Dripping With Insanity

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Achievement printer part 1 • Only Liars Comes Up With Excuses

Look, I won’t lie to you – this was a tough call. Do I yield a little and take one of the 1,450 Steam Achievements that I earned tonight from ‘Achievement printer part 1‘ … a game so independent and lacking in polish that they can’t even be bothered to get punctuation right on their game title? Or do I try and push my luck with Borderlands or jump onto the Xbox and play something from Telltale?

To cut a long story short, I sold out.

It’s been another day of no sleep and an action-packed schedule, so I’m left with not much time in the day for gaming – that, plus I’m keeping my mind sharp (as sharp as possible) for a certification exam tomorrow, so there’s only so much time to distract my delicate little mind.

Truth be told, there’s actually nothing wrong with this little basketball game – I remember playing something similar on Facebook Messenger for a while there, back in the day when Apps and additional features were more of a novelty than they are today – but nonetheless, using your finger to flick a little basketball into a hoop can be quite cathartic. Of course, it has been included in this title much as something to do, rather than the actual purpose of the game. In reality, you can just leave it running and suck-down the 3,006 achievements on offer.

For the most part, there’s not even a whole lot of sense in the achievements (including today’s). Some just link-out to individuals’ Steam profiles, such as:

(Do yourself a favour and check-out tshtxyd’s Steam Profile for a very innovative use of the screenshot feature!)

Look … am I sorry? No, not really – and I don’t think I can offer much in the way of an excuse seen as I’ve already litigated my decision-making from the time I used Achievement Hunter games so … yeah. It is what it is.

And trust me: I’m looking forward to the warm embrace of a AAA title as much as anyone else is!

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Avenged

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War • Complete a Vendetta Mission • 15G • 59.36% of gamers unlocked this

I’m going to attempt to going back to adding in more detail about my achievements in the initial leader line because I think, in some instances, that context is useful. In some ways, differentiating between a Bronze or a Gold trophy, or understanding it’s difficulty in terms of earn-rate (percentage) provides a rich picture about the achievement beyond my usual musings and often over-tired and shoot-from-the-hip style of writing.

If I’m perfectly honest, I’m not sure if this achievement is glitched or not, but from what I could tell, it unlocked while I was still in the middle of the titular Vendetta mission. While I did complete it in the end, I was actually in pursuit of my Orc target when it unlocked – which caused me to raise an eyebrow, briefly, before resuming my chase and eventually cutting down the tricky little blighter who had killed me twenty minutes prior.

It seems that I have progressed far enough in Shadow of War now so that my time is to be split between managing my army and playing the game itself. I am still having my hand held by a lot of the tutorial and help screens for this part of the game – but from what I can tell, it’s a good evolution of the already-excellent nemesis system.

One of the more emotionally-charged moments of the game came this morning when ‘Tarz of the Black Gate’ came on me and decided to taunt me with his admission he was there on the night that Talion’s (the protagonist) family were killed in an Orc attack. I’m not sure if this was a dynamic or scripted introduction into the game, but I loved it. Loved it. It triggered just the right of emotion into the battle that I felt like Tarz needed more than a simple sword-to-the-face. I wanted him to be properly punished. I wanted him branded.

So I did.

To add insult to injury (for Tarz), the delightful war troll, Brûz – who is best known for his appearance in the original gameplay reveal – rolled in shortly after I dominated Tarz and suggested that I make him my bodyguard. Great suggestion, Brûz. With a couple of controller clicks, I had converted Tarz, the taunting, family-killing orc captain into a minion under my control.

Delicious.

I’m still slowly working my way through this region of the game, and pretty much just undertaking quests if-and-when they occur. There is a method to working through the quests in sequence, but – to be honest – I’ve just been having fun levelling up Talion and, now that I’ve unlocked it, branding Orcs to fight for me.

Now if only they have the brilliant mechanic from Shadow of Mordor that allowed me to explode their heads en masse, we could have some real fun!

Better Luck Next Time

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War • Meet an Enemy or a Follower who has cheated death

I am feeling a bit miffed, as I had hoped to have a beautiful new Ryzen 5 PC built and be playing something significant on it by this time today, but alas, good ol’ Ryzen chips don’t have on-board graphics, and I can’t work out whether the little-2GB-GPU-that-could is actually supposed to work on that board, or whether I should genuinely be upset that the CPU fail Ezy Debug light is showing on the beautiful new motherboard.

Net result: I am a little upset.

It’s a good thing there is the sweet, sweet catharsis of killing orcs to see me through, as I pushed on with a couple of missions today – resulting in a not-insignificant amount of slaughter for a few named orcs. I have to admit, I do miss my full powered-up Talion from the original game, but judging by my skim of the upgrades list, most of his old moves are there, and it should just be a bit of a grind away to get them all in the end. Time. It’s just simply time.

I’m still a bit on-the-fence about the game’s representation of Shelob … as a humanoid. I mean … I can see that it makes the narrative a little easier, but I don’t think anyone has really ever taken Tolkien to be a allegorical work, still fiction, of course, but everything has typically had its plain meaning. Still, good gameplay tends to forgive a lot of sins, and thus far, I am killing Orcs at a pace that satisfies my tortured soul.

 

Open Level 7

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aMAZE ZERO • Open Level 7

I am going out for dinner tonight and I can’t wait – it’s going to be Korean and if I don’t have a stomach ache from eating too much Kim Chi tomorrow, then I’ll consider it a wasted opportunity.

Today’s journey through some of the new indie games on my system continues, with a bit of a session on aMAZE ZERO, which – as the name suggests – is really just a whole series of mazes that you guide a little widget through until completion.

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Look, I’m not going to lie – even after seven levels, the mazes are not that hard. The basic premise of sticking in one direction, or working your way backward from the centre (the end of the maze) is a perfectly legitimate strategy, and – hey, it’s a maze game. The screenshots on Steam show a game that does increase in difficulty as time goes on, but really, none of it looks particularly hard, but, at best, time consuming.

And sometimes I have more time than inclination.

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Achievement Hunter: Begins • NEW_ACHIEVEMENT_DESC_1_0

Wow. This game. What an absolute travesty of achievement collecting. And by travesty I, of course, mean why haven’t I discovered this before?

The giveaway, of course, should probably be in the title. I assume this series of Achievement Hunter games is going to play out in much the same way, whereby simply loading it up nets you a cool few hundred achievements in rapid succession.

I suspect these games offer a philosophical lesson in the fallacy of achievements, and – if I’m perfectly honest – that’s fair. What value do achievements hold if there is no effort in collecting them? My response, however is that achievements reflect a commemoration of an experience. Yes, they vary in the mileage required to earn them, but even in a game like this – I can demonstrate that I experienced Achievement Hunter: Begins as it is supposed to be experienced. The fairly simple gameplay, the overwhelming number of achievement pop-ups that don’t stop the entire time you play – all these things add up to reflect an experience, regardless of the effort applied or the enjoyment obtained.

And trust me, I now have a few hundred extra achievements on my Steam account to prove it.