New Power

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Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition • Learned first ability • 5G • 45.68% of gamers unlocked this

I actually have an overwhelming craving to play Destiny 2 tonight, but a challenge is a challenge is a challenge, and so achievements must come first. My TV has been hijacked by my in-laws tonight who are watching the Collingwood Magpies vs. Richmond Tigers AFL game … which is fine with me, it gives me some quiet time with my PC – which I’ve missed over the past fortnight, and – well, gosh you’ll get me all emotional.

Steam was updating when I turned the computer on, as was Battle.net, so I went with a Windows 10 game in Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition, that I thought I’d already started, but I think, from memory, it must have kept crashing on launch, so I never got to the point where I could save. Whatever the case, this time I managed to get a bit of gameplay, and story in – and far enough in to be able to get an achievement, but not too long as to impact on some Destiny 2 time.

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From what I understand, the story in the Pocket Edition is exactly the same, but the graphics are toned right down and everything is made much ‘simpler’. Whatever the difference, many, many more games should take this approach. I will always, always take the narrative of a game over complicated mechanics, and for something with a high barrier-to-entry like Final Fantasy, this is perfect. I can see a lot of other games thriving in this model, but at the same time – people are dumb, and it’s highly likely not enough people bought the Pocket Edition to make it worthwhile. Speculation, to be sure, but I think it’s fairly accurate.

I hope to play a little bit more when Destiny 2 inevitably reaches a bit of a lull, but right now it’s almost fever-pitch, with a lot of people having finished the campaign, and working through the revamped end-game. Speaking of which … have I mentioned I’m playing some Destiny 2 tonight …?

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You’re Hired!

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Forza Horizon 3 • Hire a Drivatar for your Drivatar Lineup • 10G • 76.00% of gamers unlocked this

Oh my God. It is so good to be home. So very, very good. I’ve spent most of the day laying on the couch with the stereotypical ‘Bali Belly’, which is likely the result of either a final Bali night smoking a hookah, or some unique spices in the upper-class Asian restaurant we went to for our evening dinner, but I was still able to drag my arms to a controller and spend half-an-hour playing Forza Horizon 3 for a while, at least until my head got foggy again and I ended up falling asleep a little longer.

There were a couple of early-on achievements I was able to unlock in this play session, with today’s achievement being for essentially winning a one-on-one match with an AI-controlled car using the gamertag of someone off my friends list. At least … I think they’re off my friends list. After a lot of time gaming, I’ve gone and accumulated a lot of dead weight on that list, and the name wasn’t instantly recognisable, so let’s just assume, for the sake of argument, that it was a real person. I base that assumption on the fact that the Drivatar concept is/was supposed to be your Forza persona that could be inserted into others’ games, so it’s an educated assessment.

Anyway, I raced my race and I won, unlocked the Drivatar and … well, that’s it. I haven’t quite worked out if there’s anything else I’m supposed to be doing with that concept, but I noticed that there were a few options still locked-out at both the Festival HQ and just the general pause menu, so I think I’ve got some more ‘story’ to unlock before I get to a more open-world and meta-game state.

And so, I’m back. That’s been a tough couple of weeks of gaming, relying on iOS and Vita games, neither of which I got a lot of time to play – but I’m keen to dive into a whole raft of new releases that I haven’t had a chance to indulge in yet … Spiderman, Shadow of the Tomb Raider … and even updates to Destiny 2 and Sea of Thieves look appealing.

What a great problem to have!

Welcome to Your Horizon

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Forza Horizon 3 • Celebrate opening your Horizon Festival site by putting on a spectacular Showcase • 10G • 79.02% of gamers unlocked this

It’s been a long-time coming, but finally, finally, I’ve been able to play Horizon 3 … and on my PC as well! I have a lot of both stock and faith in the Xbox-on-PC model … remembering that I was one of the early champions of the unpopular Games for Windows Live, this finally feels like a step in the right direction – and we should all take our hats off to Phil Spencer for driving a lot of this innovation in Microsoft.

In Phil We Trust.

