And All Were Happy

Xbox

The Wolf Among Us • Completed Episode 4: “In Sheep’s Clothing” • 40G • 35.19% of gamers unlocked this

Another achievement from The Wolf Among Us today, which is also the concluding achievement from Episode 4, culminating in a face-to-face with the Crooked Man. I don’t want to labour the point about Wolfy too much, because I think by this point you get the drift – these Telltale games are my fallback achievements when I have other distractions on my mind … which leads me to what I think I want to talk about today. I’ll call it the PlayStation Pull.

I talked about the pull at the start of this challenge, and from time-to-time I’ve touched on my love-hate relationship with Sony and PlayStation in various posts. Long story short: love the product, hate the service. But considering that is where most of my friends play, the ease of sharing content, as well as the few AAA exclusives, both released and on-the-horizon are more in-line with what I want to play (cf. Sea of Thieves or Dead Rising), then on-paper it seems like a no brainer.

For instance, last night I started reinstalling Destiny 2 on PlayStation, ready to launch into a new campaign with a PlayStation character (on my preferred account – I’ve already made a ‘bit’ of progress on my other account), but considering there was a hefty download required, I thought I’d play a bit of Rocket League to pass the time. The thing about Rocket League is that so much of its prestige is tied to your history – your level/rank, your unlocks, everything. And with that in mind, my now-default account is less-than-impressive when it comes to anything in Rocket League. When I loaded it up though, I began to feel it … that sick feeling in my stomach that hints of Xbox betrayal, mixed with a bit of anger that Sony continue to baulk at the suggestion of cross-play. Then I get angry that I can’t change my PSN username. Then I get angry about everything else that Sony are doing wrong with their platform. It then ends up with me turning off the PlayStation, defeated, and turning on the Xbox as I play a game that, yes, I love, but feel somewhat alone-in-the-wilderness as I look at the other console under my TV and switch back into grass-is-greener mode.

It is this feeling which I call the Playstation Pull, and – as you can see – it’s incredibly cyclical and is probably less-than-a-healthy attitude to take towards gaming. This is also how I ended up switching-gears last time I attempted this challenge, but I feel like I’m so close to the end now that I’ll be able to see it through – and then I’ll be a little more open to the flights and fancies of PC or PlayStation or Xbox or iOS or whatever game takes my mood at the time. Part of this whole exercise though was as much about making the commitment to one platform for an entire year as it was chronicling the experience, so I’m keen to see the light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel, but (I’m sure I’ve mentioned before) I’m also keeping potential 2018-19 challenges in the back of my mind as a possibility.

The thought of a trophy-a-day certainly appeals, and would be somewhat easier with a whole library of Vita games essentially untapped on my go-to PlayStation account, but I also worry about that guilt/anger/sick feeling as the challenge goes on. Perhaps the flexibility of ‘any’ achievement a day would still serve me better. Who knows?

I still have a month or two left to settle on where I want to guide my gaming passion for the next year, but I feel like this is a good a time as any to try and get a few thoughts down about how PlayStation make me feel as the emotions from last night are still able to be articulated in a way that makes some sense.

It’s not a good thing. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just a thing. Perhaps it will pass as my achievement list grows on my new account. Perhaps Sony will pull-their-finger-out and list a whole new raft of improvements to their platform(s) as part of E3.

Either way, despite my negative feelings, I feel like I’ll be playing some more PlayStation this year.

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Race Winner

Xbox

Split/Second • Win your first Race event • 10G • 66.34% of gamers unlocked this

As promised, here is an achievement for winning my first race in Split/Second. I actually replayed the first race that I played yesterday when I earned my few achievements for using my powers, but this time I changed car up to one with a little worse handling traded-off for more speed.

Turns out that was the right decision.

Truth be told, right up until the last minute I fully expected to come third place again. A well timed application of my powers and, simply, not crashing, saw me cross the finish line in first and grab this achievement – but it was the metaphoric nail-biter right up until the end. I’m not sure where this falls on the spectrum of ‘Ben is useless at racing games’ vs. ‘inherent difficulty’, but I suspect that there is a strong argument for learning how to balance the powers out better in order to gain the advantage. There’s also scope to master drifting (the best method for increasing your power) a bit better as well.

Needless to say, there’s just all-encompassing room for growth.

I Have The Power

Xbox

Split/Second • Trigger your first Level 2 Power Play • 5G • 59.47% of gamers unlocked this

There’s an old office joke that usually does the rounds whenever anyone returns from holiday, and it is, simply, that the person who has just been on leave states that they need to come ‘back to work for a rest.’

Ha. Ha.

