The Daily Backlog 112

Completions, creepy horror games, wasteland looting and E3 ramblings, oh my! It’s a veritable cornucopia of backloggery!

Out with the Cutesy!

Happy Monday backloggers!! Although it’s “back to the grind” time, I’m ready and raring to kick off this week right and start it with another fun filled fun edition of The Daily Backlog! Well, I’m excited at least. That’s because it’s been a fun filled weekend what with E3 going on right now, and a few other backlog related accomplishments! But that’s enough delaying, let’s just dive right in!

So first up, and I think this is one of my biggest backlog triumphs to date, I finished Celeste!! From my very first death to my 4000th, I absolutely loved this game! I think that it came at just the right time when I felt like losing myself in something that I could easily pick up play on a whim, but also required some mastery to get all that it’s worth out of it! And I gotta say, the devs over at Matt Makes Games hit that nail right on the head. They made a game that was addicting, well crafted, and gut wrenchingly difficult at times. But then they also smoothed it all out with a touching and well written story that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys platformers.

However, I’m not sure I would recommend everyone punish themselves by testing their mettle in the harder B-Side and eventually C-Side stuff. I say that because it takes a special type of masochist to play, but I think you’d more than get your money’s worth by just playing the main story. That is if you can resist the urge to be a completionist! I know I couldn’t pass that up! And I’m paying for it too! Those stages get pretty dang rough and really test your ability to do some complicated maneuvers. Just seeing how the devs mix it up and stretch that relatively simple mechanic to work in many different ways is fascinating and fun though!

Although I still haven’t “technically” finished everything there is to play in Celeste (C-Side and Golden Strawberry modes), I think I’m going to set it aside for now, let my thumbs rest and consider it a completion! Though, if there’s truth to the rumored DLC coming sometime in the future, you may just see Celeste crop up again!

In with the Creepy!

Now that I have a gaping hole in my soul from Celeste leaving my grasp, I needed to fill it with something else that would consume me for a stint. And as mentioned last week, I was debating between a few games including The Coma, Neptunia Shooter and Dragon Star Varnir. What I eventually landed on though, was the gorgeous and creepy The Coma: Recut! Mostly because I’ve been sitting on this jaw droppingly amazing limited edition copy of it from Eastasiasoft for a while now! That and I was really in the mood for something a little more dark and moody. And what’s darker and moodier than a Korean horror game where your psychotic teacher is chasing you around in a dark and foreboding high school?!

So far I’m really enjoying it. Right out the gate I was wowed by the fantastic artwork which has a very stylized manga or comic book feel, that I adore. And the game itself has some similarities to one of my PS1 favs, Clock Tower, where you’re being chased by a monster and the only thing you can do is run and hide. All the while trying to solve the mystery of “what the F is going on?!”. I also get some Lone Survivor vibes, which was a 2D side scrolling Silent Hill style game from the PS3 era. Which I highly recommend you check out if you haven’t already!

There are a few issues I’m having with the controls being a bit stiff and unresponsive, but all in all, The Coma is a pretty tight package and I’m excited to play more. I’ll definitely let you all know how it goes once I come out the other end! Or sooner… you know how it is.

Pecks on Pecks

All the while, while subjecting myself to thousands of deaths and Korean nightmares, my wife and I have also been plugging away at Borderlands 2!? What’s funny about all of this, is that it just so happened we started playing it at just the right time! Because over the weekend, Gearbox Software announced that a new DLC pack was coming to the game! Which kinda blows my mind considering how long it’s been since its initial release. Though, with Borderlands 3 just around the corner it makes total sense that they would want to refresh everyone’s memory of the goings ons of the Borderlands universe and offer up a tidy little lead up to their next game. The best part of it though, is that it was free! Oh and the level cap was increased from 72 to 80 and they added rainbow loot!! It’s nice to have more things to work towards while we hold out for September!

So far, my wife and I are finishing up our first playthrough of the game. Fitting in a few side quests here and there just to boost our levels. For the most part though, we’ve just been speeding through it so we can get to New Game+ (True Vault Hunter mode) and eventually New Game++ (Ultimate Vault Hunter mode) where the real loot game (and challenge) begins. Honestly, the only reason we’re playing it like that and saving the DLC and side quests for the later playthroughs, is because Borderlands 2 gives you some soft level caps until you beat the game for a first and second time. That being 30ish in the first playthrough and 50ish in the second. Though reaching max level (80) is possible earlier than that, it would require an exorbitant amount of grinding, which is no fun.

Anyways, I’m excited to play more, especially since the new DLC added a few new areas and a new loot rarity tier, and I can’t wait to finally get to Ultimate Vault Hunter mode so we can see all that super fancy gear!

Games Games Games and Streamed Games

Image by Google Stadia

Phew!! It’s already been a long one today, but I have one last thing I wanted to get off my chest! And that’s my thoughts on the E3 shenanigans that I’ve seen so far. That being the Google Stadia Connect and Microsoft’s Press Conference. I’ll try to keep it short though, since I’m sure your eyeballs are falling out of your head as we speak. I make no promises, of course!

