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.

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Save the Bacon

Xbox

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered • Protect ‘War Pig’, the Abrams tank • 15G • 23.16% of gamers unlocked this

Fun fact: For a very brief moment following the original launch of MW, I tried the handle of ‘War Pig’ online. It didn’t last very long, but it does remain forever attached to my Google Account thanks to a range of interactions I had with Google Help and Google Forums that somehow means it can never be deleted.

Databases and their web equivalent seem to be the bane of my existence (see also: PSN name changes).

Anyway, I headed back to MW tonight to see if I could make a bit more progress. Tonight’s mission was less about the tank itself, and more about the journey to get there, but I know from history that this isn’t the last we’ll see of War Pig.

Despite being at work all day and having a few hours tonight of personal training dig-into my gaming schedule, I’m still a bit surprised that I managed to smash out a Veteran-difficulty level without too much issue. Either my hands are getting used to it or the layout of this level lends itself to better cover and general protection …

… either way, it was enough to get the job done.

Shishkebap

Xbox

SUPERHOT • Cruelly impaled two cypher beings with a sharp object • 10G • 11.43% of gamers unlocked this

Just a few quick minutes of gaming before training tonight, so I went with my flavour-of-the-month in SUPERHOT. I’ve had a few problems with the achievements on this one lately, for instance last night I completed all the requirements for the ‘Deep Web’ achievement, but it didn’t actually load until I started the game tonight. It’s a similar case to that of Sea of Thieves, where a whole heap of achievements unlocked after-the-fact.

In that vein, I actually completed this achievement three or four times over before it registered. The gist of it is that you throw your katana and kill two bad guys in one hit. One of the challenge levels is ‘katanas only’ which made it a bit easier. But, by now you should know me. The thing that doesn’t bother me most about this achievement has nothing to do with the technical aspects of the Xbox network. No, it’s to do with the spelling of the achievement!

What is a Shishkebap? Is it the same as a shishkebab? Has someone inadvertently hit P instead of B? Is it an inside joke? What is it?

We may never know … what we do know, is that killing red dudes should be part of everyone’s therapy.

We Can See You

Xbox

SUPERHOT • Experienced a direct contact with the system • 25G • 54.85% of gamers unlocked this

An opportunistic achievement today. I jumped onto the Xbox while the family finished their morning ‘get ready’ routine, which is – I imagine like most families – far longer than it actually needs to be. I sense that this is a progress achievement in terms of story (which I still don’t understand) but it’s interesting to see SUPERHOT (capitalisation rant goes here) try a touch of story to go alongside its innovative gameplay.

I might play a bit more of SUPERHOT this evening because I’m once again finding some solace in opening up my shadow challenge (in my head, I haven’t really talked about it here) to encompass gaming in all its forms (platform-wise). The intent of this is, of course, testing the waters before my 2018-19 challenge begins, but I don’t want to commit to anything in particular.

Consider it the Gemini in me.

The Search

Xbox

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered • Complete ‘Charlie Don’t Surf’ on Veteran difficulty • 30G • 3.02% of gamers unlocked this

I am running face-first into a 40th birthday party tonight, and because I don’t want to end up in a position where I’m trying to blog in the middle of a function, I’m obliged to knock-out an entry this afternoon.

I am quite pleased that this is the entry I get to write though! I thought I’d never finish clearing that TV station, certainly not on Veteran difficulty! But a combination of rushing through to the objective and then slowly cleaning up bad guys from behind cover seemed to get me through.

I think the 3% completion rate should be fairly telling how difficult this level is. The semi-final encounter in what appears to be a shootout in the studio bullpen is intense. Really intense. But if there was to be a silver lining, I suspect it would be some strategies about clearing large spaces with little (bulletproof) cover. Objective markers are usually a good indicator, and in scenarios that seem to have never-ending bad-guy spawn, a run-on-objective is not an entirely silly idea.

In other gaming news, I had my first attempt at Bloodborne today. I’m already enjoying it more than Dark Souls thanks to the absence of a shield, which means it’s just a matter of attack and dodge that I need to worry about. I’ve also only killed about five enemies so far, which has been far more satisfying than killing five enemies in Dark Souls, but I’ll give a more thorough assessment once I’ve earned a trophy and can get a sense as to what’s in store.

The Rescue

Xbox

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered • Complete ‘Blackout’ on Veteran difficulty • 30G • 3.97% of gamers unlocked this

I take two things away from this achievement. The first, is that I either never paid attention to what Nikolai looked like, or the remaster has given him a considerable facelift, but either way the image of the new Nikolai isn’t what I had in my mind … and he is certainly a staple of the Modern Warfare universe.

The second takeaway is genuine surprise that seemingly nobody has had a go at MW on Veteran difficulty. The achievement for completing the mission on any difficulty has a completion rate of 31.07%, so to see it drop to sub-4% is a real shock. I would have thought that the core audience for a MW remaster would be all over a veteran run on the campaign, but it seems like most people just needed a story fix and have moved on with their lives.

