416 Reviews liked by rentheunclean

It was so close to beeing great. I loved about 90% of the game, even did most of the side content, but that last 10% when you find out what its all about and have to go through the last dungeon just sucked the life out of me like I never feelt a game do.

I can not say in good conscience the gameplay is all that good. Its a definitiv improvment over Witcher 1 and 2, but still not great. What carrys Witcher 3 is its world that feels like there was so much love pourred into it. It also has two of the best DLCs of all time somehow, better than the main game.

The student becomes the master overnight.
Lies of P is a game that came completely out of nowhere, left no impression on me beyond "why would someone make a dark, moody game about Pinocchio", and then managed to completely eclipse every expectation I had. I got back on Game Pass for Starfield and PAYDAY 3, and decided to give this a crack solely as a might-as-well-try-it; not only is this the better of those, it's one of the finest games I've ever played. I mean this honestly and heretically: it is better than all three mainline entries of the Dark Souls series.
Yes, Lies of P is derivative. No, this does not detract from its quality. The obsession with "newness", both as an inherent virtue and as something all creators ought to strive for, is an ideal forced to take root almost exclusively at the behest of European bourgeois Romantics all looking to (ironically enough) copy what Rousseau was telling them to do in the 1700s. Art as a whole has spent centuries upon centuries cribbing from other pieces to put itself together, and it's a fairly recent development that doing shit that someone else did but in your own way is seen as a failure of the artist. I, personally, do not care about this in the slightest. If you do, I would ask only that you examine why you believe this to be so; do you have a legitimate grievance against derivative works for any reason other than because others have told you that they're some synonym for "bad"?
Round8 Studio has come almost completely out of nowhere to deliver something that's immensely fun to play, narratively engaging, and utterly gorgeous in just about every area you can find yourself in. Any developer that can come out swinging this hard and connect with just about every blow deserves to be celebrated. There's a lot to talk about, and certainly a lot of it is in regards to the way that people are talking about it. I'll get my core thesis out of the way, first:
If you like Dark Souls, you'll probably like this game.
If you've made liking Dark Souls into a defining personality trait of yours, you're going to fucking hate this game.
Lies of P rides a fine line of being distinct, but not different. The overlap between FromSoft's PS3-and-onward output is broad, borrowing bits and pieces and rearranging them around; something similar to Sekiro parries, something similar to a Bloodborne dodge, something similar to the Dark Souls 3 enemy ambushes. But Lies of P is distinct enough in its execution of these elements that long-time Souls players will unilaterally be chin-checked when they try bringing over their muscle memory from these other titles.
Perfect guards are a guard, not a parry, and tapping the block button Sekiro-style will make you eat a hit. The dodge offers fast, generous invincibility, but it's never as safe as the one in Bloodborne is; enemies using their big red attacks will cut through your i-frames by design, encouraging you to either parry or move well out of the way. Enemies will usually come in ones and be very obvious, but many will hide just out of sight in the hopes of clipping players who haven't yet been trained to look around before charging past a blind corner. The game is uncompromising in demanding the player to meet it on its terms, rather than copying wholesale from the games that obviously inspired it and allowing the skills you learned there to completely carry over.
If you try playing this exactly like every other FromSoft Souls game you've played up to this point, you will lose, and hard. If you can not (or will not) adapt, you will probably get filtered out by the Archbishop and start publicly wondering why anyone likes this game.
There's a very strange — and frankly, it feels borderline dishonest — set of complaints I've seen where people are just outright wrong about the way the game functions, and they then use their incorrect assumptions as a base from which to knock on the game. I've seen complaints that large weapons aren't viable because you don't get poise/super armor on heavy attacks; this is blatantly untrue, and charge attacks with heavy weapons will regularly blow straight through an enemy hit. People say the dodge is unreliable, but it really isn't; if you're getting caught, you're either messing up a (fairly generous) timing or you're getting hit by red fury attacks, which the game clearly tells you cannot be rolled through. People say it's an aesthetic rip-off of Bloodborne, and this really only applies to a couple of the eldritch enemies; Parisian streets, circus theming, and fantastical automatons lend to a pretty distinct visual identity from any of the other heavy-hitters in the genre.
People say the voice acting is bad, but most of the cast is made up of established, talented stage and screen actors returning from other games like Elden Ring and Xenoblade Chronicles 3, where their performances were lauded; they sound borderline identical to what they've done since just last year, so what makes it acceptable there, and laughable here? People say the translation is bad, but I only noticed a single grammar mistake and typo in my entire playthrough, and they were both buried in the flavor text of a gesture; the rest of the writing offered some evocative lines that managed to bounce between introspective, beautiful, and the coolest fucking thing I've ever read in my life. Where are these complaints coming from? Did we play the same game? It makes no sense. I'm losing my mind trying to figure out how anyone even came to most of these conclusions. It really feels like the most vocal naysayers only played enough of Lies of P to come up with a few surface observations and then made up the rest wholesale.
None of this is to imply that the game is without fault, because it isn't. Boss runs are still present in all of their vestigial glory, consistently adding a mandatory and boring twenty seconds before you can retry a failed boss attempt. Elite enemies — especially in the late game — are often such massive damage sponges that it's a complete waste of time and resources to actually bother fighting the ones that respawn. The breakpoint at which an enemy gets staggered is a hidden value, so you're always just hoping that the next perfect guard will be enough to trip it; we've already got visible enemy health bars here, so I can't see why we don't get enemy stamina bars, too. (Stranger of Paradise continues to be the most mechanically-complete game in this sub-genre.)
For these faults, though, there are at least as many quality-of-life changes that I'm astounded haven't been adopted elsewhere already. Emptying your pulse cells (your refillable healing item) allows you the opportunity to get one back for free if you can dish out enough damage. Theoretically, as long as you can keep up both your offense and defense, you have access to unlimited healing. It's such a natural extension of the Rally system, where you can heal chip damage by hitting foes; Bloodborne's implementation of blood vials looks completely misguided next to this. If you have enough Ergo to level up, the number in the top right corner of the screen will turn blue, no longer requiring you to manually check if you've got enough at a save point. When a side quest updates, the warp screen will let you know that something has happened, and where to start looking for the NPC that it happened to.
It's a challenging game, but it really isn't that hard. I do agree with the general consensus that it would be nice if the perfect guards could be granted a few extra frames of leniency. I managed to start hitting them fairly consistently around halfway through the game, but it's going to be a large hurdle that'll shoo off a lot of players who don't like such tight timings. Tuning it just a little bit would help to make it feel a bit more fair without completely compromising on the difficulty. Everything else, I feel, is pretty strongly balanced in the player's favor; I got through just about every boss in the game without summoning specters and without spending consumables, but they were all there for me if I really needed them. I'd like to go back and play through it again, knowing what I know now, and really lean into the item usage. It's not like you won't wind up with a surplus, considering how easy everything is to farm.
I understand that Bloodborne is something of a sacred cow, especially on this website — it's currently two of the top five highest-ranked games — so anything that seems like it's trying to encroach on its territory is going to be met with hostility before all else. I understand. It's a special game for a lot of people. That said, I'd suggest going into Lies of P with an open mind and a willingness to engage with the game on its own terms; you might manage to find it as impressive of a work as I do.
Quartz is stored in the P-Organ.

