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.

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?

Better Luck Next Time

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War • Meet an Enemy or a Follower who has cheated death

I am feeling a bit miffed, as I had hoped to have a beautiful new Ryzen 5 PC built and be playing something significant on it by this time today, but alas, good ol’ Ryzen chips don’t have on-board graphics, and I can’t work out whether the little-2GB-GPU-that-could is actually supposed to work on that board, or whether I should genuinely be upset that the CPU fail Ezy Debug light is showing on the beautiful new motherboard.

Net result: I am a little upset.

It’s a good thing there is the sweet, sweet catharsis of killing orcs to see me through, as I pushed on with a couple of missions today – resulting in a not-insignificant amount of slaughter for a few named orcs. I have to admit, I do miss my full powered-up Talion from the original game, but judging by my skim of the upgrades list, most of his old moves are there, and it should just be a bit of a grind away to get them all in the end. Time. It’s just simply time.

I’m still a bit on-the-fence about the game’s representation of Shelob … as a humanoid. I mean … I can see that it makes the narrative a little easier, but I don’t think anyone has really ever taken Tolkien to be a allegorical work, still fiction, of course, but everything has typically had its plain meaning. Still, good gameplay tends to forgive a lot of sins, and thus far, I am killing Orcs at a pace that satisfies my tortured soul.

 

Open Level 7

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aMAZE ZERO • Open Level 7

I am going out for dinner tonight and I can’t wait – it’s going to be Korean and if I don’t have a stomach ache from eating too much Kim Chi tomorrow, then I’ll consider it a wasted opportunity.

Today’s journey through some of the new indie games on my system continues, with a bit of a session on aMAZE ZERO, which – as the name suggests – is really just a whole series of mazes that you guide a little widget through until completion.

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Look, I’m not going to lie – even after seven levels, the mazes are not that hard. The basic premise of sticking in one direction, or working your way backward from the centre (the end of the maze) is a perfectly legitimate strategy, and – hey, it’s a maze game. The screenshots on Steam show a game that does increase in difficulty as time goes on, but really, none of it looks particularly hard, but, at best, time consuming.

And sometimes I have more time than inclination.

Face Palm Napalm

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Velocity Ultra • Get trapped and killed by the scroll

One of the first games that I ever played on my PlayStation Vita was a game called Velocity 2X, and it was a game that seemed to have some sort of niche following, or at least the expectation that you have already heard – if not played – it. Well, I can honestly say that I had done neither, but I soon fell into a good battle rhythm with 2X, and so when I found Velocity Ultra in my Steam Library (and then did a bit of digging to find some screenshots), I have to admit – I may have squeaked a little in excitement at the opportunity to play some more of this space-shooter-come-puzzler.

I’ve never really been able to work out the narrative behind either of these Velocity games, other than you fly a spaceship and you shoot glass to rescue hostages. You can transport your ship around to clear obstacles, and – in later levels in 2X at least – you end up using transportation pods to go back-and-forth throughout the level to unlock the necessary doors to clear each mission. This achievement, however, is for stuffing up sufficiently easily though, so rather than wait for it to grab me inadvertently, I’d rather throw myself to the wolves early on!

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This iteration of Velocity, assumedly released well before 2X, is quite good – and shares enough of the mechanics with its younger Vita brother to be able to pick-up-and-play without too much difficulty.

I wanted to highlight a couple of games today just to demonstrate that I have some gaming variety in my life, and while I tend to stick to similar genres, in all honesty, I’ll give anything a red hot go …

… revitalized space shooter franchises included!

C2 | Professor Pulverized

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy • Defeat Ripper Roo

There are very few tortures for parents beyond being forced to wake up earlier than your necessitated 7 hours of sleep and entertain your kids. For me, that pretty much sums up my morning – and much of my day if I’m honest … for a not-insignificantly pained man who has had a bad run of sleep and is slowly decomposing while still alive, it was really the last thing I wanted to do.