Of course, that’s exactly what I feel like – having spent the best part of 6-7 hours driving a car today, my back feels like it’s about to crumble underneath me while my eyelids are heavy and willing me to go to sleep. So, of course, it seems fitting that I take my passion for motor vehicles and play a game that involves, apparently, blowing them up.

Truth be told, I’m not quite sure what Split/Second is yet, I can’t work out if there’s some thematic ‘you’re making a movie, kid’ narrative behind everything, or if it’s just a series of isolated events – whatever it is, the first few games I played tonight essentially amounted to … well, a race. There are some power ups and stuff, sure, but the gist of the exercise was to get around the track faster than everyone else.

I didn’t, and came in third.

Nonetheless, it was enough for me to try a few power ups during the level, and unlock a few achievements. I suspect I would have unlocked a few more if I had of won, but there’s always tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that (etc.) to try!

Icons of History

Xbox

Age of Empires: Castle Siege • Unlocked any 6 heroes • 50G • 15.19% of gamers unlocked this

As promised, I went with a Castle Siege achievement today. I thought I might be able to keep this one in my back pocket and grab an iOS Minecraft achievement, but the closest thing that was on offer appeared to be was creating an enchantment table – and after a hunt around a Minecraft Wiki, I knew I was nowhere near assembling a table without some serious hand holding and, if I was lucky, a pre-prepared, achievement-specific world.

This achievement cost me a bit of in-game currency, which was fine – I still had some leftover from upgrading my archery tower last time I needed an emergency achievement, and in the meantime I have another three heroes to experiment with in-battle (I’d already unlocked a few others).

Right now, though? I’m enjoying a local beer from the Bright Brewery (for international readers, that’s in Bright, Victoria, Australia – at the foot of the Alpine region, and the gateway to our snowfields) and I plan on enjoying a few more before the night’s over. I very much doubt there’ll be any more achievements today.

Except, perhaps, in Untappd.

Looking Good!

Xbox

Injustice: Gods Among Us • Equip a new Character Portrait • 5G • 31.06% of gamers unlocked this

I knew I had a quickie left over on Injustice: Gods Among Men. I needed to get up and get going this morning, spending the weekend away means that I had to find a five minute achievement.

And this is it! A quick achievement and a quick entry!

Cleric Beast

PlayStation

Bloodborne • Defeat Cleric Beast • Bronze Trophy • Rarity 51.6% (Common)

Look, I wasn’t going to bother with another blog entry today, but I was so pleased with finally getting ‘something’ on the trophy board that this seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up.

I am uncertain if I’ve talked about my success, or serious lack thereof, in the Dark Souls series, so I’m expecting an incredibly slow burn when it comes to Bloodborne. The Cleric Beast is essentially the first boss that you encounter in the game, and my previous attempts has whittled him down to about a half to two-thirds health. Tonight, I decided to try and invoke a bit of help and I rang a small bell that invites other players into your game.

And along came Harold.

Harold was obviously a seasoned player. He darted around the opening stages of the game with ease, and while he essentially tanked some of the bad guys – the werewolves in particular – I was able to get a few good blows in from behind and finish them off. It was a match made in heaven.

I’m sure some purists would like to have a dig at me for not beating the Cleric Beast on my own. I sent a message to a mate (who thrives on smashing through solo – and getting a platinum – on the Dark Souls games), who made a point of sending me a disappointed silence (literally, a text message that read “…”) when I said I asked for help. I don’t really have any counter-argument, it is what it is … and you know what? I don’t really care either. If it lets me push on and enjoy the game a bit more, so be it … I’ll keep on calling for help as the need arises.

And thus, my three day weekend begins! What a great way to kick it off!

New Game in Town

Xbox

Batman: The Enemy Within • Completed Chapter 2 of Episode 1 • 20G • 56.49% of gamers unlocked this

I have been married ten years today, which means that I’ll be hard-pressed to convince the family that I can spend the evening playing Xbox, and so I thought it best to get an achievement out of the way before I got caught up in the celebration. It’s also the reason that I’ll have to be a bit ‘innovative’ with my achievement earning over the weekend. I’ve checked my Age of Empires on iOS and I think I should be alright, even if I need to buy some in-game currency just to get me over the line – I’ll make it work. Now I just have to hope that I have phone reception where we’re going as well!

A special day requires a special game – and what could be more special than the Batman? While I would actually like to sit down and binge on Telltale’s Batman sequel, the pacing of this game has nothing to do with me stringing out achievements, but rather a case of wedging it into an otherwise chaotic day.

This chapter was largely about solving Riddler’s first puzzle, which – spoiler alert – Batman, or Bruce, does (with my help) fairly easily. It is also our first introduction to Telltale’s Amanda Waller, which should be interesting to see given that Telltale did such a fantastic job using Vicki Vale to great impact last season. I enjoyed their characterisation of Waller during this first introduction – I’ll be curious to see where it ends up. For the record, my favourite incarnation of Waller is in CW’s Arrow, but this version is more in-line with the comics.

