Scrap Heap

Livelock • Destroy 100 enemies • 10G • 49.48% of gamers unlocked this

There must be a bit of a trend for top-down twin-stick shooters at the moment … well at least that style when I think of Diablo, Victor Vran and now, Livelock. This was a Games with Gold title in September, but you could forgive me for thinking that this was actually a free-to-play game, considering it’s published by Perfect World, but for a fully-featured title, I’m somewhat happy with its quality (and even happier that I got it as part of Xbox Live Gold).

The concepts in these early levels are fairly standard. Point your gun at the bad guys and shoot. Even the ‘evolved’ bosses at this stage are defeatable through regular ol’ gunfire, but I suspect the range of unlockables and character builds available mean that there is going to be a mixture of character build and strategy to contend with in later levels.

Look … I’m enjoying this game, but let’s be honest. We’re a week away from Red Dead Redemption 2, not much further from Fallout 76 I got myself a new contract this week, and I’m probably going to have to move to an office without the luxury of wi-fi and lunchtime gaming. All is not lost … thank goodness I got the Vita fired back up again … but the truth is, I’m not likely to be dedicating a lot of time to Livelock throughout November. This is undoubtedly going to be a title that I have to ‘come back to’ between now and never, as the slow drip-feed of Christmas releases starts to flow, and then it’s the new year.

Pretty soon, it’ll be time for E3 2019.

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Green Wristband

Forza Horizon 2 • Obtain the Green Wristband • 10G • 50.57% of gamers unlocked this

I actually stretched myself tonight to get the ‘Get a clean racing skill 100 times’ achievement tonight, but of course you forget that, in pursuit of the achievement, you are likely to earn others along the way.

Somewhere in the vicinity of Drivatar level 14-15, I levelled up to the next wristband, and the aforementioned titular achievement.

Forza really is about all I can muster tonight. I am utterly, utterly bone-come-dog tired. It’s been a hell of a week, and I’ve been offered a new contract with a different area of my client’s org structure that has meant a lot of angst in my team which I’ve been trying to wrangle.

Needless to say, I have mentally and physically exhausted my ability to do much for the rest of the day. Including write blog entries. Enjoy your weekends, and maybe tomorrow I’m finally work through my not-insignificant like-of-Shane.

Lab Tested

Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two • Finished Yen Sid’s Lab • 20G • 74.26% of gamers unlocked this

Had I have known that I was going to have the day I had today, I probably wouldn’t have chosen to try and squeeze in an achievement this morning before I left for work. But I did, and I got one. Que Sera Sera, Carpe Diem, or whatever your Latin phrase-of-choice is … the net result is that I got an achievement.

Go me.

Following the disappointment (achievement-wise) that was Victor Vran, I really was looking for a ‘quick win’ this morning. I had gotten the kids dressed, and served them breakfast, so with two sets of beady little eyes watching me, I stumbled across Epic Mickey … which I think was one of the Games with Gold titles from last month – but in either event, I didn’t realise that I had downloaded it already, so it seemed like as good a place as any to start.

Despite growing up in an era where it was cool to have understood Fantasia, I’ve never actually been able to watch more than 5-10 minutes of it at a time without being freaked out, so I was a bit unsure what was happening at the start of this game when small brooms started marching up stairs and Mickey was invited to follow. It seemed like that this was going to be, essentially, Fantasia: The Game, but the mechanics involved between painting and ‘thinning’ the environment meant that the background noise that would normally constitute Fantasia blended into the background.

Thank Goodness.

I am sure that the mechanics of the paint will become more-and-more complex as time goes on, but for now, I’m taking it slow. With any luck, this might become our new Max and the Curse of Brotherhood, which was a great family game … though I suspect the graphics in Mickey are going to be a step down from Max.

Time will tell how much of a graphics snob I have turned into!

Welcome to Montellino

Forza Horizon 2 • Arrive at Montellino for the first time • 25G • 44.71% of gamers unlocked this

Just a quick entry tonight, because I’ve spent most of my free time either playing Destiny 2, doing a workout or just generally spending time with my family. I regret none of it, but boy … I feel like a few more hours in the day wouldn’t go amiss!

