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.
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.
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!
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.
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.