Platinum Review: Nubla

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and as I faced ending the first half of the year with no platinum trophies I found myself on a forum for “Games with easy platinums” on PSN Profiles. Imagine my delight when I see a game that is hailed as being the easiest platinum trophy ever. I quickly corroborated the fact on PlayStation Trophies, and lo and behold it’s true. The rating on the game’s page was down as 2/10 and estimated time of 0.5-2hrs.

A quick check of the PlayStation Store, and I saw the game was £7.99. Too good an opportunity to pass up.

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So, what is the game? It’s called Nubla, and as a loose plot description it’s about an art gallery that has lost the pictures in its paintings. You control a character and essentially solve puzzles to restore the paintings. For a game that centres around art as you’d expect, the art style is really impressive. It’s unique and charming, and makes the whole game feel like a really special experience.

You get (gold!) trophies for completing each of the games chapters and for collecting each “Dream Memento”, with the platinum popping at the end of the credits.

The collectables are sometimes difficult to spot, and a few are only visible after you trigger a certain art of the environment. There’s no chapter select, so these trophies are missable, but luckily there are some really comprehensive walkthroughs on PlayStation Trophies.

It took me almost an hour to get the platinum trophy for Nubla (around 50 minutes in actual fact), and I used a collectible guide. I’d personally estimate the difficulty at 1/10. The game isn’t diffcult in any way. There are some frustrating moments with the game mechanics, but they don’t affect the playthrough in anyway – you can’t die in the game, there are no platforming moments.

For those interested, there’s also World of Nubla. It’s exactly the same game, but a different trophy list, and comes in at £11.99 on the PlayStation Store.

Platinum Review: Life Is Strange

Episodic games are like the Holy Grail of easy platinum trophies, and for that reason, I will almost always play one. This is working out pretty well for me so far, as I’ve loved each and every episodic game I’ve played.

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Life Is Strange is the first episodic game I’ve played that hasn’t been made by Telltale Games, but I didn’t enjoy it any less than any of their offerings. Though I didn’t feel the same emotional attachment to some characters in other episodic games I’ve played (“Lee?”, crying face), Life Is Strange does throw up some very real emotions and poses some very big questions on how individuals treat each other which is bound to resonate with players.

For those that don’t know, Life Is Strange is about Max Caulfield, a girl attending the prestigious Blackwell Academy. She seems to be some sort of photography prodigy, and her USP is that she uses a Polaroid camera. The game doesn’t take itself too seriously here, and makes lots of jokes about what a hipster Max is, but at the same time the majority of the plot centres around very mature and dark themes, so the frivolity and seriousness balance each other out. Early on, Max witnesses someone being shot and discovers she has the ability to rewind time to prevent it from happening. Over the course of the five episodes, Max will have to use her rewind power to help her friends and to solve the mystery of a missing Blackwell student, as well as trying to prevent a huge natural disaster hitting Arcadia Bay.

So, the platinum. You’ll be awarded a trophy for playing each episode, and one for completing the game. The rest of the trophies come from taking in-game photos of specific objects. There’s an in-game photo album with silhouettes of what you’re looking for, but if you’re dumb like me and can’t figure it out, there are some pretty comprehensive guides online. I would suggest using a guide as an accompaniment anyway as a few of the photos are only available to take once you have used Max’s rewind ability in a certain way which aren’t always obvious from the outset. Taking the photos should in no way detract from your enjoyment of the game, as it’s not too much of a detour to obtain each one – we’re talking mere seconds out of the story for each, and mostly en route to the next point of the story.

Playstation Trophies lists Life Is Strange as being a 1/10 on the difficulty rating and estimates that it will take 10-20 hours. I’d agree with these summations – with a guide, playing through in one go. I played each episode in individual sittings, which makes it seem a longer process somehow, but no more difficult.

Platinum Review: The Testament of Sherlock Holmes

Point-and-click games are the holy grail of platinum trophies. Posing no real threat, there are no difficult platforming levels, and often no collectibles to concern yourself with. The Testament of Sherlock Holmes is really no different to the Back to The Future game in this respect, with it’s most difficult moments lying in puzzles.

As the name suggests, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes is based on a Sherlock Holmes adventure. The whole game is one story with smaller mysteries building up to a much larger case, though all are linked and as you solve the mysteries the pieces of the larger puzzle will begin to fit together.

The positives of The Testament of Sherlock Holmes are far outnumbered by the negatives. To try and remain on a positive note for a while longer, the puzzles are challenging without being infuriating, and there are comprehensive guides available online. Though the backgrounds and scenes seem authentic to the Victorian England setting of the game, a below average level of graphics means you’ll never get to enjoy it. The game also suffers from some truly awful voice acting, with the actors playing the children some of the worst I’ve ever heard.

