Posts Tagged ‘trophies

Platinum Review – Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition (PS Vita)

One of the best advantages to the PlayStation ecosystem is something called cross-buy: many titles, especially small-studio ones, will include a game’s release on every platform for which it’s available.  In this situation, I purchased Minecraft: PlayStation 3 Edition and received Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition for free.

The Vita Edition is a bit of a mix of the PS3 and PS4 versions of the game: like the PS3 Edition, this version features a single map-sized world (8642 meters), whereas the PS4 is 36x larger than this.  However, the Vita Edition takes its trophy list from the PS4, which is longer and is thus slightly more difficult.

Best Trophy: Zombie Doctor (Gold) — healing a Zombie Villager of its affliction is actually a complex process that requires a good understanding of multiple game mechanics.  You need a Golden Apple (which means you have to mine for Gold and chop down Oak Trees), a Splash Potion of Weakness (which means a trip to the Nether to build a potion stand), and a covered area to trap a Zombie Villager in and protect it from the sunlight (which typically requires building and planning on your end).

Worst Trophy: Passing the Time (Bronze) — this trophy is borderline dreadful.  It’s one you should eventually pickup by just playing, but the idea of passing 100 days in-game is kind of obnoxious on a portable device that you will probably use to drop in and out of in brief stints.  And you can’t accelerate these 100 days by sleeping through the night: the game literally requires you to play for 30 hours in realtime.  Unless you’re especially dedicated, this one will take weeks to acquire.

Special Mention Trophy: Renewable Energy (Bronze) — I like this one a lot because smelting wood trunks into charcoal makes all the sense in the world to me, since trees are plentiful and easily accessible in the game.  Amazingly, only 29.4% of players have this trophy.  Seriously, are the other 70.6% only using coal?  That’s a lot of mining.

Rating: A — I’m actually rating this one slightly higher than the PS3 Edition even though “Passing the Time” is worse than “Return to Sender” (my least favorite from before).  The new trophies more than make up for it, etching out a comprehensive map for players to follow to really learn the many different aspects of Minecraft.

Written by Michael

15 September 2015 at 8:00 pm

Platinum Review – Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (PS3)

Uncharted was one of the top reasons I purchased a PS3 back in 2008, and boy was that a good decision.  Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune launched one of the best series of the last generation, featuring stout gameplay and cutting edge graphics to complement excellent voice acting, adventurous musical scoring, and fun storytelling.  Drake’s Fortune is also a pretty tough Platinum, more-so than its successors.  A remaster is due out in October, titled Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, which will include the original PS3 trilogy to whet the appetites of everyone eagerly anticipating Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.  I’m very excited to replay Drake’s Fortune and earn the PS4 version of this Platinum, but I’m also dreading it because of the Worst Trophy below:

Best Trophy: Charted! – Hard (Gold) — normally I would try to find a single objective to spotlight, but the game in its totality is so good that just playing through it is plenty reward in itself.  I selected the Hard version for my favorite because I think that the difficulty on this mode is spot-on: challenging but not beat-your-head-against-the-wall difficult.

Worst Trophy: Charted! – Crushing (Gold) — beat-your-head-against-the-wall difficult.  Seriously, there were set-piece battles that were so insane that they took me as many as thirty tries to finish.  (Looking at you, Blue Room from Chapter 5.)  In any case, I persevered and didn’t use any exploits, like the one mentioned at that link.  I might have used that had I known about it, though.

Special Mention Trophy: Grenade Hangman (Bronze) — of all the individual goal-based Trophies (including ones with getting a certain number of kills with a certain weapon, or finding all of the hidden treasures), this was by far the strangest.  To earn it, you need to hang from a ledge lob grenades at your enemies and kill ten of them.  As straightforward as that may sound, Drake’s Fortune had an unfortunate six-axis-only throwing mechanic, meaning that they were a huge nuisance to use sometimes, especially when hanging from a ledge that partially obscures your view and also makes the angle more severe.

Written by Michael

3 August 2015 at 12:24 pm

Platinum Review – Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (PS3)

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is my absolute favorite game from the sixth-generation of consoles, even over the magnificent Eternal Darkness. I fell in love with this on the GameCube back in 2003, and I’ve tried to re-play it in every incarnation it has appeared in, including as an original Xbox game through backwards compatibility on the Xbox 360. (Sadly, it was borderline unplayable.) Fortunately, the good folks at Ubisoft commissioned a well-made, high-definition port to the PlayStation 3 that ran extremely well. The only drawback was that all the cutscenes were still in 4:3 standard definition, a relic of an earlier age in television. Indeed, this irony is not lost on me because I remember thinking that the cutscenes used to look much better than the game itself, but now the reverse is true.

