What A Beauty!

Xbox

Dovetail Games Euro Fishing • Caught your first fish • 25G • 74.18% of gamers unlocked this

I felt like playing something a bit ‘different’ this morning, and while I’m still a bit bitter and twisted about my bad back-slash-hip, a calmer game seemed appropriate. Thanks to Game Pass, a spot of fishing was in order.

For starters, I just want to put this out there: I am not a fan of fishing. I grew up in a household where we ate a lot of fish, and did a lot of fishing. I get incredibly sea sick, and I bore easily – so all variations of fishing make me irritable. Last time I went fishing it was to a trout farm near Bright, where I was taught how to stun a trout after catching it so that it died a somewhat humane death. Well, I tried that approach, and the thing was still moving after multiple bludgeons, so much so that it was still wriggling when we took it to the man for cleaning, where he promptly gave it a knock on the head, and it stopped moving straight away.

That was nearly five years ago … I haven’t touched a rod since.

So, the digital variety of fishing seems much more up my alley. Even my player character has a T-Shirt that speaks about the value of ‘research’, so catch and release is absolutely my kind of fishing. This first fish itself was fairly easy to catch … it all forms part of the tutorial really, so this was a bit of a no-brainer, but the tutorial itself gave a pretty good indication as to how the rest of the game would run.

Of course, this will appeal more to the micromanaging fisherpeople, as you get to choose your bait, your rod, your line tension, the angle of your cast, and every other detail you could set your hopes and dreams on if you’re into that sort of thing. Me? I’m a set-and-forget sort of guy. I’d like some sort of ‘ding’ that tells me when I need to pick up the controller again, and hold down LT to reel in the line.

There – I’ve summed up my ideal fishing simulator in 25-words-or-near-enough.

Tonight I’m hoping for a painkiller-induced early night, so I don’t know how much gaming I’ll get in – but I’ve also had a day without the Vita, so there’s a chance I’ll play something frivolous before the evening is out.

Better than a chance, actually. Almost a certainty.

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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.

Mr. Sandman

Xbox

Minecraft: Story Mode • Completed Chapter 2 of Episode 6 • 15G • 7.73% of gamers unlocked this

A bit of an opportunity session this morning, and while I still had Minecraft: Story Mode on the recently-played / pinned list on the Xbox, I figured it was a good a chance as any to grab an achievement and liberate myself from trying to squeeze in a gaming session tonight. Because, to be honest, I could really go for a few more hours sleep.

Unlike yesterday, I actually sat and watched a bit of this episode. Not through any great desire to engage with the story, but more out of a sense of ‘nothing better to do’. The morning wasn’t entirely wasted, I still managed to get my son dressed while tapping whatever input I felt like at the time to keep the story going, and the lack of a huge combat scene helped … though Chapter 2 largely concentrated on the death of a character (that’s not a spoiler … we meet him for about 30 seconds), and the subsequent detective work that Jesse et. al. put in to learn ‘why’ he might have been killed.

I can kind of see what the intent behind Story Mode was. Almost like an episodic, monster-of-the-week style structure, that might have allowed it to continue in perpetuity. As Phil Spencer has alluded to in the past, the Xbox Game Pass is conducive to releasing episodic content like this, though I think it will take a different title to get me on-board after (and I know I’ve already whinged about this yesterday) the Story Mode season pass debacle.

With that in mind, there are plenty of fresh IPs waiting to be tapped, or even some older titles that could do with a reboot. If anyone has the sharp business mind needed to make it happen, it’s Phil Spencer.

In Phil We Trust.

Master of Reincarnation

PC

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Clicker Heroes • Ascend the world 25 times

I have been running Clicker Heroes quietly in the background of my day job for a while now, but I actually reached two milestones today that I thought would be cause for a blog entry.

The first one is the titular achievement for ascending the world 25 times. I feel like that I’ve gotten into a good rhythm for ascending … capping out just before I get to the hero Atlas, and levelling up as many of my heroes as I can in pursuit of damage-boosting Hero Souls. The process is actually quite quick now, with my DPS letting me rapidly ascend levels to get to the higher-yielding boss battles that let me get Amenhotep to Level 150 and buy the ascension. All-in-all, a twenty minute job … and that’s if I’m not paying attention.

Which leads me to my second achievement …

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Killing Doppler, the Robot. In reality, it’s the achievement for hitting Level 500 … which I set as my psychological benchmark for this latest ascension. It actually took me a couple of days to balance out my boosts and my DPS to be able to smash through it, but as the climb edged closer to 500, I sensed that it would be an easy fight once I got there. Sure enough, by the time I confronted Doppler, it was a few clicks and he was gone.

