Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands • Skydived 10 times • 15G • 35.33% of gamers unlocked this

It’s done. My last ‘in the bank’ achievement, or ‘low hanging fruit’ as I’ve liked to use on this blog, is done. The reason is a little bit sad actually, in that tonight was a training night and the Married at First Sight finale is on, and so after a late dinner and an episode of Shameless I needed something quick and easy to get through so I could get in position for the finale. Oh God … I’ve turned into one of those people.

To be honest, this mad rush could have gone a lot quicker if there was a more simple single player process to be followed in Sea of Thieves. I tried, I really, really tried to make some progress as a Pirate, but I think it is absolutely designed for group play. Que Sera Sera.

Anyway, time to get into the MAFS!


Begin with a BANG


Tom Clancy’s The Division • Access the Tactical Operations Center • 10G • 10.92% of gamers unlocked this

I’ll admit, it took me a while to work my way around the glut of DLC that I got with the season pass. After the ten minutes of downloading all the outfits, I then struggled through working out how and where to access the respective expansion packs.

After a quick Google, I found the necessary mission I needed to complete to trigger access to the new ‘Tactical Operations Center’. The mission itself wasn’t complicated as far as Division missions go, but there was some confusion around the Base of Operations itself. The AR guide that tells you where to go seemed to die a bit while I tried to find the TOC entrance, but I put on my big boy pants and worked it out.

Tomorrow, I’m making a commitment to try and master Sea of Thieves. It’s really not my cup of tea, but it’s the latest ‘next big thing’, and because it’s free with Game Pass, I figure ‘why not?’

Let’s sea(!) what happens …

Highway Bandit


Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands • Tagged 10 convoys • 15G • 28.96% of gamers unlocked this

I’m absolutely loving the variety of Ghost Recon Wildlands, but when I found out how many skills I could unlock following a good haul of resources, I was convinced that I needed to stop my push through the main campaign and start collecting a few widgets throughout the world to build up my character (and ultimately go after Predator).

This morning’s session really just required a few more convoys be intercepted, thanks to already having a few in the bank from earlier gameplay. If you’re not too concerned about getting involved in gunfights, it’s actually fairly easy to knock a vehicle off the road, tag it, and hightail it out of there without too many issues. I’m the kind of guy who plays on easy, so exchanging gunfire with the cartel or the military didn’t really appeal to me – so smash-and-grab it was.

I think, now that I’ve understood the basic mechanics, I’ll be about to line-up a few of the progress or story achievements. From what I can tell, there looks like achievements for dismantling the individual ‘arms’ of the cartel … and I’ve started (seemingly) making good progress through each of them, so I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. I don’t think it’s a today or tomorrow goal, but a ‘soon’ goal nonetheless.

Who knows? I might enjoy Wildlands so much that I end up 100%’ing it…!

What in Tar-Nation?


Super Lucky’s Tale • Fell into a tar pit • 5G • 6.38% of gamers unlocked this

I think I confused my kids by being happy about getting this achievement. I suppose stating that you need to fall off an edge and dive into tar to get an achievement is kind of confusing – the reward for doing normally complicated tasks being diluted with something as silly as this brings me great joy as an adult, but I empathise with the sideways glances and the twenty post-tar pit questions.

The tar pits themselves don’t unlock until about the final third of the third world, so I’ve actually been playing a whole lot of Lucky that didn’t yield an achievement this morning. For instance, I completed every one of the statue move challenges, one of the race challenges, a whole bunch of levels and just general coin collecting today, none of which yielded me an achievement. I mean, it’s all ‘progress’ I guess, but I had hoped for something a bit more substantial a bit earlier on.

I also can see some achievements tied to coin collecting, but other than that – their purpose in the game remains confusing. That being said, I’ll never say ‘no’ to an achievement, so if it gets me a day off I’ll take it.

Last thing I want to mention today is that we’ve booked a weekend away in about a month’s time and I don’t think it’s going to be PC-appropriate … Xbox really need to step up their efforts to get me that iOS Halo port, or some Microsoft Solitaire achievements are going to be desperately needed. I’ll be spending some time in preparation for the weekend, so don’t be surprised to see my account spike with a few heavy sessions on Solitaire. Worse case scenario is that I downgrade an old phone or iPad for Halo, but we’re not quite at that crisis point yet (plus I really wanted to save those achievements for an Indonesian holiday later in the year) – so watch this space.

