Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands • Skydived 10 times • 15G • 35.33% of gamers unlocked this

It’s done. My last ‘in the bank’ achievement, or ‘low hanging fruit’ as I’ve liked to use on this blog, is done. The reason is a little bit sad actually, in that tonight was a training night and the Married at First Sight finale is on, and so after a late dinner and an episode of Shameless I needed something quick and easy to get through so I could get in position for the finale. Oh God … I’ve turned into one of those people.

To be honest, this mad rush could have gone a lot quicker if there was a more simple single player process to be followed in Sea of Thieves. I tried, I really, really tried to make some progress as a Pirate, but I think it is absolutely designed for group play. Que Sera Sera.

Anyway, time to get into the MAFS!


Begin with a BANG


Tom Clancy’s The Division • Access the Tactical Operations Center • 10G • 10.92% of gamers unlocked this

I’ll admit, it took me a while to work my way around the glut of DLC that I got with the season pass. After the ten minutes of downloading all the outfits, I then struggled through working out how and where to access the respective expansion packs.

After a quick Google, I found the necessary mission I needed to complete to trigger access to the new ‘Tactical Operations Center’. The mission itself wasn’t complicated as far as Division missions go, but there was some confusion around the Base of Operations itself. The AR guide that tells you where to go seemed to die a bit while I tried to find the TOC entrance, but I put on my big boy pants and worked it out.

Tomorrow, I’m making a commitment to try and master Sea of Thieves. It’s really not my cup of tea, but it’s the latest ‘next big thing’, and because it’s free with Game Pass, I figure ‘why not?’

Let’s sea(!) what happens …

Highway Bandit


Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands • Tagged 10 convoys • 15G • 28.96% of gamers unlocked this

I’m absolutely loving the variety of Ghost Recon Wildlands, but when I found out how many skills I could unlock following a good haul of resources, I was convinced that I needed to stop my push through the main campaign and start collecting a few widgets throughout the world to build up my character (and ultimately go after Predator).

This morning’s session really just required a few more convoys be intercepted, thanks to already having a few in the bank from earlier gameplay. If you’re not too concerned about getting involved in gunfights, it’s actually fairly easy to knock a vehicle off the road, tag it, and hightail it out of there without too many issues. I’m the kind of guy who plays on easy, so exchanging gunfire with the cartel or the military didn’t really appeal to me – so smash-and-grab it was.

I think, now that I’ve understood the basic mechanics, I’ll be about to line-up a few of the progress or story achievements. From what I can tell, there looks like achievements for dismantling the individual ‘arms’ of the cartel … and I’ve started (seemingly) making good progress through each of them, so I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. I don’t think it’s a today or tomorrow goal, but a ‘soon’ goal nonetheless.

Who knows? I might enjoy Wildlands so much that I end up 100%’ing it…!

Road Warrior


Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands • Drove a vehicle for 100km • 15G • 47.97% of gamers unlocked this

There are some things I can do in Wildlands to delay achievement gratification. One of these is sky diving, with only one jump needed to tick that achievement off – I’ve been sitting on it for a particularly time-poor day. One of the things I can’t ‘not’ get away with, however is driving. So when I saw the achievement was only a good 5-6km away, I figured I might as well double down and grab this one for good measure.

There’s something enormously satisfying about the narrative that Ubisoft have created in Wildlands. I haven’t really been that interested in it so far, but over the past 48 hours, I’ve been watching some of the in-game movies and discussions that are had, and I have to say, this is a story that would make Tom Clancy proud. It’s also one that I think would struggle in any other kind of medium. The Wildlands story is uniquely captured in the chunks relating to each part of the cartel’s hierarchy, and TV or movie lovers would tend to be sucked into an overarching narrative. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I like the ‘monster of the week’ style entertainment – best pioneered by The X-Files – of which I think Wildlands is the closest thing to it I’ve seen in a game.

There’s no real technique applied to earning this achievement. I just drove. My Xbox statistics are putting me in at 17 hours (incidentally, this achievement seems to only be for cars – I have a ‘Travelled Distance’ of 356.57 – and I certainly have not ran the balance!), and that’s playing – as far as I can tell – fairly normally, so it’s a fairly timely achievement I suspect.

Some more Wildlands before bed, and then in pursuit of another achievement tomorrow. I have a good Wildlands feeling about this weekend.

