Into the Backlog!

Image: Nintendo

Well since we had to do a Coronavirus retcon here in Texas I’ve had plenty of time to dig into my backlog. So let’s go on some adventures.

Games Are Too Long – An Editorial

Image: PlayStation Studios/Naughty Dog

I finished The Last of Us Part Two and Luigi’s Mansion 3. And while I finished both of them (add a FINALLY to Luigi’s Mansion 3) I have come to a small conclusion – games are too damn long.

SPOILERS AHEAD

As I deep-dived into TLOU2 and came to love the adventure I went on with Elle and Abby, I was very happy with how they intertwined and how their story ended…then the game kept going…

There is going to be a SUPER unsettling two-three hour block at the end of the game that turned into just blood-soaked slog of a march just to get to ending number 2 – which was such a heart breaker. I won’t spoil too much of the last grind in the game (think what would happen if open-carry firearm dicks went into the slave trade and you’ve got it) but it took what was a fine game and simply dropped into death-march territory. I think mileage is going to vary on this game, for sure, and The Last of Us Part II is a phenomenal effort that breaks new boundaries in LGBTQ story telling (don’t ever tell me women leads can’t sell games – see Ubisoft). But it also makes me wonder when enough is enough. All in all a fantastic game that needed a deleted scenes section or a chop of the last three hours into a “Left Behind” DLC-type chapter. Dina, however, is one of my favorite characters of all time. Loved loved loved her.

Image: Nintendo

Speaking of enough is enough let’s talk about this asshole in Luigi’s Mansion 3. This is a fine effort of a game from Nintendo and the best Luigi’s Mansion to date (having just run the first game on the Gamecube this series has HUGELY evolved in its eighteen years on this planet). After my 14 hours with the game I had a great time and it never got boring, for sure. But the encounters with Polterkitty were the drizzling shits. You encounter him (her?) three times in the game and each time it’s insufferable. You have to time the beam just right to blind it and if you are too soon you have to start the process all over again. This added to extended downtime and needless padding. Very frustrating…and a tiny anchor on an otherwise top notch production. Left Field does really good work as a Nintendo second party developer and I hope we get another Mansion title from them at some point (or dare I dream another Punch-Out after their excellent run with it on the Wii).

Image: Sega

So after working through two big games I needed something a little more bite size so I decided to venture into my Switch library and played the Sega Ages version of Shinobi. I have been venturing into the Sega archives a lot recently and developer M2 has been cranking out arcade-board perfect versions of Sega games (their releases of Virtua Racing, Out Run and Space Harrier on Switch are TOP NOTCH and made me fans of these games for life now) or Genesis revisits like Thunder Force IV/Lightening Force and Sonic 2 with quality of life upgrades like save states, tweaks, soundtrack options, easy modes, etc. So as a fan of Revenge of Shinobi and Shinobi III a venture through the original felt in order and it’s not bad. Definitely built to consume quarters in its time and not a bad ride at all. But that last boss can take a shove…

Image: Gaming Pastime

Also I have started picking up odds and ends for my collection via eBay and Yahoo! Auctions Japan and finally stumbled upon an affordable copy of Thunder Force III for the Genesis/Mega Drive. As a shump it’s a little on the easy side (especially after I got my ass handed to me in Gate of Thunder on the PC Engine Duo recently) but wow. The music, graphics, and gameplay are all top notch and your weapon choices are logical and strategic. On a system with a glut of shooters, the Thunder Force games stand out and are marvels in presentation – now if I can find an affordable copy of Thunder Force V and VI (and I guess an import PS2) we will be in business.

And that’s all. How are you?