Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dull Stat Attack - the Revenge!


Assassins Creed: BH – 35/1000
Battlefield 2: MC - 315/1000
Beatles Rock Band – 130/1000
Beautiful Katamari - 1050/1250
Bladestorm - 150/1000
Call of Duty: WaW - 1000/1500
C&C Kane’s Wrath - 130/1000
Dante's Inferno - 1220/1290
Dragon Age – 1550/1750
Fairytale Fights - 165/1000
Fallout New Vegas - 155/1000
Final Fantasy XIII - 230/1000
Front Mission Evolved – 710/1000
Gears of War 2 - 1410/1750
GRAW - 752/1000
GRAW 2 - 1000/1250
Guitar Hero 2 - 320/1000
Halo ODST – 25/1000
Halo: Reach – 315/1000
Harry Potter: DH Part 1 – 120/1000
Hellboy: SoE - 310/1000
Lego Star Wars TCS - 260/1000
Lost Planet - 350/1000
Naruto UNS 2 – 880/1000
Perfect Dark Zero - 150/1000
Planet 51 – 90/1000
Project Sylpheed - 60/1000
Risen - 70/1000
Spiderman 3 - 10/1000
Splinter Cell: DA - 670/1000
Star Wars: Republic Heroes - 365/1000
Supreme Commander - 110/1000
Table Tennis - 630/1000
The Sims 3 – 10/1000
Tomb Raider: Legend - 1000/1250
Vampire Rain - 650/1000
Virtua Tennis 09 - 545/1000
WSC 2007 - 550/1000
You’re in the Movies - 140/1000

TOTAL - 17632/42040


Boogie Bunnies - 115/200
Eets: Chowdown - 40/200
Geometry Wars - 40/200
Puzzle Quest - 200/250
Scott Pilgrim – 70/200
Texas Hold ‘Em - 105/200
Wallace and Gromit - 100/200
Where's Wally - 40/200

TOTAL - 710/1650

Been a while since I did this and it is probably just as well as things are looking pretty lean at the moment. Things like the Sims, Assassins Creed BH and Halo ODST have been added with only a few points on each - talk about taking a major hit.

I've also got a bunch of games that have some DLC still needing to be completed, which is going to be a total pain in the ass. There are also a whole bunch of games with just a few points unlocked here and there which I really need to get out of the habit or doing.

I think I need to just pick out a list of ten or so games that can be knocked off in short order and then just focus on getting them done. Whether or not I can stick to my guns and get it all done is another matter, as I do tend to get distracted very easily.

Monday, November 29, 2010

What a difference.......

A weekend makes.

After going for nearly two months without a completion (pretty much all of September and October) it looked like my goal of 52 completions over the course of the year was going to be nothing but a pipe dream. However, this last weekend may well have just saved it from total extinction.

I managed to polish off CSI on the Wednesday but it was my few days of rest that sealed the deal. On Friday night I set about grinding out the last few matches I needed to play on HAWX 2, in truth I had no idea how long it would take as I had stupidly forgotten to keep track. Thankfully I only had to go through about eight to ten games (I didn't learn my lesson on the counting thing) before it unlocked - even better news was the fact it was a free Live weekend so I didn't even have to use a 48 card for my backup account. Bonus.

After that, Sam suggested I play something new and fun - but I already had a ton of new and unfinished games clogging up my card so I chose a simple arcade game: Comix Zone. It was fun to play for a while but also kind of annoying in places too, it would certainly have been more trouble without the save feature. As it was, I managed to breeze through for the full 200 in a couple of hours for a nice quick completion.

The next day I set about playing through Ben 10, but halfway through I got a message from Omega Deez to say that he had Monopoly Streets if I wanted to play it. Sounded good to me, so I downed tools and popped that into the drive. A couple of hours of grinding later and I had that game done and dusted, plus Omega had gone from zero points to nearly 600 in the same amount of time with just the simple solo stuff to deal with. A nice little earner all around, ha ha!

I then went back to Ben 10 and managed to finish it off at about 3am. It took a little longer than it should as I managed to miss one of the collectables on the Amazon level. I realised at the time and then went back to get it (unlocking the level specific collectable achievement) but then died and forgot to pick it up again. So when I picked up the final collectable on the last level I missed the achievement for getting them all, which was a bit of a WTF? moment. Meaning I had to play through an entire level again to snag the last item, which just so happened to be right at the bloody end - bah! Still another game down.

Probably my most awesome revelation was the fact that you can apparently complete all of the zombies achievements in COD: Black Ops solo (well split screen with a second controller). It may be a little cheap, but there is a way to hide on the war room table on the map FIVE, meaning you can kill zombies with impunity. I had already snagged the Hands Off the Merchandise achievement legit, so this was a way to get those last three in the bag.

