Race Winner

Xbox

Split/Second • Win your first Race event • 10G • 66.34% of gamers unlocked this

As promised, here is an achievement for winning my first race in Split/Second. I actually replayed the first race that I played yesterday when I earned my few achievements for using my powers, but this time I changed car up to one with a little worse handling traded-off for more speed.

Turns out that was the right decision.

Truth be told, right up until the last minute I fully expected to come third place again. A well timed application of my powers and, simply, not crashing, saw me cross the finish line in first and grab this achievement – but it was the metaphoric nail-biter right up until the end. I’m not sure where this falls on the spectrum of ‘Ben is useless at racing games’ vs. ‘inherent difficulty’, but I suspect that there is a strong argument for learning how to balance the powers out better in order to gain the advantage. There’s also scope to master drifting (the best method for increasing your power) a bit better as well.

Needless to say, there’s just all-encompassing room for growth.

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I Have The Power

Xbox

Split/Second • Trigger your first Level 2 Power Play • 5G • 59.47% of gamers unlocked this

There’s an old office joke that usually does the rounds whenever anyone returns from holiday, and it is, simply, that the person who has just been on leave states that they need to come ‘back to work for a rest.’

Ha. Ha.

Of course, that’s exactly what I feel like – having spent the best part of 6-7 hours driving a car today, my back feels like it’s about to crumble underneath me while my eyelids are heavy and willing me to go to sleep. So, of course, it seems fitting that I take my passion for motor vehicles and play a game that involves, apparently, blowing them up.

Truth be told, I’m not quite sure what Split/Second is yet, I can’t work out if there’s some thematic ‘you’re making a movie, kid’ narrative behind everything, or if it’s just a series of isolated events – whatever it is, the first few games I played tonight essentially amounted to … well, a race. There are some power ups and stuff, sure, but the gist of the exercise was to get around the track faster than everyone else.

I didn’t, and came in third.

Nonetheless, it was enough for me to try a few power ups during the level, and unlock a few achievements. I suspect I would have unlocked a few more if I had of won, but there’s always tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that (etc.) to try!

Looking Good!

Xbox

Injustice: Gods Among Us • Equip a new Character Portrait • 5G • 31.06% of gamers unlocked this

I knew I had a quickie left over on Injustice: Gods Among Men. I needed to get up and get going this morning, spending the weekend away means that I had to find a five minute achievement.

And this is it! A quick achievement and a quick entry!

Cleric Beast

PlayStation

Bloodborne • Defeat Cleric Beast • Bronze Trophy • Rarity 51.6% (Common)

Look, I wasn’t going to bother with another blog entry today, but I was so pleased with finally getting ‘something’ on the trophy board that this seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up.

I am uncertain if I’ve talked about my success, or serious lack thereof, in the Dark Souls series, so I’m expecting an incredibly slow burn when it comes to Bloodborne. The Cleric Beast is essentially the first boss that you encounter in the game, and my previous attempts has whittled him down to about a half to two-thirds health. Tonight, I decided to try and invoke a bit of help and I rang a small bell that invites other players into your game.

And along came Harold.

Harold was obviously a seasoned player. He darted around the opening stages of the game with ease, and while he essentially tanked some of the bad guys – the werewolves in particular – I was able to get a few good blows in from behind and finish them off. It was a match made in heaven.

I’m sure some purists would like to have a dig at me for not beating the Cleric Beast on my own. I sent a message to a mate (who thrives on smashing through solo – and getting a platinum – on the Dark Souls games), who made a point of sending me a disappointed silence (literally, a text message that read “…”) when I said I asked for help. I don’t really have any counter-argument, it is what it is … and you know what? I don’t really care either. If it lets me push on and enjoy the game a bit more, so be it … I’ll keep on calling for help as the need arises.

And thus, my three day weekend begins! What a great way to kick it off!

New Game in Town

Xbox

Batman: The Enemy Within • Completed Chapter 2 of Episode 1 • 20G • 56.49% of gamers unlocked this

I have been married ten years today, which means that I’ll be hard-pressed to convince the family that I can spend the evening playing Xbox, and so I thought it best to get an achievement out of the way before I got caught up in the celebration. It’s also the reason that I’ll have to be a bit ‘innovative’ with my achievement earning over the weekend. I’ve checked my Age of Empires on iOS and I think I should be alright, even if I need to buy some in-game currency just to get me over the line – I’ll make it work. Now I just have to hope that I have phone reception where we’re going as well!