And on that note, I’ll grapple out of here as well. I sense another chapter in the morning before I hit the road, but there’s a lot of balls in the air to juggle so I’ll see where they land before I commit.

Or perhaps it’s a sign that I need an Alfred of my own.

Squareboy vs Bullies

PlayStation

Squareboy vs Bullies • Defeat all the Bullies • Platinum Trophy • Rarity 82.2% (Common)

Another game that has a problem reigning in their capital letters. Well, sorry Rohan, but I’m going to have to override your decision this time. But all-in-all, thanks for the game!

I think that this concludes the list of games I had on my cheap-and-easy-to-platinum-in-a-couple-of-hours list, so I’ll be back to Hatoful Boyfriend and Hitman GO soon enough. It’s been a welcome taster back into the world of PlayStation, so much so that I even listened to the Blogcast for the first time in a long time this morning on the way into work. Hearing Justin Massongill talk about loading up his Vita with Persona 5 and making an effort to grab a platinum took me back to my own commuting days – many of my platinums on my old account came from the LEGO series during my daily hour-long commute (both ways). Others on the train had their Nintendo DS or their phone – but I lauded over them all with my Vita, knowing full-well that I was earning myself some PlayStation trophies while they did nothing to build evidence of their gaming career. It’s petty, I know – but that’s kind of the whole point when I’ve made my blog out of earning an achievement a day, no?

One thing that is concerning / bothering me about playing on my Vita is that somewhere along the line I seem to have a drifting left stick. What that means is, essentially, that it steers everything ‘up’, like I was pushing on the stick … and without the luxury of just being able to switch it out with another controller, I’m left either suffering in silence, or starting the hunt for a second-hand (or new?) unit. I’m opting for the ‘suffer in silence’ bit for now … as long as I can turn the device on and get to some games, I can deal with correcting the drift every now-and-then, but I did have a few moments where it caused me some grief during Squareboy. It’s also caused me to run into trouble a few times while playing Hotline Miami … something that I thought was my own fault for grazing the touchpad or similar, but it turns out, no – that six year old piece of hardware is probably at the beginning of the end … or at the very least, the end of the beginning.

Staying with PlayStation, I didn’t get a chance to do any more Bloodborne last night – instead opting for my quick Xbox achievement an an early(ish) night. Not that it really helped, I’m still absolutely exhausted today, but I have a three-day weekend coming up so I’m hoping that will be a good chance to recharge the batteries …

… and play the Vita.

Man Made

Xbox

Portal Knights • Craft your first item • 15G • 62.22% of gamers unlocked this

I’ll be honest, this was a bit of an opportunistic grab as my wife jumped in the shower, my son wanted to play a game and I wanted to earn an achievement in the small space of 10 minutes between me arriving home from work and needing to leave for personal training.

Mission accomplished.

I skipped through all the guff at the start and I started looking at the achievement list to see what was possible. I couldn’t see anything off-hand, so I followed the tutorial prompts on screen as best I could – sure enough, this was the first achievement that unlocked, and with that I had grabbed my keys and was out the door. Not before making sure my son switched back to his own account first, of course.

With that in mind, I don’t feel like I’m well-positioned to give any great insight or assessment into Portal Knights. I think it’s something Minecraft-esque with its crafting and stuff, but I can’t really be sure without giving it a much more detailed go.

And, to be frank, I don’t think I’d be rushing to give it anything other than a ‘go’ – sans detailed – if my son hadn’t convinced me.

Anyway, it did it’s job for today, and for that I’m grateful.

This baby sure can pack a punch

Xbox

Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition • You have acquired Eryx • 20G • 36.45% of gamers unlocked this

Ah, Xbox. I haven’t forgotten you. Tonight was essentially an opportunistic chance to tidy up ‘something’ from the library, and Devil May Cry seemed like a good opportunity to grab a meaty achievement without feeling like I was either calling-it-in or spending all night grinding.

Tonight’s mission was largely around defeating a Succubus, which was an amazing creation in the DmC universe. It’s big, it’s ugly, and it has some of the best dialogue I’ve seen for a while … faint echoes of Duke Nukem.

At the end of the level, you unlock gauntlets for Dante which I don’t recall ever being part of his arsenal, but it’s a brave new world and variety is the spice of life, so I’m open to trying a new weapon to kill bad guys. I suspect that the big gaps between play sessions will likely cause me to forget that I even earned this achievement, but I’ll soon learn … I hope.

Thus concludes today’s gaming. Two platinum PlayStation trophies, a few levels of my beloved clickers and an Xbox achievement to round-out the day.

All that’s missing is a pay check for all that effort!