That was enough for that ascension so I’ve reset and I’m back on the path towards my next achievement. From what I can tell, the next achievement on my journey should fall around Level 600, but the climb to 500 in this latest round leads me to believe that the next 100 levels might take a little bit longer than one would suggest.

Still, sitting around lamenting the effort results in no progress on the journey. Onward and upward.

Click, click, click.

A Friend In Need

Xbox

Batman: The Enemy Within • Completed Chapter 4 of Episode 1 • 20G • 55.07% of gamers unlocked this

A bit more Batman today. There was not really any time pressure associated with getting this achivement, but I’ve felt a bit ‘tetchy’ seeing it in my games library and not progressing the story.

And boy … what a moment to pick up the story!

I absolutely love what they did with the character of Vicki Vale last season, and this time around they have already started off building the Fox family and John Doe out as well-rounded characters. Even the man who would be the Joker is given a somewhat more fleshed-out past, while still maintaining the ambiguity of his past (so far). His relationship with Bruce Wayne is also delivered perfectly – without spoiling some of the great moments from Season One, the characterisation of the Wayne family has made for some brilliant relationship dynamics between Bruce and the antagonists of Gotham City.

The ‘friend’ in the achievement title is, of course, John Doe, who crashes a funeral to enjoy an exchange with Bruce that ultimately culminates in giving Batman’s alter-ego a general vicinity to look for the episode’s primary villain, The Riddler. It’s still mid-stream in terms of the episode’s story for me, so who knows where it could head … already I’ve had a swath of new characters introduced, a major one killed off, and some DC stalwarts reimagined – and that’s a quick turnaround in my mind, so if it maintains that pace then I’m sure there’s some more twists and turns to come.

I can’t wait.

Running Late

PC

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Clicker Heroes • Complete 50 Five Minute Quests

It’s been a while since I’ve revisited my clickers – and the gap is definitely felt. Well, by felt, I mean noticeable, thanks to a healthy gaming approach to making me money regardless of whether I’m actually there to control where the money goes. It’s nice to be able to log on after a few days (or weeks, or months, etc.) absence and still have progress carry-over, and Clicker Heroes, as one of the OG clickers, does it beautifully.

Today’s achievement comes from having completed fifty five-minute quests. For the most part, I’ve leaned-in very heavily to the ‘gold’ quests, in anticipation of using the money to upgrade my heroes so that I can get further, faster. As it turns out, there’s a limit to that speed, and so I tend to end up around level 200 and end up ascending ready to get to the next level faster and stronger.

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Am I ‘doing’ it right though? That’s the question I’ve been asking myself, because it seems like that while the souls I get from ascending let me improve my damage capability – and therefore the speed at which I level – I’m still capping out around the same level each time. Part of this, I suspect, is patience, as in I’m not prepared to wait on that level long enough to power up enough to pass it, but it’s also likely to be a marketing goal to get people roughly to the same point each time and make the next leap incredibly difficult so that they buy a little boost or spend some money on a hero, and then get through until the next overly-difficult boss.

Right now, it’s all hypothesis and hyperbole though, and I suspect that we’ll never know, or certainly not until PC Power Plan do a ‘behind the scenes’ and interview random people from their studios and ask other outlets if they tracked demographics and buyer behaviour.

We can take a pretty educated guess though.

And that guess is, yes, we’re all dirty consumers who need to be encouraged to spend our money on microtransactions.

Boss Murderer

PC

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Clicker Heroes • Kill 10,000 bosses

Another one gone, and another one gone, another one bites the dust.

10,000. Ten. Thousand. By anybody’s definition, I’d argue that’s a not-insignificant number of kills for a game that thrives on continuous progress through an army of endless enemies looking to take you and your mouse pointer on for a good time, and I don’t mean that in a good way.

It feels like a long time since I had a go at Clicker Heroes. In truth, it’s been less than a week, but I’ve had quite a few distractions more broadly on-my-mind: a holiday away, doing chores, calling past the supermarket on the way home, those little things that all contribute to a happy, healthy home. Combine that with a bit of a busy period at work, my lunchbreaks have been short, sharp, and often at my desk … so some time to get in a quick gaming fix has been limited.

Not today though. Today, I darn well made the time.

