Eight More Pain in the Arse Xbox Achievements I have

It’s that time again! I collect achievements and try and get as much gamerscore as I humanly can, here’s eight more achievements that were such a pain in the arse I’m proud to have it on my gamercard.

Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga – Collector – 60G

Unlock all characters

Seems pretty simple, right? It’s a Lego game. It’s all six episodes, so you’ve got all the characters from the Original Trilogy, then all the characters from the Prequels. On top of that you have secret characters like Indiana Jones to unlock. The easiest way to get this achievement is to play the Pod Racing mission in the Phantom Menace. You get a good 60,000 studs each time and that’s without multipliers. This achievement took a hell of a long time, those damned ghost characters cost too much.

Quantum of Solace – I’m the Money – 15G

On Train, use only the P99 while on the freight train

Don’t do what I did and use up all your ammo in the first part of the mission. You jump across to a freight train sometime in the mission, there’s plenty of cool guns on board, so what you need to do is ignore the enemy weapons and use that good ol’ spy pistol you have. There’s ammo on board for your pistol, but honestly that gun is terrible.

Wolfenstein: The New Order – London uprising – 20G

Defeat the London Monitor

I cannot begin to describe how much I hated that mission. It took me a week. A week. Me, angrily yelling profanities and ill mannered insults at a giant robot that reminded me of a giant spider and the robot Dog off of Half Life 2. It’s a story mission achievement too, just to add insult to injury. Maybe I’m just bad at games? Or the game is broken. Yeah, the games broken.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – Deadeye/Grenadier – 10G

Score “excellent” on the Atlas shooting range
Score “excellent on the grenade range at Atlas

I’m not the best at shooters, I’ll give you that. I’m even worse with grenades, I just lucked into these two achievements, after trying repeatedly for an hour or two. Just make sure you’re accurate and keep reloading. As for the grenades, I got confused easily, I don’t know how, but I did. Good luck with those two!

Titanfall – Best in class – 25G

Finish as the top player on your team once

I’m not really the biggest fan of Titanfall, I’m also terrible at most online shooters. So, by dumb luck I managed to get this achievement, just keep playing the game, it’ll eventually unlock.

Halo; The Master Chief Collection – Begins with a single step – 15G

Halo 3: On Tsavo Highway, finish the mission without entering a vehicle

Can’t be that bad, can it? Well, it wouldn’t have been if I wasn’t playing on Legendary. Basically you need to walk from the start of the mission, all the way to the end. So that’s from the exploded building place, through all the fields and such and then finish the mission at the crashed pelican. This level is big, so it’s more annoying that you can’t get into a Warthog and drive off than anything.

The Orange Box – Hardcore – 15G

Accumulate 1000 Kills

Another game that nobody plays anymore on Xbox 360, Team Fortress 2, you need to get 1000 kills. Yeah, that takes a long time. It is made a lot easier if you play as an Engineer, have a friend play as an enemy spy and keeps placing zappers on it. They count as kills, it makes the whole process a lot easier, however I didn’t know that so I did it the ol’ fashioned way. Which was to set fire to everyone and everything.

A big sarcastic round of applause if you have all of those achievements like me, if you don’t have those achievements, well, you aren’t the best at achievement hunting now are you?

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Gamepad: Six Reasons We Live in The Best Time for Gaming

Last week, I did a post explaining why we live in the worst times for gaming and it got me thinking. What if we live in the best time for gaming? What if I’m wrong, and the situation is actually not as bad as me and and a lot of people seem to think? I’ve decided to look on the other side of the coin and count down the six reasons we live in the best time for gaming.

6. Game Journalism, but not in the way you think

Game Journalism has become a very desirable job in the past five years, due to the increased popularity of videogames. Who doesn’t want to play games AND get paid to talk about them? However, even though it seems an easy thing to do, just like with every other job, there are tricks of the trade in the game journalism field of work as well. And aspiring journalists such as Danny O’dwyer, Greg Miller, Colin Moriarty, Lucy James and many others inspire a whole new generation of game journalists to take up the mantle and pick it as a career path, because it’s more viable than it has ever been…

5. Game development, and for the same reason I mentioned above…

I understand that five and six could be a single entry, however I believe that while very close, they’re also pretty distinct as career choices, and both stand out in different ways. Again, because of the rise in popularity of games, game development is also a pretty popular field of work. I recently went to a university fair, and 6/10 universities there offered a course that revolved around games, and that speaks a lot about the society we live in (and in a good way). Now, with game journalism everyone is eager to share their view on a game or gaming in general, while with game development you can share your vision for a game, or even an entire world. That’s why game development, and especially game design is a field of work sought out by many.

