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.

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Quiet Time

Xbox

Rise of the Tomb Raider • Find the best seat in the house • 5G • 3.54% of gamers unlocked this

A bit more Tomb Raider today, this time I did a bit of research before going in, and it turned out that this was a much quicker and time-friendly achievement than yesterday’s full mission replay. Much like yesterday’s achievement though, this is more about finding a location that is off-the-beaten-track … as Lara finds herself a seat overlooking the burning tower and the beautiful thermal valley.

It’s moments like this that convince me that the third instalment of Lara’s reboot later this year is going to be a contender for Game of the Year. The problem, of course, is that it’s popular to hype-up God of War at the moment, so I’d be surprised if it even got a look-in, but I want the team at Square Enix to know that I’m impressed by their work, even if none of them ever read this – I think it’s a worthwhile public position to take.

While I know I’m paying out God of War lately (again, I insist, it is a very good game and I am loving it!), I’m hoping I might get a chance to play it again later this evening, though I am hearing a lot of good things about the latest season of The Handmaid’s Tale, so it will be a battle for the television tonight to find out what content I get to consume.

In other words: The epitome of a first world problem.

Paying Respects

Xbox

Rise of the Tomb Raider • Attend a funeral • 10G • 14.29% of gamers unlocked this

This is a good lesson in why you read achievement lists before you start playing a game. I thought that this would be something that you could grab on post-game cleanup, but it turns out that it requires Lara to be in a certain place at a certain time – and that certain time is mid-mission.

As a result, this required a full mission replay, which you access via the ‘Expeditions’ tab in the main menu. And trust me, it’s a full mission replay – at least a solid twenty minutes, and recovery of some deep-rooted memories to solve the puzzle needed to destroy a statue, followed by an incredible fight/flight escape and a whole lot of navigating your way out of an underground chamber by doing a whole lot of swimming. It’s definitely not a quick-and-dirty achievement for a time-poor gamer.

The special editions of Shadow of the Tomb Raider were announced today, so I guess I’ve been a bit inspired to go back and tidy up what I can on this version. The Australian iteration (per usual) seems to be a little less exciting than what our American friends get, but that seems to be standard practice these days. I suppose there is comfort in knowing I got a great statue of Lara from the first reboot to sate my collectables thirst.

And I’m a thirsty boy.

Craftswoman

Xbox

Rise of the Tomb Raider • Craft 5 pieces of Equipment • 10G • 29.66% of gamers unlocked this

The new trailer for Shadow of the Tomb Raider dropped overnight (I assume, that’s when it was sent to me) so it seemed like a natural extension of my shallow consumerism to dive back into Lara’s second rebooted adventure and clean up an achievement or two.

From what I can work out between the outstanding achievement list and the litter of icons still on my map, I’m a long way from completion. My map did put me at around 60-odd percent completion, but I’m not sure if that was just for the region I was in or whether that was game in-totality. Either way, I suspect that there’s just as much leftover to do in the other regions as well – so there’s quite a bit of meat left on-the-bone to keep me going, but to be honest, if it wasn’t for the trailer to prompt me back, I probably wouldn’t have thought about it.

This achievement itself was simple enough. A hidden box, a quick lock pick and a trip to a campfire to upgrade – hey presto, a new pouch to hold ammunition. I tried to progress a few other challenges in the area – cutting rabbits down from snares, shooting targets and there was some mission that required me to bring a guy supplies, though he is frustratingly non-specific to a player who might have triggered the mission months ago and has no idea what he’s after anymore.

Anyway, I feel like today might be a God of War day. I’ve also promised a few friends that I’d help them with a classic Destiny raid if our schedules align, so we’ll see where my gaming calendar ends-up today. Of course, I actually have to go to the store and buy God of War which requires more energy than I have today. A weekend in front of the television doing very little sounds deliciously optimistic.

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!

Bling me up!