Today was actually an achievement that required a bit of work. Nothing an onerous as having to click, but balancing out progress versus income versus trying to knock as many bosses over in one sitting versus … well, you get the idea. Needless to say, that it took some time and monitoring of the game’s progress as it went from about 3,000 boss kills at the start of the day, through to the golden 10k needed to unlock this achivement. I am certain some die hard fans will be none-too-pleased with me with my approach of farming bosses for an hour or so, but as much as camping is a genuine strategy, as too is farming. Plus, who the heck wants to play long enough to get 10,000 bosses through normal gameplay?

One thing I haven’t worked out is whether achievements in Clicker Heroes give you any initial perks. For example, in Ragnarok Clicker, earning a specific in-game achievement is usually tied to increased DPS or clicks, though Clicker Heroes seemed to just reward you with the achievement and then carry on with business as usual.

I guess we’ll always have hero souls.

I’m about to wind-down for the weekend, and play something frivolous tonight for my Xbox achievement. I’m not sure what I’ll run with yet, but this morning I was in the mood for racing, and now I’m in the mood for Batman … so it could be something entirely different by this evening. Time will tell. At least I can safely say that it won’t be the new Avengers on the top of my list.

Red

Xbox

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SUPERHOT • Kill 100 Red Dudes with a rifle • 15G • 7.95% of gamers unlocked this

Full disclosure: Today’s screenshot is from an earlier capture of SUPERHOT. I forgot to take a picture today, but the achievement itself is absolutely 100% genuine!

Today’s achievement was more about seeing what was available on SUPERHOT and then doing a rise-and-repeat on killing bad guys until the achievement popped. For a while there, the progress wasn’t tracking properly, as in it wasn’t displaying on the side menu – but it seemed like it was tracking fine in the back-end, because it popped after about twenty minutes of gaming – with the progress bar (last time I checked) still a fair way off. Either way, as long as I get rewarded for doing the work I’m happy.

After that, there was a 700MB+ update to do on the Xbox, so I moved onto Ratchet and Clank (which I’ll try and write about a bit later). It’s actually great to see Xbox take some consumer feedback and push ahead with it in the throws of the God of War hype. The update is largely for those with bigger, better AV systems than I have, but, I assume much like the One X itself, there’ll be some benefits for plebs like me.

There didn’t look like much left in the ‘quick and dirty’ achievement list for SUPERHOT, so this might get shelved for a while, but I’d love to go back to it … one day … when time permits …

… sigh, might as well delete it now then(!)

Squareboy vs Bullies

PlayStation

Squareboy vs Bullies • Defeat all the Bullies • Platinum Trophy • Rarity 82.2% (Common)

Another game that has a problem reigning in their capital letters. Well, sorry Rohan, but I’m going to have to override your decision this time. But all-in-all, thanks for the game!

I think that this concludes the list of games I had on my cheap-and-easy-to-platinum-in-a-couple-of-hours list, so I’ll be back to Hatoful Boyfriend and Hitman GO soon enough. It’s been a welcome taster back into the world of PlayStation, so much so that I even listened to the Blogcast for the first time in a long time this morning on the way into work. Hearing Justin Massongill talk about loading up his Vita with Persona 5 and making an effort to grab a platinum took me back to my own commuting days – many of my platinums on my old account came from the LEGO series during my daily hour-long commute (both ways). Others on the train had their Nintendo DS or their phone – but I lauded over them all with my Vita, knowing full-well that I was earning myself some PlayStation trophies while they did nothing to build evidence of their gaming career. It’s petty, I know – but that’s kind of the whole point when I’ve made my blog out of earning an achievement a day, no?

One thing that is concerning / bothering me about playing on my Vita is that somewhere along the line I seem to have a drifting left stick. What that means is, essentially, that it steers everything ‘up’, like I was pushing on the stick … and without the luxury of just being able to switch it out with another controller, I’m left either suffering in silence, or starting the hunt for a second-hand (or new?) unit. I’m opting for the ‘suffer in silence’ bit for now … as long as I can turn the device on and get to some games, I can deal with correcting the drift every now-and-then, but I did have a few moments where it caused me some grief during Squareboy. It’s also caused me to run into trouble a few times while playing Hotline Miami … something that I thought was my own fault for grazing the touchpad or similar, but it turns out, no – that six year old piece of hardware is probably at the beginning of the end … or at the very least, the end of the beginning.

Staying with PlayStation, I didn’t get a chance to do any more Bloodborne last night – instead opting for my quick Xbox achievement an an early(ish) night. Not that it really helped, I’m still absolutely exhausted today, but I have a three-day weekend coming up so I’m hoping that will be a good chance to recharge the batteries …

… and play the Vita.