Best Trophy: Prince of Sand (Gold) — you receive this trophy automatically for simply beating the game, but given how great this title is, and how endearing the characters and the voice acting all is, the very privilege of playing it again made this my favorite trophy to earn of them all.

Worst Trophy: Sands of Time (Silver) — sadly, the eponymous trophy is a bit of a nuisance. It requires you to play the game for more than ten hours; but, due to my experience with the title, I could easily beat it in five hours. Thankfully, this timer is cumulative across multiple playthroughs, which is required for other trophies anyway.  It all worked out in the end.

Special Mention Trophy: Secret of Agrabah (Gold) — I mention this trophy because I remembered where each of the ten hidden locations were without the aid of a guide. (Shows you how much I’ve played this game.) Well, all except one of them. Had I not needed another reason to replay the game for other trophies, I would have been furious at missing this one location.

Written by Michael

19 June 2015 at 10:50 pm

Platinum Review – L.A. Noire (PS3)

Platinum number six was reminiscent of number four, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, in that it featured a huge overworld with a lot of little errands required to complete it.  That said, I really loved L.A. Noire, and I was happy to go through it again to complete this.  I still feel a great sadness that Team Bondi fell apart after the release of this tour de force, and that their next project, Whore of the Orient, will probably never see the light of day.

Best Trophy: Hollywoodland (Silver) — I normally don’t find collectible quests to be all that thrilling, but this one was special.  Even though I had played the game quite thoroughly before, I never found a single one of the fifty gold film reels required to complete this trophy on my own.  I didn’t even know they existed until I began pursuing this Platinum, in fact.  In addition to being pretty cool in and of themselves (they’re all named after films from that era), they led me to parts of the Los Angeles I hadn’t had cause to explore through the normal course of the game.  One of these, entitled The Body and Soul, was located underneath a bridge at 7th St and Santa Fe, an area I had no idea existed.  When you take the stairs down into this area, there’s a homeless community there, authentically and meticulously detailed — perhaps the only one in the game, which otherwise made L.A. seem idyllic.  This trophy made me appreciate the obvious passion Team Bondi had when making L.A. Noire.

Worst Trophy: Auto Fanatic (Silver) — there are a staggering 95 cars in L.A. Noire, all beautifully modeled.  They all handle differently, and they’re all cool in their own ways.  That said, this trophy requires you to get into and drive every single one of them; let me just say that this was one of the biggest pains in the ass I’ve ever endured for a trophy.  For a Silver, no less!  What makes matters worse is that there are a number of cars that look similar as they speed by (as many come in a variety of colors, no less), and there are parts of the city where certain cars will only appear, and others where they won’t.  This was absolutely miserable, even employing the clever method the folks at playstationtrophies.org came up with to earn this one.

Special Mention Trophy: (Silver) Public Menace — this trophy requires you to rack up $47,000 in damages to public and private property in one single case.  (That’s an astronomical $494,706 in 2015!)  Let’s just say I had a lot of fun wrecking everything in sight to try to reach this amount.

Written by Michael

16 May 2015 at 11:34 pm

Posted in Games, Reviews

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Platinum Review – The Wolf Among Us: Season 1 (PS3)

Platinum number five is similar to number one, The Walking Dead: Season 1.  The difference is that I played this Telltale game on PS3 rather than my Vita, and the experience, while still chippy, was much better.  I also found the story more interesting as well, so that improved my overall enjoyment immensely.

Best Trophy:  A Silver Bullet (Bronze) — most of the trophies in this game are chapter markers, for whatever that’s worth, and this one is no different.  That said, the showdown between Bigby and Bloody Mary was so good, so epic, that it really overshadowed the remaining chapters of this final episode.

Worst Trophy: Master Librarian (Gold) — while I bemoaned that The Walking Dead: Season 1 was an automatic Platinum, this is not the case with The Wolf Among Us: Season 1.  Extra care is needed to unlock the Book of Fables entries for each episode, which you typically do by being thorough in dialogue choices or in searching areas.  (So far, so good.)  However, there are a couple of times that you need to actually make two different, mutually exclusive choices at key moments to see each version of events.  What’s frustrating is that I like how Telltale has tried to make it feel like your playthrough is your definitive version of the story.  (Hence the importing of decisions from chapter to chapter and season to season.)  By requiring you to reload a chapter and play through it again a second time so that you may pick a different option undermines that.  The result is that I now have two versions in my head of how something happened, making the story less mine.

Special Mention Trophy: The Enchanted Land of New York City (Silver) — the trophy marks the first showdown between Bigby and Bloody Mary, but also provides some major resolution to the Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum plot thread.  Awesome stuff.  After this, you just know that Bigby and Mary are headed on a collision course.