Xbox

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris • Wear two rings and an amulet • 10G • 28.88% of gamers unlocked this

Well, I did it. As expected, I managed to quickly grab this achievement this morning, and then have the Xbox turned off before anyone was none the wiser! It’s amazing what having a quick look at achievement lists does from time-to-time, give Lara a ring and boom! Achievement Unlocked!

What I didn’t expect was to run into phone issues today. In Turnbull’s 2017 Australia, the internet still remains a data-capped, expensive luxury, so when my phone decides to die – I’m left trying to scramble for family and friends internet in order to make my post!

Right now, I’m at my in-laws, after a hearty meal and a few drinks (I actually figured I needed to get these ‘words’ down before I kept drinking), and trying to connect to the internet is proving problematic (my 11 year old nephew entered in the password for me and the phone just keeps ‘thinking’). I have the password for my in-laws where we’re staying tonight as well, and it appeared to connect OK, but I still had difficulty getting access this afternoon.

Long story short, if you’re reading this (and I’m hell-bent on making sure you do), then I’ve subsequently found a solution that got me online.

Tomorrow will be a different story. Without my phone, I’ll be relying solely on the in-laws’ connection on PC, so if I can’t grab a morning achievement it will be a late night session at home. The Wolf Among Us is looking like a mighty fine solution in that instance … watch this space.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a Pale Ale with my name on it.

Time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking 

Xbox

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris • Complete the Tomb of the Timekeeper • 20G • 32.31% of gamers unlocked this 

Something a bit different tonight. Once again I’ve found myself a bit time-poor, which is unusual for a Monday night – as I’ve often got an hour or two up my sleeve to make progress on a slow-burn game, but it wasn’t to be tonight. So instead of trying to flog the achievement for doing a headshot while sliding in Dishonored 2, I thought I would dabble in something a bit different, and noting that Lara Croft was in my library – I gave a metaphorical shrug of the shoulders and an equally metaphorical “Why not?” 

I can’t remember whether it was the Temple of Osiris or a sequel (was there a sequel?) which had some complicated controls around throwing spears and juggling the rope and all sorts of tricky acrobatic stuff that the Tomb Raider IP is known for, but I didn’t have much trouble solving this tomb. A few moments where I got stuck – like trying to throw ticking time bombs into the air – were soon resolved with a helpful hint splashed on the screen. And believe me, in the middle of a frustrating puzzle, the nudge in the right direction makes all the difference. 

I’ve spied a couple of other achievements that seem good for a short-notice run so I’ll keep them in the back of my mind for some upcoming time-sensitive days. This weekend, in particular, is shaping up to be a tight turnaround – though I’m planning on using my PC and something from the Windows 10 library if things get really tight. 

In other news, I’m seriously leaning towards being a PC gamer. Just seeing the beautiful hardware at PAX this year has thoroughly inspired me to build a proper unit … so when my bank balance recovers from its thrashing over the weekend, I’ll start spending some time on PC Part Picker and searching for good builds. I’m considering something in this space for next year’s challenge but I just haven’t worked out the finer details. 

I’ll give it some thought – I’m not quite a PCMR’er … not yet. 

The Price of Truth 

Xbox

Rise of the Tomb Raider • Finish the game on any difficulty • 125G • 35.45% of gamers unlocked this 

I was actually planning on cashing out today’s achievement after earning the Self-Improvement Junkie achievement for purchasing ‘all skills in one category’, but when I got the ‘point of no return’ message to find out how close I was to the end – I figured, ‘Why not?’ and pushed through to finish the sequel to Square Enix’s Tomb Raider reboot. Considering that my main reason for firing up TR tonight was after having a mental battle with myself about the joys of starting a new game (Dishonored 2, in particular) versus finishing off one already in-progress, I decided that it was best to tidy up the list, and clear TR from my backlog. I can now say, with an achievement to prove it – I have done just that. 

I have to say, that Rise of the Tomb Raider had one of the simplest final boss battles I’ve had in a AAA game for a while. Not that I’m complaining – I game for the story first and foremost – but even playing on the easier difficulties, you expect ‘a bit’ of a challenge when it comes to the end game. I think I died, perhaps, twice in the final battle – largely as a result of my own stupidity rather than particularly clever AI.


