And All Were Happy


The Wolf Among Us • Completed Episode 4: “In Sheep’s Clothing” • 40G • 35.19% of gamers unlocked this

Another achievement from The Wolf Among Us today, which is also the concluding achievement from Episode 4, culminating in a face-to-face with the Crooked Man. I don’t want to labour the point about Wolfy too much, because I think by this point you get the drift – these Telltale games are my fallback achievements when I have other distractions on my mind … which leads me to what I think I want to talk about today. I’ll call it the PlayStation Pull.

I talked about the pull at the start of this challenge, and from time-to-time I’ve touched on my love-hate relationship with Sony and PlayStation in various posts. Long story short: love the product, hate the service. But considering that is where most of my friends play, the ease of sharing content, as well as the few AAA exclusives, both released and on-the-horizon are more in-line with what I want to play (cf. Sea of Thieves or Dead Rising), then on-paper it seems like a no brainer.

For instance, last night I started reinstalling Destiny 2 on PlayStation, ready to launch into a new campaign with a PlayStation character (on my preferred account – I’ve already made a ‘bit’ of progress on my other account), but considering there was a hefty download required, I thought I’d play a bit of Rocket League to pass the time. The thing about Rocket League is that so much of its prestige is tied to your history – your level/rank, your unlocks, everything. And with that in mind, my now-default account is less-than-impressive when it comes to anything in Rocket League. When I loaded it up though, I began to feel it … that sick feeling in my stomach that hints of Xbox betrayal, mixed with a bit of anger that Sony continue to baulk at the suggestion of cross-play. Then I get angry that I can’t change my PSN username. Then I get angry about everything else that Sony are doing wrong with their platform. It then ends up with me turning off the PlayStation, defeated, and turning on the Xbox as I play a game that, yes, I love, but feel somewhat alone-in-the-wilderness as I look at the other console under my TV and switch back into grass-is-greener mode.

It is this feeling which I call the Playstation Pull, and – as you can see – it’s incredibly cyclical and is probably less-than-a-healthy attitude to take towards gaming. This is also how I ended up switching-gears last time I attempted this challenge, but I feel like I’m so close to the end now that I’ll be able to see it through – and then I’ll be a little more open to the flights and fancies of PC or PlayStation or Xbox or iOS or whatever game takes my mood at the time. Part of this whole exercise though was as much about making the commitment to one platform for an entire year as it was chronicling the experience, so I’m keen to see the light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel, but (I’m sure I’ve mentioned before) I’m also keeping potential 2018-19 challenges in the back of my mind as a possibility.

The thought of a trophy-a-day certainly appeals, and would be somewhat easier with a whole library of Vita games essentially untapped on my go-to PlayStation account, but I also worry about that guilt/anger/sick feeling as the challenge goes on. Perhaps the flexibility of ‘any’ achievement a day would still serve me better. Who knows?

I still have a month or two left to settle on where I want to guide my gaming passion for the next year, but I feel like this is a good a time as any to try and get a few thoughts down about how PlayStation make me feel as the emotions from last night are still able to be articulated in a way that makes some sense.

It’s not a good thing. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just a thing. Perhaps it will pass as my achievement list grows on my new account. Perhaps Sony will pull-their-finger-out and list a whole new raft of improvements to their platform(s) as part of E3.

Either way, despite my negative feelings, I feel like I’ll be playing some more PlayStation this year.


New Game in Town


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.

He Was Much Feared


The Wolf Among Us • Completed Chapter 4 of Episode 4 • 20G • 35.66% of gamers unlocked this

A bit of an emergency session tonight just to get this one in! For the better part of the last hour I’ve been playing the COD Modern Warfare remaster, but on veteran, you run a bit of a risk of making less progress than you’d like. Tonight was Exhibit A. I am this close to finishing the level, but at 11.40pm, I had to switch to Bigby (a risk in and of itself as we’ve learned before) just to grab today’s achievement.

Bigby visited a butcher shop tonight as part of his pursuit of the magic mirror shard (among other plot lines) and ended up in a terrible sequel to Breaking Bad. It’s a great bit of story for the Fables universe, and it will be interesting to see what makes the cut for the sequel.