Written by Michael

9 March 2015 at 12:35 am

Posted in Games, Reviews

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Platinum Review – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PS3)

My fourth Platinum was a hell of a grind to finish.  I had accumulated many of the trophies over the course of what was probably a hundred hours of normal gameplay.  However, there were some notable ones that required me to make very specific decisions, which I realized I had failed to do after the fact.  Namely, I had decided to destroy the Dark Brotherhood, just to see how differently it played out compared to trying to join the assassins from other playthroughs.  Further still, I had made the decision to not become a cannibal in the The Taste of Death quest, so I failed to acquire one of the necessary Daedric artifacts required to achieve the Oblivion Walker trophy.  Both of these “mistakes” are irrevocable, so I had to start a new character just to run through those the way the game intended.  (From a design standpoint, I find that frustrating, by the way. )

Sadly, that meant not using a character I had leveled up and crafted extremely powerful weapons and armor for.  Instead, I found myself playing through the tutorial area yet again.

Best Trophy (Tie): Master (Silver) — this one requires that you level a character to 50, which is an obscene investment in time.  That said, the net result of this is that you will end up completing much of the quests, including the Civil War and the Dragonborn, as well as a myriad of other faction storylines like the Thieves Guild and the Companions.  There’s also a strong likelihood that pursuing this trophy will also result in you trying to learn other disciplines besides the one you chose at the beginning (be it swordplay, archery, magic, potioncraft, enchanting, smithing, etc.).

Dragonslayer (Gold) — the Alduin storyline, especially as it relates to the Elder Scroll component, is actually very cool.  The lore is complex, the artifacts and ruins you visit are fascinating, and it feels every bit as epic as an enormous game like this should feature for its primary story.  I was able to do both of these on my primary character, thankfully.

Worst Trophy: Oblivion Walker (Silver) — you are required to collect 15 Daedric Artifacts for this one.  Fifteen!  That means fifteen different quest lines that can range anywhere from a half hour to several hours.  This one took forever, and I was always afraid of running into some kind of bug, which was a real threat at times.  (The game’s hidden artifact counter can get screwed up in a few different places, I read.)  What’s most insulting is that this is only a Silver trophy.  Bathesda felt like it had put in 50 trophies to cover the breadth of the game’s experiences, which led to some serious dilution.  (There’s a max value that a game can have, so the developer couldn’t throw too many Golds around, for example.  In fact, there is only one Gold trophy in the entire game.)  Oblivion Walker is such a nuisance that a mere 3.6% of players have it.  Compare this to the one Gold trophy, Dragonslayer, which a staggering 30.3% of players have.

Special Mention Trophy: Master Criminal (Bronze) — in order to earn this trophy, you have to have a 1,000 gold bounty in all nine holds in Skyrim (which are sort of like confederated states).  This was hysterical to earn because it largely entailed me straight-up murdering guards in broad daylight and then fleeing for my life when everyone in a given city would try to seek revenge.

Rating: B- — there are many great trophies in this, most of which are quite satisfying to pursue.  Many of them feel natural to completionists, like me.  That said, there are too many trophies, several of which are merely used to designate incremental progress, like a trophy for reaching level 5, then 10, then 25, and then finally 50.  I would rather have seen some condensing done here, to find ways for the developer to assign higher values to some of the more difficult trophies, like Oblivion Walker.  Speaking of which, the pursuit of that one was ridiculous enough that it docked the entire score down one letter grade.

Written by Michael

16 February 2015 at 12:26 am

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Platinum Review – Minecraft: PlayStation 3 Edition (PS3)

My third Platinum was the one I felt like I needed to do just purely to make a statement about my Minecraft cred — I have purchased and played this game on PC, Xbox 360, and iOS, in addition to this release.  And I’m going to pay the $5 fee to upgrade this to play on PS4, too.  Obsessed much?

Most of the trophies in the PS3 Edition are ones you would earn through the natural course of Survival Mode, especially if you make a point of completing The End.  There are a few oddballs, though, so don’t be surprised when you’re tasked with running an insanely large rail through the overworld in one direction for one of these.

Best Trophy: The End. (Gold) — even though many people are surprised a game like Minecraft even has an ending, I enjoy that the folks at Mojang (and 4J Studios in this incarnation) have created a complex enough quest to seem worthy. You have to harvest a few rare resources and build the most advanced equipment you can to outlast the Enderdragon, which feels appropriate.  That said, the console version of this boss is a bit less daunting than the PC incarnation, as this one lacks the ability to knock you off the island and into the Void.  The acid breath attack is very cool, but I wish it weren’t the only ability the dragon had.