Throughout the course of the game you will control Sherlock Holmes, John Watson and Toby, Holmes’ dog. Each character feels more difficult to control than the last, and at times it feels impossible to get the characters to even look in the direction you want them to. Luckily, the bulk of the game centres around solving puzzles, but the searching for clues often feels very labourious due to the sub-par controls.

Players must be aware that there are a number of missable trophies for this game – six in total. With no chapter select available (the game makes you save your progress manually, I would advise creating multiple save files as a precaution), if you miss one trophy then you’ll have to play right through from the beginning.

Playstation Trophies list the game as a 2/10 difficulty and estimate the game with take around 10 hours to complete. Though I’d agree on difficulty, I’d add that with a guide you can probably complete the game in around 8 hours. Be warned, if you aim to get the platinum on this game, you’ll spend a lot of your time feeling very frustrated!

Platinum Review: The Smurfs 2

Sometimes, I sit down and think, “Time to get serious with this gaming. Time to play GTA V.” Sometimes I’ll think, “Oh sweet! A new LEGO game! I love LEGO games!” And just sometimes the little voice in the back of my head will say, “This LEGO game sure is taking a long time. I want a platinum trophy NOW.” As I sat down to play The Smurfs 2, it’s pretty clear which thought was running through my head.

To add context into my shame, the LEGO Marvel map is huge, and a real effort to do all of the side-quests and is just taking too long for my platinum craving. I am also playing Sound Shapes on PS3, PS4 and Vita, but I need something to break up the mind-altering frustration caused by Death Mode. The lure of the triple platinum is just too much for me to ignore completely.

I’d like to be able to talk about the plot of The Smurfs 2, but the cutscenes are skipable for the most part and I only really took in the non-skippable ones. As a very brief synopsis, Smurfette is kidnapped by Gargamel and the rest of the Smurfs have to save her. I’m sure there’s more too it than that, but I’ve never been a fan of The Smurfs, and frankly, don’t care about the danger they are in now.

Gameplay is divided up into five levels and a boss in six different worlds, with each level taking less than five minutes to complete. No exaggeration. Levels are linear, with no opportunity to stray from the path. In order to complete your first playthrough as quickly as possible, you should look to do a speed-run and play as Clumsy who can tumble forwards, much more quickly than the other Smurfs. Don’t worry about collectables as you’ll be playing through again once you’ve unlocked Smurfs with different abilities anyway.

As far as games go, The Smurfs 2, is probably about as easy as they come. The Playstation Trophies website lists the game as being 1.5 out of 10 difficulty, with a platinum obtainable within 5 to 8 hours, I would agree with this and perhaps go so far as to suggest the game is even easier. There are no troubling trophies, and the only thing that will take some time is collecting the 100 Smurf coins, which can be done without a guide though there is a comprehensive one online.

Platinum review: LEGO Legends of Chima

The 39th platinum to pop onto my screen was LEGO Legends of Chima: Laval’s Journey. A PS Vita game, LEGO Chima is one of the only original Lego IP’s. Never one to pass up a LEGO game, and an easy platinum to boot, I snapped up a preowned copy of the game for £15 at MCM Expo.

The storyline of the game centres around the antagonists’ quest for the triple Chi. The Chi is an ability characters can obtain in order to provide them with heightened strength. The main character, Laval, is told that to let any one animal possess the power of the triple Chi will be catastrophic. The plot is easy to follow, and perhaps a little contrived; principle members of each tribe are introduced rapidly (every two levels) and you never seem to get a sense of why things matter to each tribe. The player is introduced to these characters through a series of frustratingly long and unskippable cut-scenes, which insist on playing even on the second playthrough of the game.

When playing the game I tried to bear in mind that the game is principally for children, and a complex plot isn’t going to appeal. While I want to love all LEGO games I had to concede that the games all have the same target audience and while the majority of them manage to have widespread appeal amongst children and adults, it appears that LEGO Chima has missed the mark.

The game mechanics are identical to previous LEGO Vita games, only differing slightly from the non-handheld variants of LEGO games. The map seemed at times to be too big, and with different areas branching off the main areas, it was often very frustrating trying to figure out where to go next. I had some issues with the camera, which you are able to control using the right analogue stick. Often the camera wouldn’t go in the direction that I wanted it go, causing my view to be obscured and making me take multiple attempts at part of the game.

The platinum itself is easily obtainable; PS3 Trophies rates it as a 2/10 difficulty, and estimates that it will to 10-12 hours before the platinum pops. Through my personal experience, I agree with the difficulty rating, but it took me closer to 15 hours.

Platinum series: The “worth it” games

October 11th 2013. The date my 38th platinum trophy pinged onto my screen. The game was New Little King’s Story on PlayStation Vita. The game, though time-consuming, was by no means difficult. Users of trophy hunters haven PS3 Trophies have rated the game a 3.14 in platinum difficulty.