Access Denied


SUPERHOT • Encountered a disconnection bug • 25G • 62.69% of gamers unlocked this

I actually started the day with a surprise achievement from both Skylanders Trap Team and Super Lucky’s Tale, but in the interests of variety, I decided to use one of the early achievements from the newly-minted Games with Gold title, SUPERHOT.

First of all, I have a long-standing issue with using ALL CAPITALS as a stylistic choice, and I have been known to change it for the purposes of this blog – but I’ve made an exception (for now), noting that I’m not entirely sure what the premise of SUPERHOT is. Am I supposed to use it as a descriptive? Is it a noun? Is it a proper noun, at that? Either way, these are the questions that keep me up at night, so if you’re thinking of twisting the knife into me as a result of your disagreement with my decision to allow the ALL CAPITALS … then don’t.

I’ve been interested in this game ever since I saw it reviewed a while back, and it plays exactly as it reads on the packet. Time moves when you move. What a brilliant, brilliant concept, made even more effective by the minimalist art style they have adopted. I love it, and I can see why it’s been well received by critics.

  • Passive-Aggressive Moment: at least those who I consider critics … other wannabes (cf. outlets) have just tried to adopt the Phil Daoust approach to writing, and tried to spend their whole time attempting wit rather than reviewing SUPERHOT – but that’s another discussion for another time.

Make no mistake about it, I’m keen to push through on SUPERHOT. I’ll be giving it a go later tonight before I head back to Bolivia in Ghost Recon, but this is a good game. The ‘free’ price accompanying my Xbox Gold membership makes it that much better.

Road Warrior


Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands • Drove a vehicle for 100km • 15G • 47.97% of gamers unlocked this

There are some things I can do in Wildlands to delay achievement gratification. One of these is sky diving, with only one jump needed to tick that achievement off – I’ve been sitting on it for a particularly time-poor day. One of the things I can’t ‘not’ get away with, however is driving. So when I saw the achievement was only a good 5-6km away, I figured I might as well double down and grab this one for good measure.

There’s something enormously satisfying about the narrative that Ubisoft have created in Wildlands. I haven’t really been that interested in it so far, but over the past 48 hours, I’ve been watching some of the in-game movies and discussions that are had, and I have to say, this is a story that would make Tom Clancy proud. It’s also one that I think would struggle in any other kind of medium. The Wildlands story is uniquely captured in the chunks relating to each part of the cartel’s hierarchy, and TV or movie lovers would tend to be sucked into an overarching narrative. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I like the ‘monster of the week’ style entertainment – best pioneered by The X-Files – of which I think Wildlands is the closest thing to it I’ve seen in a game.

There’s no real technique applied to earning this achievement. I just drove. My Xbox statistics are putting me in at 17 hours (incidentally, this achievement seems to only be for cars – I have a ‘Travelled Distance’ of 356.57 – and I certainly have not ran the balance!), and that’s playing – as far as I can tell – fairly normally, so it’s a fairly timely achievement I suspect.

Some more Wildlands before bed, and then in pursuit of another achievement tomorrow. I have a good Wildlands feeling about this weekend.

Spice of Life


Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands • Played each type of side mission • 30G • 31.83% of gamers unlocked this

Tonight’s session in Wildlands was all about the fun. Since taking the Quasi-Clancy sandbox as the playground it is supposed to be, I’ve been enjoying it much more than the more serious tactical military sim that I once had in my mind. No, my friends, this is much more Just Cause than Jack Ryan. And the series is that much better for it.

The progress achievements in Wildlands seem to be a bit hit-and-miss. I had ‘closed out’ what I thought were two ‘bosses’ tonight, but I think when they’re viewed in terms of the overall cartel organisational structure, they only form part of a part – that is, they’re too low down to earn themselves an achievement on their own. That’s fine – as I say, I’m having a great time, but in the interests of keeping game momentum up with my daily challenge, I speak purely out of self-interest.

This achievement unlocked at the same time as another – one for unlocking all the rebel skills, which you get for completing side missions, so it seems like this is a bit of a waste – or an easy earn – depending on how you look at it. I put it down as an interesting observation. Either way, I earned that one as well!

No Linux gaming tonight – I’ll save that for the weekend – so I hope that I can mix up my entries for the next couple of days!

With a Pistol!


Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands • Campaign: Took out a sniper with a pistol • 15G • 38.09% of gamers unlocked this

Predator has defeated me … for now. After an hour and a half trying to take him out last night, I decided it was time to move on and resume saving Bolivia from a drug cartel, rather than endlessly run around the same patch of jungle trying to shoot the walking mass of pain.