It took some time though as my first game saw me stuck between collecting weapons and trying to get the crossbow/knife needed for the other tasks - resulting in me accomplishing neither and dying hideously. After that I focused on getting the Collector achievement out of the way, which was much easier. I had a bit of cash left so though I may as well gamble on the mystery Box and, wouldn't you know it, I got both of the weapons I needed first time. Unfortunately my route onto the table had been destroyed so I had to risk moving my second pad into the open and then reviving him. This worked a treat, but when I went for the crossbow shot I was mauled to death. Cue another restart and a series of frustrating attempts.

I finally got the crossbow and even made it back to the safe spot - but no matter how many times I stuck my partner and how many zombies I killed, there was nothing doing so I called it a night and played some Firefight on Halo Reach. I gave it one last try this morning and finally got it (pro tip: shoot your partner BEFORE he gets downed, I think that might be the kicker). That gave me my fifth completion in just a few days and has me sitting at 46 for the year now (including all of Family Game Night as one title).

However, I have pretty much exhausted all of my 'nearly' complete games, with only Naruto being close to completion at the moment. Once I rent that bad boy then I should have completion 47 so I just need five more in about a month to hit my target. A couple of arcade games could be easily done in a day but I'd like there to be some retail stuff on there too so we shall see what I can plan out.

Talking of Halo Reach - I managed to get 7,000 points from the Slot Machine after one match. Anyone else been so lucky? The most I've had before is a hundred or so, so it came as a bit of a shock to rake in over 8k for one ten minute match. Not that I'm complaining as I'm closing in on my Captain rank which is nice considering I haven't boosted the game at all or even played the campaign. I had a couple of awesome team games last Thursday too, going 15-1 in one match, and 33-8 in another (with 21 Sniper headshot kills). I normally do alright but not amazing, so both of those came as abit of a shock.

Well I still have plenty of games to get back to, so I had better get cracking.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Chipping away

Well I forgot to mention that I finally finished off Madden 11 a week or so ago, which was a blessed relief as I started it ages ago but then got bogged down with the ludicrous Madden Moments and then had other stuff to review.

Once I'd cleared the decks a bit after my honeymoon I figured Madden should be my next logical completion really, so I buckled down and got it done. Now I really do think that the IDEA behind the Moments is a good one - as you replay key moments from games in the previous season and either make sure they are successful or turn them on their head. So far so good.

My issues is the fact that some of them are based purely on luck rather than skill. Returning a kick for a touchdown, recovering an onside kick off to score and stopping the offence when they are at first and goal. Seriously? Can you honestly say that these would be attainable every time? Of course not, so that means you have to just keep on replaying the same moment over and over again. Which is more annoying when there is no Restart button unless the time runs out. Nice. The only other option is to spend ages Editing your opposition until they are utter garbage but I tried to avoid that unless in extreme cases, as it was the most boring task known to man.

Thankfully I persevered and got yet another completion under my belt. Meaning there is only Madden 10 missing from my tag now - mainly thanks to the tacked on DLC that they added. For shame EA, for shame.

I also blitzed through Star Wars Force Unleashed 2 which was major disappointment. How a game can get released with just three unique levels is a travesty and paying full whack for a game you can complete in three hours is absolutely shocking. This was yet another review but I had to part with my hard earned cash to get a copy, so that made it sting all the more I can tell you. The game is just far too linear and easy to boot as, while it is fun to toss foes around like ragdolls, when they are presenting you with no challenge at all then what exactly is the point? I never thought that wielding the force would be so dull and it is kind of sad to play the game and be so disappointed.

On the plus side this is a pretty straight forward completion with the only exception being some of the annoying challenegs that you need to get Gold medals on. Prepare to be annoyed. A lot. As in pulling out your hair, screaming at the neighbours and destroying your marital home style annoyed. Well, that may be a slight exaggeration but you get the point.

After all that fun I had to bring myself down with something pretty damn terrible. Step forward CSI. A game I managed to polish off this week as well, and that was a lot less hassle. The game is just as god awful as all of the other titles in the series but at least it was amazingly easy. I managed to finish off the game and my review in double quick time, so feel free to read all about the glory (or should that be horror?).

AFter all of that hard work, what better way to muck things up than to chuck a fresh new game onto my tag. I really am a glutton for punishment it seems, as this time it is the new Ben 10 game which is pretty drab if I'm being polite. Hopefully it will not take too long though and then I can move onto Harry Potter.......sigh.

Come december the stream of new games will be down to a trickle and I'll be able to pick and choose what I play. Hopefully. If not I could end up going slowly insane while playing Hyper Child Generic Shooter Investigate 10, or something similar.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Things to do

I seem to be struggling to find any free time at the moment, which is probably understandable with Xmas fast approaching. Still the top of my gamertag is littered with games with less than 100 points and a few others that are just shy of full completion. I don't think it has ever been in quite such a mess before, and yet I do not seem to be too overly concerned at the moment.