Anyway, with that out of the way, I might have a quick session to try and finish that COD level. Either that or I’ll be awake for another 90 minutes!

Who Ruled the Land


The Wolf Among Us • Completed Chapter 3 of Episode 4 • 20G • 35.86% of gamers unlocked this

A little more breakfast gaming today, though I did have to abruptly shepherd the kids out of the room when the Jersey Devil started making an appearance … undoubtedly one of my favourite characters in mythology (likely prompted by my early love of The X-Files), let alone Fables, but I do love the latter’s interpretation.

This is an episode that relies heavily on turning Bigby into a detective – though with a much lighter touch than Telltale’s iteration of Batman. Thank God. The gentle guiding of Bigby around the story is a far more enjoyable approach than needing to use your brain to combine clues or hunt for missing objects. I enjoy my Telltale games with a far more passive element than what some of their later titles have employed.

In other gaming news, I’ve been eyeing off the latest DLC for Wildlands and considering a purchase on PS4 so I can play with one of my other gaming friends. It’s also a good chance for a Platinum trophy, but I’m holding off until I can settle my raging mind about the PSN Account switch-around, and also to settle on a decision about whether to renew my PS Plus for another year.

It might be a case of waiting to see what E3 has in store for the gaming calendar before I commit either way.

All in a Day’s Work


Batman: The Enemy Within • Completed Chapter 1 of Episode 1 • 20G • 60.17% of gamers unlocked this

I’ve been looking and listening to a few of the reviews for The Enemy Within as it reaches its concluding episode. Batman, along with Game of Thrones, is one of my favourite licensed properties by Telltale, and it seems like this second series is off to a great start as well.

Many of the game mechanics from the original Batman, the ones that go beyond that of a normal Telltale game, are still there: The use of detective skills and planning elaborate takedowns looks like they have just carried over without amendment. That’s fine – no need to reinvent the wheel … however, we will see if these expand as the story unfolds.

The opening scene takes place in a casino and is a great introduction to Telltale’s take on Riddler. If we’ve learned anything from last season, it’s that Telltale have a delicious spin, not only on the character of Batman, but of all the supporting cast as well. This narrative looks like it won’t be much different.

That’s about all the Xbox I’ve managed to squeeze in today. I’m finding myself incredibly tired at the end of the day, so I’m calling an early night. These late nights gaming do catch up on me from time-to-time!

Once Upon a Time


The Wolf Among Us • Complete Chapter 1 of Episode 4 • 20G • 36.43% of gamers unlocked this

As expected, here it is. Look at this miserable sod. If this achievement was a person, I’d slap its stupid grin off its stupid face. It had one job. One. Unlock before midnight. And couldn’t deliver. I’m not angry, just disappointed.

The big part here was essentially patching Bigby up after he’s encounter with Jack, which was supposed to be an effort to make the game somewhat confronting, but being a child who grew up on a hearty diet of video game violence, a bit of blood and exposed bone really is nothing.

On that note – I’m off to bed. I’m still in Friday mode and it’s been a long day. Goodnight, Internet!

Enchanted Land of NYC


The Wolf Among Us • Completed Episode 3: “A Crooked Mile” • 40G • 38.14% of gamers unlocked this

I had actually miscalculated the ending of Episode 3, thinking that it concluded much sooner and with a different cliffhanger, but I think I might be one or two episodes short. But my memory was soon jogged when I watched the final emotive minutes as Bigby et. al. were closed in by dark windowed cars in the alley near the Pudding and Pie.

If you are detecting a bit of a theme with my gaming lately, then you’re probably right. I have been working on getting some ‘low hanging fruit’ achievements earlier in the day so that I have the flexibility to play some of my other, slower-burn games at night: currently Sea of Thieves and Wildlands. I was committed to finishing off this episode today though, rather than just grab-and-run with the next achievement – but largely because I wanted to push towards that specific ending, which turned out to be wrong anyway.

