Riddle Me This

Xbox

Batman: The Enemy Within • Completed Chapter 6 of Episode 1 • 100G • 52.28% of gamers unlocked this

Today very nearly threatened to derail my streak. With a little over a month to go, the whole thing nearly came crashing to the ground when I tried to squeeze in a quick game of something over breakfast, and was met with a sign in error as I turned on my console.

Panic Stations!

‘It’s OK,’ I figured, ‘I’ll be able to grab a passive Windows achievement when I get to the office,’ but sure enough, the sign in error was ubiquitous to the Xbox network, and I was left a bit ‘on edge’ that it wouldn’t be working tonight. The status page showed a sea of red, and coupled with some major network outages from Telstra this morning, we were plunged into a world without technology – a terrifying thought for a digital native!

Sure enough, a bunch of very smart people fixed the problem and allowed me some game time tonight once the kids were fed and showered. I wasn’t really in the mood for anything other than God of War (I still have hopes of finishing it tonight!), so I went with Batman instead. Of course, I’m a terrible time manager, and a few minutes ended up turning into the end of the Episode (and what an ending!), and so I’ve got a nice clean starting point from where to pickup from.

There’s quite a few E3 rumours doing the rounds at the moment, which is going a long way towards spoiling any surprises on the day (like the last few years). There’s a couple of rumoured titles (on top of the semi-confirmed Splinter Cell and Just Cause 4 announcements) that get me excited. Specifically the World of Warcraft: PS4 Edition, and Diablo IV – neither of which have been confirmed, but they get my juices flowing. Time will tell – and it’s almost a certainty – whether I have uncharacteristically set my expectations too high, but even if these titles never eventuate – I want to add my little voice to the internet echo chamber to let the publishers know that I want them to happen.

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Till Death Do Us Part

Xbox

Tales from the Borderlands • Complete Chapter 2 of Episode 2 • 20G • 25.54% of gamers unlocked this

My journey into a weekend of being in pain and miserable continues, though I have a heatpack stuck (literally) to my back and I’m still popping pills, though I have tried easing off them over the course of the day. I figure there’s a balance between recovery and being in pain that I need to find – but mostly it’s about making sure I don’t turn into a horrible monster for my family.

Of course, the trade-off of using painkillers is that they make you drowsy, and so this afternoon’s session on Tales from the Borderlands was done as my eyelids got heavy and my head started to nod. Yes, I’m happy to admit that I fell asleep for about twenty minutes – just enough to keep me going for the afternoon, but I don’t think I’ll be in a position to repeat last night’s midnight gaming session-plus-overnight-with-the-toddler event, which happens from time-to-time, it’s all part of being a parent, but if the kids could time their annoyances to better days of the week, I’d be ever so much more grateful. So would be REM sleep cycle.

Of course, I didn’t spend the entirety of today’s gaming asleep – there were some decisions to be made. What did irk me a little was that I had to repeat a few sections of the game to get back up to where I was at last time. I remember this about earlier Telltale games, the ‘save’ feature isn’t actually for progress – quite often you’ll be past a save point or two, but if you turn off your game and then go back to it, you’ll find yourself twenty minutes earlier than where you thought you were. I’m not sure what exactly the game is saving – some of the Telltale games (and I’m thinking The Wolf Among Us) have other out-of-game things to collect (in this example, the Book of Fables), and a save makes sense there, but just kicking you back for the hell of it? No, that’s just annoying. I don’t think it’s a big an issue in later games, which means – I suspect – that it’s either been resolved at the Telltale Engine level, or there are a couple of project leads developing games that have made a conscious decision to make save points actually save the game.

Either way, I am happy with the progress.

Tomorrow it’s back to a weekday, which means I’m going to have an attempt at gaming with a bad back and a full day of work – but I think I’ll be able to get it done without too many issues.

Thank God grumpy, pain-fuelled barbs don’t translate to text very well.

