Weekend Gaming Review – August 2020

Greetings! It’s been a while since I sat down and wrote up a recap of what I’ve been up to the past month. My time has been divided between work and a lot of video game-related things; either writing a few random posts here and there or more recently, I’ve been streaming some of my old favorites as well as brand new games on Twitch.

We’re also nearing the end of summer, which means the autumn season and Halloween are just around the corner. Last year, I made up a list of games that fit(somewhat, at least) the Halloween season and wrote up two posts a week throughout the month. For this upcoming Blogtober, I’ve been working on a list of games I think would either be fun to play through again or ones I haven’t played yet, old or new. I’ve begun preparing a little further in advance than last year so I can hopefully have a few posts ready to go once we begin October and not having to sit down and write up everything immediately after playing and posting within the same day. The ability to stream some of the games this time around is an interesting addition to the project.



One of my resolutions I mentioned back in January was that I’d wanted to try out streaming or even just recording gameplay stuff. I’ve been streaming random games on Twitch every so often since around February, but since June I’ve been attempting to stream a few times a week. It’s been a really interesting learning process from set up to getting comfortable and building up confidence while playing games. This has been made far easier by our corner of the WordPress community, many of whom stream themselves and have been great in providing any kind of assistance with stream-related questions or just being there to hang out in chat. I’d like to extend a big “Thank you!” to everyone who has stopped by to chat or just hang out as I meander my way through the learning stage of the process.

I guess this is where I’m supposed to plug my Twitch channel? It’s twitch.tv/gamingomnivore for those curious as to what I’m rambling about…

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate

It’s been a few weeks since I started my trophy-hunting quest in Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate. I had the idea a while back in the Later Levels Discord server to see if anyone else would be interested in picking a particular game and setting out to get the platinum trophy or all achievements and also writing up a post, or series of posts about their progress through the game. Solarayo from Ace Asunder was one of the willing participants in the challenge/experiment and has since written a number of updates about their playthrough of AC: Syndicate. A congratulations is also in order, as Solarayo has already completed both the game and acquired the platinum trophy! I recommend you check out their AC Syndicate posts as well as lots of other great stuff on their site.


My most recently-completed game would be the newest Battletoads game that was released on Aug. 18. I streamed my playthrough of the game on Twitch and managed to throw together a few paragraphs describing(or attempting to, most likely) my thoughts on the game. In short, I enjoyed the game and would put it somewhere in the “good, but short of great” category as I felt it abandoned what it did best(beat ’em up segments) in favor of an enormous shotgun-blast of random gameplay elements. For anyone curious to read my own shotgun-blast of random thoughts on Battletoads

Games I’m working on this week

  • Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
  • Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
  • Control
  • Spiritfarer

I’ll still be spending a large portion of my time playing Syndicate as I’m 2/3 of the way through the main story sequences and have gathered most of the collectibles, with only a few of the royal correspondence letters and secrets of London left. As I make my way through the main story, I’ve been trying to stay mindful of things like hijacking the police carriages and destroying 5000 objects as I travel the streets of Victorian London. This will make for slightly less(?) grinding out trophies after I finish up the main storyline. I’ve had a lot of fun playing through Syndicate and feel it’s definitely one of the more underrated Assassin’s Creed games, though much of this is likely due to some stagnation and player burnout by this point in the series. It was after Syndicate that Ubisoft decided to take a year off and not release another until AC: Origins in 2017.

I finally purchased and began playing through Uncharted: The Lost Legacy a couple weeks ago. I’ll go ahead and admit that I was a little skeptical about the thought of an Uncharted “side-game” without Nathan Drake, but I will gladly state those worries were unfounded as I’ve come to really appreciate Chloe and Nadine’s camaraderie throughout the game; I’d even go as far as saying I haven’t missed Drake and Sully while playing. Lost Legacy also has given every opportunity to show it’s definitely the smoothest, best-playing game in the Uncharted series. I’m rather embarrassed I hadn’t played this sooner…

An unforeseen development this past week was jumping back into another playthrough of Control. I purchased the Steam version of Control Ultimate Edition via Green Man Gaming for $27.19 only two dollars more than the season pass alone on the Playstation store. The game was one of my favorites of 2019, but I’ve come to appreciate the game more every time I play it. Making my way through the Ashtray Maze would also be one of my gaming highlights of this past year and I’m looking forward to seeing how the newest DLC ties into Alan Wake.

Another game I want to devote a little more time to in the upcoming weeks is Spiritfarer. The game was released on all platforms about two weeks ago, after Nintendo’s latest Nindies Showcase and has an interesting premise that I felt compelled to check out. The Steam description for the game states…

Spiritfarer® is a cozy management game about dying. As ferrymaster to the deceased, build a boat to explore the world, care for your spirit friends, and guide them across mystical seas to finally release them into the afterlife. What will you leave behind?

There’s a bit of exploration and resource management involved in the game as you usher your friends spirits to their final resting place. I don’t typically play a ton of games with resouce management elements like Stardew Valley or similar, but there’s such an interestingly cute, yet morbid charm to the game. Being immediately available on Game Pass Ultimate makes the decision to give it a playthrough even easier.

That’s all for now! What games have you been playing lately? Do you have any games that you plan to play as we change seasons into autumn? Let me know. Thanks for reading!

