Halo: The Master Chief Collection • Halo 4: Complete Infinity • 10G • 15.38% of gamers unlocked this

I am officially at the half-way point on Halo 4. Five out of Ten Levels Complete. Infinity was a bit of a frustrating level because there was so many points that forced you to clear-out enemies before you could move on. Eh. Just what you want when you’re trying to rush through for an achievement(!)

I suspect that the novelty in this level is supposed to come through the final stage, where you get to control a ‘Mantis’, which is essentially a mech. I think the market is probably a bit saturated with similar levels, or it certainly is now. Perhaps this level, when it first came out, was innovative for its time, but now I just get angry that I’m not already at the end of the level and aliens aren’t dying quick enough for my liking.

Perhaps that reflects more on me than the game.

While I’m not ‘hating’ my Halo experience, I really do feel like I’m just ticking a box. I don’t know why it developed the cult status it did around Xbox, but I just don’t find the gunplay all that engaging. I’m quietly hoping that Halo 5 gives me something more rapid fire and maybe even some iron sights, but I’m keeping my expectations low on purpose.


Lord of Admirals

Halo: The Master Chief Collection • Halo 4: Activate Terminal 2 on Forerunner • 5G • 13.68% of gamers unlocked this

It really was just a night for doing one level of Halo, which seems to be a good pace. I’m not sure if the levels are fewer and deliberately meatier, or whether that was just my experience of Forerunner, but the Par times seem to be in the 20 minute range now, which indicates to me some intentional gameplay design.

Elsewhere in the gaming sphere, I’ve started looking at what’s needed to be a Streamer. For a bit of fun, I set a couple of idle clickers going on Steam, and broadcasting the game playing itself while I went about my normal day-to-day business. I think it’s still a bit of a pipe dream while I have so much ‘life’ going on around me, but I think it’s good to get a handle on the basics!

Anyway, I’m rapidly approaching midnight and need to get this blog posted. I anticipate some more Halo tomorrow.

A Long Time Ago

Halo: The Master Chief Collection • Halo 4: Play a game of Halo 4 on the 6th of any month • 5G • 12.83% of gamers unlocked this

I am sure I will either learn, or am already supposed to know, the significance of the “6th”, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to log a date-specific achievement in my entry for the day. In fact, what made it even better was it popped as a surprise as I started my Halo 4 journey tonight – talk about timing!

The opening monologue is actually not foreign to me. One of the great surprises in gaming of the last few years was the use of a podcast as a marketing tool in the lead up to Halo 5. The podcast was brilliant, and while I don’t doubt there are a few links into Halo 4 which I’m sure I’ll discover during this play through – it actually spent a lot of time working through John-117’s backstory, part of which is told in the opening seconds of the game. For the record, the podcast was called Hunt the Truth.

I still don’t have the love for Cortana that I think I’m supposed to though. The Master Chief’s infatuation with a small computer AI is borderline creepy, and if people were in love with their Google Home or Amazon Alexa, I would be well within my rights to look at them sideways. In saying that, who knows? Perhaps AI/human love will be looked on as social progression in years to come, and this story will be lauded as a romantic tale.

Today, however, is not that day.

I’ve made it through the first excellent mission and will likely try and get another one done tonight, depending on what time I get the kids to bed and finish another episode of Godless. I’m loving my decision to push through the Halo series though. It feels like a good bucket list item to tick-off.

The Key

Halo: The Master Chief Collection • Halo 3: Complete Cortana • 10G • 13.68% of gamers unlocked this

I’m interested to see if the low completion rate of these Halo 3 achievements has to do with a general lack of take-up of the MCC, or if people just wanted to play the remasters and let the others slide. For a game that is pretty much the lynchpin of Xbox exclusivity, I would have thought it would be a ‘touch’ higher, but at the same time the Xbox loyalists have probably played Halo 3 to death and don’t necessarily need to revisit that universe for the hell of it when there are multiple other, and shinier, versions of it to enjoy.

Tonight it was all about Cortana. Save Cortana. That was the mission, and I did it with many deaths and very little application of effort. In each of the campaign levels there is an achievement for beating the par score, so for the last couple of sessions, I’ve been trying to run through the levels as quick as I can. Alas, it wasn’t to be with this mission. In what seemed to be the bowels of a living ship, I spent a lot of time getting lost – so a speed run wasn’t really on-the-cards tonight. At this stage, I’m simply going for completion. I’m certain I’ve said it before, but the absence of Halo on my ‘Games I’ve Completed’ CV seems unacceptable for a guy writing a blog about earning an Xbox achievement every day.

No great leaps were made in my understanding of the story tonight. I think I blew the living ship up but it was hard to tell – plus I’m completely confused which aliens are bad and which are not. By the time I get to Halo 5, I’m sure it will just be one big happy alien family.

I’m definitely on the home strait now. I think there’s, at most, three levels to go. If I could get a good run at them I’d be able to knock them on the head – but I suspect it’ll be tomorrow at the earliest. Time will tell.


