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Sorce's Backlog: The Next Time Around

Assassin's Creed: Origins
This is very clearly the transitional game between Black Flag and Odyssey, because it incorporates things from both to uneven success. This is also a note that yes, I do know that it was literally the game between those two.

It's called 'Origins', but to be honest, the only real AC stuff happens at the very end of the game as a response to certain... historical events. And also is initiated with a very famous historical event. None of that matters though, because the people you play as, Bayek and Aya, are Capital-A Assassins in all but name throughout the entire game. They even have everyone's favorite wrist blade; one each though, because they split a set.

The story centers around the aforementioned couple, Bayek and Aya, as they seek revenge for the murder of their son. In doing this, they uncover a larger conspiracy than they bargained for, decreasing their odds of success with every new revelation. They'll have to work together (by being apart) to marshal forces that can take on this conspiracy that covers most of Egypt and maybe even far-away places like Rome.

You spend a large amount of the game as Bayek, and this is where all the customization lies. You can change his horses/mules, outfits, hair styles, and most importantly, weapons and gear. You can choose to be a short-range, medium-range, or long-range fighter, and they even give you 4 different types of Bows on top of your main melee weapon. Some are deadly accurate, but you need to be a good distance away, some fire in a spread shot, to hit multiple enemies.You main melee weapons can range from swords, to dual daggers, a staff, a spear, and a couple others I know I'm forgetting. There are a handful of missions where you play as Aya, but there's no customization to the character or anything, but that's balanced out by a Big Boat and having a ship that (for once) lays waste to all that come before it whenever you need it to. So that's a nice change.

So you traverse Egypt, meeting new people and killing them, in addition to meeting old friends and helping them kill people. The wildlife is surprisingly (to me) varied, all of which hate you of course, and the horse/mule AI is wonky as hell if you let it run on auto-pilot. There's a lot of beautiful vistas, and not just of say, the pyramids.

It's overall enjoyable, but there's just enough jank to it (probably because of the aforementioned transitional-game status) to not really want to dive back in for completionist stuff after you've beaten the story.
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Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Hey kids, do you like violence? Do you hate Nazis? Then boy do I have the game for you.

W2 picks up almost literally after the first one finishes, showing the Kreisau Circle grabbing BJ from the end of the boss battle and then nuking the place as was the original plan. BJ, of course, is near death (again), so there is emergency surgery where he ends up losing more on the inside than people should. It almost immediately cuts to 5 months later, and BJ wakes up from his "restful sleep", to find Anya very pregnant (twins!) and Frau Engel using the full might of the Nazi regime to attack their submarine.

And then you spend the next 14 hours or so (real time, not in-game time) murdering the shit out of Nazis until there is no more left. I mean, there are some undoubtedly left because of respawning, and there's at least two more games in the series after W2 with any number of killable Nazis.

What makes this one more fun is that one of the points of the game is that you are trying to liberate the Good 'ol USA from Nazi control, after they surrendered. Why would they surrender you ask? Well, NYC got the shit nuked out of it. And then groups like the KKK stepped up and made friends with the Nazis due to their common interest, and the game has a lot to say about that whole process. But anyway, you get to travel the US and meet resistance members, forming a coalition to Kill All Nazis. From a bombed out NYC, to a walled-up New Orleans, even Roswell (aliens, maaan~!) and a couple other fun places I won't mention.

As for my main complaint from the first game, BJ being all introspective and whatnot, there is more of that here. I wasn't really a fan, and it did get annoying, but it does not last the whole game. As for why that happens, I leave that to you, dear reader. And for those curious, your save from the first game does not carry over, but towards the beginning of the game BJ relives the moment he had to choose between Fergus and Wyatt, and that sets the path for the rest of the game.

Would I recommend this game? Heck yeah.
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Decided to do some weeding, and realized I had a lot more games listed in "unplayed" on Backloggery than I really should have.

52 more games than I should have, to be exact. About half the games listed.

Anyway, it turns out that I wasn't moving games to the NOPE folder in my Steam Library when I should have. Games that I... we'll say "greatly dislike"... plus games that won't run, games that no longer access working servers, that sort of thing. So now that all my lists match one another, I feel better because I have a definitive/correct list of games I have yet to beat (and in a couple DLC instances, start), and it's a lot less daunting to look at. I also even added a couple of games to my Backloggery page because I had multiple iterations and didn't realize it.