4. IT’S FRIGGIN EVERYWHERE!!1!!1

What started out as reclusive hobby years ago, is now a multi-billion dollar industry. Games are everywhere nowadays. There are apps for your phones, console games, pc games, and I personally attribute that to the technological jump we had in the past six-seven years. So because it’s everywhere, more and more people are becoming gamers and realizing that it’s not just for nerds or dweebs…

3. Virutal Reality 

Gaming has always been a pretty immersive hobby, even more so in recent years. Every new games is prettier than the last, and we’re slowly getting close to the point where the real and virtual world will be hard to differentiate, and even more so with the release of Playstation VR, AKA Project Morpheus or HTC’s Vive, developed in partnership with Valve, and that’s just the beginning. In twenty years or more, we’ll probably have fully immersive ways to game, and that’s both creepy and awesome.

2. E-SPORTS

Once again, because games are in everyone’s face nowadays, a new type of sports had risen, and it’s competitive online Multiplayer. It’s grown so large, that the prize pool for The International, the Dota 2 world championship is over two million dollars! And ESPN has caught on to this E-SPORT thing, airing competitions like Heroes of the Dorm and more. And that’s absolutely exciting, because it brings us closer to the world many nerds used to dream about.

1.YouTube

Arguably the main reason for the popularity of games today. Esports, game journalism and streaming can all be traced back to YouTube. Whether it’s cat videos or Let’s Plays, YouTube has it all, and it delivers on versatile content. There are even celebrities who had their start in YouTube, iJustine among many. It’s also the #1 spot for independent game journalism. If you have a camera or a microphone, or both and like to talk about games, than you can, and you can also find an audience this way. I personally believe YouTube doesn’t get the credit it deserves for shaping the game industry and culture, but one thing’s certain, the game has changed. A lot.

The Xbox Elite Controller might actually be worth the money

You read that right, Microsoft somehow made a controller that just might be worth the ridiculous $150 price tag. Ever since the announcement of the Elite Controller, I have been more than skeptical that it would be anything other than a minor improvement over the already solid Xbox One controller. Honestly, I thought it was just a way to get more money out of Xbox fanboys to make up for the price cut last year. Every once in a while though, I’m OK with being wrong. The Elite seems more like a PC and Xbox player’s wet dream than shelf decoration.

Let’s start out simple. Before even pairing it up a console, the Xbox Elite Controller is obviously a solidly made piece of hardware, even more so than the console. It comes in a hard case, which nicely keeps track of the interchangeable pieces of the controller when not in use. Three sets of triggers are included, two different kinds of d-pads and a pair of interchangeable sticks. Everything feels like it is made of high-quality material and should hold up well over thousands of uses. The thumb sticks click in magnetically, which gives me hope that the inner mechanism is well protected and won’t pick up small problems along the way as I have experienced with the normal XBO controller. Another important feature is the ability to customize the travel of the Elite Controller’s triggers which can increase performance in different game types.

The controller feels extremely natural and solid when in my hands. It feels like I’m holding something that cost $150. The physical customization isn’t crazy, but the software side takes it to the next level. It is possible to remap the controller’s buttons on the Xbox One. This may not be an important feature to PC players who can do that with any controller ever made, but for serious console only players this can be a game changer, literally. This is all done in the downloadable Xbox Accessories app. A slider on the back of the controller allows for quick changing between different saved controller configurations. While I didn’t personally use this feature much, I can see how it could be great for a variety of games like first person shooters where one might want a different control setup for different weapons. The Elite Controller allows for this to happen quickly and smoothly in game which could certainly help in a competitive online situation.

Now for the one terrible annoying thing about this controller which makes absolutely no since to me. The Xbox Elite controller does not come with a rechargeable battery pack. That’s right, this $150 controller requires two AA batteries, not included. Um, what? Surely Microsoft could have included the $20 rechargeable kit in their ridiculous expensive controller, right?

I feel that the Xbox Elite controller will actually be used mainly on PC. Console gamers are often not very likely to spend ridiculous amounts of money on their gaming experience. I mean much of the console gamer crowd is yet to move up to the current generation of consoles! PC gamers, though, who often throw down over a grand for a PC build may be much more likely to invest in a high quality gamepad, especially when so many PC gamers are looking for a new controller after seeing the disappointment of the Steam Controller.

