Crystal Relic Collector

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Knack • Acquired a Crystal Relic • Bronze Trophy • Rarity 62.9% (Common)

It’s the freakin’ weekend, and do you know what that means? If you guessed housework, and a day out-and-about, then you’re absolutely correct; but if your guess ventured into something about having to entertain the kids when they’ve had a full day of the aforementioned ‘out-and-about’, and they’re eyes are hanging out of their head … then I’m happy to give you a silver medal as well.

What does this all mean? Why, time to fire up the closest friendly family game, of course – and Knack fit the bill. While we’re pretty much tag-teaming the game for the most part, it really is a case of my son playing for a bit, getting killed, and then me having to go back and get through the next chunk until he feels like playing again. Repeat, ad nauseum.

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Even though he still falls over along the way, he’s certainly got the grasp of the game, and he knows when to look in side doors or areas where chests might be. Even though he breezes past a lot of these things while he’s playing, it pleases me that he’s getting a good grasp of side quests. I’ll turn him into a professional gamer yet!

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This trophy is simply for unlocking a particular type of collectible, or ‘relic’ as the game labels them. I noticed that collecting the full set of these crystals appears to be the requirement for unlocking ‘Vampire Knack’, which – perhaps most importantly – is necessary for another trophy entirely! I can’t see myself in the likely multiple playthroughs needed to obtain the full set, but by the same token, I said that a lot about Max and the Curse of Brotherhood, and then I had to keep going back to it to cater to my son’s obsession, and used the time to 100% it. Silver lining and all that.

Tomorrow is pretty much a dedicated family day, so I’m not sure where I’m going to land when it comes to achievements. I still have many of my quick-and-dirty achievements on Steam there to work my way through, which might be a nice change from the more ‘meaty’ stuff I’ve been working on lately. Final Fantasy VII, in particular, is proving particularly taxing on the mind.

I’m not sure if that reflects the game, the twenty years since it’s been out or … more troubling … my mind!

Survivor!

Rayman Origins • Survived a Piranha Pond without a scratch!

I’ve played a lot of Rayman in various forms over the years – but it’s been so on-and-off I haven’t really worked towards a particular trophy. Between different accounts and different games, it’s always been much more of a casual pleasure than on steady rotation, and so when I was playing around tonight and this trophy popped, it seemed like a good a time as any to celebrate.

Ironically, for the hours I’ve put into the game I still don’t consider myself very good! Every time I attempt one of the timed runs (for another one of the little purple creatures) I fall just short or fail miserably. Que Sera, Sera.

Grabbing this trophy frees me up a bit tonight, so I’m thinking a bit more Fortnite or something more shooty bangs on the fixture.

Either way, flexibility is good – as good as a nostalgic walk down memory lane with a good ol’ Vita game to keep you company.

Father and Son

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God of War • Obtain all other trophies

It’s done. Valkyries, Ravens, Artifacts, Mists, Chests, Rifts … well, actually, I think I’m still missing a rift … but either way, the Gods of Trophies have seen it fit to bestow on me the Platinum Trophy for God of War.

In the famous phrase from The Handmaid’s Tale: Praise Be.

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I will be honest … this last, final grind towards 20,000 blood mists was incredibly tedious. I can see why people who ‘don’t care’ about achievements or trophies might just as easily skip over this part. For many of my last few battles, I was facing a steady stream of Wulvers and Trolls, which – while not necessarily difficult – were annoying.

I’ve spent a fair part of my afternoon wondering ‘what’s next?’. I started off with a quick 10 minutes of Dark Souls (not the remaster, just the good ol’ fashioned classic) to see if it floated my boat (it didn’t) before I ended up on Rocket League for a few mindless matches against the best the web could throw at me. I have to say: I loved every minute of it. After the mental drain of a trophy cleanup, sometimes it’s good just to snuggle up with a contemporary classic.

I might treat myself to another few hours of it.

Allfather Blinded

God of War • Kill all of Odin’s Ravens

Tonight started off about collecting all the relics, and finished with a tricky little walk around the Iron Cove and some sneaky axe throwing work to kill the last of Odin’s Ravens.

One trophy to go.

Earning these last few trophies has felt more like relief than satisfaction. Part of this is frustration that I missed or didn’t work more systematically through the game in the first place.

Still, for want of a better cliche: better late than never.

I’m hoping that a solid Friday night session tomorrow might be enough to round-out the GoW trophy hunt, but I’m also conscious that it’s going to be a grind – so, worse case scenario, it might be a weekend job.

Cliche 2: Time will tell.

Treasure Hunter

God of War • Use treasure maps to find all of the dig spots

Look, I’ll be honest – I just wanted to talk about God of War a bit today – because I’ve been putting in the hard yards and I feel like I’ve earned a ‘bit’ of a narrative around my journey to platinum.

First things first – yes, I beat the Valkyrie Queen. Yes, it felt good. And yes, I am officially on ‘the home straight.’

The battle itself was, as expected, tough. Very tough. For all the guides I read and the videos I watched about how to beat her, I ended up essentially doing my own thing and just pressing the fight. It involved a bit of mastery around the relic attacks, and once I spent some time tweaking them to maximise the chance of actually hitting her (one of them, for instance, the ‘spinning axe’ attack, seemed to always fall a touch short) and getting better at dodging her attacks (except the one where she jumps into the air and slams down on top of you … I never quite mastered that), I started to slowly find her health get lower and lower each encounter … to the point at which I actually had her health at zero and then got killed by what must have been a last-minute projectile.