So as of now, I have 52 unfinished games. And there's also 52 weeks in the year. Coincidence?

Yeah, probably.
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Not going to get a listing, but it's worth mentioning anyway.

System Shock Remake - Medical Level Demo
I got this for free because I backed the game on kickstarter way back when, and this is the first big playable section since they've put out. There was a bit of a level earlier, but there wasn't much to it and it was a slice of the entire level that encompasses this demo. Yes, it's still in an "alpha" state, but it was very playable. The only real issue I had was that you couldn't save your progress, so no matter how long you'd have been playing, if you died, that was it.

And let's just say I died a lot. I didn't die after a critical point in the level, but I'll save that for later.

The game (level) looks pretty good, and the graphics are nice. I'm sure they'll also be improved as the game is further developed, but what I saw didn't have that 90s jank that the original had. As before, you start off with a wrench and a lot of questions, that can only be answered with SMASHING. Also listening to audio logs, but mostly the smashing.

Sidenote: First door password is 451, as is the tradition. So thumbs up to that.

You get to wander around the Medical Deck, seeing what's happened to the crew, and at least a little bit of how things are now. This is designed as the first level in the game, so there's tool-tips, and things are generally easier as you figure things out. Eventually you get a pistol, but you don't get a lot of ammo, so you either have to be a really good shot, or just rely on the wrench more often and save the gun for "important" baddies, like the ones that can shoot back. There is an ultimate goal here though, but it's little more than "get to the elevator for the next level", and even though you have a map, have fun trying to understand it.

The upside, and that critical thing I mentioned earlier, is that there is a revive machine. What this typically means is that when you die, you don't load an older save, you just immediately re-constitute yourself as you were when you died. It's the progenitor of the Vita-Chambers in BioShock if you need a better example. By the time I found the one here, I was managing to stay alive pretty well, so I ended up not having to use it.

Anyway, the demo is fun, and it's made me thirsty for more of the game. I'd suggest you download and play it as well, but I'm not sure if it's available to people who didn't back the game. If you can D/L it, do so. If not... oh well.
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Decided to go back through the original Mass Effect since there's a boatload of mods you can install now and I've never played with them before. I'd like to say I'll go through the whole series, but who knows.
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Well, I made it through ME and ME2, but ME3 will have to be put on hold for now. After all is said and done, the mods I want to use (which is mostly HD textures and video) take up more space on my SSD than I have available... by almost double.

Alternately, Andromeda is only a couple hundred megabytes since that's more file editing and gameplay stuff, which does not take up nearly the same amount of space. So I jumped over to that and am playing a NG++ on my Scott Ryder playthrough, to see if I can hit both the soft and hard level caps in the game.
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Added oh so much stuff to the backlog; Borderlands stuff, Assassin's Creed stuff, heck even Star Wars stuff.

And some of it is even recent! OHSHI-
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I'm at least gonna get this one out of the way since I beat it.

Borderlands 3
Hey kids, remember Borderlands 2? Remember The Pre-Sequel? How about Tales From the Borderlands? Well, only 2 of those are actually relevant this time around! Or one of them and a mix of the other two.

So ~6 years after the events of BL2, the Calypso Twins have become ECHOnet super-stars, forming a cult called Children of the Vault. The twins themselves are pushing the idea that they're trying to open The Great Vault, so they need all the support (read: money, eridium, and expendable minions) they can get their hands on. This naturally is at cross-purposes to Lilith and the Crimson Raiders, since they're trying to make sure no one can open the vault on Pandora, let alone any (not-so) theoretical Great Vault. Lilith then recruits 4 new VHs to her cause because while she leads the Raiders, she can't always jump into the fight just because she wants to. Along the way you meet familiar characters and new ones, kill lots (and lots) of bandits, and have a short tour of the six galaxies via other planets you need to run missions on.

The gameplay is the loop ya'll should be familiar with from the previous three (Gearbox) games, with minor tweaks here and there. Cryo replaces Slag like in TPS, but there's also Radiation which makes the target explode when they die. Which is... kind of hilarious, actually. Basic upgrades are spread out further than I'd like, but once you get all 8 gun/gear slots, you're rockin' and rollin' with the best of them. Oh, also SDUs are back to costing money instead of Eridium, even though you can still obtain and spend Eridium on stuff (guns and cosmetics).