So, is the new Xbox Elite Controller worth the money? Well, that depends on how much you have? If the price means you would have to do without buying two new games this holiday season, it’s not worth it. If you are willing to spend money to improve the gaming experience on top of just buying new games, this controller might be worth it to you. I could certainly see this controller being the way for gamers to cement their status as a “real gamer”, even if that is a ridiculous thing to do. The Elite Controller is certainly the best console controller made to date. There is a problem for console gamers though. To use the Elite Controller you have to play on the Xbox instead of PS4…

 

DOOM isn’t the game you want it to be, but that’s OK

Many of you, the readers, have very fond memories of twitch shooters like DOOM, Quake, and Unreal Tournament. These were some of the first keyboard and mouse shooters as well as some of the earliest competitive online games. Even today these games hold up very well and are often considered some of the best controlling games ever made to this day. The reboot of DOOM has promised to stay true to this style while also evolving the subgenre to more a more modern experience. Unfortunately, as seen in the closed alpha gameplay, in trying to be a “modern” game, DOOM has abandoned what could have made special in the current gaming climate. Instead, signs are pointing towards it being a gory take on modern shooters that doesn’t do enough to set itself apart.

DOOM is too slow, simple as that. If you’ve ever played DOOM or Quake, you know why they are called twitch shooters (no, not because twelve year olds stream them). These games move FAST. It’s very possible to die, respawn, and die again within the course of a few seconds and that’s not out of the ordinary. The DOOM game currently in development, though, doesn’t feel nearly as quick and seems to have a more “down to earth” movement speed, because realism is what you want from any game about going to space hell and fighting floating ball-shaped demons. Many are claiming what they have seen from this alpha gameplay is “Halo-like” game speed. Now, I’m not going to go so far as to claim that DOOM is trying to appeal to the Halo audience, but I can see the comparison all the same. I would, however, be totally for a DOOM like Halo game with Master Chief chainsawing demons to death on a spaceship.

A reasonable explanation as to why DOOM doesn’t move as fast as it’s predecessors, is the fact that DOOM is coming to consoles. Console controllers do not even compare to the precise aiming that comes from a keyboard/mouse combo on PCs. Personally, I prefer playing most games with a controller unless they are a made-for-PC game. Those of us who grew up with the original DOOM series will likely wish that the newest entry was also a made-for-PC shooter like older id games, at least for multiplayer. It’s OK though, because the multiplayer won’t matter. Or at least I hope it doesn’t.

Everything I have seen and played of DOOM so far makes me much more excited for the single player campaign than for the multiplayer. DOOM has a very unique, very strange atmosphere that is different from any other franchise I’ve ever played. I have no interest in playing a too-slow multiplayer game in the DOOM universe full of canned animations. Put that gameplay in a well thought-out single player game, though, and you’ve got my attention.

 

Being a One Game Gamer

In 2013, part of my weekly routine was to come home every Friday night, start up the PC and log into Counter Strike Global Offensive and jump into a game with friends I met in the game. Over the course of that year I spent several hundred hours in that game, but somehow I never got tired of it. I played the same map dozens and dozens of times each week, and had a blast every time. Why? Because it became just as much of a community as a game to me. When playing a casual game with friends, it felt like an episode of Cheers with everyone around shooting the breeze. Often a player with a username we recognize would join the game and it felt like a familiar face walking into the bar and always led to more entertainment (even if it was someone we irrationally hated). In all honesty, the only reason it isn’t still part of my daily/weekly routine is because at some point my PC committed suicide and by the time it was replaced my CS:GO skills were hard to bring back. When I played CS, it was basically the only game I played. Not because I couldn’t play new games, nor was it due to lack of time, but nine times out of ten I would rather go play CS with friends or even strangers because I simply had more fun than in other games.

I haven’t played only one game that constantly since Counter Strike in 2013, but I still find myself wanting to dive into just one game for weeks at a time on occasion. I don’t mean just playing a game until I beat it. I mean playing games that can’t really be beaten. Sports games, endless online multiplayer games, basically endless puzzle games, you get the idea. In my opinion, games like that that can capture someones attention for so long without the promise of a satisfying end have to be near perfect games to hold my attention.

Certain games have a way of capturing audiences that want to play that single game and that game only. A few games that fit into that category include the likes of Dota, StarCraft, NBA 2K, Puzzle and Dragons, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty and even MLB: The Show. For the most part, games in this category are almost always competitive and/or multiplayer. These two traits are the main reasons that I ever find myself playing a game endlessly without ever starting up a different game. Now, I’m not personally a fan of all the games I listed above, but they are all great games to their community, and often a community rises up outside of the game itself.