Overcooked

Xbox

Overcooked • Extinguish a burning kitchen • 50G • 74.06% of gamers unlocked this

You don’t often get a titular achievement so early in a game – they’re often reserved for the Xbox equivalent of a Platinum, or certainly for something far more significant than today’s achievement which is issued for, well, stuffing up. When I saw this achievement in the list I figured that I’d get it sooner or later, and then almost instantly I burned some soup on a pirate ship, and then had to rush to work out how to put out the fire.

The net result was two achievements and the completion of the level a few minutes later.

I remember Greg Miller talking quite a bit about Overcooked back in his prime podcasting days, but since Colin Moriarty left him to go and try his hand at being a right wing pundit (let’s face it, in the American political climate it’s actually quite enterprising), then I’ve pretty much missed anything that Kinda Funny produces. Nonetheless, the fact that it rings so prominent in my mind makes whatever product placement money that they paid to the Kinda Funny team (if any) probably worth it, even after all these years it’s encouraged me to give it a go, and give it a go I did.

Will I keep playing though? Emphatically ‘no’, but I want to explain why. I don’t think this is a good game for Xbox. Vita? Perhaps. Mobile? Yes. But peak loungeroom console gaming, I think not. In saying that, there is considerable scope for couch coop and multiplayer options, so in those instances, it could be worth a shot … but I think there’s more fun to be had passing the controller from friend-to-friend in a single player game rather than just play couch coop for the hell of it.

But, as they say, d’frent strokes …

Coach Palmer’s Pride

Xbox

Laser League • Completed the Tutorial • 10G • 24.83% of gamers unlocked this

I was hoping for a bit more of a meatier achievement from the latest addition to the Xbox Game Pass, but after an inordinate amount of time waiting to get into an online game, I ended up just working my way through the tutorial just to make ‘some’ progress in an otherwise vanilla kind of game.

I don’t mean that as a cruel criticism of the game – I can see it’s potential – but without the online community behind it, it is doomed for a life of mediocrity and eventual shelving. Hell, even Cliff Bleszinski couldn’t get an online game going, so I suspect that a relatively unknown title is going to need a lot more to get over the line.

I have spent much of the afternoon about to fall asleep thanks to a combination of painkillers and a 4am child waking me up ‘for a drink’ so I’m about 30 seconds away from collapsing into bed and I am absolutely OK with that.

What A Beauty!

Xbox

Dovetail Games Euro Fishing • Caught your first fish • 25G • 74.18% of gamers unlocked this

I felt like playing something a bit ‘different’ this morning, and while I’m still a bit bitter and twisted about my bad back-slash-hip, a calmer game seemed appropriate. Thanks to Game Pass, a spot of fishing was in order.

For starters, I just want to put this out there: I am not a fan of fishing. I grew up in a household where we ate a lot of fish, and did a lot of fishing. I get incredibly sea sick, and I bore easily – so all variations of fishing make me irritable. Last time I went fishing it was to a trout farm near Bright, where I was taught how to stun a trout after catching it so that it died a somewhat humane death. Well, I tried that approach, and the thing was still moving after multiple bludgeons, so much so that it was still wriggling when we took it to the man for cleaning, where he promptly gave it a knock on the head, and it stopped moving straight away.

That was nearly five years ago … I haven’t touched a rod since.

So, the digital variety of fishing seems much more up my alley. Even my player character has a T-Shirt that speaks about the value of ‘research’, so catch and release is absolutely my kind of fishing. This first fish itself was fairly easy to catch … it all forms part of the tutorial really, so this was a bit of a no-brainer, but the tutorial itself gave a pretty good indication as to how the rest of the game would run.

Of course, this will appeal more to the micromanaging fisherpeople, as you get to choose your bait, your rod, your line tension, the angle of your cast, and every other detail you could set your hopes and dreams on if you’re into that sort of thing. Me? I’m a set-and-forget sort of guy. I’d like some sort of ‘ding’ that tells me when I need to pick up the controller again, and hold down LT to reel in the line.