Worst Trophy: Return to Sender (Gold) — while there’s something very satisfying about killing a Ghast with its own fireball, the spawn rates for Ghasts in this edition are extreme enough that this trophy can present a true exercise in patience (and masochism), as your target’s buddies will try to blow you away while your focus is engaged on only the one.

Special Mention Trophy: When Pigs Fly (Gold) — this trophy is so goofy that it deserved a mention.  The notion of saddling a pig and then discovering you can’t control it, effectively making it useless, is so perfectly Minecraft that there’s little else to say.  (The PC Edition added carrots on sticks eventually, but this is still lacking here.)

Rating: A-  — as I mentioned before, most of the trophies will come naturally through playing the game, and I kind of appreciate that.  But I’m especially glad they’re not automatic, as they were in The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season.  There are ridiculous ones in this title (like killing a skeleton from 50 meters away, nearly the distance it would despawn at), but that’s okay and expected.  I’m excited to do this again for the PS4.

Written by Michael

31 August 2014 at 11:40 am

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Platinum Review – Guacamelee! (PS Vita)

My second Platinum was the first one I ever earned on purpose: after realizing that I ended up with The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season one by accident, I decided I should go for one in a game I actually enjoyed playing.  Guacamelee! is quite special, which is why I reviewed it as highly as I did.  In fact, I like it so much that I’m sure I’ll eventually buy it again for the PS4 next time a sale rolls around.

Unlike the unmissable Platinum in The Walking Dead, Guacamelee! demands a lot more attention to complete it.  There are a fair number of collectibles in the game, as well as some challenges that border on crazy.  Thankfully, playstationtrophies.org exists, which has made my Platinum quests a great deal easier.

As before, here are my most noteworthy trophies:

Best Trophy: Licking His Wounds (Bronze) — defeat Jaguar Javier.  I found this fight to be especially rewarding given its toughness (but also its fairness).  This guy will annihilate you if gets his hands on you; there’s a very good strategy you really need to stick to in order to win.

Worst Trophy: El Savior (Gold) — access the alternative ending (collect all orbs).  I found the process of finding all the optional orbs to be grueling and masochistic.  The amount of precision platforming required to reach a couple of these orbs is outrageous, with the constant threat of having to start a long sequence all over again if you make even one mistake.  Also, I do find it regrettable that this trophy dramatically changes the ending for the game; in fact, it’s the better of the two options, so you’re really obligated to go after this one.

Special Mention Trophy: Cock of the Walk (Bronze) — defeat an enemy as a chicken.  The very idea of this is not only hilarious, but it’s also something you would never attempt otherwise.

Rating: A — just as I rated the game.  I found this Platinum to be enjoyable overall, the El Savior trophy notwithstanding.

Written by Michael

24 August 2014 at 11:01 pm

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Platinum Review – The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season (PS Vita)

There was a time that I didn’t think I’d ever earn any Platinum Trophies.  I had largely ignored Achievements on Xbox 360, and I didn’t think there was much reason to handle Trophies any differently.  But then I ended up with this one by accident, for The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season, and I felt a strange sense of accomplishment.

I then learned that this Platinum is in fact completely unmissable.  That is to say, you get it simply by completing the game.  Many trophy purists found this to be quite annoying, since most other games require a great deal more effort — a great deal more care.  After considering this fact, I realized that trophies offered a great measure for comparing just how much you cared about a certain game with your friends, and that I suddenly wanted to start collecting them for my favorite titles, almost out of a respect for the developers.

The Walking Dead was not a favorite of mine, as I’ve written before.  That voice acting and storyline were all very good, but the general controls combined with the astoundingly poor performance of this game on Vita made me severely unhappy to actually play it.  On this level, I’m slightly embarrassed to acknowledge it as my first, but here we are.

For this series of Platinum reviews, I will pick what I think is the best trophy, the worst trophy, a special mention trophy, and my overall rating for how much I enjoyed earning the Platinum itself.

Best Trophy: What Remains (Gold) — complete Episode 5: “No Time Left”.  I selected this because it was the end of the first season, the end of a miserable experience, which is kind of a terrible thing to say, but seriously, the technical issues were that bad.

Worst Trophy: The Walking Dead (Platinum) — earn all trophies in “The Walking Dead”.  As already stated, the idea that you get this one simply by playing through the story is a bit offensive to the idea of what a Platinum should be.

Special Mention Trophy: Lend Me Your Ears (Gold) — complete Episode 3: “The Long Road Ahead”.  This episode was especially powerful, storytelling-wise, featuring a shocking fate for multiple characters as well as a great twist at the end.

Rating: D — I wanted to give this an F for being so ludicrously easy to get, but the story was compelling enough throughout that it still felt like an achievement to complete (read: endure) it.

Written by Michael

15 August 2014 at 12:14 am