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.