The other mostly-upside is that the player characters actually talk now. All 4 have actual personalities and different dialog in a given situation instead of the occasional quip while murdering. Well, they have those too, but not just those. The small downside is that they're still talking AT characters instead of WITH them. For example, Amara is a Siren, and when Lilith asks her to introduce herself, has a line about they're sisters of a sort... which gets a canned "nice to meet you" response. You'd think the NPC dialog would be a bit different in that case. So the dialog is definitely a step up, but they're not where they should be just yet.

Almost literally anything else I could talk about is too spoiler-ish, so I'll say nothing other than I mostly liked the game, and think it's a worthy sequel to the franchise. Even if the bad parts (again, spoilers) are just plain ugh.

Also punching people so hard they explode never gets old.
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Assassin's Creed Odyssey - The Legacy of the First Blade
It's pretty crap. I mean, the actual gameplay is what you'd expect to enjoy (also almost literally the same kind of thing as the base game), but the story... well, it was not Kassandra's/Alexios' story to tell. Matter of fact, it probably would have been improved if you just straight up played as Darius instead doing what they did.

The entire DLC is there to make sure that Kassandra/Alexios has a kid. That's it. And not in a "you have a choice on whether or not you have a child", but a "you are going to have a child no matter what". Even then, I would be marginally fine with it if they'd actually given me the option to flirt or say lovey-type things with the person who I'm gonna bang throughout the DLC. But they pretty much don't until after the fact. And it's only a couple of dialog choices, nothing really substantial. They even took the lazy way out and didn't include Kassandra's/Alexios' family (if they were alive at the end of the game) in any scene whatsoever.

There's only two reasons to play this DLC; you can add a flamethrower to the Adrestia, and you get to find out what well-known AC character is directly descended from yours. And really, the latter you can just look up on a wiki or YouTube. Though I will say that's enough (plus the gameplay) for me to keep it out of the "Nope" pile, if only barely.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey - Secrets of Greece
A simple little sidequest where you have to recover some ancient formulas so that a dude can form his theory of everything. There's not much to it, there's some philosophical and mathematical conversations, and that's mostly it.
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Assassin's Creed Odyssey - The Fate of Atlantis
Good lord this is the breath of fresh air I needed after the previous DLC. It's still serious of course, but there's more and better character beats throughout, as well as introducing three new areas to Ancient Greece. Those of course being Elysium, The Underworld, and Atlantis itself. The general story behind it is you are playing as Kassandra/Alexios and following the path they took to learn how to use the Spear of Trismegustus, which is a Piece of Eden and story-wise, makes you effectively immortal. Gameplay-wise, not so much, but that's what your other weapons are for, I guess.

Upon entering each of these places, there is an essential problem that must be solved, and of course you are the only one that can solve it. Whether it's fomenting a resistance to a cruel goddess, fighting legendary heroes to convince them to guard the gates of the Underworld, or deciding if the gods themselves should live or die, it's definitely a fun ride. Also the weapons and gear you get are hilariously overpowered and make fights awesome in new and interesting ways. It is absolutely worth picking up (even via the Season Pass!) for that stuff alone, just knuckle through the first DLC to get here, and then play the remasters that are also included with it.

Also it's worth noting that as of the completion of the second DLC, I hit 171 hours total in Odyssey, and I am now done.

(Yes, I platinum-ed the achievements and even beat the final Lv. 99 Merc as a Lv. 82. I told you the weapons/gear and everything else is overpowered.)
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It is really weird that there's been 5 Borderlands games but they peaked at the second one. Also they're a lot like Star Trek in that the even ones are better than the odds. Like I said, weird.

Borderlands 3: Moxxi's Heist of the Handsome Jackpot DLC
So, it's 6 years after the events of Borderlands 2, and Moxxi is still very pissed off at a very dead Jack. So much so, that she decides that she needs to find his interstellar casino and take control of it. Partially because of said hatred, but also because who wouldn't want to own a casino? So the current crop of Vault Hunters are sent to do her dirty work, where they find a very alive (though barely) not-Jack incarnation by the name of Timothy. You know, the not-Jack from The Pre-Sequel!. So between the 3 to 6 of you, a plan is formed to take over the casino.

