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2020 Lockdown Diaries - Week 3

Week three starts with more Spec Ops: The Line (X360) and my-self imposed target of 700 Gamerscore for a worthy return... should I reach the end of this before the end of next week then I may dip back into what I refer to as "Project" titles.

A "Project" title is one where I know it's going to take a long time to work through it, and where I also lack the patience to stick to it for any long period... I currently have 2 on the go, Rare Replay (X1) and Death Stranding (PS4) which I've dipped in and out of... Death Stranding hasn't been touched for several weeks and Rare Replay has been the game which I've used to collect 3 or 4 quick Achievements for a weekly task.

I note, with only passing interest, that Crysis has been announced for the PS4 and Xbox One as coming soon, a game I already own but not included as part of the backlog at this point.

April 17th: It's games like this one where I really miss the Achievement tracking that the Xbox One offers, so many Achievements in the game are linked to killing enemies with certain weapons or certain ways that I can't keep track, and the in game tracker (while present) isn't a constant... the chapters are (thankfully) short and in a couple of hours I make it to the start of Chapter 9 of 14.

Which is just as well... as my skills are seriously limited and 700 is looking like a bit of a pipe dream at this point, even a generous flick through the Achievement list only gives me an additional 435 which gets me to 680... I'm up for a second play with the game being so short but not much more than that as the whole "war story, cover shooter" isn't one that I'm usually interested in.

So uninterested that I'm finding myself cutting my gaming sessions shorter than normal with the game being my main focus of attention right now, the game has been slapped on Ebay to finish on the 26th along with Vampyr... my copy of Disaster Report 4 was snapped up on a Buy-It-Now price of £32 inside 90 minutes of being listed.

As such I'll give it the weekend, which ought to be enough to finish the story and maybe work at a couple of other missed Achievements that I won't have to work to hard at... this gives me the whole of next week to select and complete something else before I hit 50 years of age and I launch myself into Final Fantasy VII Remake.

April 18th: There is a potential disaster here... but which instead turns out to be just one hell of a ball ache... I've been playing in the downstairs console while the better half is out, but today is Saturday and, after she's been out shopping (sadly alone as I'm not allowed out until late June) though she has no interest in watching me blunder my way through another 2 or 3 levels till I reach the end of the game.

So, at the end of Level 12, I save the game and move to the upstairs console... where my progress for the day hasn't saved... my saved game is there, but Chapter select only allows me to start at Chapter 9 and the Achievements I'd unlocked aren't appearing.

After much panicking, I certainly don't want to replay all the levels I've worked through today as some of them were pretty hectic and (for someone of my ability) difficult... eventually the Achievements appear on my account, but some of my collectible progress is lost... so I have to replay all the levels I've done today.


Off we go again... Levels 9, 10, 10 Part 2, 11 and 12... at least in 11 the chance to pick a different decision to the one I originally made is grabbed, I had done the same at the start of Chapter 9 but the missed Achievement didn't pop... have to replay that one.

I reach the end and, to be fair, the twist is pretty decent but also telegraphed... I replay the final level choosing a different option and take stock... 40 Achievements for 730 points, with an easy 10 on offer if I replay Chapter 10 and the missed Achievement does pop, and there are 3 others for kills with weapon types and headshots that I could unlock with a bit of grinding... if I can be bothered.

The next game is chosen, which will drop my backlog down to 46 and it's another massive jump in genre.

April 19th: In keeping with my more relaxed weekend play schedule the couple of hours I spend with the game today work out perfectly for wrapping up a few additional Achievements.

By the end all I'm missing is one that I could grind out in one particular level, and the three skill level completions... not going to happen... but I do pop a couple I wasn't expecting to do, one for completing 3 Chapters with no deaths or checkpoint restarts which I work through on the opening three Chapters fairly steadily... and another for working through a Chapter with no deaths, checkpoints and 60% accuracy.

For this I go back to the start, figuring it'd be fairly simple... I use my team mates a lot and really pick my shots, taking it steady it takes longer than I've taken for the Chapter in the past, but the Achievement pops and I call it a day 46/50 for 880 points... far exceeding my original estimate for the game.

April 20th: The next title I grab from the shelf is still in the shrink wrapping, another game bought in a sale as it held some passing interest and one that apparently clocks in with a 15-20 hour completion... Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth (X1) which is, it seems, a point and click adventure based on a book.

I've not played many point and clicks for a while (or ever really) outside of times when I've been whoring through titles in the search of easy Gamerscore, and my only previous encounters with Ken Follett have been listening to radio drama series and they've been more science fiction based... so I wasn't really expecting something set in the early 1100's and a monastery.

It sets a fairly grim picture when, in the prologue, a character dies in childbirth from excessive bleeding... not a fairy tale then, within a couple of chapters you're introduced a Jack and his mother, and Philip, the prior of the monastery that clearly pays a huge part in the first part of this game.

It was originally episodic, with Chapters 1 to 7 forming the base game and then 2 additional chunks of content making up Chapters 8 to 21 and a total of 1480 Gamerscore on offer.

At the end of the days play (which only included one part where I had to replay a chunk as I'd goofed when it came to one Achievement) I'm at the end of Chapter 5, even for a point and click it doesn't seem to be that much of a puzzler, mostly observing and selecting the right object for a situation... to this point I've not had to combine any objects together to solve anything... which is fine by me.

Another probable completion and a reduction in my backlog... the number is getting smaller.

April 22nd: It's hard to keep updating my progress through the game when, to be honest, nothing much happens that offers anything in the way of excitement... the story just sort of ambles along at its own pace and barely bothers you.

There are no puzzles to speak of, everything makes sense when using objects (not always the case in a point and click) and, for some bizarre reason, occasional QTE's kick in to cause you grief... all of them require you to stop a moving dot as it moves along a straight line when it passes through a certain area of that line.

It seems really pointless... and it is... it breaks up what little flow the game has, a point and click like this is going to be slow enough moving the story on as it is, without the game suddenly forcing you to play an annoying mini-game QTE.

After three days I've managed to complete 16 of the 21 Chapters, which puts me in the midst of the second DLC... sure the story is okay, but it's moving sooooooo slowly that I cannot wait for it to come to an end, I may want to see the end of it... but not enough that I want to race through it or continue playing as long as I have been doing on previous days during lockdown.

It has though done its job, to see me through the week until the gift of what will become the 100th PS4 game to grace my PSN ID.

April 23rd: The game is finally done, the pace never picked up at all, probably even slowed at the end as you have to sit through a painfully long trial scene and watch the bad guys get their well deserved final scenes.

Maybe it was the setting that put me off... I'm a huge non-believer in religion, I'm a far bigger believer in science because that has been proven to work, science doesn't care whether or not you believe in it... it works regardless... there is a reason that faith is called faith.

I now have the decision as to whether or not to start something else or to tread water so to speak before the weekend when I'll get my hands on the Final Fantasy remake.

I also know that to continue my weekly challenges console wise for Microsoft Rewards I'll need to unlock 3 Achievements next week so I may wait until then and just go back to "project" titles for a day or two.