call "junk media", where there's no value to the piece besides what you feel in the exact moments where you're actively experiencing it, but you'd hope that what you feel is a sense of fun or reward. I felt neither from Sekiro. I thought it was boring, and it didn't give me anything I value. I could have gone to work and felt equally bored and unfulfilled, but at least work pays me.
It’s telling that the parts that I thought were most interesting — the Divine Dragon, the Armored Knight — are the parts that either go completely overlooked or disparaged by the broader fanbase. There’s a clear disconnect between me, this game, and everyone else. People all over the place online said to keep playing until the combat clicks, and that’s when you start having fun. I felt the combat click, and I felt bored. People said to play until Genichiro before you say you don’t like it, and I beat Genichiro and was still bored. People said you can’t call the game bad if you haven’t beaten it, and I have, and I still think it’s bad. Do I have the right to dislike it yet, or is there still something that I’ve missed?
Seeing a monkey in a conical hat firing a rifle was almost enough for me to justify giving this five stars.

The best way to play Resident Evil 4.
There’s a lot to talk about with the HD Project, but most of it has already been said, and certainly better than I could hope to. What I will say is that the story behind it — of taking eight years to find all of these lost textures, of flying out to locations across Europe to take real photos to port back into the game, of re-adding the silencer in a dev room tucked away in a famously-inaccessible area — is nothing short of inspirational. The final product is a ridiculously thorough recreation of what you remember Resident Evil 4 looking like, rather than how it actually did. The 45-ish gigabytes of texture files that come with this slot into the base game’s sub-10 gigs so poorly that you need a patch just to get it all running. It’s the impressive kind of work and dedication that will rightfully be remembered in the highest echelons of fan projects.
What was most interesting to me, though, was the fact that the aforementioned patch came bundled with the texture pack, and included a suite of options within. “re4_tweaks”, as it calls itself, is exactly what it claims to be; a wealth of options for the player to fiddle with, all made up of sliders and buttons, each one letting you change the game just enough to make some obvious changes without feeling like you’re playing something different.
The new FOV slider is a big one; the base game of Resident Evil 4 has a claustrophobic camera angle, cozied right up against Leon’s juicy delts, and it makes it genuinely kind of difficult to see what the fuck is going on. There’s an artistic intent here, and it’s an obvious one — Resident Evil had defined itself though claustrophobia for three games leading up to this, so it’s practically a series mainstay — but I never felt that it worked all that well here. Bringing the camera out a bit helps immensely in letting you get a better understanding of what’s going on around you, and it actually helps to deepen the tension when you can see just how massive the swarm of enemies closing in on you actually is.
“Balanced Chicago Typewriter” was one that I needed to check out immediately. It doesn’t do much besides nerf the damage of the thing and require you to find ammo pickups, but it’s an immensely interesting way of adding a new weapon for new game plus players who aren’t interested in breaking the game completely in half. Capcom already locked the Matilda behind NG+, and that thing was a complete piece of shit, so there’s at least precedent for it. I’ve always thought it was a bit of a missed opportunity that Resident Evil 4 had all of these different ammo types and so few weapons that actually used them; only the TMP takes TMP ammo, only the the mine thrower takes mines, you’ve only got two rifles and the semi-auto is almost a strictly better version of the bolt-action. The remake did a decent enough job of adding in new weapons, but both there and here I find myself reverting back to a handgun/shotgun/sniper core even when I’m trying to experiment and play around with the more neglected weapons. It’s a problem of power versus fun; the TMP is probably the strongest gun in the game, constantly giving you easy access to suplexes and kicks, but it’s fucking boring to pop an enemy once, hit them, back off, and then do it again. Anything that allows you to shake it up a little, such as the balanced Chicago Typewriter, is a more than welcome addition.
Of course, the Typewriter itself is locked behind Separate Ways, which is fucking boring in this. It’s an absolute slog of backtracking and mowing through wave after wave of enemies without really experiencing anything new. It takes a long, long while before you start hitting new areas with new bosses, and trudging through the muck to get to that point isn’t at all worth it. The remake blows this version of Separate Ways out of the water — and it should, considering that it costs an extra ten bucks.
But the main campaign is as fun as ever, still complete with all of the areas that the remake omitted. Certainly for the worse, I’d say. The lava room in the castle is an obvious highlight, along with the giant Salazar robot and Ashley driving through walls in a bulldozer. The setpieces aren’t the only thing I think are done better here; the writing is a lot sharper, which is funny when you consider how fucking corny it is. There are a lot of digs at the War on Terror, at poking holes in the great American fantasy of swooping in and saving the day and leaving everything right with the world. Of course, it’s all played pretty straight, and Leon naturally saves the day and leaves everything right with the world, but it’s refreshing to see how quick a lot of characters are in this. Everyone is so sassy. Leon accusing Salazar of being a terrorist and him shooting back that terrorist is “a popular word these days” is so perfect. The main villains in this just laugh whenever Leon gets a good dig in at them, often recognizing the fact that he got their asses. It’s a lot of fun. The music is more varied and textured, the acting is generally a lot better, Ashley still has her big monkey ears, everything about this is still as fresh and as perfect as it was eighteen years ago. But I’m just gushing at this point. Of course it’s all good. It’s Resident Evil 4.
Really, I just wanted an excuse to review this again now that I’ve played the remake. I think it was clear from the outset that the team remaking Resident Evil 4 never actually had a chance to succeed the original, but they did a really good job. After all, they had this to follow, and what an absurdly tough act it is. In the end, the original is still one of the single greatest games ever produced, and it’s a testament to how ahead of its time it was that it still feels inimitable to this day.
Ashley should be able to glide down from the tops of ladders and ledges like Dumbo instead of waiting around for Leon to catch her.