Back(log) to the Front: Weeks 44 and 45

We draw ever closer to the LHG shakeup. A few more weeks and all will be made clear.

Until then, another bit of backlog! And then Thanksgiving! November will be over before you know it, but hopefully it leaves you more thankful than some of what I played this week.

Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back

This is a bad game. I couldn’t bring myself to finish it though I’m thinking I made it halfway through in my short playtime? I don’t even know what possessed me to give it a shot, but I gave one regardless.

Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back is a dull platform with little challenge and a collectathon mentality that serves no purpose. Each level includes balls of wool to collect though I’m not sure why other than an arbitrary goal to accomplish. Nothing appears to require said wool as levels continued to unlock whether I reached out for every colored wool or rushed through as quick as possible.

Rushing through is exactly what you’ll want to do too. Bubsy has moves at his disposal such as climbing up certain terrain found on vertical angles, an extra jump height that turns into a glide, and an awkward pounce forward to break through collapsible walls or kill enemies though I found myself timing it terribly. None of these things are used particularly well and ths level design boasts nothing exciting to see.

I only saw two boss encounters, both of which were UFO ships in which you have to jump on the clear top a few times. No clue if you fight them again, and I have no desire to find out. Don’t worry though, they’ll toss out wool after a hit or two in case you were missing the excitement of gathering more of those.

I’m left wondering why this game was made truthfully. Were they trying to capitalize on the mascot popularity that resurged because of Yooka Laylee, Spyro, and Crash Bandicoot? If so, it would have been best to keep Bubsy at bay. Nobody was asking for it, and I’m not sure anyone who will enjoy playing it.

Assassin’s Creed Freedom Cry

I used to love Assassin’s Creed games. Recent iterations though, I found myself lacking the ability to care. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was the last one I saw through to the end, so I figured it was time I went back and played the stand alone dlc sequel.

It was…ok? Much more bite-sized which didn’t allow for characters to breathe adequately and a story that could have been great ultimately fall flat. The villain is barely a character and the motivation for slavery is about as one-note as they come. Still, playing as the black protagonist Adewale (former slave to boot) is appreciated although I wish it was in a game a bit more fleshed out.

Naval combat is forced into the game to make it comparable to Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. It plays similarly in both controls and mechanics but plays a far less integral role in the game. Even the activities to do in the world are similar from harpooning to finding treasure. None of it really impacts anything and isn’t necessary at all though. Very much added because they could and gives more to do in an otherwise barebones experience.

Amongst all of that, it still feels mostly good to be an assassin. The town of Port-au-Prince is pretty small with a larger area around it connected by paths. Running around the town causes what I remember being a frustrating endeavour thanks to crowds of people and tight spaces causing Adewale to stumble around or bump into walls frequently.

The most fun in this game are the plantations where Adewale must free slaves. It’s an open location with plenty of hiding spots allowing the player to sneak around and assassinate a multitude of enemies. A wrong step may lead to the murder of slaves, but it’s easy enough to avoid that and is the best stealth sections in Assassin’s Creed Freedom Cry.

Despite the enjoyment I had dipping back into an Assassin’s Creed game, I’m still hesitant about trying to get invested again. Freedom Cry was short enough to not be a chore, but I don’t know if my focus will be there for the potentially mundane tasks the larger games may require of me. The itch is still there for Assassin’s Creed, it just depends on how big of a backscratcher I need to satisfy it.

LEGO DC Super-Villains

While the world worships Marvel, I am and always have been a DC boy. So every time a new LEGO game comes out with the DC heroes (or in this case villains), it’s inevitable that I’m going to give it a shot.

I’m glad I do. While these games aren’t complicated and aimed towards younger audiences, I always enjoy them. Not only because of deep pulls you may see as characters or winking nods around the open world, but because as opposed to Bubsy, the collectables here are fun to obtain through destruction and can be used to unlock things. Let’s face it though, it’s not something I want to play all the time though.

LEGO DC Super-Villains is a slightly altered take of the Forever Evil storyline several years back. The Cri..*ahem* Justice Syndicate arrive on Earth and quickly make the Justice League disappear. However, Harley Quinn was able to see that they were responsible. She takes it upon herself to reveal to the world that these new “heroes” aren’t what they make themselves out to be and seeks aid from other villains to take their world back…for their own selfish reasons of course.

One thing I appreciate is the voice casting in these games. They oftentimes try to bring back classic voices such as Kevin Conroy as Batman, Mark Hamill as Joker, Michael Ironside as Darkseid, and more. It’s always a nice touch of nostalgia in a game ripe with fandom.

Unfortunately this game isn’t without its faults. I noticed a number of problems with this game, moreso than past iterations, including being locked out of progression due to characters stuck behind walls or crashing out of the game entirely. It’s a bummer when these happens, especially near the end of levels requiring fresh starts from the very beginning of the mission.

Every new article is one step closer to the end of my backlog series. Honestly…I can’t wait. Once it’s done, I’ll explain why as a roundup piece on it. Who knows, this may be my last backlog article since Pokemon drops later this week. Sorry folks, but I gotta catch ’em all.