Video Games

Platinum Trophy no. 16 – Horizon Zero Dawn

After 104 hours of play, I have finally finished Horizon Zero Dawn and earned the Platinum Trophy. A full review will be forthcoming, but needless to say, I think it’s a magnificent game.

As Platinum Trophies go, this was one of the easiest. Even though I have the strategy guide (and the internet), I played the game completely blind on the highest difficulty. I didn’t look up anything about the story, strategies, or trophies. After the credits rolled, the only trophy I had left to get was the one for knocking down all of the Grazer dummies. Piece. Of. Cake.

If I were to give a very general assessment of the game, I’d say the technical implementation is near flawless. HZD is smooth, beautiful, and well thought out in every way, from the menus, map, and HUD to graphics and gameplay. The main story and main characters are very good. The place where it has the most room for improvement is in its extended cast of characters, their interactions with one another, and side quests. At no point did I feel much of anything towards any of the other inhabitants of Aloy’s world.

I take that back. I fucking hated Ahsis with a passion.

Video Games

Bloodborne game review

I finally earned the the Platinum Trophy for Bloodborne. It took me 144 hours and I ended up at level 198. I think it’s the hardest Platinum I’ve earned to date. It didn’t take the longest, and it wasn’t the most complex or grindiest. But in terms of gameplay difficulty, man, the path to the last trophy is beyond merciless. Thank you FromSoftware. Thank you for doing what most companies are unwilling to do; thank you for pushing your players to their limits.

Bloodborne is very much a Souls game, but it’s presented in a much more refined and focused package. It’s more holistic is the best way I can describe it. The lore, aesthetic, and gameplay mechanics all complement each other wonderfully. It’s Victorian England meets H.P. Lovecraft, with a sprinkle of steampunk.

This consistency of style is one of the things that sets it apart from the more sprawling and diverse Souls games. Another major difference is the lack of shields and encumbrance, which promotes a much faster and more aggressive style of gameplay. There is no turtling behind a heavy shield and steel plate. You dodge your enemies’ attacks, you stagger them with your firearm, or you die. It’s beautiful, and I’ll try to take what I learned and apply it to Dark Souls 3 when I ever get around to playing it.

Every weapon and every piece of armor in Bloodborne is stylish and usable. Each weapon also has a unique and extensive moveset. There may not be a ton of weapons to choose from, but each has a distinct personality and will serve well any hunter who decides to master its intricacies. The same cannot be said for Souls games, which have more equipment to choose from, but less equipment you’d want to choose.

The gameplay is very solid. A few of the larger bosses have issues with the camera clipping into their bodies, but in general, playing the game is a very satisfying experience. The controls feel tight and responsive; framerates are steady; and I found hit registration to be very consistent. Graphically the game is amazing, and it’s complimented by an excellent, though understated soundtrack.

The story, as with Souls games, lacks a traditional narrative arc and is more about uncovering the lore. In that regard, I found Bloodborne slightly less cryptic and more enjoyable than other FromSoftware titles. There are several NPCs you meet along the way who breathe some life into the world and provide a sense of consequence for your actions. The voice acting and writing are by no means stellar, but certainly more than adequate.

If there is one thing Souls games are known for, it is the challenge, and Bloodborne does not disappoint. During the main campaign you will be tested, but rarely, if ever, stymied for a prolonged period. Should you want an extra challenge however, the Chalice Dungeons await. There is a predefined path through the Chalice Dungeons that leads to Yharnam, The Pthumerian Queen—final, final, final boss of Bloodborne. You will encounter challenges along this path that far exceed anything in the game proper. In addition to this predefined path, you can use Root chalices to create procedurally generated, unique dungeons to explore. The harder the dungeon, the better will be the loot—just as the gods of old decreed.

If you like Souls games, you will like Bloodborne; of that, I have little doubt. It doesn’t have quite the variety or grandeur, but it offers a different playstyle in a setting that is a fully realized stylistic masterpiece.

Video Games

Bloodborne: Minimalist spoiler-free trophy guide

Sometimes when I start playing a game, I know right away that it’s trophy worthy—the video game equivalent of sponge worthy for those of us who remember Seinfeld. In such cases, I invariably end up on www.playstationtrophies.org. That site has been a huge help over the years, but it’s both a blessing and a curse. Spoilers abound, and in general, I prefer to explore and discover things for myself. All I really want to know is how not to completely fuck things up. So here’s my first attempt at a minimalist trophy guide. Continue reading

Video Games

Battlefield 1 Platinum Trophy

JsinOwl - Battlefield 1 Platinum TrophyDespite having no intentions of doing so, I got the Platinum Trophy for Battlefield 1. If you look at my ranked list of games, you won’t see any Plats in the bottom third or so. I don’t hunt trophies for the sake of hunting trophies; I hunt them to extend the playtime of games I enjoy, and the BF1 campaign is not a game I particularly enjoyed. So what gives?

On the multiplayer side, I decided to start completing the codex. Being the way I am, once I set a goal, anything less than total achievement is going to be unsatisfactory. That meant finishing the campaign codex entries as well, and so i did. It wasn’t necessary to do it on Hard difficulty, but by doing so, I basically earned the Platinum Trophy along with completing the codex entries.

As Platinums go, it’s quite easy. The hardest bit by far was destroying 10 aircraft in 30 seconds using the stationary weapon in Forte et Fidele (Friends in High Places). That’s for the Airborne Cannons challenge. Holy Shit. What a cunt that was. (I’ll make a separate post with some specific advice.) Beyond that though, nothing else was terribly difficult.

My opinion of the campaign is basically unchanged, but if you enjoy a good challenge, then definitely play on Hard difficulty while trying to fulfill as many of the codex requirements as you can. Instead of mindlessly shooting your way from point A to B, you’ll be forced to take a more deliberate and tactical approach, which is a good thing in my view—ymmv.

For finding all the Field Manuals, I recommend IGN’s guide. I found the text descriptions a lot better than some of the other guides floating around. They also have a guide for codex entries. Most are pretty self-explanatory, but one in particular you’ll want help with is German Anti-Tank Tactics: destroy  all field gun emplacements. There are 36 in total, and the last thing you want is to get all the way to the end only to find out you missed one. I recommend using the following video, pausing it as necessary, and making sure that your count of guns destroyed matches the gun count in the video.