Multiplayer games are the easiest to understand in this context. People keep coming back because of a combination of fun gameplay with being able to virtually hang out with friends and even make new friends from all over the world. Games that allow the player to continuously interact with friends including during down time allow for a lot of great times between friends. In fact, games like these would typically be terrible without communication. Imagine trying to play World of Warcraft without having any communication with others. It just wouldn’t be nearly as fun or engaging without the in game community. Just go back and try playing parts of WoW that are basically ghost towns now, it’s mind numbing (well, it is anyway, but even more so without others). Games like Destiny would basically die without the community pushing each other to continue on. One of my favorite multiplayer experiences was the time I  spent with Planetside 2 a long time ago, even though I’ll be the first to admit that the gameplay is subpar. Going into an eighty man battle with the commanding officer doing Schwarzenegger impressions will be burned into my memory forever, though. So, with many of these games the community is the number one factor in being a success and keeping players attention for long periods of time and making them come back again and again.

Games don’t have to be cooperative multiplayer games to keep people coming back for more, though. Competitive games that operate under a very specific rule set allow for endless replayability as well. There is of course some overlap between the two broad-stroke categories I’ve created here. Games like Counter Strike and Dota are of course both mutiplayer experiences that are fun with friends as well as great competitive games. While these games do have great communities, the main attraction is the competition, typically against others online. However, some overlooked competitive games are sports games. While gamers typically only play against AI opponents, sports games are often endless competitive games that offer up real competition in a good environment. It’s very easy in these games to get hooked and not want to go back to other games for fear of losing some of the progress you’ve made to get better in the competitive space of certain games.

Gamepad: Six Reasons We Live In The Worst Time For Gaming

Games nowadays are angry, whether we choose to believe it or not. Our collective anger stems from the fact that gaming just isn’t the hobby it used to be. In the last decade alone we’ve witnessed the rise and fall of genres and franchises, and the very disturbing trend of turning games into services, as opposed to products. Whether it’s squeekers on Xbox Live, or Destiny microtransactions, let’s count down the six reasons why we live in the worst time for gaming.

6. Consoles VS PC

There is the console war, but the PC-Console war is by far the bloodiest. On side we have neckbeards cursing the ”peasants” in the name of Lord Gaben, while said ”peasants” are trying to prove you can be a hardcore gamer even on a console. My allegiance lies within the console gaming community, due to the fact that I consider myself a ”fallen angel of the PC master race”. However both sides have very strong arguments, and very dumb ones too…

5. The Rise of Tumblr Feminism / AKA Lura Kroft iz sexis awmagawd

Feminisim as a movement isn’t what it should be. Instead of focusing on real problems concerning the molestation of girls and women in various second and third world countries, feminists nowadays like to shut down any form of media or entertainment, they deem ”offensive material”. This trend led to a substantial gain of influence for one Anita Sarkeesian, who literally made money on the back of her fans, which to this day are unaccounted for. The biggest problem however is, that this leads to censorship and the halt of freedom of expression. And people listen to them or even worse ignore them. But developers, directors and others don’t, and do their best to be ”politically correct” which I hope ends up exploding in their hands, as it’s not a healthy way of creating content.

4. Franchise milking

The act of franchise milking involves artificially extending the live of a ten + year old franchise in order to piggyback from gamers’ nostalgia. Gaming was original for the last time in 2007, let that sink in. Nowadays, most popular new releases are sequels of games people loved, and because we live in the greatest time for capitalism, supply and demand decides what people get. I’m not against sequels, but look at the new Tony Hawk, or the last Batman Arkham game, which essentially ruined the beloved franchise. And while I’m very excited for Mass Effect: Andromeda, I can’t help but feel worried, about how it turns out to be at the end.

3. Microtransactions 

Microtransactions are a very deceptive way to make money, because free-to-play games usually put very important, game-changing items up for sale, but you can only buy them with real money. If done ethically, microtransactions help cover wages and production costs, while improving the game. However, a lot of the times they aren’t. The biggest culprit for this trend is mobile gaming (sadly). Most free-to-play games on phones and tablets have boost items or bonus in-game currency that you can buy, and people do it because it makes the game easier for them. The problem is that AAA developers are getting into this, seeing how successful it is, and microtransactions are slowly starting to burrow their way in AAA games, which is absolutely unacceptable. I paid once, why do you expect me to pay you more?