Spice of Life


Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands • Played each type of side mission • 30G • 31.83% of gamers unlocked this

Tonight’s session in Wildlands was all about the fun. Since taking the Quasi-Clancy sandbox as the playground it is supposed to be, I’ve been enjoying it much more than the more serious tactical military sim that I once had in my mind. No, my friends, this is much more Just Cause than Jack Ryan. And the series is that much better for it.

The progress achievements in Wildlands seem to be a bit hit-and-miss. I had ‘closed out’ what I thought were two ‘bosses’ tonight, but I think when they’re viewed in terms of the overall cartel organisational structure, they only form part of a part – that is, they’re too low down to earn themselves an achievement on their own. That’s fine – as I say, I’m having a great time, but in the interests of keeping game momentum up with my daily challenge, I speak purely out of self-interest.

This achievement unlocked at the same time as another – one for unlocking all the rebel skills, which you get for completing side missions, so it seems like this is a bit of a waste – or an easy earn – depending on how you look at it. I put it down as an interesting observation. Either way, I earned that one as well!

No Linux gaming tonight – I’ll save that for the weekend – so I hope that I can mix up my entries for the next couple of days!

With a Pistol!


Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands • Campaign: Took out a sniper with a pistol • 15G • 38.09% of gamers unlocked this

Predator has defeated me … for now. After an hour and a half trying to take him out last night, I decided it was time to move on and resume saving Bolivia from a drug cartel, rather than endlessly run around the same patch of jungle trying to shoot the walking mass of pain.

And so, the journey continues.

I’m kind of disappointed I didn’t give Wildlands a much greater run when it first launched. Now that I’ve kind of worked out it’s formula, I’m having a lot of fun. For instance, a mission that seemed like it would be overly complicated involved entering a base, stealing a prototype boat and extracting it to a CIA safehouse down-river. Instead of stealthily casing the base, and either run-and-gunning it in or creeping my way through the buildings to get to the boat, I found a helicopter, parachuted to the building the boat was in, jumped straight in and high-tailed it out of there while my squad rained fire down on my helicopter and boat pursuers …

… and I loved every minute of it.

This sort of sandbox play is everything that Wildlands promised, but my stubborn streak and lack of patience to experiment with how to play the game has robbed me of what could have been a great few months. Still … better late than never, and it also leaves me with a fairly expansive world to explore with fresh eyes.

Today’s achievement was fairly easy … most outposts have a sniper or two placed around the outskirts of the base, so switching to my pistol – some pirate-esque ornate single-shot beauty – and putting a bullet in the sniper in the tower was easy enough for a quick gameplay session this morning. With achievements out of the way for the day, I’m looking forward to some general tomfoolery in Bolivia when I get a chance later tonight.

Eye in the Sky


Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands • Campaign: Marked 100 enemies with a drone • 15G • 48.93% of gamers unlocked this

The idea of drones when I was growing up was pretty much the realm of science fiction – and I’m still in my thirties! So it goes to show you how quickly a bit of technology has come, not only in terms of fiction, but even as a practical tool of war.

Of course, these little drones are more like what you’d expect to buy at EB Games, rather than Lockheed Martin – and it’s a simple matter of throwing one in the air and moving the camera around a notch as it returns red reticules around bad guys on the battlefield. A lot of the earlier levels give good opportunities to use the drone, so getting 100 targets is actually a reasonably easy affair. It turns out just making sure you use it during each engagement is more than enough to see that number hit 100 after only a few hours playing.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve played Wildlands, but the recent spate of Tom Clancy love from Ubisoft prompted me to give it a whirl this afternoon. Much to my delight, I also had a brief session with the Predator! I thought that this was a time-limited event that I had well-and-truly missed, so I was stoked to see him running the Bolivian jungle with gay abandon. He killed me about three times before I put the controller down and vowed to fight another day, but it’s an excellent addition to the game – and, let’s be honest, a damn good bit of fun.

I think now I’ve worked out how to play Wildlands I might get back into it a bit more. I’m was lost without the guidance to move onto the next mission, but I think it’s a byproduct of just being ‘too’ open world. I discovered as soon as I landed in another area, a dialogue would trigger and open up a few missions and other options for me – so I’ll chip away at it for a little longer and see where I end up. I have to say though, the level design on this game is stunning. Ubisoft have absolutely outdone themselves on this – to the point at which I wonder how well it sold. I’m absolutely glad I decided to go back to it.



