Complete Area 7

Angry Birds Pop • Beat all levels in areas 7

I feel like after such a cop-out with tonight’s achievement that I should include this last minute entry I earned just before I packed it in for the night. Right now I’m laying in bed, writing this post on the same device I just earned the achievement on, and it feels decisively more like an actual achievement than tonight’s tick-and-flick.

Right now I’m in the happy microtransaction overlap where I have just enough purchasables to get a ‘taste’ for what’s on offer, but not really enough to survive for an endless barrage of prohibitively tough levels. Everything is geared towards ‘just spending a few bucks,’ and while I don’t really care what people spend their money on, I’ve made a fairly conscious decision that Angry Birds Pop wasn’t about to shake me down!

Though, I certainly feel like I’ve got a few extra pounds around the middle … perhaps ‘pop’ is a far more accurate word!

Dripping With Insanity

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Achievement printer part 1 • Only Liars Comes Up With Excuses

Look, I won’t lie to you – this was a tough call. Do I yield a little and take one of the 1,450 Steam Achievements that I earned tonight from ‘Achievement printer part 1‘ … a game so independent and lacking in polish that they can’t even be bothered to get punctuation right on their game title? Or do I try and push my luck with Borderlands or jump onto the Xbox and play something from Telltale?

To cut a long story short, I sold out.

It’s been another day of no sleep and an action-packed schedule, so I’m left with not much time in the day for gaming – that, plus I’m keeping my mind sharp (as sharp as possible) for a certification exam tomorrow, so there’s only so much time to distract my delicate little mind.

Truth be told, there’s actually nothing wrong with this little basketball game – I remember playing something similar on Facebook Messenger for a while there, back in the day when Apps and additional features were more of a novelty than they are today – but nonetheless, using your finger to flick a little basketball into a hoop can be quite cathartic. Of course, it has been included in this title much as something to do, rather than the actual purpose of the game. In reality, you can just leave it running and suck-down the 3,006 achievements on offer.

For the most part, there’s not even a whole lot of sense in the achievements (including today’s). Some just link-out to individuals’ Steam profiles, such as:

(Do yourself a favour and check-out tshtxyd’s Steam Profile for a very innovative use of the screenshot feature!)

Look … am I sorry? No, not really – and I don’t think I can offer much in the way of an excuse seen as I’ve already litigated my decision-making from the time I used Achievement Hunter games so … yeah. It is what it is.

And trust me: I’m looking forward to the warm embrace of a AAA title as much as anyone else is!

Ominous…

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AdVenture Capitalist • Buy 666 or more of each Earth investment – A lot of unlucky numbers

This is just a quick entry tonight, because I am neck-deep in study mode as I prep for my Microsoft Certification later this week. Nonetheless, duty calls, and what better way to burn through an achievement then to pull out one from the list of low-hanging fruit and grab that elusive ‘evil’ achievement from AdVenture Capitalist … you know … the one for getting ‘triple six’ of every investment on Earth.

With that in mind, I have nothing really of substance to add. Another one down! I think I need to start looking at what achievements on the Moon I need to start chasing … perhaps there’s something just as easy there to grab for tomorrow night – but I should have a little more time to wrangle study and gaming tomorrow … and on that note I’m going to insert a big, fat, ‘touch wood’ here!

Toe in the Water

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Endless Legend • Play for 10 turns, across any number of playthroughs

If I’m perfectly honest, Endless Legend isn’t really what I was expecting. What was I expecting? Well, to be frank – I was expecting something in a similar vein to Baldur’s Gate or Pillars of Eternity, whether it was turn-based or not, I was essentially looking forward to a high-fantasy romp with new characters and a new world setting – but instead what I got was what appears to be a rather good knock-off of pretty much any turn-based Sid Meier game – notably Civilization.

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I don’t want to go down a rabbit hole of negatives for Endless Legend, because I think this is partly my own fault for having misguided or underdeveloped expectations. (I think a lot of the world’s problems could be addressed when people understand their own human failings in that regard.) For a strategy game, this is actually really quite good. It is rich in its world building, the graphics look great on my new PC and there is enough micromanagement options available to keep even the most cantankerous old gamer sated.