Battletoads – Everything But the Kitchen Sink

Battletoads is a weird game. The newest Microsoft exclusive is developed by Dlala Studios as well as Rare, who created the previous games beginning with the 1991 NES title. It’s difficult to accurately describe Battletoads as a game other than – too many things and not quite enough of ONE SPECIFIC thing. There’s an absurd variety of gameplay styles and mechanics being thrown at you at any given moment, including – beat ’em up, turbo bike segments, puzzle-platformer, shoot ’em up, countless button-pressing mini-games and even a variation of rock-paper-scissors called Toad-Sham-Bo. It’s the first game in the franchise since the Battletoads Arcade game in 1994 and for better or worse, feels very much like a heaping handfull of elements of the 90’s – beat ’em ups, gross-out humor, Crystal Pepsi and Zubaz were thrown into a blender and playing through the resulting concoction.

Battletoads begins with the trio of amphibian brothers(they are, right?) – Rash, Pimple and Zitz battling their way through the streets as you fight rats and the familiar villainous swine – Porkshank. Each of the game’s four acts are divided into chapters with the first acting as a very basic tutorial for the combat elements of the game – normal and heavy attacks, tongue grab and spitting bubblegum. At the end of the first level the toads waltz their way to a victory ending with a stroll down the red carpet for a crowd of cheering fans. Not quite. The Battletoads are then discovered by a construction crew as it’s revealed their heroic exploits have all been imagined as they have been stuck in an underground bunker for the past 26 years and have since faded from relevance.

The very next chapter shows the toads as they have taken day jobs sending corporate emails, working as a masseuse, and signing autographs at conventions. This is the first of many chapters devoted to a series of mini-games as you press a series of buttons on the controller as Zitz sends out emails, rotate the joysticks in corresponding directions as Pimple massages a client, and alternate between right and left triggers as Rash goes through a pile of photos at a signing table.

In Chapter 3 we see Rash struggle with adjusting to life outside of pummeling rats and pigs and he concocts a plan to seek out their arch-nemesis, the Dark Queen, who is holed up at an abandoned theme park…or so Rash has assumed. The Battletoads set off towards the theme park on rented turbo bikes as the entire level is spent avoiding a number of columns and roadblocks in an obvious callback to the infamous turbo bike levels on the NES.

Upon arriving at the abandoned theme park, the next two chapters are primarily comprised of familiar beat ’em up mechanics, with a few electrical current puzzles to solve along the way. The combat mechanics in Battletoads are very fluid and you can pretty easily string together a decent combo of hits on the (annoyingly)durable enemies. This is one of my initial complaints of the game – you are frequently ambushed by an entire room full of enemies, which isn’t anything new to the genre, but, between dodging a number of projectile and area attacks it becomes VERY difficult to keep track of what’s happening on-screen. I wound up losing countless lives simply because I couldn’t follow the barrage of colorful enemies and attacks in front of me.

I find the strangest aspect of Battletoads is that the beat ’em up gameplay is abandoned almost completely after the first two acts, with the third act(the longest of the four) alternates between acting as a top-down, twin stick shooter and puzzle-platformer levels. There’s also a set of mini-games in the final chapter of Act Three that I found insanely frustrating as you are given a screen made up of seven different puzzles to solve within the given time limit. I absolutely hated this sequence. There’s SO MUCH on screen that I found it incredibly difficult for my eyes to even detect which puzzle-tile I was supposed to be focusing on. I’m totally fine with unexpected twists and turns within a given game’s storyline and characters, or even variations in gameplay mechanics are rarely unwelcome in games that I play, but this was pushed to an extreme in Battletoads. While making my way through the game I actually said aloud, “what the hell is this game gonna expect me to do next?”.

Just looking at this causes anxiety…

One of the standout elements of Battletoads is its wonderful hand-drawn characters and backgrounds; the animations are very well done and have a very nice Nickelodeon-esque look to them(the art style is strikingly similar to The Fairly Oddparents). The story itself fits the tone and humor of the early 90’s Nicktoons like Ren & Stimpy or Rocko’s Modern Life, I found myself laughing out loud a few different times(the mature, refined indiviual I am) by the combination of bizarre/gross-out humor and number of referential jokes making light of the series’ twenty plus-years of irrelevance. Another game I referenced while playing through Battletoads was Earthworm Jim as they share a common ability to make me laugh simply with sight gags and sound effects(I told you, classy stuff).

Another highlight of the game is the soundtrack and sound effects. The level music perfectly fits the rock/metal genre one would expect from a brawler-type game, I found much of it stuck in my head throughout the day after playing. The sound effects in the game are very crisp and crunchy, lending themselves nicely to the genre and overall humor of the game, similar to Rocko’s Modern Life or Earthworm Jim.

There’s so much going on in Battletoads that even those devoid an attention span such as myself found it a bit hard to follow. The game has some quality moments and is a pretty damn good beat ’em up when it wants to be, but often feels as if the game itself couldn’t decide which direction to go. The controls and animations are enjoyable enough despite the overload of on-screen action at times. It’s interesting that both Battletoads and Streets of Rage received sequels after the last entries of each respective series happening well over twenty years ago. Streets of Rage 4, I feel is the overall better game as it’s a little more of a condensed experience that sticks to what it does best while Battletoads is a lighter, slightly more forgiving playthrough with a little bit of everything…and then some. Do I recommend Battletoads? For anyone who grew up during the 90’s and/or has played the previous games, it’s defninitely worth giving a try, especially for those with a Game Pass subscription, where you can currently play both Battletoads and Streets of Rage 4. #NotAGamePassAd

If anyone else has played the game, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Here’s a few more screenshots to showcase the ridiculous amount of stuff thrown at you…thanks for reading!