Tom Clancy’s The Division • Kill a named Elite in the Dark Zone • 15G • 26.72% of gamers unlocked this

It’s ten minutes to midnight as I start writing this so it is going to be quick! I really wanted to have a session on The Division tonight, following the announcement of its sequel being revealed at the rapidly-approaching E3.

There’s been a lot of chatter on the internet today about how much The Division improved since launch, thanks to a healthy array of patches and ongoing maintenance that has taken it from perceived mediocrity to a half-decent game.

Here’s a confession: I never had a problem with it and I haven’t really noticed much difference since launch.

It’s still a beautiful game. I don’t care if you avoid gunplay all together and just wander around Ubisoft’s New York. I remember at launch going to find the hotel we stayed at somewhere on 50th Street, but some strategically placed buildings and general debris was in the way. I also know, from experience, that it takes much, much longer to navigate the length of Manhattan that my Operator’s, albeit fit-and-toned, legs can carry him. I learned quickly that it was a Not-to-Scale version of the Big Apple.

My ‘named elite’ came in the form of a sharpshooter called ‘Buckshot’. I have a feeling I’ve battled Buckshot before on The Division, but who knows, I might not have defeated him or it might have been with a larger group and I didn’t get the kill … either way I managed to get him tonight with some fancy sniper-play and patience. Patience was absolutely the key.

With that in mind, I have five minutes left to post, so I’m going to pretty-up this entry and hit publish! Tom Clancy himself would be proud of that publication turnaround!

Go, Ninja, Go, Ninja, Go!


Trials of the Blood Dragon • “Blades of the Dragon” has officially been cancelled • 40G • 8.23% of gamers unlocked this

Let us all take a moment to celebrate that there were no jet packs in any of this morning’s levels! They’re certainly not getting any easier though. Even this chapter, ‘Blades of the Dragon’, culminated in a nearly 10-minute long timer for the final level (which I still ran over) … with a whole series of boss battles against various ninjas and scenarios.

I’ll be honest … it was a lot of fun.

Other than the looming deadline to get out of the door, into the car and on-the-road to work, today’s missions offered the same level of variety and joy that I’ve been lauding Trials of the Blood Dragon over for the past few days. It’s just fun. And I’m absolutely not a person who like Trials, but this … is … fun.

Following on from last night, I actually wanted to quickly mention what I decided to play. It was a bit of a twist from my usual fare, instead knocking off a few achievements in … (drumroll) … Borderlands! I think this is a Game Pass title, and I’ve just left it on my console with the sole aspiration of finishing the game after all these years (I’ve had many, many false starts) and for the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m making some gains. Rather than trying to rush the ending – I’ve paced myself and started working through some of the missions – side and main – to level up my character and be in a position to make progress. It’s also equally nice to play a game where the gunplay is loud, heavy and just damn good fun.

… and I’m loving the return to fun in gaming.

Sing Hallelujah!


Trials of the Blood Dragon • You’ve been to Hell and back • 40G • 9.11% of gamers unlocked this

OK, I’ve gotten a bit sick of jet packs. It’s not like Trials has a whole heap of those level types, but they’re not really my cup of tea. Perhaps it’s a little too much freedom for the Trials formula, or perhaps it’s just my stubborn Gemini streak – but for a brief moment I stopped liking Trials of the Blood Dragon.

Back to the positive aspects: I’m absolutely loving the bite-size chunks that the ‘stories’ in Trials use. It’s about 3-4 levels per story, all of which culminate (with the exception of jet pack levels) in well-paced challenges and ultimate climax. Even tonight, in well under an hour, I’ve been able to get through two complete stories from start to finish – neither of which were flawless or breaking any speed records – but complete nonetheless.

In other news, I was pleased to see Ubisoft taking serious steps to address the toxic culture of Rainbow Six Siege as reported in Kotaku, Polygon, and a few other outlets. Of course, I think that it’s difficult to do little more than give the idea lip service. Offensive language, hate speech, and just generally ‘being a dickhead’ are all open to incredible levels of subjective interpretation, but the fact that Ubisoft have acknowledged the problem and said that it won’t be acceptable in their game is a good start. Time will tell.

Tonight I’m tossing up between a spot of Dragon Age, Rainbow Six (because today’s news has me in the mood for it) or something a bit more ‘hands on’.

I guess it’s time for a trawl through the games library…