This also gives me the thought that I need to do a bit of a stocktake of my Telltale Game catalogue. I have Tales from the Borderlands there waiting for an Xbox playthrough – a fantastic game on its own – and I’m fairly sure there’s a Batman sequel, another iteration of The Walking Dead, and God knows what else I’ve missed over the past year.

It also gives me a healthy assortment of options going into the final stretch of this challenge. Don’t be surprised to see a few more of these pop-up over the next few months, particularly during the mad mid-week rush!

Huff and Puff


The Wolf Among Us • Completed Chapter 4 of Episode 3 • 20G • 38.65% of gamers unlocked this

There is some method to my madness. I knew that this section of the Chapter took a bit more time than normal, on account of having to visit different locations to piece-together where ‘the witch’ lived, and so with a spare 20 minutes up my sleeve this morning, I set this chapter going while getting ready for work – occasionally reaching over for the controller as I needed it for my preferred input.

I am enjoying the early-night, early-rise lately – but at the same time, it’s a bit different to start a game that I can dismiss as being a ‘cartoon’ when my kids get up, versus having them genuinely watch a Wolf rip the arms off respective enemies.

I’m pretty much at the end of this Episode, so I know it’s just a final encounter with ‘the witch’ and a decision to make around her tree to go. I think I will save it this time around, as I torched it last time, and there was’t any real impact as a result. Time will tell if any difference is made this time.

What Big Eyes You Have


The Wolf Among Us • Completed Chapter 3 of Episode 3 • 20G • 39.37% of gamers unlocked this

Back to a good ol’ faithful Telltale game today – and what better way to start the week than by a visit with Bigby and the Fables team? I actually managed to get up early and have breakfast at a reasonable hour today – even beating one of my kids to the breakfast table! So, rather than torture myself with breakfast television, I turned on the Xbox and went with a story-based title and my Weet-bix.

Spoiler Warning – The story picks up with Bigby and his group on the tail of Ichabod Crane after discovering his supposed involvement in the murder of Woodland girls, and most of this chapter is a various series of expositions where Bigby, Snow White and Bluebeard are jostling to determine what happens next. It’s probably not something you notice unless you are paying close attention for a good screenshot, but The Wolf Among Us is mostly just a series of over-the-shoulder camera angles, switching between Snow and Bigby depending on who is talking. Of course, there is the occasional cutaway, but for the most part, the point-of-view aesthetic is taken very seriously. This makes long dialogue scenes such as this chapter particularly difficult, because it’s really just choosing one of two or three different looks to screen-capture.

With that achievement out of the way, I’m giving some consideration to an early night tonight. I was in bed by 11pm last night, and while I had to get up at 6am for a challenging toddler, it meant that I was not debilitated going to work today. I call that a small win. I’ll see how the house is settled later tonight, it may be a case that I get back on the high seas a bit later as well, but for now, I’ll keep my expectations low.

Belly Full of Stones


The Wolf Among Us • Completed Chapter 2 of Episode 3 • 20G • 40.21% of gamers unlocked this

Thankfully, I’m feeling a lot better, so today’s use of The Wolf Among Us was more out of a need to manage my time today rather than anything else. I was also conscious, as I mentioned last time, that this was also the one part of Telltale’s Fables story that you could miss an achievement on, so I made sure to do a quick achievement guide check (nod to True Achievements) before I accidentally glossed over this one. This whole chapter is essentially a Funeral, so it’s a lot of Bigby standing around listening, and trying to keep the peace (well, that’s how I played it anyway), but otherwise an uneventful scene in the broader strokes of the story.

Tonight, my wife is having a ‘Linen Party’ which is essentially a Tupperware Party except … well … linen. As a result, I suspect that my house will be taken over by a bunch of ladies that are less-than-interested in me smashing out some Diablo III rifts on the main TV, so I will more-than-likely be relegated to some PC gaming this evening. Perhaps this is a good opportunity to work on some more longer-game Windows 10 achievements, or – as I discussed on my other gaming blog, Right Click Left, the other day – a good chance to nurture my clickers some more.