Though the low rating is pretty much in line with my own personal rating, due to the length of time and the effort that went into obtaining the platinum (9 different endings, seriously?!), the game is definitely one I’m proud to have the platinum on.

Glancing over my platinum trophy list, there are a few on there that I can’t say stretched my abilities too much, but I’m proud of and pleased to have on my list. In this article, I’ll give you pointers on which games to look at that’ll help boost your platinum ego.

1. The Walking Dead

If you haven’t playing Telltale’s offering to The Walking Dead universe, then you are sorely missing out. I’ve already written a review waxing lyrical about how much I love the series, but it has the added benefit of being an easy platinum trophy. The game rewards you heavily for simply playing; there are no choice based trophies, and all trophies are obtained throughout the course of the game. Simply play the game to the end and you will be granted the platinum trophy, and can rest assured that you’ve played one of the best games ever to be created.

2. Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom

Majin wasn’t a game I was familiar with until I saw it featured on a list of easily obtained platinum trophies. The premise of the game is essentially that a young boy sets out to free the world of the darkness that is taking it over, and in his quest is joined by a strange monster, Majin. Though the end of the game required quite a lot of grinding to level up, and to make sure I’d used each type of attack enough, nothing stands out as having stood in the way of the platinum. Majin was a fairly enjoyable action adventure game, with an engaging storyline, and worth a play.

3. L.A. Noire

First off, L.A. Noire is a simply breathtaking game, one of my favourites of the last generation of consoles, if not of all time. The fact that the platinum trophy is also fairly straight forward also adds to the allure of the game.

4. Any game from the LEGO series

The LEGO series of games are dangerously addictive, and easy platinum trophies to boot. The only danger with the games is that they are somewhat prone to glitches, so always worth treading with caution. I personally had to play LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 twice due to a glitch, but due to the fun nature of the games and the sheer replayability factor, what could have been a laborious task was actually still fun. The more recent LEGO games also have the bonus of having separate trophy lists for PS3 and PS Vita.

5. Heavy Rain

Another brilliant game which essentially allows you to get trophies as you play. A walkthrough may be needed as you replay to mop up trophies based on certain decisions, but there are plenty out there. Again, there aren’t really any difficulty based trophies to worry about, so you’ll be rewarded for completing the game (albeit several times).

Platinum series: Where to start

Write about what you know, they always say. Well, what I know is trophy whoring, and you know what? I don’t even care. I’m here to share my wisdom, so that we all might learn and help grow our trophy scores. This series of articles features top tips for choosing your game, a suggestion of selection of games to get you started on your platinum journey, and games to definitely avoid if your goal is 100% completion.

So, to get us started, this week are my top tips for trophy hunting.

1. Do your research

I cannot emphasise this step enough. You wouldn’t believe the amount of games I’ve nearly played, thinking they’ll be a walk in the park, an easy platinum (or an “EP” as we in the trophy trade call them), only to find out it’ll take 40 hours, and I’ll probably never get the platinum due to a potential glitch. This stage is where PS3 Trophies is your friend. Search any game on the website, and you’ll find a guide created by a fellow hunter detailing the best route to the platinum, along with a difficulty rating that has been voted on by those who have played and an estimated time of completion. Whilst perusing the website, it is key to search the forums. Many a time I have come across something which I think looks doable, only to find out that many other gamers have struggled through parts of the game.

2. Source your games

LoveFilm was a real friend of mine in my heaviest stage of platinum farming. After searching a number of lists for the easiest and quickest platinums, I had a shortlist of games to attempt. I selected a LoveFilm package which allowed me to get a game and a film at a time, and added the whole host of games to my rental list. The key to getting my money’s worth was to make sure there was a quick turnaround of games, this also benefitted my platinum cause greatly. Unfortunately LoveFilm has decided from August it will no longer offer a games rental service. Quick research shows Blockbuster are still offering game rentals on a similar package (£9.99 for unlimited rentals, two discs at a time) – their website even declares “We Still Rent Games!“ If this Blockbuster service isn’t an option, you can always try buying secondhand through Amazon or eBay, then sell the game on once completed, though you may lose money through this route.

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3. Plan your route

Before you start the game, unless you mind playing a clean-up game, it is a good idea to read a roadmap of the best way to proceed. The roadmaps on PS3 Trophies are designed to guide you through the quickest route to the platinum trophy, along with guides for collectables and any pointers for missable trophies. Search forums of games on the website to see if there are any glitches which can be used to your advantage, as they are possible.

4. Enjoy the game

Or try to, at least. I find that if I know I’m going to get a platinum, it makes playing a game I wouldn’t ordinarily play a little better. There’s nothing worse than forcing yourself to traipse through a game you really hate, so make sure you think you’ll be able to put up with whatever you play before you start. Nobody likes 2% trophy lists.