Settling Feuds

Red Dead Redemption 2 • You completed Chapter 3 • 20G • 32.15% of gamers unlocked this

For a blog that is all about gaming as a dad, RDR2 really is the least child-friendly game on the market at the moment. Even Hitman 2 can be played, fundamentally, without ever seeing a body drop to the ground or any blood … but RDR2 … boy, nothing quite like a bullet drilling a hole through a cowboy’s head to make you sit up and pay attention.

Full disclosure: I’m not actually sitting there playing this with my kids around – and this is pretty much the reason why!

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Today, my efforts to chip-away at the main story line have earned me another achievement, bringing the tale of Arthur and Dutch (and Marston) into Chapter 4, and their arrival at the Rockstar version of ye olde New Orleans (or what was going to be New Bordeaux before the 2016 leak). The previous chapter culiminated in a delicious fire-fight in both a town and a homestead, and both were equally satisfying. I’m starting to get a good handle on my weaponry (or there is a stat I’m not sure about that is making my aim improve), and I’m getting good headshots when I can line them up and have a decent second or two to time my shot.

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For now, though, I’m in the early days of the chapter, so unless I can find somewhere to play Blackjack (which I think is the last of the table games I have to play), then there’s probably not another RDR2 achievement for a few weeks. Slow and steady wins the race … and at a 30% clearance rate for this achievement alone, well, I’m fairly certain I’m not the one winning it.

Cirrus

Race The Sun • Touch 1 Cloud • 20G • 1.24% of gamers unlocked this

I was in two minds about starting Race The Sun, because I distinctly remember having issues earning any achievement in it on Steam about 12-24 months ago, but it seems like that fear was misplaced, with a small collection of achievements added to the collection after about an hour of gameplay this morning.

It seems like the game has had a few tweaks since I last played it, including the addition of a new ‘sunrise’ mode, which doesn’t require you to fight the clock of subset, and instead serves as a soothing romp through a moonlit world to collect the little blue triangles that seem to account for points.

I’ve chosen this achievement today for two reasons.

The first is its rarity. I think there’s very few achievements that I would have a rarity of under 2% on my account, and to earn it on a game with this achievement history makes the taste that much sweeter.

The second is because the rest of my gaming time today was split between Hitman 2 replaying some old missions, and a return to RDR2.

Both activities are enough to make you fall in love with gaming once more.

I’m hoping that the progress I made in RDR2 tonight will be enough to get me through an Act tomorrow, and bring home a further RDR2 achievement. It’s a bit hard to work out the battle rhythm that Rockstar have developed with RDR2, which is annoying for achievement planning but very well done from a game design perspective.

I’ve never enjoyed the Wild West more than I do in RDR2.

Strategic Disadvantage

Hitman 2 • Completed Nightcall on Master Difficulty • 20G • 2.58% of gamers unlocked this

Wow, less than 3% indicates to me that most people are actually probably playing RDR2 right at the moment, but nonetheless I was still in a Hitman 2 mood – that, and I couldn’t be bothered switching the discs back out of the console – so I did a bit of achievement shopping to see what I could grab tonight.

I thought there was a sniper challenge achievement that I might have been able to get easily, but I couldn’t see it quickly, and I wasn’t in the mood for a slow, fastidious examination of the achievement list, just a look to see what I thought was possible in the scope of a regular Friday evening.

Turns out smashing through the first level of the new campaign on Master Difficulty scratched that itch nicely. The biggest change to the difficulty level that seemed to impact me was actually the absence of auto-save. It certainly forces – well, would normally force you – to be more careful and not to take as many risks, but instead I just ended up dying a lot and needing to restart the mission. The flip side to that is that any challenges that you do complete are still credited to your profile, so each time I worked towards a different outcome and grabbed a bit of extra XP.

Onward to the other levels now! That, plus a revisit of some of the other classic missions from Hitman Vanilla.

This is Maintenance

Hitman 2 • Completed The Ark Society • 20G • 5.75% of gamers unlocked this

Apparently I was closer to the end of Hitman 2 than I realised … the final mission in the ‘destinations’ list was actually just the special sniper challenge location … so following a brief jaunt around suburban Virginia, I went to a small island castle, burned one twin and threw another off a balcony, and then made the head of “shadowy organisation name goes here” (I haven’t really been following the story very well) down to the wharf.

It was a satisfying final mission, but because I thought there was one more, it didn’t ‘feel’ final. I have to say though, there were a couple of story beats in these final two missions that showcase exactly how good not only the narrative but the level design has become in Hitman. It is, undoubtedly, the gaming equivalent of ‘onions have layers, ogres have layers.’

Now I have a proper first gaming world problem … push on with some fantastic achievement double-dipping in Hitman 2, or head back to the Wild West and continue the Red Dead story.

To be honest, I’m worried about falling too far behind the rest of the Internet when it comes to game completion – even when I was reading about this achievement tonight and seeing Maka91 had completed Hitman 2 a few days ago irked me. Yes, I know, I’m a fickle man.

I’ll revisit the Hitman 2 achievement list in about a week when Sean Bean drops in as the new Elusive Target, but until then … I have horses to ride and feuding families to sort out. Giddyup.

Tactical Strike

Hitman 2 • Completed Three-Headed Serpent • 20G • 15.13% of gamers unlocked this

This is a late-night achievement tonight, I’m posting this one live! It’s a later completion on account of wanting to complete some campaign progress on Hitman 2, and this was far from a quick-and-dirty mission.

Three targets, large map, and a whole lotta outfit changes, crude methods of killing, and a narrow escape all made up a thoroughly satisfying level. I really do miss the episodic pace of release though, I could thoroughly work my way through all the challenges and really study the level, but instead I’m inclined just to power through to the next level in pursuit of the narrative.

It looks like my next level is in Mumbai, India, which is funny because one of the other reasons I am so late posting tonight is that I have divided attention between this post and chatting with my friend who is currently travelling the subcontinent.

My guess is that Hitman’s version of Mumbai is going to be a ‘touch’ more polished than reality.

A New Profile

Hitman 2 • Completed a Featured Contract • 15G • 2.51% of gamers unlocked this

There is a delicious assortment of achievements to unlock in Hitman 2, made easier if you’re a veteran of the first reboot, and the Featured Contracts are a welcome return to form, even though there’s only a couple on offer to start with.

Tonight I am in a much-needed early night, and so I figured I would try a contract instead of launching straight into a mission, and the first of the featured contracts is as simple as killing the two guards on the front gate of ‘The Final Test’. A couple of quick bullets were enough to get me over the line tonight, but it will be good to get into a few more of these missions as they emerge over the life of the game.

For now though, I’m happy to have put Christopher and Luca down. The first of many to come …

Blunt Trauma

Hitman 2 • Trawled the Beach • 15G • 31.54% of gamers unlocked this

Finally! I managed to get into a game of Hitman 2 after what seemed to be a 48 hour install cycle! Even still, I couldn’t connect online when I got in, and had to play offline – but that was enough to give me a taste of the opening level, which was a delicious recon of a coastal house. Following a quick assassination and fleeing the house, it is then on 47 to get back off the beach, and if you’re lucky enough, you can find yourself a fantastic piece of driftwood to use in distracting guards or, you know, keeping as a collectable.

I didn’t quite have the latitude to experiment in this level tonight on account of time, but I think there’s definitely a bit of fun to be had here. I am very keen to learn the level layouts so I can master the elusive targets, but if I’ve learned anything about Hitman, it’s slow-and-steady almost always wins the race.