There – I’ve summed up my ideal fishing simulator in 25-words-or-near-enough.

Tonight I’m hoping for a painkiller-induced early night, so I don’t know how much gaming I’ll get in – but I’ve also had a day without the Vita, so there’s a chance I’ll play something frivolous before the evening is out.

Better than a chance, actually. Almost a certainty.

He’s a demon too

Xbox

Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition • You helped Phineas by retrieving his eye • 10G • 32.86% of gamers unlocked this

I am off work today with a bad back. I never knew what a bad back entailed – I have had a soft tissue injury to my back before, but this morning I was so debilitated that I felt like screaming just to get out of bed. I had hoped a shower would fix it, but that nearly caused me to throw up (likely from the pain), and by the time my wife got to me, she described my pupils as pitch black, and my face ghost white.

Needless to say, I’m not doing well.

But, hell or high water, I was going to get my achievement. Even if it meant throwing more money at micro transactions in Age of Empires, or getting my son to bring me my PC in bed, I was going to make it happen.

As it turns out – what has been the most useful for me in regards to pain has been walking around. Just simply walking around the house. Even now, I’m walking as I write this on my phone – my back feels like it’s constantly about to give out, but it’s better than sitting and having the same feeling compounding the longer I sit. So, with a relatively new degree of mobility, I thought I’d make an attempt at one of the titles on the shame pile. Devil May Cry got the guernsey.

I actually had to complete two levels to get this achievement. Clearly the one the prefaces the Phineas level isn’t worthy of its own gamerscore, but all up it was probably a solid half-hour (on human difficulty) to navigate the world of limbo in pursuit of Rupert Murdoch … or whatever the fictional equivalent of him is, anyway.

I think I’ve mentioned in the past, but DmC requires an extraordinary amount of muscle memory to be able to pull off the truly great combinations. My piecemeal approach to playing DmC hasn’t helped me with the big scores, but I feel like a solid, straight playthrough is the best way to experience the game – if not just for narrative but for gameplay as well.

What it isn’t, however, good for is people with a bad back who can’t dedicate the whole day to a gaming cause.

If you’ll excuse me, I have to pace around the house some more.

Mr. Sandman

Xbox

Minecraft: Story Mode • Completed Chapter 2 of Episode 6 • 15G • 7.73% of gamers unlocked this

A bit of an opportunity session this morning, and while I still had Minecraft: Story Mode on the recently-played / pinned list on the Xbox, I figured it was a good a chance as any to grab an achievement and liberate myself from trying to squeeze in a gaming session tonight. Because, to be honest, I could really go for a few more hours sleep.

Unlike yesterday, I actually sat and watched a bit of this episode. Not through any great desire to engage with the story, but more out of a sense of ‘nothing better to do’. The morning wasn’t entirely wasted, I still managed to get my son dressed while tapping whatever input I felt like at the time to keep the story going, and the lack of a huge combat scene helped … though Chapter 2 largely concentrated on the death of a character (that’s not a spoiler … we meet him for about 30 seconds), and the subsequent detective work that Jesse et. al. put in to learn ‘why’ he might have been killed.

I can kind of see what the intent behind Story Mode was. Almost like an episodic, monster-of-the-week style structure, that might have allowed it to continue in perpetuity. As Phil Spencer has alluded to in the past, the Xbox Game Pass is conducive to releasing episodic content like this, though I think it will take a different title to get me on-board after (and I know I’ve already whinged about this yesterday) the Story Mode season pass debacle.

With that in mind, there are plenty of fresh IPs waiting to be tapped, or even some older titles that could do with a reboot. If anyone has the sharp business mind needed to make it happen, it’s Phil Spencer.

In Phil We Trust.