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Before I started playing, I had to go through a bit of a setup process, which was strange considering most games I’ve been playing on PC lately are – with the exception of a minor installation screen – pretty much click-and-go. Horizon went through a lengthy PC optimisation cycle before I could start, which is fine I suppose, but doesn’t really tell me what it’s doing as far as ‘optimisation’. I thought, perhaps, that if I’d chosen a higher resolution, this might be the time it downloads better visuals, but it’s speculation from a man who – in the end – really just wanted to play himself a video game.

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The game starts off much the same as the Horizons before it. Your player character is driving to the festival in any one of an assortment of gorgeous sports cars, before launching the festival with a farcical, Top Gear-style race – this time around against a Jeep being transported by a chinook for most of the way.

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Fun fact – I actually grew up close to the Great Ocean Road and worked it for many years, so for me – this is home. While I know that one doesn’t make a quick turn to get from the Daintree to the Twelve Apostles, I actually think Turn 10 have done a good job of building transitions into the races – in this instance, a cave network that immediately gave me echoes of the cave at Loch Ard Gorge.

And so, thus concludes the opening volley of Forza Horizon 3. This is an up-late achievement on account of me being on-the-road much of this weekend for the Melbourne Esports Open (which I’ve mentioned every day for the last few days!), so we’ll see if this has sharpened my Forza skills up enough to win a game or two on the tournament floor … stranger things have happened!

Shelter

The Walking Dead: Season Two • Found a campsite • 20G • 57.08% of gamers unlocked this

I’ve been staring at the advertisment for Clementine’s final outing on my Steam Store page for at least a week now, because I’m fairly sure that Valve knows I’m a sucker for a good Telltale game and I’m only one momentary lapse away from hitting the purchase button. The only thing holding me back is that I’d really rather collect an Xbox achievement for this game – and while I’ve finished most of the Telltale games on various platforms, I am still yet to have a tidy little end-to-end journey on a single platform. I’m hoping that Xbox will be that platform, considering the effort I’ve put into the series over the past twelve months … notably as a result of attempting Achievement a Day.

This achievement really is the next step on Clementine’s second journey … I wrote about the first achievement I got on TWD2 a few months ago so you can probably figure out that it’s a few long stints between gameplay. That’s fine … I’ve played it before, and I know what happens – a lot of this is now tick-and-flick, but it’s still an application of effort that I need to commit to, and I will … eventually … hopefully.

This weekend is the Melbourne Esports Open and I’m a little excited to go, but I’ll have my family with me, so I’m not sure how that’s going to go down … my wife certainly isn’t a ‘gamer’, but the kids love gaming generally – I just don’t know how they’re going to go on Sunday with the League of Legends’ games … heck, I’m a bit late to the party with LoL as well, but we’ll see. Last time I went to a LoL event I had a great time, at the cusp of esports becoming a big thing … I loved it, and I hope that this weekend might give my family that spark of love for it as well.

Killer Instincts

Minecraft: Story Mode • Completed Chapter 3 of Episode 6

It has been quite a while since I ventured back into Minecraft: Story Mode. I’ve spoken before about how it has burned me with it’s ridiculous season pass structure which screwed over early purchasers like me by giving you less-than-the-entire package, but I think that’s well-worn ground now, so I shan’t reopen old wounds.

Today was not only the latest in a long line of political sagas, but it was also my son’s birthday – and so I didn’t want to be held back in enjoying his birthday with the weight of grabbing an achievement, and so I spent the few moments I had in-between work and party tonight pushing through from my current save-state in Minecraft: Story Mode, and still having no idea where things are up to, it was more a case of ‘keep pushing prompts to advance the story’.

I feel awful that Patton Oswalt put his name to this. A great actor, a good franchise, bastardised by greed and … well … a lack of player engagement. I suppose this could be the result of a mismatch between IP and gameplay, but it’s just speculation.

Now that I have the family in bed, I’m going to spend a bit more time tonight with Destiny 2 PC. Ever since I saw Xbox VP Mike Ybarra actually plays on PC, I have to say – I very much have warmed to this as my main instance of the game.

Of course, this could only be enhanced by bringing on cross-save.

Patience might be a virtue, but it sure is frustrating.

There is no hope

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Kholat • You’ve collected a note in the tree area • 35G • 19.45% of gamers unlocked this

I have actually waited quite a while to score myself an achievement from Kholat. A quick search of this blog notes that I tried back in November last year without much luck to get Kholat working on the 2012 Macbook Pro, and so with my new sexy and beefy gaming PC, it was about time to give this one another go.