Gameplay is the exact same as the base game, and it's fun to see Timothy again. There's a bit more lore here since we get some more backstory on both Tim and Jack, as well as the probably-a-trope crush on Moxxi people seem to have. Story-wise it's a simple set of side-missions that set out to do a certain thing and do it well. I don't want to say it was written better than the base game, because the scale is completely different, but it lacks the kind of issues I had with it.

Borderlands 3: Guns, Love, and Tentacles
Hammerlock and Wainwright are getting married! You are invited! Somehow Gaige is the wedding planner and also loves margaritas! There are wonderful sights and Eldritch horrors everywhere! Wooo~!

Not much in the way of specific lore here, other than what's directly "needed" for the DLC's story to work, but we do get Gaige's vocal impressions of all the people who didn't show up but sent gifts like Brick, Tannis, and all them. The story is basically Wainwright gets kidnapped because the husband of the villain died, so she needs a replacement body to drop her love's soul into. Along the way there's cold feet, fighting for fun (and maybe profit?) character upgrades, fireworks, and lots and lots of creatures that are better off not being talked about. Wouldn't want anyone to go insane here.

Gearbox did a suprisingly good job on both of these DLCs, and they alone are worth the season pass if you don't have it yet. There's also two DLCs left to be released at this point, and they at least sound interesting, so hopefully they'll continue the trend.
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It's a DLC Weekend! Or something similar.

Rise of the Tomb Raider: Endurance Mode
It's basically a TR-flavored The Long Dark. You get dropped in the wilderness and see how long you can last. There's not much 'to' it otherwise, other than perpetually trying to beat your own score. This doesn't mean it's not fun, but it's a very specific kind of fun.

Rise of the Tomb Raider: Cold Darkness Awakened
This is similar to Endurance mode, but it's a static map where you have to destroy a chemical weapons lab as quickly as possible. There are different weapons you can find in the mission, and there's lore bits scattered around to find, but ultimately it's a timed/point-scoring exercise where you try and complete it as quickly as possible while also making sure you do it right. What I mean by the latter, is that there are a group of bonus activities you can do while you're in the level, some of your choosing beforehand and some just sitting in the world. Also puzzles. Know your danger colors and country flags, people!
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Added Resident Evil 2 (2019) and Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice to the backlog.

(Also technically Hellblade in VR, but since I don't have that equipment, it doesn't count.)
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Installed the demo for Forza Horizon 4, because I didn't know it was available until this morning.

Senna goes brrrrr
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Borderlands 3: Bounty of Blood
So, Gearbox has released the third DLC in their season pass, and this time it's a Japanese-flavored Western. You, the Vault Hunter, are hired by a town Sheriff to bring the local gang to justice, dead or alive. Emphasis on dead. See, many years ago The Company did all kinds of science experiments and created a good chunk of the (monstrous) local fauna before deeming their experiments a failure, and bookin' it off-world. It's like they're DAHL or something. In leaving behind the creatures, the locals had to now survive them, and in the cases of the local gang, control them and use them for no-good.

The DLC starts off with said gang assaulting the good people of Vestige in the hopes of getting the town's pride and joy, a large mineral at the center of main street. Of course, this being the beginning of said DLC where the stakes need to be set, they make off with it, and kill the Sheriff in the process. It then falls to you to kill everyone in the gang stop those Devil Riders and all the evil plans they have.

Gameplay loop is the same as it's ever been, because if it ain't broke, don't fix it. A couple of new things do eventually get added to the repertoire, namely using plants to trick enemies into fighting on your side for a time, and some short-range teleportation tech that is really weird the first couple times you use it. And also all the other times you use it. The Vault Hunters also get a new ride, a single-person rocket-powered hoverbike.

I say it's a Japanese-flavored Western because, well, it is. It's every Western movie you've ever seen crossed with some Japanese Yakuza-styled enemies and locations. I say this not to detract from the DLC however, because it is fun as heck. There's the typical wide range of missions/sidequests/collectables you should be familiar with from the base game, and it does add some more lore to the BL Universe. There's also bits where you get to read between the lines, though there aren't any surprises if you're paying attention.

Overall, it doesn't quite reach the highs of the second DLC, but it is still very enjoyable to play and better than the base game.
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