That one, in particular, was almost controller-through-the-TV worthy.

My trophy for this entry, however, is part of my ‘cleanup’, and involved finding three final treasure caches that you are guided to from maps you’ve collected along the journey. My fairly significant exploration of the world had already uncovered all the maps that I needed, and so for the final three steps I had to look up a bit of a guide to see what I might have missed. Sure enough – the caches were just in tricky little spots that I had already explored, but were just off to the side of an area that likely had a battle that caused me to rush through it – or they were ‘just’ aside the main path. In short, there was no big revelation or new area that I discovered while doing this trophy, but it is another milestone on the path to platinum.

So, there’s only a few trophies left. The first is unlocking all the workshop chests, which largely amounts to a bit of grinding. I was tossing up between doing this and killing the Valkyrie Queen, and I have to say – I’m glad I killed the Queen. Now I have the luxury of just killing bad guys and opening chests, and I feel like that is the right level of catharsis that I’m seeking from God of War at this stage.

That is, of course, until they patch in New Game Plus.

First Blood

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XCOM 2 • Complete the tactical tutorial

After a great deal of frustration both trying to kill the Valkyrie Queen in God of War, as well as tidy up the ravens and collectibles and the whole swatch of things I need to do in order to finish Kratos’ journey, I felt like a bit of respite from Norse mythology and a bit more, well, ‘shooty bangs’.

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I am a huge fan of the original XCOM, and while I absolutely admit that I have never finished the first game – I’ve certainly sunk a lot of time and effort into it. I think I’ve probably gotten ‘quite close’ to the ending on either the original PS3 version, or Xbox (I can’t remember which platform – but I do remember getting to one of the climactic narrative beats in the story), and I think the team at Firaxis have done a great job of bringing both old hands and new players into the franchise.

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I’m a couple of levels in so far, but this trophy is for basically completing the tutorial – which had similar themes to the original XCOM: Main characters dying and a nice mix of scene-setting.

And aliens. I do love me some aliens.

Why Fight It?

God of War • Fully upgrade the Blades of Chaos

It’s been a long time since I’ve been awake at 2am playing video games, and yet – here we are! Tonight I was able to take down my eighth and penultimate Valkyrie, but after a few attempts at the Queen – I felt it best to maybe side with the trophy that I had already earned, rather than the aspiration. I think it will take some patience, a quiet, kid-free period of time, an empty bladder and a sprinkle of luck to finally beat her, but on consulting with my Dark Souls’ speed running mate who takes pride in smashing big, difficult bosses – who gave up after three attempts – I’m feeling like I made a good call.

This trophy in and of itself isn’t a throwaway one though – I’ve had a long stint of not having my Blades of Chaos fully upgraded, and I have to say – it felt kind of weird at this point in the game. I am a fully upgraded, well-equipped killing machine, but for a long time I haven’t had the right materials to tip me over the edge to Level 5 Blades. Well, it seems Brok and Sindri came good – and it turned out that the necessary resources were now just available to buy! Whatever it was I needed (memory fails me), I know that I needed some resources from Muspelheim to trade – so it seems like completing the Trials was a good decision.

For the rest of today, I’d like to see what I can sort out in the home PC. There’s a whole decade’s worth of Steam games that I need to start working through! (And then I might be able to start on my EA Origin, Uplay, GOG, etc.)

Dangerous Skies

God of War • Free all of the Dragons

Another episode of Kratos and Son tonight, and – as promised – thus concludes the third and final dragon free from both the metaphoric and literal constraints of Norse mythological life.

I have actually already free’d this dragon as part of my first God of War playthrough on my other PSN account, which made finding the shrines and releasing him a touch easier this time around.

Much of my effort now has concentrated on cleaning up small tasks like killing Odin’s ravens and finishing up the odd task still on the to-do list. Given enough time, and a good walkthrough – anything is possible.

And I’ve already found plenty of good walkthroughs!

Fire and Brimstone

God of War • Complete all the Trials of Muspelheim

Well, that was exactly as satisfying as I thought it would be. It was these trials which first seeded doubt in my mind that I’d ever get around to obtaining platinum on God of War, but a bit of patience, a lot of skill and just a sprinkle of luck got me through in the end.

The hardest part was largely the final stage of the trials, where you have to obtain three keys in order to get to the endless wave stage of the trial. The final stage itself was quite easy – it seems like you only need about fifty kills to finish it off (I got between 75-80), which makes the final battle kind of a catharsis following some of the most fiddly encounters of the game so far (second, perhaps, only to the Valkyries).

I didn’t stop there though, ending up with another trophy for my efforts in completing all the Dwarven favours. The final favour also doubled as a mechanism to free one of the three dragons in the game – so a quick guide and a bit of a session tomorrow should see me knock that trophy on the head too.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. This is a great, great game.

Sticky Start

Super Exploding Zoo! • Collect your first sticker!

And so it begins. The start of a new financial year, and my effort to broaden my horizons. I have deliberately gone with something non-Xbox for the day. In truth, this actually worked quite well considering I’ve spent most of the day out of the house – and so I managed to find something ‘new’ in my Vita library and fiddle around with it for a bit to grab a trophy.

I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing in Super Exploding Zoo! but I suspect it has more to do with just blowing animals up than any real strategy. I’ll experiment a little more over the next couple of days and see if I can work it out.

For now though, I have a shocking headache and all signs point to something viral, so it’s an early night and sleep for me.

Thank God for portable gaming!