A true hidden gem in the gba rpg library. The gameplay becomes so addicting and there are very few rpgs I can honestly say have such a great flow to the narrativ. It constantly surprises you, makes you laugh and throws you into new fun adventures. Doesnt even overstay its welcome and is super fair when it comes to actuall gameplay. One might consider it a minor downside that the game is so damm easy, but I never feel like it gets to the point where it feels unearned. Im going to check out the sequel for sure now.

The very definition of a neat weekend rental.

After following this game for quite some time and being interested in the fresh idea of using an umbrella for defence, I was really looking forward to playing this one and came into it with the best of intentions. However, the finished game leaves much to be desired.
Playtime: Finished playthrough at almost 7 hours, with all optional quests finished as far as I can tell.
+ Cool Gunbrella movement and combat options
+ Neo-Noir setting is a fresh take
+ Quest book is detailed enough to not get stuck
+ Progression is generally quick and the pacing is fine
+ Decisions in dialogue scenes actively affect the plot
+ Bosses are tightly designed and not too difficult
+ Wraith hunting is pretty fun in the endgame
+ Soundtrack is okay for what it is
- The game in general feels unfinished and unpolished...
- ...and there are still placeholders in the ending credits!
- Controlling the Gunbrella in mid-air is far too difficult
- Dark art style makes identifying important objects difficult
- Level design is barebones and mostly without surprises
- Most screens have invisible borders
- Enemy design makes no sense and does not fit the setting (frogs?)
- The economy of the world is pretty busted...
- ...and extra ammunition in particular is far too expensive
- Items for upgrading are far too rare (which can be exploited with honeycombs)
- Extra weapons are unnecessary for progress
- Dialog cannot be skipped or fast-forwarded
- Technical performance on Switch is pretty bad
- The fridging of the protagonist's wife is pretty anachronistic
- The story ends on a weird sequence and an unearned downbeat
Blagic Moments: Suffering a hard crash during a boss fight. Re-entering an old stage and not understanding why the literal geography of the place has changed. The final sequence and credits scene with placeholders instead of actual names of the voice actors.
Yes, the setting and central mechanic are as fun as the trailers made them look. But apart from the Gunbrella itself and the Mary Poppins movement and attacks it allows, there are plenty of elements in this game that feel unfinished, unpolished, or simply poorly thought out. From the lack of lighting in most areas and the difficulty or identifying important areas to the weird enemy designs that make no sense in this world and the lack of viable or cheap enough combat options, the team made a lot of weird design decision that keep the finished product from making much of an impact.
In a month - and year - as packed as this, you can safely skip this.

