Vandal

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War • Destroy a Monument • 10G • 52.72% of gamers unlocked this

I had seen this achievement on the list a couple of times now, and the percentage of completion prompted me to assume that it would be something I stumble across during the course of my gameplay. Sure enough, my brief session this morning (with no purpose, just intended to log on and kill a few orcs) caused me to stumble across a large orc statue in the middle of a stronghold.

If I was Monty Burns, I would have rubbed my hands together and salaciously whispered “Excellent.”

There’s no pop-up or tutorial to instruct you how to actually destroy the monument. My experience of digital vandalism is largely confined to the Just Cause series, which usually involves placing explosives onto a statue and … well … pushing a button. Here, I shot arrows into the statue, detonated the nearest explosive barrel and swung my sword at it a few times, but – as it turns out – all you have to do is climb onto the head, click RB and Talion will do the rest of the work for you.

Exit, one monument.

In other gaming news, I still have no gaming PC yet, so I’m feeling a bit tetchy about all the gaming goodness I’m missing out on. It’s not like I’ve actually got any time to play anyway – but you know what they say about absence and the heart!

Promise Keeper

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War • Issue a Death Threat, and then successfully kill the target • 20G • 31.15% of gamers unlocked this

A bit more Middle-Earth today, and – if I’m honest – this was a bit of a cherry picked achievement. For much of the last week, I’ve really just been working my way through Mordor and killing and building up Orcs for my army without any real rhyme or reason. I think the mechanism is a bit different from the previous game, in that the ‘pleb’ orcs don’t hang around and they certainly don’t do anything for you beyond fight in the here-and-now (or, at least, not attack you), which is frustrating, but it’s also equally fun – and so while I am likely not making much narrative process, I also feel like I’m doing what gaming is supposed to be about – having fun.

Today was all about threatening and then killing a particular orc. The ‘worm’ orcs seem to play a more important part in this title than the first installment, in that they are more numerous and serve as a logistical force behind a lot of the emergent gameplay, and it wasn’t hard to find one – send a threat out to a random captain, and then … well … then kill him.

In other news, I still haven’t heard about my Ryzen PC, which – regular readers will know – has been sent to the technicians for troubleshooting and repair. It’s quite frustrating, I had hoped for a weekend of gaming that I have otherwise had to miss out on because of my potato PC, but if this blog has taught me anything, it’s that the vicissitudes of life tend to prohibit these plans on a not-uncommon basis anyway.

There is a temptation to call the technician and give them a hurry up, but a saying which I was always fond of repeating springs to mind – good things come to those who wait …

… or does the squeaky wheel get the oil?

Perfect Aim

Injustice: Gods Among Us • Win a match as Deathstroke without missing a shot (minimum 12 shots) • 10G • 1.47% of gamers unlocked this

Now that’s a rare achievement! I can kind of see why it’s rarity is intact though, having spent the last twenty minutes trying to stack this achievement along with the one for completing battle mode on Injustice, but the latter doesn’t seem to have popped yet so I’ll investigate a bit more this afternoon.

It looks like my last proper run on Injustice was around January this year, so it was nice to play again this afternoon just for ‘the hell of it.’ Right now I have essentially an empty house, so I took the opportunity to relax and just play something mindless. Injustice Battle Mode fit the description.

This afternoon is the Intel Extreme Masters Sydney 2018 Grand Final, and right now I’m enjoying ‘The Caches’, which is the esports equivalent of ‘The Ashes’ which is just brilliant. Much like the Overwatch World Cup, or any sport really, I enjoy my esports a lot more when I can barrack for a country rather than a team, but that’s just out of ignorance of who is on each team more than anything else.

Give me time though … I’ll learn!

Beginning of the End

The Wolf Among Us • Completed Chapter 1 of Episode 5 • 20G • 35.84% of gamers unlocked this

So … here we go. The final episode of Bigby et. al. The episode itself opens up where we left off yesterday, in the HQ of the Crooked Man and his lackeys. I think it’s this portrayal of the characters which I enjoy the most – particularly Jersey Devil, who looks like he’s fresh off the set of a bad 70s porn film. Having read Alice in Wonderland to my son the other night, I also found it hard to picture the Tweedle Twins as anything other than grunts for hire.

The chapter actually concludes in a brief battle with the Crooked Man’s subordinates, and – because I like to play Wolfy over breakfast – I wasn’t really paying attention and ended up getting Bigby killed, though unlike some of the other Telltale games I’ve played, the reload didn’t take me all the way back to some convoluted exposition, and instead I was straight back into the action.

I have to make some inquiries (read: do a Google) about when the sequel is out so I can time my Telltale escapades with some appropriate pacing. There’s still enough between The Walking Dead and Tales from the Borderlands (and Batman) to keep me going, but because the Bigby story is so intricate, I feel like it’d be worth keeping up with it as close as I can.

First thing’s first though – get to the ending of this episode. It feels like it might be the week for it!

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!

I Can Back it Up

Injustice: Gods Among Us • Equip a new Background Image • 5G • 27.55% of gamers unlocked this

This is why I’ve been getting my achievements out of the way early in the morning. You just never know when you’ll have your day caught up in a whirlwind of activity, and while it’s great that it’s not an emergency or other family disaster that has caused my time pressures today, it did result in a last-minute scurry to get an achievement.

The reason today? I’m off to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. And when I say ‘off to see’, I mean, ‘sitting in the cinema writing today’s blog entry in a hurry before the movie starts’. It was a fairly last minute decision to come see the film, but after struggling to find a movie time in my local cinema, and another one of the screenings already sold out in town – it seemed like I better get in sooner rather than later.

