Secure the Southern Border

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Make America Great Again: The Trump Presidency • Complete the Trump Wall

When Donald Trump was elected, I thought it would be slightly amusing to create a Spotify playlist that represented everything I feared for the Trump Administration. Sure enough, Trump is working hard to ensure those expectations are met – but it seems like there are plenty of other creatives looking to muscle in on the Trump Phenomenon (deliberately capitalized like a proper noun). Enter this … this monstrosity.

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I don’t even know where to begin. This is a mediocre resource-manager at best, and then it goes and throws in a basic side-scrolling shooter, and what’s worse is that it has Donald Trump’s face all over it!

I mean … I know that’s the point, but … wow.

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This first achievement is for building Trump’s infamous wall. The ‘moronic idea‘ designed to sate the appetite of racist conservative bigots along the Southern border of the USA. If there wasn’t an achievement in it – I almost certainly wouldn’t be implementing this as good policy … particularly when a large part of the game involves pumping oil (after building the Keystone Pipeline) and selling it to Mexico.

Side RL note: Trump is also the one who claimed that Mexico was going to be the next China, so putting up barriers – physical and metaphoric – just makes terrible, terrible policy sense.

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There is a few other game mechanics which I haven’t quite mastered yet. For instance, there is a function to deliver aid to parts of the world to help bring down your ‘World Anger’ rating and just stave off WW3. I managed to only do this once though, as there seems to be a cool down timer or something similar which isn’t letting me fly around the world saving the day at will.

Of course, I suppose that is thematically consistent with Trump’s values anyway.

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Much of the other mechanics seem to focus on timing and economics – ironic given the subject matter. I am certain there’s a good chance to flex some policy muscle later in the game – particularly when the likes of World Matriarch, Angela Merkel, and Trump lapdog, Malcolm Turnbull, make feature appearances.

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Is this a good game? No. I can’t say with any guarantee that it is. Will I play it again? Again, no, probably not. I’d like to be able to squeeze out a few more achievements, but the clunky gameplay, rushed mechanics and the fact I have to look at Donald Trump for a period longer than my blood pressure will allow all contribute to a less-than-stellar desire to go back and … ahem … ‘Make America Great Again.’

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Grenade belt

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood • Unlock the Grenade belt perk • 20G • 45.05% of gamers unlocked this

Who would have thought blowing up Nazi zombies with a grenade would be so much fun? Oh, nearly everybody? Fair enough then.

There used to be an approach I took with Wolfenstein that involved systematically working towards a specific achievement by completing whatever task I needed to do to obtain a particular perk. Well, today I threw that approach out the window and just ‘played’, sure enough, I managed to earn myself a couple of achievements without even trying, including this one. The others I unlocked were simply upgrades and there was one for reloading quicker – all useful benefits for killing alternative timeline nazis, but by-and-large, they go unnoticed during my attempt to speed through the game to get it completed as quick and as painlessly as I can.

The day started off smashing a whole heap of nazi zombies using what appeared to be the alt-history version of a loaderbot, before confronting what was a new phenomenon in the Wolfenstein universe (for me anyway) – a big boss! This huge mummy-like creature seems to have a weak spot around his mouth, but after ten or so minutes trying to get into a good rhythm, I had to leave for my day job, so that will be a battle for another day.

Hopefully there’s an achievement tied to killing it as well!

Tonight I aim to progress a bit further on my second playthrough of God of War. I’m nearing the end (again), but I’m quite glad I gave it a second run just for the fact that I’m picking up on the occasional extra detail. I’m also listening a lot better for some of the God names and stories that go along with the game. It certainly is very well researched, and/or written with a great deal of passion.

If only every AAA game had the same level of polish, then we’d be much further along our journey to have games recognised as an equal art form to music and film.

Elite Status

World of Tanks • You’ve completely researched a tank! • 5G • 30.61% of gamers unlocked this

I’ve been playing the odd game of World of Tanks on PC, and I thought there might be some connection between the console version and PC. I had hoped that some cross-play might be evident, but considering my PC server (Asia) isn’t even on the console list – that optimism quickly left.

I have to say – the console version isn’t nearly as fun as the PC version. I can’t work out if it’s been scaled-back feature-wise (it doesn’t necessarily seem to be), but the controls seem slow and clunky and there’s not a great deal of love in the graphical detail.

I actually earned an achievement for completing the tutorial before this achievement, something that I thought I’d already done – but it seems like, judging from the achievement list, that I’d actually only played a few campaign missions, and had never completed the main ‘boot camp’ mission. Using that experience (as in XP, not the verb ‘experience’), I was able to buy a few different tanks before I logged off tonight, earning me a lazy little 5G for my effort.

My skim of the achievement list showed me a few other quick achievements that I might be able to pickup over the next few weeks, but by-and-large, the meaty achievements come from playing multiplayer online. I don’t think I’ve got the energy or the inclination to do that – but you never know, stranger things have happened. If anything, I have been finding myself scrolling down my game library list with a blank expression on my face simply convincing myself that there’s got to be something worth playing on there. I suspect an inevitable gaming ‘rut’ is about to hit me – something that I’ve been hearing a lot from friends about lately, and I’ve experienced myself once or twice.

In the meantime – there’s a solid five weeks of gaming to get through before I can allow myself a ‘break’. The end is in sight – I’m going to give this final push a red hot go.