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If I’m perfectly honest, the only reason I ever got this game was because it looked affordable on the Windows store and I needed more Win10 titles on my laptop to get me through ’emergency’ sessions during the 2017-18 run of Xbox-only achievements for this challenge. But, it wasn’t free – and so I did actually part with some hard earned cash to get this game, and with that in mind it seemed silly just to leave it parked on my account without ever having fully experienced it beyond 10 FPS and frequent crashes.

I tried reading more about the real life circumstances that surround the game of Kholat but it’s one of those genuinely unexplained mysteries that just don’t sit well with me. There are instances like The Staircase, where there are a whole raft of situations that could have happened – up-to-and-including an attack by an owl on Kathleen Peterson, causing the head wounds and her ultimate collapse at the stairs. We’ll never know exactly what happened, but there are scenarios that are plausible and in the absence of any further facts, then I’m happy with them as options. Kholat, or the ‘Dyatlov Pass Incident,’ just raises more questions than answers – and that aggravates me. With that in mind, I can still enjoy the scenario of the game without needing those further answers – I appreciate this game has a far greater supernatural element to it than what reality might dictate.

For the most part, it feels a bit like a walking simulator, though I did conclude today’s playthrough with a terrifying encounter with what I can only describe as a ‘flame man’. Other than a quick snapshot of the man-come-creature grabbing you and a cut-to-black, it’s a bit hard to understand the circumstances and the reason ‘why’, let alone the ‘how’ of being killed, but from what I read on the internet, I guess I’m supposed to treat this as part of the ‘journey’.

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Look, it’s not a bad game – and in terms of horror, I think it can rub all the right triggers nicely, but I very much am a spoon-fed gamer these days, and I don’t have the inclination to explore and experiment and learn as much as I feel like developers want me to. I just want to play a game. It’s nice to have the soft dulcet tones of Sean Bean introduce me to the game, but I’d be lying if I said it was enough to keep me there.

Today’s achievements are largely for picking up notes along the walking track. I might go back after reading some more, but there’s certainly no rush. I don’t know if there’s tactics I’m supposed to employ or some sort of order I’m supposed to work through the game, but in either event, I’m nonetheless glad that I’ve got something on the gamerscore board after waiting this long to play it properly.

It's in the Bag

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Microsoft Bingo • You have unlocked 50 Luggage of any type • 50G • 19.87% of gamers unlocked this

First thing’s first: Yes, I have used a stock image for this achievement, because I really couldn’t be bothered posting another Microsoft Bingo screenshot from my other achievements because – frankly – they all look the same. Instead, in the absence of a good Bingo picture, I’ve gone with something generic to gambling, so you can enjoy that particular aesthetic while reading today’s post. Oh … alright, let me throw a couple of old screenshots into the mix as well.

Today’s achievement is largely the result of a mistake. Last night, while setting up my new PC, I wanted to make sure OBS was working correctly, and would be able to handle a stream – so I set it to broadcast a clicker (AdVenture Communist – a spin on AdVenture Capitalist) to run overnight. Sure enough, this morning got a bit away from me, and so even while I write this – AdVenture Communist is still broadcasting to my Twitch Channel, silently clocking-up potatoes and medicine while I’m beavering away at work on a Friday lunch-break.

And so, this left me with a fairly ‘lite’ selection of games to choose from. Anything from Steam would automatically disconnect the stream, and with still half the day left, regardless of whether anyone was watching or not, I didn’t really want to be faced with a blank screen pumping out across the internet airwaves with my name on it – and so I hunted for a good ol’ fashioned Xbox PC game to play.

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And, well, because I was short on time, I settled on Microsoft Bingo.

I’ll be perfectly honest, this really was a quick-and-dirty achievement for me. I even went so far as to hunt through the achievement list to see what I could grab quickly. I settled on just smashing through a couple of games, splurging the coins that I had on whatever I needed to, and landing something. Two games in, I had enough bags to get me over the line for this 50G … this is classic achievement hunting at its finest, ladies and gentlemen.

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And so, this frees up my Friday night to play something a little more ambitious on that shiny new gaming PC. I have a new webcam, a new set of speakers and a whole lot of enthusiasm to put it through its paces … watch out world!