Invitation to Die For

Xbox

Minecraft: Story Mode • Completed Episode 1 of Chapter 6 • 10G • 8.19% of gamers unlocked this

I think I’ve shared my deep-rooted disdain of Minecraft: Story Mode in the past. The bait-and-switch if the ‘season pass’ and needing to buy extra episodes to ‘complete the season’ and all the rigmarole associated with it still makes me bitter to this day – unknowing whether to be angry with Mojang/Microsoft or Telltale or both. Either way, a later sale meant that I was able to complete the collection, but it still stings and I’ll never be able to play Story Mode without feeling the slight sting of bile on the back of my tongue.

Alright, enough hyperbole. Tonight was all about an easy achievement. It was after training, I had two tired kids, and I had only a few minutes to spare between dinner and bedtime – so I tried to slam through the first chapter while I ate. Of course, some glitch required me to stuff around in the Microsoft Store, check the game files, and then eventually restart the game in order to begin the episode, but I got there in the end. I’m not sure how and why I got up to Episode 6, but I did a quick achievement check before I started to make sure I was on-track, and then kicked the episode off.

And then I ate my dinner, providing only the occasional button press for a combat scene, but leaving the dialogue pretty much on its own – particularly if there were viable silences to use. I pretty much do that for most of my Telltale games now, but the developer has smartly cottoned-on to attempts at set-and-forget gameplay, mixing movement scenes with terminal fights should you miss or miss-hit a button press.

In all honesty, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what’s going on with the Episode 6 Story. The team are breaking into a house, I know that, but really I’m completely oblivious to the big picture.

My guess is, at an 8% completion rate … so are a lot of other people.

Daub Stamper

Xbox

Microsoft Bingo 13_05_2018 6_10_36 PM

Microsoft Bingo • You have daubed 500 cells across multiple Bingo matches • 55G • 27.76% of gamers unlocked this

Firstly, Happy Mother’s Day to those who celebrate it, and my sincerest thoughts to those who might find today difficult for whatever reason.

Today’s achievement is another Windows one, but I elected to go with something a bit different today and locked in a Microsoft Bingo achievement. There’s probably a few other ‘achievable’ ones that I’ll be able to strive for in the future when I’m a bit pressed, but for now, I tapped out at the first opportunity to grab something for the day – and that one is Daub Stamper.

Microsoft Bingo 13_05_2018 5_26_42 PM

I have to say that I think daub is a terrible word. Surely they could simply use ‘marked’ or almost any other word to refer to putting a circle on the page that would mean the same thing – but I guess it is what it is.

And ‘daub’ is what it is.

I feel like a lot of these games – like Microsoft Solitaire or Majong – were developed at the height of the Windows 8 era, but hit their stride post-Surface. The UI is decisively built for a touch screen, but the Xbox integration and greater focus on the Windows Store means that they have found a bit of a niche life in the achievement-hunting community.

Anyway, I’ve locked this in for the night and I’m going to pack it in, ready for another week.

Apprentice Librarian

Xbox

The Wolf Among Us • Unlocked all Book of Fables entries in Episode 2 • 60G • 6.31% of gamers unlocked this

It’s late. I’m tired. But I’ve done it. After two birthday parties today – a 5th and an 80th, I am absolutely spent. I am literally sitting on the couch ready to fall asleep, but I’m pushing through for the sake of getting this one last achievement!

This one is another of the Book of Fables ones. I had tried to grab a quick one from the Age of Empires, but seems like I made a tactical error and ended up getting wiped out by the computer AI, without any support from my fellow (again, AI) teammates. Well done, lads. Well done(!)

As it turns out, the guides online for The Wolf Among Us‘ Book of Fables entries aren’t actually as good as first thought. The IGN one only goes up to episode 2, and the rest of the internet does a good job of transposing the entries, but little else. With a bit of master-level detective work, I was able to work out which one I needed (Bluebeard’s Mercy) and how to get it … but it seems like the art of a good gaming FAQ is dead.

Anyway, I got it done. I am a legend in my own lunchbox, and quite clearly a bit delirious for fatigue. Time to call it a night, I think!