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Chris Kavan's Video Game Reviews (496)

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Victor Vran 3/5
Katamari Damacy REROLL 4/5
SIMULACRA 3/5
Hitman: Absolution 3.5/5
Alternativa 2.5/5
Stardew Valley 4/5
Undertale 4/5
Cyberpunk 2077 3/5
Fable Anniversary 3/5
Strange Brigade 4/5
Satellite Reign 3/5
Watch Dogs 2 4/5
Divinity: Original Sin 2 4.5/5
Marvel: Ultimate Allian... 3/5
Star Trek: Bridge Crew 3/5
Metro 2033 3.5/5
South Park: The Fractur... 4/5
Sundered 3.5/5
Mass Effect: Andromeda 3.5/5
Life is Strange: Before... 4/5
God of War 4/5
Doom (2016) 3.5/5
Armada 3.5/5
Detroit: Become Human 4/5
Destiny 2 4/5

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Battletoads (2020)   PC (Steam) 

WTFtoads    2/5 stars

It seems that nostalgia is a driving force behind a lot of things these days - televisions series, film and, yes, video games. For those who grew up in the days of NES, Battletoads was a game that most people would have at least heard of - if mainly for the reasons that its third level riding side-scrolling bikes was nigh impossible to beat. A few more attempts were made with the franchise before it was largely forgotten. That is until 2020 when Microsoft suddently remembered everything old was gold again and revived the Rare property of Battletoads back from the dead. Given the result, however, they probably should have just left it buried.

Looks and Stuff: Probably the best part of the game is how it looks - even if it leans a bit too much to the cartooney side of things. Still, solid animation in both the game and cut-scenes make this fun to look at and with fully voiced characters and a decent soundtrack, also pretty nice to listen to as well. Each of the three main Battletoads has a bevy of attacks that take of the form of some super random transformations but it's quite fun, even if half the time you don't line up your attacks right. Also, you have a random taunt ability that never seemed to do anything other than making you sit there like a transformed lump and get a hearty beat down. Enemies are also rather colorful - even if most of them are also super random alien things. Boss battles can get interesting as well, although the game tries too hard to throw everything to see what sticks (see gameplay below) - hint - not much does. The game also featured no bugs or crashes, so it has that going for it as well.

Story: The opening level has you thinking the Battletoads are riding high, heroes of the highest order across the galaxy only to have the story crash down when it's revealed the 'toads have been stuck in a virtual reality simulation for the past several decades and far from being any kind of hero celebrities are pretty much... nobodies. This makes them a bit unhappy and after escaping their mundane new lives (presented in the form of some interesting mini-games from hammering a keyboard to signing autographs for someone else), the 'toads set off to make an actual name for themselves by deciding to track down old arch-enemy The Dark Queen and saving the galaxy from her once again. But this also doesn't work out as the Dark Queen turns out to be more of a reluctant ally - still evil, but up against something even more sinister - Modern Art! Okay, not exactly, though the two main enemies do look like bad paintings and might be gay? In any case, they rule over everything and anyone that gets in their way meets an untimely end. In order ton neutralize this threat the 'toads will have to do a lot of stuff - and not much of it makes a lick of sense - and they are all kind of jerks along the way. In fact, it's hard to root for anyone in this entire story.

Gameplay: Those hoping for a beat 'em up with the requisite biking levels get that - but also get: schmups, annoying mini-games, a Celeste-lite platformer and, everyone's most bestest favorite: quicktime events! While the game starts off as what I expected - beating up random enemies and utilizing combos, it soon adds in more random stuff - different attacks for certain enemies - before taking the seconds half of the game and just deciding - eh, we'll just do whatever and hope people like it. Guess what? Sane people will not like it. I also hated the mechanic that made you jump from one section of a level to another, as I was constantly hitting the wrong button. And, yes, there are multiple biking level - not side-scrolling this time - but still super annoying. And while there are checkpoints this time - and it's not quite as punishing - they are still not fun at all. But it's just the jarring randomness you have to go through - an arcade SCHMUP does not belong here. A series of Warioware-like mini-games does not belong here (especially when you have to do several in a row and quickly to advance). I actually though the 2D platforming section was kind of nice - but still, it really DOES NOT BELONG IN THIS GAME. I have no idea what was going on but it left me scratching my head and wanting to just give it up - but we managed to tough through to the end.

Replay: I mean, if you really want to get all those collectibles - go for it! But since many of the levels are a slog - and the game can't figure out what it even wants to be most of the time - I don't know anyone in their right mind who would WANT to go back and play again.

Final Verdict: Not even nostalgia can save the stinking carcass of this attempted resurrection.

Presentation: 3/5
Story: 2/5
Gameplay: 2/5
Replay: 2/5
Overall (not an average): 2/5

 

 


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