It may come as a shocker to you but having to work really doesn’t help when it comes to entertainment, including playing games. Thankfully, sleep is for the weak, so I still was able to put in some hours into the PS3 and PS Vita last week. It was a mix of old and new on both platforms. I finished Beyond: Two Souls and I have to say I’m turning towards the positive end of the spectrum as far as the reviews go. I enjoyed it to the end and I don’t agree with those who say that the conclusion didn’t explain what the whole fuss was about. To me, it’s all there. I played some more Killzone: Mercenary multiplayer, with mixed results, and also started a new Vita adventure with Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time (what’s the deal with all those colons in game titles… sheesh). To top it off, I remembered I had yet to play the DLC for The Walking Dead – 400 Days – for sure one of the best 3 hours one can spend gaming.
Without further ado, let’s jump into the trophies I unlocked, including a very special one, #2000. As usual, there are spoilers ahead so watch out.
Beyond: Two Souls
| Never Alone
|| Stealth Master
|Started at least one romance||Made it to the cathedral without being spotted|
| Eye for an Eye
|| Almost Too Easy
|Didn’t speak during the interrogation||Went to the containment shield with the General|
| Convince Dawkins
|| Black Sun Down
|Helped Dawkins see the truth||Deactivated the Black Sun|
| Chose Life
|| The End
|Stayed in reality||One possible reality has been uncovered…|
I had a closer look at the trophy list once I beat the game to see what I missed during my playthrough and I was pleasantly surprised to see that there’s still plenty of Beyond ahead, if that makes sense. Although it still seems that a lot of decisions are just several ways to reach the same goal, I don’t mind that at all. It’s going to be fun to see how else certain scenarios are going to play out.
As I tend to do, during my first game I channeled my own lawful good nature into Jodie and Aiden and tried to be as positive as possible, helping others, relieving them of suffering and so on. I ended Jodie’s mother horror, I helped Dawkins get back with his wife and daughter – it’s a funny thing how often the decisions I thought were correct, resulted in a character’s death. As the immortal Forrest Gump once said – shit happens.
Well, at least I chose life for Jodie in the end. In the final stage of the game, the player decides if Jodie should remain alive or move on to the Infraworld. The choice is as white and black as can be, literally. The screen is split in two with the dark real world on one side and the white ‘beyond’ on the other. It can’t be more obvious. Forget the obscure little things that influenced Heavy Rain’s storyline – it’s left or right this time. Then again, the choice still induces emotions and made me think a while before I decided to go into the darkness. I have yet to see what the other side has to offer but I want to do a complete walkthrough again, modifying my choices on the way, to see how different the story is.
The final revelation – Aiden as Jodie’s stillborn twin, the achronological story as a reflection of Jodie’s broken mind and memories – satisfied me. Maybe I’m not as demanding as others but the conclusion made the story feel complete and all my what and why questions were answered. Then comes the second big choice – how will Jodie move on with her life? To me the decision was simple. For whatever reason, I felt the closest to Stan, Walter, Tuesday and Jimmy, Jodie’s former homeless ‘bridgemates’. Somehow, I knew they didn’t care about her past, about her strange powers. They had their own stories they wanted to forget about, and what they really focused on was mutual support and understanding. And also, Jodie will need Zoe when the apocalypse inevitably comes… Sequel, anyone?
I would very much like to see statistics of what scenarios other players chose – similarly to what The Walking Dead does. Please, share your experience in the comments section – which options did you choose and why? Did you go back to Ryan One-Eye Clayton or decide to leave a lonely life traveling through the country?
The Walking Dead: 400 Days
| Paradise Lost
|| Chain Gang
|Completed Shel’s Chapter||Completed Vince’s Chapter|
|| Friends Like These
|Found an old friend||Completed Russel’s Chapter|
| Who Goes There?
|Completed Bonnie’s Chapter||Completed Wyatt’s Chapter|
| Loose Ends
|| Two out of Three
|Completed the Epilogue||Won a game of Rock/Paper/Scissors|
Let’s talk about another story-based game that took the world by storm last year, winning numerous awards, including several Game of the Year ones. It’s been heralded as the great new adventure game that throws back to such titles as the Monkey Island series or Broken Sword. Obviously, the comparisons are very, very misleading as The Walking Dead has almost nothing to do with the older, puzzle-based games. Sure, it relies heavily on the story, the character has some kind of an inventory, and there are ‘use X on Y’ moments in the game too. However, completing some of the very few puzzles are of the easiest kind and sometimes are not even required order to progress the story.
