Crystal Relic Collector

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Knack • Acquired a Crystal Relic • Bronze Trophy • Rarity 62.9% (Common)

It’s the freakin’ weekend, and do you know what that means? If you guessed housework, and a day out-and-about, then you’re absolutely correct; but if your guess ventured into something about having to entertain the kids when they’ve had a full day of the aforementioned ‘out-and-about’, and they’re eyes are hanging out of their head … then I’m happy to give you a silver medal as well.

What does this all mean? Why, time to fire up the closest friendly family game, of course – and Knack fit the bill. While we’re pretty much tag-teaming the game for the most part, it really is a case of my son playing for a bit, getting killed, and then me having to go back and get through the next chunk until he feels like playing again. Repeat, ad nauseum.

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Even though he still falls over along the way, he’s certainly got the grasp of the game, and he knows when to look in side doors or areas where chests might be. Even though he breezes past a lot of these things while he’s playing, it pleases me that he’s getting a good grasp of side quests. I’ll turn him into a professional gamer yet!

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This trophy is simply for unlocking a particular type of collectible, or ‘relic’ as the game labels them. I noticed that collecting the full set of these crystals appears to be the requirement for unlocking ‘Vampire Knack’, which – perhaps most importantly – is necessary for another trophy entirely! I can’t see myself in the likely multiple playthroughs needed to obtain the full set, but by the same token, I said that a lot about Max and the Curse of Brotherhood, and then I had to keep going back to it to cater to my son’s obsession, and used the time to 100% it. Silver lining and all that.

Tomorrow is pretty much a dedicated family day, so I’m not sure where I’m going to land when it comes to achievements. I still have many of my quick-and-dirty achievements on Steam there to work my way through, which might be a nice change from the more ‘meaty’ stuff I’ve been working on lately. Final Fantasy VII, in particular, is proving particularly taxing on the mind.

I’m not sure if that reflects the game, the twenty years since it’s been out or … more troubling … my mind!

Survivor!

Rayman Origins • Survived a Piranha Pond without a scratch!

I’ve played a lot of Rayman in various forms over the years – but it’s been so on-and-off I haven’t really worked towards a particular trophy. Between different accounts and different games, it’s always been much more of a casual pleasure than on steady rotation, and so when I was playing around tonight and this trophy popped, it seemed like a good a time as any to celebrate.

Ironically, for the hours I’ve put into the game I still don’t consider myself very good! Every time I attempt one of the timed runs (for another one of the little purple creatures) I fall just short or fail miserably. Que Sera, Sera.

Grabbing this trophy frees me up a bit tonight, so I’m thinking a bit more Fortnite or something more shooty bangs on the fixture.

Either way, flexibility is good – as good as a nostalgic walk down memory lane with a good ol’ Vita game to keep you company.

Father and Son

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God of War • Obtain all other trophies

It’s done. Valkyries, Ravens, Artifacts, Mists, Chests, Rifts … well, actually, I think I’m still missing a rift … but either way, the Gods of Trophies have seen it fit to bestow on me the Platinum Trophy for God of War.

In the famous phrase from The Handmaid’s Tale: Praise Be.

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I will be honest … this last, final grind towards 20,000 blood mists was incredibly tedious. I can see why people who ‘don’t care’ about achievements or trophies might just as easily skip over this part. For many of my last few battles, I was facing a steady stream of Wulvers and Trolls, which – while not necessarily difficult – were annoying.

I’ve spent a fair part of my afternoon wondering ‘what’s next?’. I started off with a quick 10 minutes of Dark Souls (not the remaster, just the good ol’ fashioned classic) to see if it floated my boat (it didn’t) before I ended up on Rocket League for a few mindless matches against the best the web could throw at me. I have to say: I loved every minute of it. After the mental drain of a trophy cleanup, sometimes it’s good just to snuggle up with a contemporary classic.

I might treat myself to another few hours of it.

Allfather Blinded

God of War • Kill all of Odin’s Ravens

Tonight started off about collecting all the relics, and finished with a tricky little walk around the Iron Cove and some sneaky axe throwing work to kill the last of Odin’s Ravens.

One trophy to go.

Earning these last few trophies has felt more like relief than satisfaction. Part of this is frustration that I missed or didn’t work more systematically through the game in the first place.

Still, for want of a better cliche: better late than never.

I’m hoping that a solid Friday night session tomorrow might be enough to round-out the GoW trophy hunt, but I’m also conscious that it’s going to be a grind – so, worse case scenario, it might be a weekend job.

Cliche 2: Time will tell.

Why Fight It?

God of War • Fully upgrade the Blades of Chaos

It’s been a long time since I’ve been awake at 2am playing video games, and yet – here we are! Tonight I was able to take down my eighth and penultimate Valkyrie, but after a few attempts at the Queen – I felt it best to maybe side with the trophy that I had already earned, rather than the aspiration. I think it will take some patience, a quiet, kid-free period of time, an empty bladder and a sprinkle of luck to finally beat her, but on consulting with my Dark Souls’ speed running mate who takes pride in smashing big, difficult bosses – who gave up after three attempts – I’m feeling like I made a good call.

This trophy in and of itself isn’t a throwaway one though – I’ve had a long stint of not having my Blades of Chaos fully upgraded, and I have to say – it felt kind of weird at this point in the game. I am a fully upgraded, well-equipped killing machine, but for a long time I haven’t had the right materials to tip me over the edge to Level 5 Blades. Well, it seems Brok and Sindri came good – and it turned out that the necessary resources were now just available to buy! Whatever it was I needed (memory fails me), I know that I needed some resources from Muspelheim to trade – so it seems like completing the Trials was a good decision.