Today’s achievement was very much a low-hanging fruit experience. It was barely halfway through the tutorial when this one popped – 10 moves is, by no stretch of the imagination, a long haul. It was actually quite a good tutorial in the sense that it gave you a ‘taste’ for everything you needed to know, but didn’t labour the point. Rather, it expects you to throw yourself into the game and learn the hard way. Personally, I still think this is the best way to learn a new game. (This is also something I’m trying to teach my 4-year old!)

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I think I need to be ‘in the mood’ to play some more Endless Legend, and that requires a day when you need your mind sharp. Somehow, a Sunday afternoon on a fairly wet and windy day just isn’t fitting that description.

With a busy few weeks ahead, I’m not sure the month of August is looking any better either.

Winter is coming

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Game of Thrones • Finish chapter 1

I am unashamedly a huge Game of Thrones fan. I’ve read the books, I’ve binged the series, and I still maintain that the GoT Telltale series is one of the best uses of the Thrones’ IP I’ve seen.

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This entry into Thrones’ canon was released during the twilight of the PS3 and so I think I had gotten rid of my older consoles by the time it was released. As a result, this game (of thrones) was viewed on with reverence, but was relegated to ‘the one that got away’ for a long time. Well, thanks to my shiny new gaming PC … I finally get a chance to rekindle this romance.

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The game itself is much like I had hoped. A delicious over-the-shoulder viewpoint ala God of War or some of the Resident Evils remains my favourite vantage point, and the richly detailed world of Thrones has just enough ‘open worldness’ to sate most voyeurs.

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Perhaps my only complaint about the game is combat, which appears to take – badly – elements of turn-based combat with skill inclusions in a similar vein to Dragon Age. I think for a terrible combatant like myself, it will probably work out better this way, but I feel like I’ve been spoiled with the rich mechanics of God of War so recently that anything below that just doesn’t cut the mustard.

I am keen to continue the story though. This first chapter essentially introduces you to Mors, your protagonist, and Brother of the Night’s Watch. Chapter 2 takes you across the sea to Alester, a red priest, so I’ll see how that particular story goes later today.

Rookies

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Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime • Finish the first level

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am writing this to you from my brand, new shiny, and – most importantly – working gaming PC. I have given it a good run this evening, undertaking the first few opening missions of Destiny 2, and getting a few slow-burn games and MMOs patching ready for longer sessions.

I also successfully managed to get my dual-monitor setup working, so I am even happier. This is the first proper gaming PC I’ve had in perhaps the last twenty years … back in the day when it was either a PC or a Master System II (see the parent blog for my lament about that this week). But, for all the new, shiny games that I look forward to playing on this PC – business must come first, and for me – business means achievements.

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It took me a lot of time last night to look at my Steam Games’ library and find ‘something’ that I could use as my christening achievement. Of course, if Battle.net had a similar achievement system, I could have used that – and I’m still a few steps away from downloading my GOG library to this PC, and so I went with something that I wouldn’t normally be able to play during my working hours, and certainly not something that would be quick-and-easy on the laptop generally.  Bonus points for a bit of nostalgia as well came in the form of Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime – which, in reality, has nothing really that much in common with the classic Ghostbusters anyway.

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This is a game that would most likely be a twin-stick shooter if it was on console (it might be on console, I haven’t checked). It’s essentially a room-by-room, wave-based challenge game that requires you to clear out a series of ghosts of varying difficulty until you eventually arrive at a ‘big’ boss, which is a long, but (in the first level, anyway) not entirely difficult.

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What surprised me most about this game was how much I died in this first level. The AI seemed quite responsive and moved to revive me quickly, up until one stage where there were 3/4 people knocked out, and it seemed a fortuitous piece of timing that saved us at the end of a wave. I think that a controller might make this game a bit easier, but not by much – and so I’ll put it down to just ‘one of those things’ you need to factor-in as an inevitability, and use that to balance out strategy as much as positioning and timing.

As I get more comfortable with PC gaming and start to build up a more contemporary library, there’s a good chance that games like this will eventually drop out of rotation – and judging by the size of my Steam library (and pile of shame), that is going to be quite quick. I’d like to go back and give another level or two a go just to compare the experience as the game progresses, but time and inclination both need to be balanced nicely for that to happen and, well, I’m not convinced that’s an easy accomplishment.

But … if I don’t do it, then … well, who am I gonna call?

I’m sorry, I’m having a terrible ‘Dad Joke’ day. There’s no reason the blog should be spared.