Was this going to be the day I burned through my one final ‘low hanging fruit’ achievement on iOS? (For those playing at home – this is the ‘build a stable’ achievement on Age of Empires) Obviously, it’s not a spoiler to say, no, it wouldn’t be – but it’s an equally quick-and-dirty victory today in changing the background of my Hero Card in Injustice. A quick click here, a scroll there, save the game, and ding! Achievement earned!

Alright, movie is one minute out – but let it be known that I am an Achievement Ninja!

Today anyway. Tomorrow’s a different story.

Superhuman!

Injustice: Gods Among Us • Perform every character’s supermove • 10G • 7.80% of gamers unlocked this

I really was just planning on grabbing a quick achievement for having a session in Practice Mode in Injustice this morning, but my enthusiasm got away from me and I started experimenting with everyone’s supermove. The temptation to hit those two triggers when you have unlimited power was too much, and so after a lazy twenty minutes I had worked my way through the roster and unlocked this achievement.

It actually, to me, paints a bit of a sad picture about what DC could have had in terms of a cinematic universe. I love how they had Stephen Amell voice Arrow, but even then, he forms part of what is essentially The CW universe, not DC canon. What they have now is just a dogs breakfast, and – despite having the content – certainly nowhere near Marvel’s powerhouse.

Most of the other achievements I have left in Injustice are online ones, and I am fairly certain that community has all but dried up. I’ll pop my head in and see if I can grab them, but I think that will be a late-at-night thing, and probably not going to qualify for a daily achievement unless I’m extremely confident I can get a win in.

Don’t hold your breath – if people are still playing Injustice at this point in the launch cycle, then they’re probably really really good.

Iconic Representation

Injustice: Gods Among Us • Equip a new Icon • 5G • 27.87% of gamers unlocked this

Look, I got a bit lazy today. Well, it’s either laziness or forethought – but either way I felt it best to lock-in an achivement early this morning in case I’m not able to get on the console tonight. I have a colleague’s going-away drinks and I’m well into the mix of Stranger Things, and I’m also ready for bed by 10pm these days, so pick any one of those three and it turns into a risk.

I did try and get one of the progress achivements for working my way through the single player campaign – but I’m not really sure what the mechanism is for saving the campaign, I had assumed after every fight it saved your progress, but I certainly seemed to be knocked back a few battles this morning when I logged on (and this time I didn’t have the controller/player login error that I had previously). Either way, it doesn’t matter too much – this was going to be an inevitable achievement sooner or later, and – more importantly – I’ve met today’s challenge.

Just a short entry today – it’s a busy time of the year, and I’m seriously lacking motivation, so I’m going to strike while the iron is, at least, tepid.

True Marksman

Injustice: Gods Among Us • Win a match with Green Arrow using only arrows • 10G • 2.16% of gamers unlocked this

For all the superhero revivals that we’ve gotten the past decade, I have to say it’s Arrow with Stephen Amell as the titular character that I’ve grown to love the most. Of course, he doesn’t quite trump my innate love of Batman or my … well, no, just Batman, but he certainly has become one of my favourite characters brought to life by the magic of television.

Of course, the comic Green Arrow is a bit different than TV Arrow (though he’s slowly evolving), but the end result is the same. Dude who can shoot arrows really, really good. Of course, Injustice doesn’t really require you to adopt this skill, just push a button – or, thanks to an achievement guide, a load-out of fire arrows and then a button press. Either way, the use of a single match with a Very Easy opponent made this a quick win this morning. Not necessarily a wipeout victory, but enough to not require multiple attempts.

In other gaming news, I also had a go at Jetpac Refuelled last night. That’s probably the last time I’m going to play it as well – there’s nostalgia for old games that makes them fun to revisit and then there’s just old games that should remain old.

Read: Not my cup of tea.

Tourist

Injustice: Gods Among Us • Send an opponent through all three Metropolis transitions in one fight • 30G • 7.89% of gamers unlocked this

So, a bit more Injustice this morning – I have another fairly full night planned, which means that I like to get these achievements out of the way fairly early. The problem with Injustice, is that it’s not really toddler-friendly, so then I have to get an achievement in quickly before my four-year old son is awake and wants to sit on the couch with me.

Today’s achievement came from a skim of the achievement list last night. In preparing yesterday’s blog entry, I noticed this one – and having worked out the easy way to defeat opponents using a single match, this seemed easy enough. Long story short, it was. Using my beloved Deathstroke and up against the default Joker (once you’ve selected your player, the CPU opponent goes straight to Joker, hence why he’s feeling my wrath the most lately), it was a simple case of working through the three transitions. A five minute achievement – at best. It’s likely that I could have done this as part of the story mode or one of the S.T.A.R. Labs challenges – or almost any instance where the fight took me to Metropolis, but it was quicker and easier to do it this way – and now it’s done.

The other thing that surprised me about the achievement list is actually how easy it is to score a couple of other gamerscore – one there for changing the picture on your gamercard, another for updating the banner. Essentially 2-3 achievements there ripe for the picking. Or, as I’ve called them before, ‘low-hanging fruit’. I’ve probably got a whole heap of low-hanging fruit now on my backlog that it would have been easier just to earn the achievement when I first discovered them, but I’m going to keep these ones in the back of my mind for the next week or so – there’s almost always a good chance to earn a quick achivement in the morning which free’s up the rest of my day – and these ones are perfect for that.

Tonight, I start season two of Stranger Things. I’m up-to-date with Star Trek: Discovery, have finished the latest season of Black Mirror and am now ready to tick one of the few shows I’m semi-up-to-date with off the list.