Reviewing Castlevania Symphony of the Night is an interesting one because there is just nothing new I could possibly say about it really as a game that other far better writers with more analytical tendency's haven't covered in greater depth. The thing is though this was my first Castlevania, my first Metroidvania, and it had quite an impact on me.
I was about 20 when I first played Symphony of the Night. I'd never actually played a Castlevania game before but found the limited edition copy of this with artbook and soundtrack in a second hand store. The first thing that grabbed my attention when walking by was the amazing cover artwork by Ayami Kojima. I've always enjoyed gothic architecture, historical buildings, clothing and legends (of which vampires certainly is one of interest). Seeing that cover of a vampiric figure holding his sword upright with the moon, Castle and massive collar mixed with the slightly muted colour palette was extremely striking compared with many other drab or blocky covers in the store. The gothic atmosphere imparted in that one image left such an impression on me I had to have the game.
The artwork in the book in the back of the double CD case complimented the cover and after flipping through I popped the game in and away I went. I'm not sure what I fully expected but the hybrid mix of exploration with action RPG mechanics was a delight. It's a fairly standard affair now days, not only for the Castlevanias that came afterwards but for the dozens of indie games that have taken influence from it. The fact is though that back then this game was so influential that the genre is often simply named 'Metroidvania' partially after it. I'd never played anything like it at the time, and going back to it again over 20 years later for this digital rerelease I'm extremely pleased it's held up remarkably well on almost all fronts.
"It's strange... this castle is different than I remember it."
For those unaware, Symphony of the Night brings back Alucard the son of Dracula, a character from Castelvania III as the main character. It's a direct sequel to Rondo of Blood and Dracula's Castle has once again risen only a few years after fading away when Richter Belmont defeated Dracula..... Having actually played Rondo of Blood now a few weeks ago it makes the start all the more impactful as well as Maria's presence in the game and is a really interesting start set up literally playing against the final boss from the game before just as a prologue.
The castle itself is easy to navigate with a good map and yet it's littered with secrets as are the spells and weapons. Alucard has a variety of equipment that he can find and equip from swords, shields, hammers, cloaks etc. Additionally he can find spells and abilities for turning into a bat, a wolf or mist which help him to unlock further areas of the castle and traverse in a more fluid way. The amount of items and little easter eggs and secrets to find is quite impressive. On this playthrough trophy hunting I learned there was a sword that summons skeletons to briefly fight for you. Literally every time I play this I find something new. Playing through again after beating the game as a second character of Richter isn't something I'd tried before either and his completely different move set and abilities as a more traditional Classicvania character just add that much more life to a game.
"What is a man?! A miserable little pile of secrets!"
Great art and gameplay mechanics aside would be nothing however without Symphony of the Night's stellar audio. This particular version is the remaster based on Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. This is the redubbed and rewritten version over the original 1997 release and to be honest I prefer it. The voice acting is just way better but I appreciate that is entirely subjective and you may prefer the more over the top iconic dialogue. Regardless of the version you play though, the soundtrack is an absolute striker. I could choose almost any song from the soundtrack and it would be not only a great piece but also a perfect accompaniment to build that atmosphere.
I went into this because Castlevania Nocturne is coming soon on Netflix and it's been in my backlog to replay for sometime but I'm really glad I did. It's been some years since I last played it and it's great to not only see that it still holds up to the test of time competing with almost any Metroidvania in the genre but also that it can still surprise me with content I never knew about. Replaying some games with memories through rose tinted glasses vcan sometimes be a let down and are better left in memories, but not Symphony of the Night. This is a game that influenced a lot but taken just at it's own merit it's still a fantastic experience.
I still hate the clocktower though.
+ Gorgeous 2D sprites mixed with 3D rendering.
+ Iconic soundtrack.
+ Insanely good artwork and atmosphere.
- Some small sound popping and map issues due to emulation over the original release.
On a side note, for anyone interested in retro games or Castlevania I recommend this video and channel The Making of Castlevania Symphony of the Night and Dracula X by Strafefox.