A special day requires a special game – and what could be more special than the Batman? While I would actually like to sit down and binge on Telltale’s Batman sequel, the pacing of this game has nothing to do with me stringing out achievements, but rather a case of wedging it into an otherwise chaotic day.

This chapter was largely about solving Riddler’s first puzzle, which – spoiler alert – Batman, or Bruce, does (with my help) fairly easily. It is also our first introduction to Telltale’s Amanda Waller, which should be interesting to see given that Telltale did such a fantastic job using Vicki Vale to great impact last season. I enjoyed their characterisation of Waller during this first introduction – I’ll be curious to see where it ends up. For the record, my favourite incarnation of Waller is in CW’s Arrow, but this version is more in-line with the comics.

And on that note, I’ll grapple out of here as well. I sense another chapter in the morning before I hit the road, but there’s a lot of balls in the air to juggle so I’ll see where they land before I commit.

Or perhaps it’s a sign that I need an Alfred of my own.

Squareboy vs Bullies

PlayStation

Squareboy vs Bullies • Defeat all the Bullies • Platinum Trophy • Rarity 82.2% (Common)

Another game that has a problem reigning in their capital letters. Well, sorry Rohan, but I’m going to have to override your decision this time. But all-in-all, thanks for the game!

I think that this concludes the list of games I had on my cheap-and-easy-to-platinum-in-a-couple-of-hours list, so I’ll be back to Hatoful Boyfriend and Hitman GO soon enough. It’s been a welcome taster back into the world of PlayStation, so much so that I even listened to the Blogcast for the first time in a long time this morning on the way into work. Hearing Justin Massongill talk about loading up his Vita with Persona 5 and making an effort to grab a platinum took me back to my own commuting days – many of my platinums on my old account came from the LEGO series during my daily hour-long commute (both ways). Others on the train had their Nintendo DS or their phone – but I lauded over them all with my Vita, knowing full-well that I was earning myself some PlayStation trophies while they did nothing to build evidence of their gaming career. It’s petty, I know – but that’s kind of the whole point when I’ve made my blog out of earning an achievement a day, no?

One thing that is concerning / bothering me about playing on my Vita is that somewhere along the line I seem to have a drifting left stick. What that means is, essentially, that it steers everything ‘up’, like I was pushing on the stick … and without the luxury of just being able to switch it out with another controller, I’m left either suffering in silence, or starting the hunt for a second-hand (or new?) unit. I’m opting for the ‘suffer in silence’ bit for now … as long as I can turn the device on and get to some games, I can deal with correcting the drift every now-and-then, but I did have a few moments where it caused me some grief during Squareboy. It’s also caused me to run into trouble a few times while playing Hotline Miami … something that I thought was my own fault for grazing the touchpad or similar, but it turns out, no – that six year old piece of hardware is probably at the beginning of the end … or at the very least, the end of the beginning.

Staying with PlayStation, I didn’t get a chance to do any more Bloodborne last night – instead opting for my quick Xbox achievement an an early(ish) night. Not that it really helped, I’m still absolutely exhausted today, but I have a three-day weekend coming up so I’m hoping that will be a good chance to recharge the batteries …

… and play the Vita.

Man Made

Xbox

Portal Knights • Craft your first item • 15G • 62.22% of gamers unlocked this

I’ll be honest, this was a bit of an opportunistic grab as my wife jumped in the shower, my son wanted to play a game and I wanted to earn an achievement in the small space of 10 minutes between me arriving home from work and needing to leave for personal training.

Mission accomplished.

I skipped through all the guff at the start and I started looking at the achievement list to see what was possible. I couldn’t see anything off-hand, so I followed the tutorial prompts on screen as best I could – sure enough, this was the first achievement that unlocked, and with that I had grabbed my keys and was out the door. Not before making sure my son switched back to his own account first, of course.

With that in mind, I don’t feel like I’m well-positioned to give any great insight or assessment into Portal Knights. I think it’s something Minecraft-esque with its crafting and stuff, but I can’t really be sure without giving it a much more detailed go.

And, to be frank, I don’t think I’d be rushing to give it anything other than a ‘go’ – sans detailed – if my son hadn’t convinced me.

Anyway, it did it’s job for today, and for that I’m grateful.