And so, the journey continues.

I’m kind of disappointed I didn’t give Wildlands a much greater run when it first launched. Now that I’ve kind of worked out it’s formula, I’m having a lot of fun. For instance, a mission that seemed like it would be overly complicated involved entering a base, stealing a prototype boat and extracting it to a CIA safehouse down-river. Instead of stealthily casing the base, and either run-and-gunning it in or creeping my way through the buildings to get to the boat, I found a helicopter, parachuted to the building the boat was in, jumped straight in and high-tailed it out of there while my squad rained fire down on my helicopter and boat pursuers …

… and I loved every minute of it.

This sort of sandbox play is everything that Wildlands promised, but my stubborn streak and lack of patience to experiment with how to play the game has robbed me of what could have been a great few months. Still … better late than never, and it also leaves me with a fairly expansive world to explore with fresh eyes.

Today’s achievement was fairly easy … most outposts have a sniper or two placed around the outskirts of the base, so switching to my pistol – some pirate-esque ornate single-shot beauty – and putting a bullet in the sniper in the tower was easy enough for a quick gameplay session this morning. With achievements out of the way for the day, I’m looking forward to some general tomfoolery in Bolivia when I get a chance later tonight.

Rabbits in a Maze


Super Lucky’s Tale • Retrieved King Bunny’s carrot within the Garlic King’s maze • 40G • 10.79% of gamers unlocked this

Before I begin, I have to say that the description for this achievement sounds like something you concoct out of a night of drunken philosophising around an old table on someone’s back porch. It’s actually one of the simplest achievements you can ever earn, and involves grabbing a carrot and heading to the left of the maze where you can find King Bunny eagerly awaiting his fix of Vitamin C.

I actually started the night off with a bit of Skylanders. I went to Chapter 8 on Trap-Team (don’t ask me what level that is – it’s one with Dream catcher) with the intent of doing some achievement clean-up, but I was blowed if I could find the waterfall area I was supposed to go to, let alone the little gold balls to knock off their platform. I’m not too concerned with any sort of completion of Skylanders, but when I have a chance to play with the kids, I like them to somewhat influence the decision about title.

It just so happens they chose wrong.

With some subtle suggestion, I managed to get them excited about playing some more of Lucky, and after a few levels, we’ve arrived at the final stage of the Vegetable world. Time and inclination got away from us to finish the whole level, but I am certain that it’s only a short replay to get back to where I was earlier.

Tonight I hope to finally capture/kill Predator on Ghost Recon Wildlands, but it’s certainly been a frustrating few hours over the course of the long weekend, and there’s ostensibly no achievement attached to it, so I’m treating this more as a feat. Of course, it could all be for nothing if I have another frustrating night of being shot in the head by an alien, so we’ll see whether it ends in a pleasing victory or a controller through the TV.

Eye in the Sky


Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands • Campaign: Marked 100 enemies with a drone • 15G • 48.93% of gamers unlocked this

The idea of drones when I was growing up was pretty much the realm of science fiction – and I’m still in my thirties! So it goes to show you how quickly a bit of technology has come, not only in terms of fiction, but even as a practical tool of war.

Of course, these little drones are more like what you’d expect to buy at EB Games, rather than Lockheed Martin – and it’s a simple matter of throwing one in the air and moving the camera around a notch as it returns red reticules around bad guys on the battlefield. A lot of the earlier levels give good opportunities to use the drone, so getting 100 targets is actually a reasonably easy affair. It turns out just making sure you use it during each engagement is more than enough to see that number hit 100 after only a few hours playing.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve played Wildlands, but the recent spate of Tom Clancy love from Ubisoft prompted me to give it a whirl this afternoon. Much to my delight, I also had a brief session with the Predator! I thought that this was a time-limited event that I had well-and-truly missed, so I was stoked to see him running the Bolivian jungle with gay abandon. He killed me about three times before I put the controller down and vowed to fight another day, but it’s an excellent addition to the game – and, let’s be honest, a damn good bit of fun.

I think now I’ve worked out how to play Wildlands I might get back into it a bit more. I’m was lost without the guidance to move onto the next mission, but I think it’s a byproduct of just being ‘too’ open world. I discovered as soon as I landed in another area, a dialogue would trigger and open up a few missions and other options for me – so I’ll chip away at it for a little longer and see where I end up. I have to say though, the level design on this game is stunning. Ubisoft have absolutely outdone themselves on this – to the point at which I wonder how well it sold. I’m absolutely glad I decided to go back to it.