Oh, he's just like me!
Content warning for discussions of substance abuse and suicidal ideation.
I've been putting off writing this review for a while, because I think this is one of the most beautiful pieces of art ever created. More than any film, more than any song, and certainly more than any other video game. We all have some piece of media that feels wholly personal to us — if you haven't found yours yet, you will eventually — and Disco Elysium is mine. Nothing else has made me feel so seen, so understood; it's a very, very powerful feeling when you discover that you're not as alone as you thought you were. This is review #100, so fuck it. Let's do this.
My closest personal friends know about my struggles with alcoholism. Some of them are on Backloggd, but most of them aren’t, so this is going to be the first time a lot of you who only know me from here are going to hear about this. Some of the roughest years of my life kicked off in 2016. I’d grown up in an abusive household (surely a story for another time), and 2016 was the year that I turned 18. I worked as much as I could, neglected school as much as I was able to, moved out, and never looked back. It fucking sucked. It sucked slightly less than staying at home and having to deal with my father getting shitfaced and threatening to kill me every night, but it sucked.
In Canada, the legal drinking age is 19. We’ve got access to the stuff two years earlier than you Americans do. What that meant for me, with my big beard and sunken eyes and deep voice, was that nobody at the local liquor stores had been carding me since the eleventh grade. The laws have changed since then, and everyone now has to present ID regardless of how old they look — I had a fake in case they asked, anyway — but no cashier ever looked twice at me. So I had easy, consistent access to alcohol, and I gradually gained a dependence on the stuff. Well, I say “gradually”, but it was pretty fast. No pipeline for me, of having a drink before dinner turning into a couple, then a couple more; I drank as much as I could because it made me feel stupid, and then it made me fall asleep, and that was a pattern that felt better than dealing with my shriveling bank account and my constant desire to curl up and quietly die.
One day, probably about a year or two later — I know a lot of people mark the exact day they decided to start being sober, but I was going through my life in a complete fucking blur — I realized that I needed to either stop drinking, or it would kill me. I don’t know what triggered that thought, but I didn’t really care. I’d die, so what? Yeah, the thought was scary, but my life was shit. It’d be like getting upset over losing a quarter in the couch cushions. Oh, well.
Then, another thought hit me: you’re turning into your father.
That one got me.
Spite is a powerful motivator.
Disco Elysium came to me at a time where I was starting to settle into a sober groove. No more drinking, even though I still wanted it. If you’ve never dealt with substance abuse like that, imagine a big plate of your favorite food, constantly in front of you, and you’re not allowed to take a bite. Everyone else is always talking about how delicious it is, and how much they love it, and then they get weird when you try explaining that you can’t have any. People start talking about you behind your back, about how you’re “the guy who says he can’t have any”. Other people will actively bait you into trying some. They’ll tease you, call you a pussy, mock you for your boundaries. It’s shit. It’s fucking shit and it never goes away. I digress.
With time, it gets a little easier. You recognize the kinds of things that’ll set you off, that’ll make you want it. You learn to avoid them, you learn to cope with them. You make little deals with yourself, like how I swapped from booze to weed; the world’s no fun to take on completely sober, is my rationale. It’s the leaf or the sauce, and one of them is a whole lot fucking worse for me than the other.
The detective is in a very similar boat. He’s a man so subsumed by his addictions that he’s lost every part of him that isn’t defined by the substances he takes. His memory of who he is, what he believes, who he loves; it’s all gone, washed away beneath a tide of liquor and pills and powders and research chemicals. Ostensibly, the goal of the game is to solve a murder, but the real mystery is in uncovering who the detective is — was, perhaps — before he drowned every part of himself in drugs. If there’s nothing that can be remembered, it must be uncovered. If there’s nothing to be uncovered, it must be invented. Harry DuBois, Raphael Ambrosius Costeau, Tequila Sunset, the Icebreaker; who is he, really? Some of these? All of them? None?
As you play, the detective is constantly challenged to give in to his vices. It’s easy to take drugs. Beneficial, even! But everything in Revachol can be the catalyst for change, much as it can all be an excuse to keep things going as they are. The detective can begin the long, slow, arduous road to sobriety, doubtlessly inspired by his partner and friend Kim Kitsuragi.
Kim is one of the best characters ever written. He is everything the detective is not. He can control his urges. He’s got himself in order. What he sees in the detective does not impress him…initially. The detective, for all of his faults, has kept one thing true about himself; he is a damn good detective. Kim sees this. He latches onto it, and doesn’t let go. In the darkest times, in the hardest times, he reminds the detective that he is a damn good detective. The detective needs someone like Kim to ground him, and Kim needs someone like the detective to bring the case to a close. Getting Kim to trust you might be the greatest sense of achievement you will ever feel in a game. To be a constant fuck-up who eventually stops fucking up is a triumph, and Disco Elysium captures the feeling perfectly.
It’s no secret that Robert Kurvitz, the lead writer of the game, has struggled with substance abuse in the past. He once mentioned in an interview that he believed everyone else on the development team had, too. This is the kind of story that can only be written at this level of depth and nuance by people who truly understand what it’s like to find themselves at rock bottom and claw their way back up. It’s masterful. I’ve shed a lot of tears over Disco Elysium, and I know there are going to be a whole lot more to come.
I’m about five years dry, I think. My sense of time is all fucked up. It’s gotten easier to stay away, but not much.
Disco Elysium is still my favorite game.
Pirate it. ZA/UM got stolen from its creators by Estonian businessmen.