2. Buggy releases

Arkham Knight came out in June, but the PC is port was terrible, nigh unplayable. So much so, that Rocksteady pulled the game from digital or retail services and opted for a Novemeber re-release for the PC. We can only blame pirates for this. PC is the platform with the biggest amount of pirating at the moment, and developers just don’t put much work into PC ports, seeing how the return of investment would be smaller than compared to consoles, and I wholeheartedly agree.

1. DLC 

As Danny O’wyer from GameSpot puts it, DLC still sucks. Companies are starting to catch up to this trend, and almost every new game has some sort of DLC. Some developers have high moral standards, like CD Projekt Red, that gave out free DLC for months, and only recently released paid DLC for the Witcher 3. With the announcement of a season pass for Battlefront and EA’s track record I’m seriously worried about the game, being ruined by DLC. It’s not that I don’t like paying, I’ll gladly pay for it, however companies are starting to take content from the game they’re developing, that they can sell to you as DLC at a later point. I wouldn’t be surprised if Space Battles or Galactic Conquest, two beloved Battlefront 2 gamemodes come out six-eight months from now. As is the case with microtransactions, if done ethically, DLC is just fine, however it is done for the sake of money and corporate greed and ruins games…

Gamepad: How Iron Banner exposes the imbalanced PvP in Destiny

If you’re a Destiny player, you probably already know that Lord Saladin is back in the tower, for the first Iron Banner since Taken King rolled out. Iron Banner is an event that comes every so often in Destiny for a week, power advantages are enabled unlike normal PvP, and the gamemode is Control, where you and your fireteam face off against other teams for control of three points. During the event, Lord Saladin, gives out bounties which increase your reputation standing with the Iron Banner, in order to get access to his inventory. He usually sells emblems and shaders, but the higher your reputation, the better items you have access to. At rank four and five, you’re able to buy the really good stuff, i.e. guns. I won’t go into details about the event because, it’s not what this post is about.

No, we’re here to talk about the balancing issues, which become blatantly obvious in an event as competitive as Iron Banner. Right now, the best class to play as in The Cruicible/ PvP is Titan, specifically a Titan with the Sunbreaker subclass. The power of the Sunbreaker class comes from it’s Super ability, which is ridiculously overpowered compared to the other two new subclasses, the reason being is that it can be specced to regenerate health and armor after every kill, not to mention that the hammers, the Sunbreaker (or Sunbro) throws are AoE, meaning area of effect. So if a Titan throws a hammer next to you, you die, because of the blast radius. The problem is that they can throw seven hammers if specced correctly, and combined with the talent for health and armor regeneration after every kill, the Titan becomes a VERY, VERY hard to counter class. Usually a Sunbreaker Titan is able to close the gap and flip the scoreboard with just a single super. No other class in the game has that high of a defense. Compared to Gunslinger Hunter, who has a similar super, the Titan outshines it completely, because the Golden Gun requires you to actually aim and not throw shots wherever you want to, and because the Hunter gets only three shots, four if wearing a certain exotic helmet, and doesn’t regenerate health and armor after every kill. The other subclass for the Hunter (apart from Nightstalker) plays similarly, but in order to get kills you actually have to get up close and personal with it, and that leaves you vulnerable to melee hits and shotguns, whereas the Titan doesn’t have that problem and can easily goombastop an entire team, then kill half of them when they respawn. It’s that powerful. The biggest culprit for Sunbreaker’s amazing survival kit is the increased number of hammers and health regeneration after every kill. So let’s move on to solutions…

My suggestion for fixing ”Sunbro” is to reduce the number of hammers down to four or five, and remove the area of effect damage. If I have to aim my Shadowshot and the Warlock his Nova bomb, I see no reason why the Titan shouldn’t… next up I’ll suggest making the health and armor regeneration proc every two hammer kills, essentially forcing the Sunbro to play a little bit more defensively with his throws. This may seem like a huge nerf, but it actually promotes skill, instead of mindless button mashing, while leaving the Titan reasonably protected, because as of right now, even if you manage to sneak behing a Sunbreaker, he will just turn around and throw a hammer in your face. The issue is not the amount of hammers really. It’s that there’s no effective way to counter the Titan during the period when his super ability is active. That is just my suggestion of course, but I see it as the only viable way to nerf instead of ruin the Sunbreaker… oh and I’d love for Shadowshot to auto-aim… mmmm all the the void arrows I’ll shoot …