Vandal

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War • Destroy a Monument • 10G • 52.72% of gamers unlocked this

I had seen this achievement on the list a couple of times now, and the percentage of completion prompted me to assume that it would be something I stumble across during the course of my gameplay. Sure enough, my brief session this morning (with no purpose, just intended to log on and kill a few orcs) caused me to stumble across a large orc statue in the middle of a stronghold.

If I was Monty Burns, I would have rubbed my hands together and salaciously whispered “Excellent.”

There’s no pop-up or tutorial to instruct you how to actually destroy the monument. My experience of digital vandalism is largely confined to the Just Cause series, which usually involves placing explosives onto a statue and … well … pushing a button. Here, I shot arrows into the statue, detonated the nearest explosive barrel and swung my sword at it a few times, but – as it turns out – all you have to do is climb onto the head, click RB and Talion will do the rest of the work for you.

Exit, one monument.

In other gaming news, I still have no gaming PC yet, so I’m feeling a bit tetchy about all the gaming goodness I’m missing out on. It’s not like I’ve actually got any time to play anyway – but you know what they say about absence and the heart!

Star-Crossed

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Qora • View the Valley Telepathy Sequence

In all honesty, the marketing materials for this game made me think it was something entirely different. There is a game on Vita which involves little more than just walking around on a 16-bit island as the seasons change, which – judging by the brief background images on the Steam library page, this could easily pass for.

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As it turns out, this is rather a slow moving platform puzzler that probably doesn’t quite move at a satisfying pace for my gaming appetite. I mean … would it kill them to include a ‘run’ mechanic? The protagonist would have to be the slowest-moving little white blob I’ve played in a game – and I’ve played a few.

What will probably kill this game for me is that it doesn’t have a quick save and exit function. As I grew increasingly bored with the game (I pushed through as far as I did just to get a few achievements), I went to exit and – well, it told me my progress would be lost.

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Lost … on a game that moves as slow as this? Ah, no thanks. I’m not a ‘complete in one sitting’ guy at the best of times … let alone on Slowly McSlowface over here.

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Don’t hold your breath for a return to Qora on this blog. I mean, nothing is impossible, but I’m certainly leaning towards the improbable. The game itself is easy enough, but it’s also not something that I can easily whip through on a lunchbreak. The burn is far too slow for my liking.

Beat Level One

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Save the Ninja Clan • Beat the first level

As I said yesterday, today was going to be pretty much tied up with family commitments, so it was a toss up between something passive like a Telltale game, or something more ‘meaty’ like … well, like this: Save the Ninja Clan.

I have to say, this concerned me at first, because it said a controller was recommended, but the first few levels seemed to work fine with a keyboard and mouse. It’s possible that there are more complicated mechanics to come, but for now I’m satisfied that I can get through the basics on my own.

I know it’s early days, but this is a good game. I’m enjoying the quick death, quick replay value, and the premise, so expect to see this one on my achievement list again.

Promise Keeper

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War • Issue a Death Threat, and then successfully kill the target • 20G • 31.15% of gamers unlocked this

A bit more Middle-Earth today, and – if I’m honest – this was a bit of a cherry picked achievement. For much of the last week, I’ve really just been working my way through Mordor and killing and building up Orcs for my army without any real rhyme or reason. I think the mechanism is a bit different from the previous game, in that the ‘pleb’ orcs don’t hang around and they certainly don’t do anything for you beyond fight in the here-and-now (or, at least, not attack you), which is frustrating, but it’s also equally fun – and so while I am likely not making much narrative process, I also feel like I’m doing what gaming is supposed to be about – having fun.

Today was all about threatening and then killing a particular orc. The ‘worm’ orcs seem to play a more important part in this title than the first installment, in that they are more numerous and serve as a logistical force behind a lot of the emergent gameplay, and it wasn’t hard to find one – send a threat out to a random captain, and then … well … then kill him.

In other news, I still haven’t heard about my Ryzen PC, which – regular readers will know – has been sent to the technicians for troubleshooting and repair. It’s quite frustrating, I had hoped for a weekend of gaming that I have otherwise had to miss out on because of my potato PC, but if this blog has taught me anything, it’s that the vicissitudes of life tend to prohibit these plans on a not-uncommon basis anyway.

There is a temptation to call the technician and give them a hurry up, but a saying which I was always fond of repeating springs to mind – good things come to those who wait …

… or does the squeaky wheel get the oil?