So … did I enjoy the story? No, not really. For all of TR’s success in the original reboot, a story rich about Lara’s growth as a survivor, it felt like Rise tried to force the viewer to care about all these extraneous people. Ana. Jonah. Jacob. All, I’m sure, are important to some grand story which I suspect was, or has been, crafted to (re)build the franchise (the ending is deliberately left ready for a sequel), but none of which I gave two hoots about long enough to build any meaningful rapport. Tomb Raider is, and always has been, stories about Lara Croft. You can reboot the franchise in film and video games all you like, but if Lara’s immediate journey isn’t the focus (cf. the macro, family, friends, etc. ‘journey’), then maybe consider crafting a narrative for Generic Adventurer Protagonist B. 

Gameplay is as good as the original TR reboot, and that’s a good thing. With the exception of crafting, which seems largely optional except where prompted, it’s a delightful run-and-gunner. You can see why Phil Spencer spent the money to get this one with some Xbox exclusivity, even for twelve months. 
I don’t know if I’ll go back to Rise of the Tomb Raider to finish the optional tombs yet – I just don’t. I feel good about the completion, and I’m always willing to try and squeeze a few extra GS out of a game, but I’m also ready to move on with my gaming life. 

I’m also a fickle man who changes his mind more frequently than his jocks, so watch this space. 

Wide Angles 

Xbox


Life is Strange • Take optional photo #2 in Episode 1: Chrysalis • 10G • 9.82% of gamers unlocked this

Today is the Australian Football League Grand Final, which is a somewhat sacred day in Australia. Enough so that the Victorian Government have given its citizenry a free public holiday in celebration of it. While I’m sure plenty of people are currently experiencing the two extremes of emotion depending on whether you barracked for Richmond (the winners) or Adelaide (the not-so-winners), some of us – well, me – couldn’t give two hoots, and instead took the opportunity to go to the shops where the deserted aisles and car park availability made for a better-than-average experience. 


Like yesterday, I also wanted to play something non-sporty – and while the grand final was on, I helped my mate, Carl finish off his Destiny 2 campaign and then started my Xbox playthrough of Life is Strange

I have played Life is Strange on PlayStation before, but simply never finished it. I suspect it was released around the time that I became increasingly angry and frustrated about the poor PSN, and have just never felt compelled to go back to it. I’d rather just start again, give it a proper start-to-finish run on Xbox, and now, with a prequel on the way, it seems as good a time as any. 

That, and, of course, footy was on today. 

Fearless

Xbox

Rise of the Tomb Raider • Defeat a Deathless Swordsman using only melee attacks and a finisher • 15G • 22.38% of gamers unlocked this

It’s Destiny 2 launch night! So I’m about to leave home and do something I’m far too old for, and that’s go to a midnight launch. In the meantime though, there’s achievements to earn … so I opted to push on with Tomb Raider tonight anticipating a progress achievement, but also aware that I’d soon be coming up against the Deathless, so there would be opportunity to earn this achievement for killing a swordsman with melee and a finisher.

I’m not sure if it’s just me, but perhaps I was confusing my deathless with each other. I mean … most of them looked like they had swords … but I’m not entirely sure I’d know who was classed as a swordsman or not. Either way, I spent a good 45 minutes killing any deathless that crossed my path with an axe-plus-finisher, but none of them seemed suitable enough to pop the achievement. It wasn’t until later in the levels where I started to struggle with my melee-only approach as I became overwhelmed with deathless that it popped, so I’m not sure what strange sequence of events needed to be triggered but the important thing is we got there in the end!

As soon as I got my achievement (that’s not actually true, I played a little bit longer and earned another melee-based achievement) I switched over to Destiny for a final goodbye. I never made it to Level 400. I only ever did one raid. But it was a great game which I enjoyed watching evolve over the past three years, and I look forward to seeing where it goes for the next three. Thanks for the memories, Bungie!