Part of this may be some kind of new found maturity after getting married - though I doubt that. I suspect, mainly, my reason for not caring is simply because I now have the attitude of "I know I can do it some day" for most of the games.

I would deeply like to finish off COD: Black Ops, as there are only three achievements left all of which are tied to zombie mode. I have tried to round up a posse of folks to help out but all of my online chums have either done the achievements already or are not really interested. Gutted. No doubt there will be DLC in teh future but I just want to get the original 1k done with and then trade in the game if possible.

I also have HAWX 2 on the verge (need 100 online games played), Monopoly Streets just needing online achievements (should take less than an hour when Omega gets his copy) and CSI Fatal Conspiracy nearly over the finish line. I'm also waiting on a rental copy of Naruto so I can finish up the online achievements and then be done with that too. Woo hoo!

After that things get a whole lot more complicated. I need to do ALL of the campaign achievements in Halo Reach and ODST, plus the higher ranked online stuff. I have 10 measly points in the Sims 3 which my wife now refuses to play (I bought it as a gift for her) after I tried to ask her about it and she said I was harassing her. Plus, I started the new Assassin's Creed so I could enter the X360A competition and have less than 50 points all told. Throw in Front Mission (need to do online stuff, lots of it) and Fallout New Vegas (30 hours in for 155 points, ugh), not to mention that I have some DLC to finish up on both Dantes Inferno and Dragon Age, plus all the Horde DLC in Gears 2. All in all it adds up to a shitload of games to play and no time to do it.

Did I mention that I still need to play and review the new Harry Potter, History Channel Medieval Battles and Ben 10? None of which are exactly inspiring me.

Oh yeah, and the little matter of trying to complete 52 games by the end of the year. I'm currently at about forty.....

I think my first priority is going to be all those nearly finished games, just to clear the decks, then I'll focus on big titles like Reach and COD. As getting those out of the way would be a treat. Next up will be DLC stuff just to round my completions off and polish off some bigger titles like Dragon Age and Gears 2.

I try not to plan too far in advance as reviews tend to take priority, plus I tend to only game when I have the time and the wife is occupied with something else - which is not as often as it used to be.

Right about now I really need a week off, with no distractions, just to game. Last time I did that I managed to polish off five games in varying states of completion and that would be just the ticket right about now.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Time flies

I would love to say when I'm having fun, but frankly it was more about being busy than anything else.

Since coming back from my holiday it has been all work, work, work with very little time to settle down and just relax. Even when I do have some time it has been pretty much taken up with reviews and generally doing stuff around the house, not to mention going out and about for parties, meals and the cinema.

In fact this coming week will be the first one since we got back that I don't have at least two nights out planned in one form or another. In fact it will be nice to just do whatever I want to each night and put my feet up for once. Well kind of......

I still have reviews for some of the years most anticipated, or should that be questionable, titles. My work load includes the new Dragonball Z, CSI, Medieval Battles, Ben 10 and Monopoly Streets. Surely a line up to cause envy in all of my friends, but frankly there may be the odd surprise along the way. Plus, after getting the chance to review Fallout, Naruto and Call of Duty then I don't mind doing some of the regular stuff.

Though I also had to review Saw 2........hmmmm. I suppose on the plus side I'll be able to boost up my gamerscore a little bit so that will be something. I had hoped to hit 52 completed games by the end of the year (a nice round one completion a week) but things are looking a touch dicey on that front. I'm up to 39 at the moment so I'll need another 13 by the end of the year, Naruto should be one of them and hopefully I can add a bunch of the easier stuff to that list too.

Frankly, with reviews coming thick and fast I've had very little time for snagging points from any games that I'm not actually writing about. Still as things inevitably slow down heading into Xmas I'm sure to be able to find some free time to finish up a few things here and there. Hopefully.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Achievement haters, stats and having a life.

Recently a good friend of mine, Cru, managed to hit 200k in gamerscore. Obviously, she is not the first person to have done so nor will she be the last but what is notable is the fact Kotaku based an article around her endeavours in gamerscore.

The first article was, in my opinion, fairly harsh in its assessment of achievement hunting in general even questioning whether of not it was having a negative impact on other aspects of her life. Naturally the anonymous masses of the internet took this one step further and started with the hate, insults and even ridiculous youtube videos. Considering the fact most of the people who would have read that article would be gamers too - can they really justify such a reaction? Sure you may give up some of your social life to game, but saying that you are a bad wife or a bad mum? That crosses the line.

