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.

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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.

Puzzle Agent 2

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Puzzle Agent 2 • Complete Puzzle Agent 2

As expected, I was able to smash through the rest of this game today – surprising even myself with how close I was to the end. It seemed like that there was actually only a few puzzles to go, and the guide that I had to track my progress had a lengthy ‘post-game’ section for a couple of the puzzles that appear at the end of the game once the main story has concluded (I finished these as well).

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I was surprised that Wikipedia was actually able to summarise the plot for me quite well before I pushed through to the final few puzzles, which were no more or less difficult than all that preceded them – they were just ‘different’. I think the idea behind Puzzle Agent 2 isn’t so much that puzzles increase in complexity, but rather that you get an assortment of different brain teasers to stretch the grey matter across the span of the game. ‘Difficulty’ is a subjective term anyway, so it’s likely that some people will trip on seemingly easy, early-game puzzles as much as you are likely to on late-game ones.

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Did I enjoy Puzzle Agent 2? Yes. Yes, I did. I would be quite happy to sit down and give the first one a go as well, but – and here’s the kicker – it doesn’t have any achievements. It was released in mid-2010 apparently, so there’s not really any excuse (in my mind) to not have a solid reward system in place, but I guess developers often have different priorities in mind when they build a game.

I think we all know my priority when it comes to playing a game though. And good gameplay mechanics and strong narratives are secondary to a delicious achievement on my gaming CV.

An Incredible Discovery

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Puzzle Agent 2 • Find out the secret Olav locked away in his cabin

What’s this? A Steam Achievement? On a Wednesday?! I don’t really know why I’m feigning outrage, other than to say it’s late on a Wednesday afternoon and I’m beginning the process of packing up for the day, and because of my super-short lunch, I am treating myself to an extra 15 minutes to both write this blog entry and ‘unwind’ after a complicated eight hours of staring at the screen and being in otherwise mind-numbing meetings.

I think my recent review of ‘games that I had bought on Humble Bundles and Indie Gala’s but not redeemed the keys for’ somehow resulted in me downloading Puzzle Agent 2 to my Macbook … which is fine, because solving a few puzzles was exactly what I felt like doing today. I’m just going to be upfront and admit – I did have a walkthrough open nearby me – but I still gave each of the puzzles a go first, and used the guide to check my answers more often than not. The few times that I didn’t glance at the guide … well, I guess my less-than-perfect score on a few of the puzzles is a good example of what happens when you don’t stick to the plan!

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For what it’s worth, I like Puzzle Agent 2. I know the first game didn’t get an overly enthusiastic wrap from the gaming press, but this outing seems fine. Sure, I spent a fair amount of time clicking through story that didn’t really interest me just so I could get to the puzzles, but all-in-all, the puzzles are meaty, they’re satisfying, and they seem to provide a sufficient challenge for a fractured mind in need of sustenance.

Judging by the walkthrough, it seems like I’m actually a fair way through the game – but I’ve used one of the progress achievements as today’s subject heading as a bit of a benchmark for those who might have played the game before. I’m certainly keen to jump back in and finish it off – so if I don’t do that tonight, there’s a good chance I’ll have this complete by tomorrow.

Point of No Return

Tales from the Borderlands • Complete Chapter 3 of Episode 3 • 20G • 21.42% of gamers unlocked this

Fun fact: I think I’ve been called out on my ‘mood’ at least twice a day for the past three days – almost always from colleagues. I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing, or how I’m presenting differently, but I do know that getting my daily achievement out of the way early-on certainly improves things (at least I thought it did)!

I started the day with a bit of Tales because, well, you know the reasons why. It’s easy, I can play it while I’m eating breakfast, and 85% of the time it’s ‘moderately acceptable’ to have on if the kids glance at the screen. This morning was a fairly innocuous chapter, most of it concentrating on finding and opening what appeared to be a vault door (I need to refresh my memory of where things are up to in the narrative), but it was essentially a few dialogue options, a bit of point-and-clicking, and a whole lot of passive absorption of the story as it unfolded.

Exactly the way I like it.

In other news – I found my daughter wandering around the house last night with my Vita (hurrah!) which was a nice surprise considering I thought I’d lost it somewhere behind the bed, or worse, in my son’s room – so it looks like some trophy hunting in the new financial year is on-the-books. I’m looking forward to broadening my challenge a little bit next year, considering I’m enjoying gaming for the sake of playing games lately (shock! horror!). The best example of this is Destiny 2‘s Iron Banner, but even things like playing Super Lucky’s Tale with my son, or Fallout Shelter on my PC have given me a touch of joy lately (or maybe they haven’t, noting the above!) … so we’ll see how things travel.

But don’t worry – I’m absolutely committed to my achievements. Hell, high water or apocalypse, I’ll still be aiming for one a day!

Temptation

Tales from the Borderlands • Complete Chapter 2 of Episode 3 • 20G • 21.88% of gamers unlocked this

Am I phoning this week in? Perhaps. I completed my second playthrough of God of War last night, and I’m currently in Trophy clean up mode on that ‘other’ platform. The other consideration to take into account is that my network access during the day has been severely limited (good ol’ Error 500), or deliberately restricted, but in either case – the net result is me doing this blog in my afternoon tea break on my phone.

This morning’s chapter was a lot of getting to know Gortys and – well, killing Vallory. Ashley Johnson is such a good casting choice for the voice of Gortys, even the dialogue option that I chose – “You’re so cute” – when Fiona first meets Gortys felt thematically correct.

I suspect that my week is likely to be split between Tales from the Borderlands and The Walking Dead Season 2, which is fine. I think Telltale have served me well this past year – why stop now? I’m trying to find a solid achievement to come home strong at the end of the month – but to be honest, it’s just as easy to coast on home.

Time, as always, will tell.

River Runs Cold

The Walking Dead: Season Two • Arrived at the shore • 20G • 59.91% of gamers unlocked this

And so we begin again. I thought I had already started season two of The Walking Dead, but chances are I’ve just played it too many times on too many platforms that I just simply get lost in the details about where and when.

Today actually marks the start of a Telltale Publisher sale on Xbox, so it’s kind of fortuitous that I was in a Telltale frame of mind, and able to have a bit of a look through the list and see what else was on offer. It looks like that I’ve actually got, and played, most of what’s available in the Telltale catalogue, with a few exceptions such as Back to the Future and Guardians of the Galaxy. Neither are franchises particularly close to my heart, and so I think – until some of the original Telltale stories’ sequels come out – my wallet is safe.

I don’t know if it’s by design, but it felt like there was more requirement to interact with the game in this chapter versus the others in the Telltale library. It’s possible that Telltale have tried to avoid too much ‘hands free’ gaming and draw the player into the narrative a bit more – and from a design standpoint, that makes a lot of sense.

For a lazy achievement hunter, it adds a hint of frustration.

I’m confident that between this and the rest of ‘My Games and Apps’ I have enough to get me through the next couple of weeks, and so I’m not expecting too much variety on this home stretch. It’s a good couple of weeks to unwind and plan the next year ahead – both in gaming and in life.