Revenge

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood • Complete part one • 20G • 50.74% of gamers unlocked this

I don’t know how many ‘parts’ constitute the Wolfenstein prequel, but I do know I’ve completed the first of them. It’s been a while since I’ve played with ol’ BJ, but I’ve had a long day, a bit of a week, and – to be frank – I just felt like playing something mindless for a bit.

Killing Alternative Universe Nazis seems to fit that bill nicely.

My lack of concentration hasn’t really helped with understanding the state of affairs as it relates to the narrative, but while I enjoy a good story, I’ve left The Old Blood alone for so long now, I’d struggle to tell you where things are at. Like many other titles before this one, my plan will be to just finish the game and then catch up on the plot on Wikipedia after. It’s a tried and true method.

After tomorrow, I’m entering a bit of a pressure point scenario with achievements. A weekend of family staying and a party here at home means I’ll be hard-pressed to get some console time, but I’m going in a little unprepared because I’ll be at home. I’m sure there’s some magic I can wrangle between Windows, Console or both (streaming) … but, as I say, I’m not making plans so let’s see what happens.

‘Not making plans’ is my middle name.

Ultimate Skill

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands • Campaign: Bought all the upgrades of a Skill branch • 30G • 6.65% of gamers unlocked this

It seems to be a weekend of just-after-midnight achievements. That’s OK, I’ve never made any apologies for trying to get my achievements in as early as I can, but I think this would have to be some sort of record at about four minutes past midnight.

I wanted to stick my head into Wildlands tonight after trying to play around with it on PlayStation and … well, I just didn’t enjoy myself. I am trying really hard to like the PS4, I’m playing Bloodborne (badly), I’ve made the switch on all my devices to the new account and I’m giving it a red hot go, but I just have no joy and I get jaded playing anything on the PS4 that I can play on Xbox, and so I ended up back on my main console for tonight’s gaming session.

While I’m on a PlayStation kink, I should emphasise that this Sony resistance strangely doesn’t extend to the Vita. I’ve been loving getting back into the Vita … I’m a little miffed that a few year’s worth of PS Plus games aren’t there for me to download, but the ones I do have are giving me a great sense of enjoyment. I don’t want to turn this into a gush, but I do want it on the record.

Back to Wildlands: I suspect that a large part of the free weekend has to do with the introduction of Splinter Cell‘s Sam Fisher as a new mission. I guess that the end goal is to encourage players to buy the ‘Year Two Pass’, which I gather is largely multiplayer perks, but that hardly excites me, especially when there’s enough medals and resources and other perks to upgrade first.

So, with that in mind – much of my gaming tonight involved just doing cleanup missions and shooting bad guys until I had enough for the final skill in the ‘Weapons’ category. There was one gap in that branch for a medal, but I assume that’s treated more like a booster than a skill itself, and so with everything all sorted, this achievement unlocked and I am free for another 24 hours.

Well, 23 hours, 31 minutes …

The Escape

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered • Complete ‘Hunted’ and ‘Death from Above’ on Veteran difficulty • 30G • 2.33% of gamers unlocked this

Some video games have truly iconic villains. Arkham Knight or the Joker in Batman … 006 in Goldeneye … but blow me down if a single aggressive helicopter in Modern Warfare didn’t give me more grief than any of these bad guys combined. As I said last night, this helicopter gave me enough grief that I had to abort and fire-up The Wolf Among Us just to grab an achievement – but once I’d hit the midnight changeover point, I went back to Modern Warfare determined to put this abomination to an end.

I have never felt more satisfaction in killing a bad guy than I had dropping that helicopter out of the sky.

The euphoria of killing that helicopter stayed with me for a while, so I followed-up with the AC-130 mission as well, which is fairly simple on any difficulty – just rain hellfire down on bad guys that aren’t flashing with a strobe and get your team out of there. As long as you keep an eye on everything around the scene, then it’s quite quick and achievable.

With that in mind, combining these two missions into one achievement makes a lot of sense – one insanely hard, one generally pretty easy. Together they make up a reasonably happy medium for what one would expect on ‘veteran’ difficulty.

The rest of my day has been consumed with some health and fitness stuff and a 5-year old’s birthday party, and I am pretty much ready for a bit of a snooze now. I might jump on and see if I can make a bit more progress on the PS4 version of Wildlands if the mood grabs me later, but I’d be equally happy having an afternoon and evening on the couch watching something mindless on Netflix.

Save the Bacon

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered • Protect ‘War Pig’, the Abrams tank • 15G • 23.16% of gamers unlocked this

Fun fact: For a very brief moment following the original launch of MW, I tried the handle of ‘War Pig’ online. It didn’t last very long, but it does remain forever attached to my Google Account thanks to a range of interactions I had with Google Help and Google Forums that somehow means it can never be deleted.

Databases and their web equivalent seem to be the bane of my existence (see also: PSN name changes).

Anyway, I headed back to MW tonight to see if I could make a bit more progress. Tonight’s mission was less about the tank itself, and more about the journey to get there, but I know from history that this isn’t the last we’ll see of War Pig.

Despite being at work all day and having a few hours tonight of personal training dig-into my gaming schedule, I’m still a bit surprised that I managed to smash out a Veteran-difficulty level without too much issue. Either my hands are getting used to it or the layout of this level lends itself to better cover and general protection …

… either way, it was enough to get the job done.