Even though, in my opinion, it’s an insult to the latter to compare the adventures of Lee and Clementine to those of George and Nico, as far as the puzzle-adventure elements are concerned, The Walking Dead is an undeniably great game. What makes it great are the choices that the player needs to make, most of which bring nothing but bad consequences. The game adapts to what the player does, how he or she interacts with other characters, what he or she says or doesn’t say. Although there is only one conclusion to the story, each player feels that he or she was on a very personal journey by the time it ends.
As a side note, the fact that there is a single ending in The Walking Dead didn’t seem to bother the people who complain about the ‘linearity’ of Beyond: Two Souls. The ‘choice’ mechanics in both games are very similar and it’s interesting to me that both titles were received in such very different ways.
The 400 Days DLC introduces us to new characters in five short chapters that form a prequel to the second season of the game and, to be honest, I can’t wait to see what it brings. Knowing almost nothing of their background, the player is thrown into the middle of the stories of Shel and Becca, Vince, Russel, Bonnie and Wyatt. Each of the chapters has a different tone ranging from stoner comedy (playing rock/paper/scissors to determine who will investigate a dead body in the middle of a forest) to very serious drama (a teenager debating killing a friend who betrayed the group). Even though the chapters play for 15-20 minutes, it’s enough to find a connection with the characters and care for them.
The game has many little things that build the feeling of a consistent world. The prison bus in which most of Vince’s chapter takes place is later seen in Bonnie’s chapter. The diner where Shel’s group takes shelter is visited by Russel. Nate’s truck pursues Wyatt’s car. Although the whole story lasts the titular 400 days, everything is connected and leads to an interesting finale. All the characters are approached by a scout from a nearby camp, offering them food, water and shelter. Who will go? Who will stay? It all depends on the decisions made by the player in the chapters. Kill a friend or leave the group? Escape with a pyramid scheme leader or an alleged rapist? Each chapter presents several choices with a single major one that will most likely influence the story in the second season. It will be quite a challenge to account for all the decisions the players could have made but Telltale Games have already proved that they know what they’re doing and I doubt we will be disappointed when Season Two comes out, hopefully later this year.
It’s always nice to reach milestones, even such insignificant ones as this one. My trophy #2000 was ‘Reunited’. It’s another example of The Walking Dead creating an immersive, consistent world. Meeting Carley from Season One, rotten and decomposing at the side of the road, where she was left by Lee’s group is a great throwback to the first game and one of the many little things that make you appreciate Telltale’s storytelling.
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
| Online Shopping
|| Cooper Calling Card
|Make your first purchase on ThiefNet||Collect your first hidden Sly mask|
I played through the prologue mission of the game and I already feel at home, although I never played any of the previous Sly games. I would say that action-platformer games are my second choice behind only adventure games and so far this title looks very promising. Three characters with different play styles, many collectibles and various environments. I always try to have one bigger single player game on my Vita that I play and it seems like Sly, Bentley and Murray are going to get me through this fall.
The two trophies I got so far are nothing to write home about. The first mask wasn’t really hidden but, if I understand correctly, the game forces the player to replay some stages once techniques are unlocked so it’s not going to be as easy later on. I like the idea of buying upgrades and there’s probably a trophy for buying everything in the store (I haven’t gone through the list yet – don’t want to spoil the game). The completionist in me will be happy with this game.
|| Full Deck
|Perform a Brutal Melee counter gesture in Multiplayer||Collect a full deck of Valour cards|
It keeps amazing me that I don’t suck at this game. Most of the multiplayer shooter/action games I’ve played so far I’ve been miserable at. Uncharted, The Last of Us, Battlefield 3. True, I haven’t played too much of them but it was enough for me to realize it’s not for me. Maybe TLoU wasn’t that bad for me and I still want to go back to it but Killzone really seems to fit me. Maybe it’s the handheld controls or the fact that ‘serious’ multiplayer gamers play something else but I don’t mind – I’m having fun.
Countering the Brutal Melee attach and collecting a full deck of cards are pretty much unmissable if you play enough. I needed 4 or 5 cards after the single player campaign so it wasn’t much of an effort to collect the remaining ones. Platinum here seems very realistic, it will only take time… and lots of it. 100 multiplayer games, 10000 kills – that doesn’t look like much but 10+ minutes per game times 100 is over 16 hours. Still, two – three games a night and I should be done by the time Shadowfall comes out. Check out the new story trailer released by Sony today. I’m still not sure if I’ll get it day one but I’m pretty close to being convinced.