Alright, I’m going to jump in head first and start with the divisive Stadia. Google’s solution for streaming our games to us through a web browser and destroying physical game collecting as we know it! Okay, okay, it’s not that extreme and believe you me, I don’t think it’s the end of the world or a precedent for a bleak future of human killing robot video games. No, actually I think the Stadia is a very cool idea. It opens up gaming to a wide berth of people that say, wouldn’t want to plunk down hundreds of dollars for a dedicated gaming box. The same types of people that have no problem at all, not owning their games and getting them served up a la carte like Netflix for a relatively low monthly fee.

Image by Google Stadia

I will say this though, I am a bit skeptical with its performance. That and the impacts it could have on the majority of internet users that have data caps on their internet access. And that’s kinda where I feel the “Stadia Connect” failed. It showed us some fun looking games, (that we could play anywhere else) but they never really showed us HOW it played in a real setting. I mean, a tight, highly edited presentation may wow the casual passerby, but those of us that would actually want to put down the money and try the service out, need that type of information to make an informed decision! Sure we still have time before its release for them to give us that type of break down, but it would have been nice to lead with it.

The one thing I will say, I’m most impressed with, is that controller. It’s an interesting little piece of tech that’ll connect directly to the Stadia servers through your internet connection, instead of being routed through an app on your computer or some other device. Which is probably how they’re going to deal with some of the input lag people are worried about. Though, since it’s compatible with many of the controllers we already have (Xbox One, PS4), I’m curious to see if that’ll make a difference. If those “3rd party” controllers turn out to just cause headaches though, it could be Google’s way of saying “You should have bought out device in the first place!”. And leave us with no other viable choice but to throw down the $69.99 they’re asking for it. Significantly increasing the barrier to entry.

I’ll Put an X in your… No that Doesn’t Sound Right

Keanu Reeves, Cybeunk 2077 Actor, unveils the release date at the Xbox E3 2019 Briefing at the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live, Sunday, June 9, 2019 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Xbox/AP Images) – Image from Xbox Media Assets Library

And with that my friends, I’m led to the company that packs the controller in the box, Microsoft. You know, the much more traditional player in this gaming race! Sure Microsoft is leaning hard into streaming services similar to Stadia with the xCloud, but lucky for us they still see the value in having a luxury hunk of plastic and metal sitting under your TV. But I’m not here to talk about Microsoft’s hardware (though I am excited for Project Scarlet)! No, I’m here for the games!! And I won’t hesitate to say that Microsoft’s showing this year was pretty dang stellar. I mean, I could have gone with a little more gameplay from some of the games (I’m looking at you Gears 5), but all in all, they really set the stage for a great later half of 2019 and the entirety of 2020. I’m not going to lie, PlayStation will probably steal some of the limelight this next year, but this is about the Xbox dang it! And that’s where I’m going to focus!!

Image from Xbox Media Assets Library

Now, there was a whole slew of games showcased during the press conference, (60+) but there were definitely some show stoppers for me, and a few honorable mentions that I’m excited to see grace my screen. I won’t go over each and every single one of them since that would turn this post into a novel with several chapters, but here are my top picks so far, with little comments next to each:

Ori and the Will of the Wisps (So beautiful!!)

Minecraft Dungeons (My son will kill me if I DON’T get this)

Blair Witch (Unexpected and exciting!!)

Cyberpunk 2077 (No words… except for maybe Keanu Reeves!)

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot (As if this wouldn’t be here…)

12 Minutes (Fascinating and can’t wait to try it)

Gears 5 (Because square headed football men with chainsaw guns are cool!)

Borderlands 3 (BORDERLANDS!!!)

Elden Ring (Don’t care about George but a new From game?! Hell yes!!)

Image from Xbox Media Assets Library

Even if half of those games impress, I think Microsoft has a good year ahead of them. And the best thing I can say about their conference this year is that there really wasn’t anything bad to say about it! Which is more than we could say in years past!

The Atomic Number Copernicium

Well my friends, my fingers are pretty much falling off as we speak so I think I’m going to call it. I guess in the end I wasn’t able to keep it too short, but it felt good to get all of that off of my chest!! Apparently I had a lot to say!! But tis the season for gaming rants when E3 rolls around! Now it’s time to twiddle my thumbs and wait for the next heavy hitter to release their “Connect”, Nintendo!!

Anyways, we should be back on schedule with more vidya game talk tomorrow so I’ll see you then!! And have a great rest of your Monday!!


Currently Playing

The Coma: Recut (PlayStation 4)

Punch Line (Steam)

Borderlands 2 (Xbox One)

Total Backlogged Games: 720 …the number of times I excitedly tried to convince my wife to drop everything and “watch this sweet trailer!!”

Total Completed Games: 29 …the number of times I vowed to her that this will be the last one I promise!!


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