That being said, I can certainly see the appeal in dropping the difficulty and then going back for an achievement clean-up. The level after tonight’s achievement, ‘Charlie Don’t Surf’, has caused me to hit a metaphorical brick wall just trying to clear a room.

I’ll do it eventually, it’s all just part of the experience of a veteran run through, but if you’ve got a low tolerance for failure, then respite is just a few clicks of the controller away.

Terminal Velocity

Xbox

Portal • Fall 30,000 feet

I don’t know what’s wrong with my Steam lately. I’ve been having real hit-and-miss results with my screenshot button on all versions of Steam, and so I apologise for the recycled screenshot. I actually thought I took a really great image while I pursued this achievement (which I attempted twice, thinking that I had fallen enough the first time around to earn it – I hadn’t), but it wasn’t in the usual screen capture folder, nor did the Steam Cloud prompt a pop-up, and so I’m left only with the satisfaction of knowing the achievement is registered on my account successfully – and you know what? Sometimes that’s all that matters.

Same as last Portal achievement, this seems like something that I have likely done multiple times on multiple playthroughs, but this is the first time I’ve registered it on my long term account. Falling repeatedly through portals is actually one of those fun experimental things you try when you first get the option to do so in the game, and turning it into an achievement means you need to set yourself up to prevent any ‘slipping’ and accidentally landing on the side of a portal instead of following through. I found a level with a few corners that I was able to set myself up in, fire a couple of portals at the roof and floor and let myself go.

I’ll try a few different tactics for screenshots on PC over the next few days to make sure I can land a solution, otherwise we’re doomed for the next few months to publish repeats.

Not on my watch, boy.

Pointless but cool

Xbox

SUPERHOT • Seen a gruesome sight of an exploding head more than 100 times • 25G • 18.56% of gamers unlocked this

It seems my library is getting a bit thin on quick and easy achievements. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it encourages me to try new things, but it’s a bit of a stretch when I actually want to play a few things regardless of achievements and I’m looking to tick my challenge off for the day.

Good ol’ SUPERHOT saves the day again though – it’s unnecessary capitalisation and everything.

I can’t quite work out what the other achievement I got today was without doing a bit of a Google and investigating, so instead I’m going with this one, which is a nice simple collectable in the sense of headshots. ‘Exploding heads’ as the achievement description reads is a bit of humorous overexaggeration though, killing enemies really just causes them to disintegrate, so there’s a touch of hyperbole in the achievement description.

A bit more Sea of Thieves planned for tonight. It will likely be my last with a headset for a while, but I do think that my session last night with a couple of people who knew what they were doing has gone a long way to improving my single player experience.

The Package

Xbox

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered • Complete ‘Crew Expendable’ on Veteran difficulty • 4.49% of gamers unlocked this

Believe it or not, as I write this, I am in the middle of a game of Sea of Thieves with a bunch of online friends. What fresh hell is this? Of course, none of this tomfoolery has resulted in an achievement tonight, and so I’m left with my – still great fun – COD MW Remaster.

The game itself does feel a little more polished than the original MW. I’m fairly certain that they’ve re-done Captain Price’s voice as well – not necessarily for the better – but it’s just ‘different’. I spent a fair bit of time running the opening mission (the SAS HQ) to try and get my time under 19 seconds (for another achievement), but my wife got sick of Price shouting instructions at me, and I decided to push-on with the game. Given that I don’t need a ‘story’ fix from MW … after all, I spent most of last console generation with Soap and team … I’m planning on going through the game on Veteran, just to double-dip on achievements.

Long story short – the game itself holds up well, and I think they’ve done a good job on the remaster. For me, this is just a chance to play one of my favourite titles once more for a whole new set of achievements.

In other words – any excuse will do!

Cold Shoulder

PC

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 • Infiltrate the snowy mountain side base

As I just finished writing, my hangover has left me with a desire to accomplish very little in my day today. I think if I can pop the blister in my hand and maybe not burst into tears at the thought of anymore work in the garden, then today will be a good day.

Following on from yesterday’s fluke achievement, I wanted to wrap-up my work in the Kazakhstan Mountains, and escape the base – so that’s pretty much what I did. Got off the airfield, grabbed a snowmobile, dodged helicopter missiles and a small Russian army, jumped a huge gap and GTFO of there.

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Out of all the claims of ‘PC Master Race’, it still seems strange that Call of Duty has really found its home on console. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still rather play on console over my potato of a PC any day, but there seems to be a very clear delineation between the PC Battlefield players, and the COD console players. I make no further comment on that other than it’s an interesting observation.

What the last couple of days of COD has taught me though is that I’ve really missed the catharsis of playing a good mindless shooter. There’s been a lot of ‘filler’ shooters out there recently, but the Hollywood shine applied to the COD series really did scratch a genre itch that needed scratching. The later installments, venturing into space or back to WW2 are certainly not ‘bad’, but they’re not what kept me along for the adventures with Soap and Captain Price for so long.