Games, Platinum Review

Platinum Review: The Nonary Games

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I’ve been spending a lot of time lately trying to clear up platinum trophies on games I’d already started, and The Nonary Games collection was first on my hit list.

The Nonary Games is a collection of the first two games in the Zero Escape series; 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors (999 hereafter!), and Virtue’s Last Reward (VLR). 999 was originally released in the West on Nintendo DS back in 2010, with VLR following up on PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS in 2012. The remastered collection was released on Windows and PlayStation 4 and Vita in 2017.

I had played both 999 and VLR prior to The Nonary Games coming out, getting the platinum in VLR at the time. Judging by my 999 playthrough and how little I remembered, I think I only played one route at the time as I felt like I had forgotten almost all of the game, and my memory can’t be that bad, right? I often joke, “I wish I could wipe my memory so I could experience x for the first time again”, and this is probably the closest I’ll ever come to that!

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For reference to anyone who might want to attempt The Nonary Games platinum, it is given as a 2/10 for difficulty with 20+ hours as a guide time on Playstationtrophies.org.

I would tend to agree on the difficulty rating, but the time estimate purely depends on how good you are at puzzles, though solutions are easily found on the internet. It’s worth noting that sometimes though you might think you have solved a puzzle or have figured out the solution, you have to solve it the way the game want you to, but this is often the case with puzzle games.

999 and VLR both have really great (if somewhat confusing) stories. 999 is slightly more tricky to get the different routes on as there’s no visual map of what you’re doing, so you might need to look for a guide for that if you’re set on getting the platinum in the quickest time possible. Over on VLR’s side, the game features a handy flow chart so you can track back to route branches and fill out the whole map. It does get a little confusing as you have to hop around each branch to unlock certain bits of story to progress further on different branches, but that’ll all make sense when you play it!

Whilst The Nonary Games is a fairly straightforward and quick platinum, it’s really rewarding. As I’ve said, the story is incredible, and the series features some really wonderfully written characters. Once you’ve tackled The Nonary Games, you can move onto the sequel, Zero Time Dilemma, which is equally as great.

Games, Platinum Review

Platinum Review: The Sims 4

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It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these, but rest assured, I’m still getting platinum trophies. This year my challenge is to get 20 platinum trophies, and I’ll be honest, things are not going brilliantly, but I’m trying to turn things around!

Early on, I decided I would mop up some platinums for games I’d started, and I had an urge to play The Sims, so I opted for The Sims 4 for my first platinum of the year.

Playstationtrophies.org lists The Sims 4 as a 3/10 difficulty rating, and 26-30+ hours. I have to say, whilst not difficult it did take me a lot longer than the estimated time.

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No trophy is especially difficult, but the fact that so many of the trophies are for getting to the top of each career path and maxing out each skill means they are fairly time-consuming. There are a lot of tips in the forums on Playstationtrophies.org, and these will direct you to some custom content you can download to make things easier; a Sim who is pregnant with triplets being the hardest to come across in the game naturally, but with the custom content, you have a pregnant Sim who you just need to move onto a lot and wait. Simple!

Towards the end of the slog for the platinum, I sort of lost any love I had for the game. I’ve always been someone who loved The Sims, but somewhere along the line grinding for this one (and it did feel like a grind), any enjoyment I had for the game just left me.

I’m glad to have done it, but I don’t think I’ll ever play The Sims in any iteration again.

Games

Release day quandry

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Alongside my PlayStation and television there is an ever-growing pile of games I refer to as my “to-complete pile.” Each time a new title is released, the pile grows and I feel a little worse about myself.

As pictured below, the games that I’m so heavily avoiding are some of the best games to be released lately, and LEGO Marvel (which I’ve since obtained the platinum in).

Currently, my pile sits in the order I want to complete the games in; of how annoyed I’ll be if the plots I’ve so carefully been avoiding are suddenly spoiled for me. Not playing these games is exhausting. Constantly on the alert for spoilers from podcasts, articles and loose-lipped friends, these are games I am going to go back to, games that I loved playing. That I will love playing again.

“I’m not going to buy any more games until I’ve finished the ones I’ve got” has become a catchphrase of mine, but as release day for a new game rolls around, I get caught up in the hype and want to be instantly involved. I don’t want to work through the pile just to get the new game, I want it now.

I’ve recently managed to restrain myself from buying both Thief and South Park: Stick of Truth on their own release days, and have made an internal promise that I’ll be caught up with my gaming pile by the time Watch Dogs rolls around.

Using new releases as an incentive brings about it’s own issues. If I really do want to make it through these games before I buy anything new, I have to add new titles to my ever-increasing list of spoiler-blocking.

With game developers bringing out so many worthy games in recent months, the urge to buy new games gets stronger and stronger. With each new release that I deprive myself of, I feel like I’m learning a valuable lesson about the perils of spreading myself too thinly across too many games.

Games, Platinum Review

Platinum Review: The Smurfs 2

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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.

Games, Platinum Review

Platinum review: LEGO Legends of Chima

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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.