What better garnish to a torture than Crash Bandicoot?

To be honest, despite being a traditionally PlayStation guy (until they started baulking at … you know … ‘progress’), my formative years were much more PC and SEGA Master System. As a result, I think my demographic was ‘just’ off the necessary bracket to really feel nostalgic when it comes to Crash … but at the same time, a reboot (or remaster) offers the perfect chance to get back/onto the bandwagon.

It might take me a little longer.

The best thing about Crash is that the levels are nice and short, and you can power through them with your kids (at 6am). The bad thing is – time’s have changed – and there’s just a big assortment of other games that can be played, that look better, feel better, and just generally all-around are more fun to play. Ratchet and Clank is a good example of a reboot done properly, whereas Crash is trying to compete with the like’s of Super Lucky’s Tale and – dare I say it – Knack.

Needless to say, that I was kind of pleased to earn an achievement on this one so I could take it easy for the rest of the day.

And take it easy, I did. My brain now needs a spell from listening to the tunes of Blaze and the Monster Machines.

Hashtag – One of Those Days.

Here We Go Again!

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AdVenture Capitalist • Purchase the first angel upgrade on the Moon, “It Begins Again” – Great renewable resource, or GREATEST?

I guess it finally sunk in – AdVenture Capitalist … is a clicker. I know I’ve had a long-standing love of clickers – my regular pursuit of achievements in Clicker Heroes should be testament to that, but the collection and use of angels in AdVenture Capitalist is really the game mechanic which made me realise the comparison between Clicker Heroes‘ Soul Gems, or Insanity Clicker‘s Nightmare’s.

Once more, for emphasis: AdVenture Capitalist is a clicker.

I’ve been doing a fair bit of streaming of AC (that’s, obviously AdVenture Capitalist and not Assassin’s Creed) over the past few days, largely because it’s a game that is truly an idle game in every sense of the word. I would try and post some output here from my Mixer stream, but my recent overnight session is about a 5.5GB download – a little more than I’m willing to stomach on my mobile connection, and a lot more than what I could likely get away with uploading to YouTube. I suspect a bit of native streaming to YT might be in order with the view to properly archiving footage (rather than the temporary holding bay with which Mixer and Twitch hold content).

Full disclosure: I currently have games of AdVenture Capitalist going on PlayStation 4, Mobile and my PC (Steam), so there’s a good chance that I’ll be (or have already) doubling-up on these achievements, so apologies in advance if my aging mind double-dips on a blog post here-and-there. I’m trying to keep it fairly exclusive to my PC playthrough for the time being, so hopefully this will be where you’ll see most of my work.

In the meantime … I have some clicking to do …

Mars Rookie

Mars: Mars • Land 6 jumps in a row without crashing

And so, the Achievement a Day variety bash continues, this time with a little mobile Achievement from a game which is – strangely – titled Mars: Mars.

I’m hoping that I can find a few other mobile gaming gems in a similar fashion to the way I discovered this one – and by that I mean giving my son my mobile phone and letting him download to his heart’s content anything that is free. I suspect that Mars: Mars was probably on the front page of the App store on that particular day.

The gist of the game is ‘jumping’. You take your little astronaut, and you jump from one pad to another, guiding them down with boosters that send you either left or right, and using them both to adjust the speed of your movement and descent – within a fuel-limited constraint. It sounds easy … but it’s not. Overshooting is pretty much game over, as is running out of fuel in the last few seconds before landing. The game is quick-reloading though, so it encourages failure as much as it rewards success, both of which I found myself experiencing in the hour or so that I played it.

I still haven’t quite worked out how to look at my gaming history on iOS, so I grabbed a screenshot of the particular achievement, but the absence of a dedicated App for GameCentre means that it may be safer, for the purposes of posterity, to grab another achievement later today.

Lucky I have about thirty new games I’ve loaded onto Steam for that very purpose. Thanks Fanatical and Humble Bundle!