Obviously everyone is entitled to their own opinions but when they stray into insults and vulgarity then do they even have a valid point to make? It seems like they are just hiding their own issues and jealousy behind the safe anonymity of the internet. Seriously. If someone wants to spend their spare time earning achievements then what harm is it doing? Real life always comes first for even the most dedicated gamer and a lot of the haters out there seem to forget that.

The original article was a fair while ago now, but after Cru hit 200k there was a follow up piece to see if she was done for good. Cru is a gamer through and through, so she will no doubt keep picking up points here and there, but anyone who follows her on Live or Twitter will know that she plays a lot more casual games of COD with friends than crap for points. Plus, her twitter feed is full of social activities that I can only dream of. So it is safe to say that she is happy with her level of gaming. Sadly though there was still the same level of negativity even when she said she would only play for fun - what is the dillio?

A lot of the negative input is simply down to ignorance. People see a gamerscore of over 100k and generally assume, wrongly, that such a person must game all day every day and has no life. Same happened with Cru, they saw her score and thought that it MUST mean she never had time for anything else which couldn't be more wrong.

Let me break it down in words that even the biggest haters can understand:

The Xbox 360 was launched in November/December 2005 - so has been around for five long years. So 200k over that amount of time is only 40k a year, sounds a lot but let me go further.

There are currently 763 (roughly) retail games available across all regions, some of which also have DLC worth up to an extra 750 points. Add in about 344 Arcade titles worth 200 points each, some with DLC too, and you have a big old pot. So you are looking at 831,800 points to go at - which does not include multiple versions of the same game, PC games, DLC or anything else. With all that on top then the figure is probably approaching 1 million.

Some retail games (eg Bioshock, Fallout 3, Batman AA) can be played more than once on the same gamertag to gain more points. This is due to either GOTY editions or region specific versions, which have exactly the same achievements but class as a different game in terms of xbox.com and your profile.

There are over 100 games that can be completed in less then ten hours (assuming you get the full 1k, if you settled for 500-700 points you could halve this time). In fact there are games on this list that can be finished in as little to three minutes to an hour for a full one thousand points. See here: http://tinyurl.com/ltp2c3

There are also close to 200 games that can be easily done in between 10-25 hours (some dependant on skill and online play) and again that is assuming you are going for ALL one thousand points.

There are also, obviously, dedicated websites, guides, and players should you so wish - which all helps cut down the time it takes to complete titles.

Assuming you played all of the easy games (and I'll use the max time of ten hours for arguments sake) then you could get 100k in 1,000 hours of gaming. Which is 41.66 days of work. So that is 8.3 days a year over the five years since launch. So that is 200 hours of gaming a year and that, in turn, works out to about 35 minutes of gaming a day (or just over 4 hours a week).

THIRTY FIVE MINUTES A DAY!!! Oh my God, this monster has no time for friends/family/Jesus etc. In case you were wondering - that was sarcasm.

So that is just how easy it would be to get 100k. But what about 200k. Again we will assume you did all of the above and then a bunch of 15 hour games (50 of those) and 25 hour games (another 50). So that is roughly 3000 hours of gaming, over five years would be 600 hours a year, which is roughly one hour and forty minutes a day. Or about 11 and a half hours a week if you like.

Still hardly excessive. Especially if you were a stay at home mother whose kid was at school. Same would apply to students, unemployed gamers or even billionaires (would they so wish).

You could argue that players will also play harder games, some games would take longer than I stated etc. But on the flip side you could get 10k in less than a day too, I didn't include arcade games which can be amazingly quick to complete, and DLC can also be chalked off in short order. Not to mention that even the hardest games (which never factored into the lists) can give up an easy 500 points most of the time. So if anything I think the times stated are rather overstating things.

Obviously the regular gamer does not see this, or even care, they play games how they want to and anyone with such a high score is treated like some kind of pariah that spends all of their time glued to the console. How many 'regular' gamers spend over 11 hours a week on COD, the Wii or a PS3? Probably a lot, but because some people choose to use that same amount of time chasing achievements somehow makes them different when, in fact, it doesn't. We all choose to play games how we want to so why not just leave it at that. Some people play a game once and then never return to it whereas others have completed Mass Effect 2 over 23 times - why? Because they enjoy it.

At the end of the day people can do what they like with their own consoles, so why should the world at large see fit to judge them just because they feel a sense of superiority? Let people play how they want to play, as I'm pretty sure no one with a high achievement score has ever gone on a hate campaign against those with lesser scores.

Sure I may be slightly biased, as I'm sure that will be the first accusation for anyone looking at my score, but in my five years of 360 ownership I've also permanently had a full time job, met and married my wife, got a new house, had amazing trips to Cologne, Prague, Rome, Tokyo, L.A and Hawaii and generally enjoyed myself to the max. I also write reviews for x360a which severely hampers my points pimping - but I wouldn't want it any other way.

So for all those who think gamerpoints = no life, I urge you to think again.