This baby sure can pack a punch

Xbox

Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition • You have acquired Eryx • 20G • 36.45% of gamers unlocked this

Ah, Xbox. I haven’t forgotten you. Tonight was essentially an opportunistic chance to tidy up ‘something’ from the library, and Devil May Cry seemed like a good opportunity to grab a meaty achievement without feeling like I was either calling-it-in or spending all night grinding.

Tonight’s mission was largely around defeating a Succubus, which was an amazing creation in the DmC universe. It’s big, it’s ugly, and it has some of the best dialogue I’ve seen for a while … faint echoes of Duke Nukem.

At the end of the level, you unlock gauntlets for Dante which I don’t recall ever being part of his arsenal, but it’s a brave new world and variety is the spice of life, so I’m open to trying a new weapon to kill bad guys. I suspect that the big gaps between play sessions will likely cause me to forget that I even earned this achievement, but I’ll soon learn … I hope.

Thus concludes today’s gaming. Two platinum PlayStation trophies, a few levels of my beloved clickers and an Xbox achievement to round-out the day.

All that’s missing is a pay check for all that effort!

Ultimate Skill

Xbox

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands • Campaign: Bought all the upgrades of a Skill branch • 30G • 6.65% of gamers unlocked this

It seems to be a weekend of just-after-midnight achievements. That’s OK, I’ve never made any apologies for trying to get my achievements in as early as I can, but I think this would have to be some sort of record at about four minutes past midnight.

I wanted to stick my head into Wildlands tonight after trying to play around with it on PlayStation and … well, I just didn’t enjoy myself. I am trying really hard to like the PS4, I’m playing Bloodborne (badly), I’ve made the switch on all my devices to the new account and I’m giving it a red hot go, but I just have no joy and I get jaded playing anything on the PS4 that I can play on Xbox, and so I ended up back on my main console for tonight’s gaming session.

While I’m on a PlayStation kink, I should emphasise that this Sony resistance strangely doesn’t extend to the Vita. I’ve been loving getting back into the Vita … I’m a little miffed that a few year’s worth of PS Plus games aren’t there for me to download, but the ones I do have are giving me a great sense of enjoyment. I don’t want to turn this into a gush, but I do want it on the record.

Back to Wildlands: I suspect that a large part of the free weekend has to do with the introduction of Splinter Cell‘s Sam Fisher as a new mission. I guess that the end goal is to encourage players to buy the ‘Year Two Pass’, which I gather is largely multiplayer perks, but that hardly excites me, especially when there’s enough medals and resources and other perks to upgrade first.

So, with that in mind – much of my gaming tonight involved just doing cleanup missions and shooting bad guys until I had enough for the final skill in the ‘Weapons’ category. There was one gap in that branch for a medal, but I assume that’s treated more like a booster than a skill itself, and so with everything all sorted, this achievement unlocked and I am free for another 24 hours.

Well, 23 hours, 31 minutes …

The Escape

Xbox

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered • Complete ‘Hunted’ and ‘Death from Above’ on Veteran difficulty • 30G • 2.33% of gamers unlocked this

Some video games have truly iconic villains. Arkham Knight or the Joker in Batman … 006 in Goldeneye … but blow me down if a single aggressive helicopter in Modern Warfare didn’t give me more grief than any of these bad guys combined. As I said last night, this helicopter gave me enough grief that I had to abort and fire-up The Wolf Among Us just to grab an achievement – but once I’d hit the midnight changeover point, I went back to Modern Warfare determined to put this abomination to an end.

I have never felt more satisfaction in killing a bad guy than I had dropping that helicopter out of the sky.

The euphoria of killing that helicopter stayed with me for a while, so I followed-up with the AC-130 mission as well, which is fairly simple on any difficulty – just rain hellfire down on bad guys that aren’t flashing with a strobe and get your team out of there. As long as you keep an eye on everything around the scene, then it’s quite quick and achievable.

With that in mind, combining these two missions into one achievement makes a lot of sense – one insanely hard, one generally pretty easy. Together they make up a reasonably happy medium for what one would expect on ‘veteran’ difficulty.

The rest of my day has been consumed with some health and fitness stuff and a 5-year old’s birthday party, and I am pretty much ready for a bit of a snooze now. I might jump on and see if I can make a bit more progress on the PS4 version of Wildlands if the mood grabs me later, but I’d be equally happy having an afternoon and evening on the couch watching something mindless on Netflix.