Halo: The Master Chief Collection • Halo 3: Complete The Ark • 10G • 16.02% of gamers unlocked this

There was a story this week that 343 are releasing a new patch for the MCC or something, that made me feel a bit guilty for not having pushed through the Halo series yet. A look at the achievement list shows that I’ve been playing the collection on-and-off since 2015, so I guess it’s time to pull the finger out.

The problem is, I’m fairly lost in the story now. I know I have to kill the Flood and that’s about the sum total of my knowledge, and Cortana is hurt … or stolen? Gah, kill aliens that prompt a red cross hair – that seems to be the best solution, and it’s been working so far.

It’s funny how you can see elements of Destiny in the original Halos. I do miss iron sights though, but I figure when you’re playing a classic you just have to take it as it comes.

Tonight I am considering another Halo level, or back to Diablo III … I’m not really sure. I’m working through the Netflix series, Godless, at the moment, which episodes go for either 40 minutes or an hour-and-a-half, so it kind of dictates how much energy I have to invest in a particular game.

Regardless, I feel like I could do with a good night’s sleep anyway – the last few nights the kids’ have been either awake overnight or up early … give me the strength!

May His Death Satisfy You

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls • Kill Malthael in Hardcore mode • 25G • 3.56% of gamers unlocked this

I spent the time in-between killing Diablo and Malthael doing what I thought was the final challenge for Chapter 2 of the season, but as it turns out, doing a rift on Expert Difficulty didn’t require me to hoard stones and change the rift difficulty on the Obelisk … no, all I had to do was exit the game, increase the difficulty and run a rift.

Anyway, Malthael is dead, and so are my brain cells so I’m turning in for the night. Tomorrow’s challenge? Finally grab that Expert Rift, finish off some content I’ve been preparing for and just be a good dad – push the kids on the swing or something. In reality? Probably something involving Skylanders.

Reign of Terror

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls • Kill Diablo in Hardcore mode • 25G • 3.85% of gamers unlocked this

Finally, a Diablo achievement. I actually thought this would be much harder to get, but when I worked out that levels were scaled in Adventure Mode, I pretty much worked out that I could take Diablo down without too much effort. Turns out I was right. Well … kind of right. I did make an attempt the other day using this strategy and going after Malthael with a hardcore character, but he killed me in spectacular fashion and it was back to the drawing board.

So, this time around I chose a Necromancer, one of the most overpowered options in the game (in my view) and got him up to level 10 using a few quick rift runs and a bounty. More than enough to defeat Diablo in this manner – don’t get me wrong, you still need to pay attention and keep the pressure on him, but it’s quite doable for an hour’s worth of work.

It’s just ticked over 11pm here, so I’m thinking I’ll wait until midnight and then I’m going to make another attempt using my newly minted Necromancer to take down Malthael. It’s either that or he’ll kill another of my characters, but at least tomorrow is Saturday and I’ll have a chance to grab something innocuous as backup.

But for now, I’m just pleased I was able to get a ‘little’ closer to 100%’ing Diablo. I don’t think it will be guaranteed to happen, but it’s certainly a worthy aspiration.

Statue Smasher

Skylanders Trap Team • Chapter 3: Destroy 4 stone Chompy heads • 10G • 18.71% of gamers unlocked this

Sometimes you have to be opportunistic in your achievement hunting – this one came by way of piggy-backing off my son trying out a new Skylander, so I ‘subtly suggested’ that he might like to attempt this level after seeing what achievements I had left on my list.

The trick here is in the variety used to smash the heads. Two of them were done with cannons, and I kept looking around for a third cannon to destroy, but – as it turns out – I just needed to push a block off a cliff instead.

Tonight’s entry is a quick one, because I started it, then got deep into my Diablo III season (Level 68 … so close!) – which is exactly where I’m going back to for a quick rift before bed, so if you’ll excuse me …

Vault-Tec Engineer


Fallout Shelter • Built 50 rooms • 25G • 8.91% of gamers unlocked this

Wow, surprisingly rare achivement today – but considering that Fallout Shelter was one of the earlier titles on PC Xbox, I suppose it’s not all together unsurprising. That, and most people had already fatigued, or committed to a game on another device, likely made for a fairly low player density to begin with.

Not me though. I’m a regular little solider who goes about chasing those Xbox achievements wherever they may lead me … and you know where they led me today? They led me to build 50 rooms in my Vault 69 to earn this 25G.

I think Fallout Shelter is about a perfect a game you can get on PC. It doesn’t draw much graphical intensity, it is accessible (the pursuit of achievements has forced me to stick with it much longer on PC than I did on iOS … which had the delightful side-effect of learning the game), and it’s just a solid little game.

Elsewhere in my gaming life, I hit Level 60 on the latest Diablo III season last night, which doesn’t bring with it any achievement, but it does get me a little closer to Level cap, and in pursuit of chapter two of the season goals. I think I’ve said it before, but it’s a nice-to-have, not a must-have. I’ve already completed chapter one and gotten my wings, so I’m content.

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