This achievement for arriving in Montellino, apparently required a bit more effort on my part than simply just ‘driving’ there on the map. No, as it turns out there’s a very specific Forza Horizon 2 task to do in the form of a ‘roadtrip’, and as long as I triggered that, then I was free to pretty much abandon the beaten path and just beeline for the ye olde European town.

I need to sit down and spend some meaningful moments looking at the achievement lists for both Forza Horizon 2 and 3 to see what is low-hanging fruit and what might take a bit of a slower burn. To be honest though, I’ve just started downloading a Diablo III-esque game that’s part of this fortnight’s Games with Gold on Xbox … and while I don’t know that I’ll ever finish it, I’m on a bit of a Diablo kick at the moment (they announced a limited edition Nintendo Switch Diablo III console today), so hopefully this scratches that itch.

Otherwise, it’s time for a shower and bed! I told you this was going to be a short one!

Like a Needle in The Outback

Forza Horizon 3 • Find your first Barn Find • 10G • 49.72% of gamers unlocked this

I finally worked out the whole ‘barn find’ thing in Forza. Rather than it being a case of systematically working your way around the map to find cars, it turns out it is more a case of waiting for them to be unlocked, and then navigating to the site to unlock the car. So much for using an internet guide to knock that particular achievement on the head.

Nonetheless, this isn’t an entirely helpless achievement. For under $5 (microtransaction) I was able to buy a ‘map’ which unlocks all the billboards, the barn finds (once they’re unlocked) and other collectables – and I’m not too proud to be able to give myself a little helping hand from time-to-time, so I lashed out and made my way to what I think is the second barn find that has been unlocked for me – but the first I actually found.

Without really trying, I’ve just been working my way through Horizon with the view to having fun. Achievements seem to be coming pretty thick and fast, so I’m just rolling with the punches.

What I did particularly enjoy this morning was defeating Good Game host, Gus “Goose” Ronald’s Drivatar in a Warthog vs. Warthog battle in the Australian outback. Turns out going off-script and just going as-the-crow-flies across the desert to the finish line is a good strategy.

Maybe not the most honourable, but – hey – it’s 2018 … if we’ve learned anything it’s that, seemingly, the ends justify the means.

First Time Buyer

Forza Horizon 3 • Visit the Autoshow and buy your first car • 10G • 59.94% of gamers unlocked this

I’ve seen a lot of people getting around in this Mercedes in FH4 lately, so it was hard to pass this little beetle up when the opportunity presented itself following a festival expansion. One of the things I’ve been working – badly – on in Forza Horizon 3 is my car collection, going to some lengths to outbid people on auctions, or waiting until the last minute to put a bid in, eBay style.

In terms of story progress, I’ve never ‘finished’ a Horizon, so I don’t even know if there is a finish, but if-and-wherever it is, I’m not there – I can promise you that.

Wherever I am though, I’m having a blast!

Confessions of an English Opium Eater

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Asphyxia • De Quincey confides in Samantha

I feel like Fridays are a good day for some Japanese Visual Novel gaming. There’s something about the slow pressure of everything that is, or was, due the past week needing to be done before you go home, but at the same time, there’s elements of set-and-forget in VN’s that really appeal to the overlap between my sense of wanting to play games, and my needing to do ‘actual’ work.

Some confessions: yes, I’m using a guide to work my way through the multiple endings of this game, and yes, I’m using auto/skip mode. This is nothing more than an achievement harvest for me – and I make no apologies for it. For purists, I promise you, I have a whole swag of achievements ready to pop on Forza Horizon 2 and 3 tonight (I didn’t realise how close I was for some achievements of FH2 until I looked at the ‘Forza Hub’ App this morning), and I have plenty of indie games kicking around if you really, really need something ‘more’.

But, this is my blog – my challenge. And, as I say, no apologies.

In other gaming news, my usual coffee lady discovered that I had a passion for esports, and introduced me to her husband who I’m led to believe has a stake in the Direwolves. I had to hover between being commercially envious, and simultaneously excited about the opportunities that someone with the same level of passion and enthusiasm for gaming as me had. Like a giddy fan, I left him my name, email and number – but I feel like he’s in the same position as me … ready to make the leap but not quite sure where the market lies and how to go about it.

Time will tell how this plays out.

In the meantime … there’s some Japanese Visual Novels to play … well, read … well, turn on and start, anyway …