Strong bones, weak flesh.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the kind of game where it’s a miracle that it’s as good as it is, and yet it still manages to fall a little short. Anyone attempting to make a follow-up to 1999’s Deus Ex couldn’t possibly realize what they were setting themselves up for — that’s how we got Invisible War, after all — and dominant design trends of the early-2010’s didn’t exactly set a suitable stage for immersive simulators. Contemporary stealth games had sucked ass for years, too; a stealth-y immersive simulator that could come out as anything other than hot garbage was going to be an accomplishment.
Under those expectations, then, Human Revolution is probably the best game it could have been. All media will inevitably become a product of its time, and I think Human Revolution managed to hang on a few years past what should have been a very early expiry date. There’s a weird unskippable walk-and-talk section in the opening moments of the game, most of the social commentary is delivered with the grace of a brick soaring through a windshield, clear budget issues present themselves through the mass (re)use and abuse of hubs; all of these are era-specific foibles. You can’t play Human Revolution today without immediately catching the stink of 2011’s triple-A conventions wafting off of it. That stink might also be left over from the piss filter that they wiped off the screen in the Director’s Cut version of the game. I’m not sure.
But Human Revolution mostly manages to hold up. The characters are strong — Adam Jensen has remained a breakout favorite for many, with his constant, gravelly rasping and catty attitude — the gameplay is largely fine, and the atmosphere is thick. The streets of Detroit and Hengsha can suck you into themselves like quicksand if you aren’t paying attention, filled with little crooks and crevices to explore and loot. Even paths that lead to dead ends still reward you with XP, so the act of exploring never feels like a complete waste. You’ve only got a few flavors of builds; you can go one of stealth or non-stealth, and one of lethal or non-lethal. There’s not much point to mixing and matching, and the game itself is woefully easy to get through regardless of which build path you take. At the very least, no option feels wrong.
While the earliest parts of Human Revolution are strong, the game starts to lose its footing a bit as it goes on. The second visits to Detroit and Hengsha swiftly devolve into little more than running from one end of the map to the other in a continued series of acts that feels like the game is trying to stall for time. The DLC boat chapter from The Missing Link has been forcibly rolled into the main campaign, and it’s shit. There isn’t much more to say about it than that. It’s a hyper-linear slog with twists you can see coming from a mile away, and manages to be the worst combination of "too easy to be challenging" and "too long to wrap up before it gets boring". The Missing Link now acts as a ridiculously tall speed bump in the late-middle of a game that’s already beginning to drag its feet, and whatever momentum Human Revolution had before it put you on the boat evaporates just in time for the final stretch to begin.
It’s certainly not a bad game, by any means, and the opening segments are far stronger than I remember them being. The game ends weakly, though, and that’s always going to feel worse than the inverse. This is the exact kind of project that I wish could have been made with a bit more time, a bit more money, a bit more freedom. As it stands, it’s still a competent follow-up to Deus Ex. It never could have been better than what came before it, given the climate that Human Revolution released in, but it’s an admirable attempt all the same. A few issues spoil it, but there’s nothing here that isn’t salvageable.
You can make Adam Jensen say he “never asked for this” to like four different people before the credits roll. It’s really cute seeing him make up his own catchphrase.

The best Action-RPG combat in a generation. Melee, Range, Dodge, and Guard skills are so artfully balanced you'll find yourself switching them up on the fly. And remember the leaden pace of avatars in RPG's of yesteryear? That's history – Lea moves at a silky, buttery clip, the world smoothly streaming by as you navigate layered environments. Hard to believe it's all HTML5. Best of all, the story is genuinely affecting, with evocative dialogue portraits and surprising plot turns.