For the rest of today, I’d like to see what I can sort out in the home PC. There’s a whole decade’s worth of Steam games that I need to start working through! (And then I might be able to start on my EA Origin, Uplay, GOG, etc.)

Dangerous Skies

God of War • Free all of the Dragons

Another episode of Kratos and Son tonight, and – as promised – thus concludes the third and final dragon free from both the metaphoric and literal constraints of Norse mythological life.

I have actually already free’d this dragon as part of my first God of War playthrough on my other PSN account, which made finding the shrines and releasing him a touch easier this time around.

Much of my effort now has concentrated on cleaning up small tasks like killing Odin’s ravens and finishing up the odd task still on the to-do list. Given enough time, and a good walkthrough – anything is possible.

And I’ve already found plenty of good walkthroughs!

Fire and Brimstone

God of War • Complete all the Trials of Muspelheim

Well, that was exactly as satisfying as I thought it would be. It was these trials which first seeded doubt in my mind that I’d ever get around to obtaining platinum on God of War, but a bit of patience, a lot of skill and just a sprinkle of luck got me through in the end.

The hardest part was largely the final stage of the trials, where you have to obtain three keys in order to get to the endless wave stage of the trial. The final stage itself was quite easy – it seems like you only need about fifty kills to finish it off (I got between 75-80), which makes the final battle kind of a catharsis following some of the most fiddly encounters of the game so far (second, perhaps, only to the Valkyries).

I didn’t stop there though, ending up with another trophy for my efforts in completing all the Dwarven favours. The final favour also doubled as a mechanism to free one of the three dragons in the game – so a quick guide and a bit of a session tomorrow should see me knock that trophy on the head too.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. This is a great, great game.

Sticky Start

Super Exploding Zoo! • Collect your first sticker!

And so it begins. The start of a new financial year, and my effort to broaden my horizons. I have deliberately gone with something non-Xbox for the day. In truth, this actually worked quite well considering I’ve spent most of the day out of the house – and so I managed to find something ‘new’ in my Vita library and fiddle around with it for a bit to grab a trophy.

I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing in Super Exploding Zoo! but I suspect it has more to do with just blowing animals up than any real strategy. I’ll experiment a little more over the next couple of days and see if I can work it out.

For now though, I have a shocking headache and all signs point to something viral, so it’s an early night and sleep for me.

Thank God for portable gaming!

Last Wish

God of War • Spread the ashes • Gold Trophy • Rarity 43.9% (Rare)

And now, my time has come. I’ve had my share … etc. It is done. God of War Campaign Complete. I texted a friend about the news and he asked me for a rating, and while I’m not generally enthusiastic about numbers when it comes to scoring games, I made an exception:

Hmm. Tricky one. Solid 8.5-9 with moments of a 10. Feels epic in scope, gameplay wise has a lot of similarities with Tomb Raider. Some nice touches of nostalgia which tickled me in all the right places.

There’s probably nothing in that message that is contrary to what I’ve been saying all along – but I guess I wanted to include it as a bit of a ‘tying up loose ends’ thought.

Was the ending everything I hoped it would be? Absolutely. It struck just the right narrative note in my mind – combining a nice ‘reveal’, or twist, along with a satisfying level of poignancy that doesn’t seem forced or unnecessary. Indeed, Sony Santa Monica have done a good job of always making the story feel appropriate for what you’re doing at any given time – and that’s no mean feat. If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that game writers are so incredibly unsung but they actually make all the difference when it comes to a great narrative-driven game, and they can enhance every other game through clever dialogue and strong characters – up to and including the world’s latest obsession with Battle Royale.

I’ve enjoyed my God of War journey tremendously, and it’s been nice to see Kratos both keep his same level of badass while tempered with the burden of fatherhood (and his history). Sony have got themselves an absolutely A+ franchise here, and they have revitalised it just right for a new generation.

They better not stuff it up for the next.

The Best Moves

God of War • Fully upgrade a Runic Attack • Bronze Trophy • Rarity 53.8% (Common)

I wore some criticism yesterday for ‘giving too much away’ when it comes to God of War, which I suppose is a subjective assessment, but it still gives me an emotional reaction at the injustice of being called out. The modern risk of putting yourself out there is not so much an occupational hazard, but one of the vissictudes of life. Que Sera Sera.

Anyway, as much as I’d like to be spiteful and try and ‘spoil’ something else (yes, I’m that kind of person), I went with a trophy that’s a little more ‘mainstream’ tonight. My intent isn’t so much as to labor the substance of this achievement – I feel like it’s one that most people will get to in their course of learning the game (and a 53% completion rate seems to support that), but more so just to talk about these final few beats of the God of War narrative.

Tonight I had a range of battles, puzzles and encounters that start to tie-up the threads that have been left throughout the journey. I feel like the game is moving at a cracking pace, but sure enough, it’s nearly midnight and I have just put the controller down for the night – talk about a time-sink. I am left glancing at the clock every twenty minutes while willing the game to draw to an end, just so I can scratch this one off my ‘played’ list and return to hating on PlayStation and Sony.

Another solid session like today should bring the main narrative to an end, but a glance at the checklist to complete shows a much greater list of side missions and tasks to complete before I even get close to a Platinum trophy. I’m not sure if this is an ‘immediate’ priority for me, or whether it’s something I’ll go back to later in the year.

Either way, I’ve enjoyed the journey so far – and I intend to enjoy these final few steps as well.