I moved this past month, and since things have been in a general state of upheaval I haven’t really prepared this month’s games journal. I’ve played games, I just didn’t follow through with my usual documentation process. Because of this, and because of my worrisomely poor memory, I can’t recall everything I played this past month. It’s fine though, because I came up with a kind of goal to work towards instead.
I want to tackle my Steam backlog and play some of the games I’ve accumulated over the last couple of years. I noticed that on my profile page there’s a percentage rating that measures my average game completion rate. When I looked into it I realized that it was based on the achievements I’ve unlocked for the games that have unlockable achievements. I then found out that the percentage doesn’t represent the sum total of my total library, but only applies to games I’ve played long enough to unlock at least 1 achievement. When I began, my completion rate was at 31%
I’m not really much of an achievement hunter. Even back in the mid 2000’s when Microsoft introduced the concept with the Xbox 360, I quickly found out that unlocking achievements can be really frustrating. Not all of them of course, but the more of them I would unlock the easier it was to notice the types: there’s achievements for completing game chapters or reaching similar time investment based goals, multiplayer achievements, skill intensive achievements, and silly achievements.
This holds true on Steam since it seems like multiplatform games have the same achievements across all platforms. Luckily for me, I’m one of those people who will play a game for a few minutes, put it away, and not think about it again for months! Since a lot of achievements simply unlock by playing through the main campaign once, all I would hypothetically need to do is finish some of the games I’ve started.
During the first half of the month, I was using a borrowed desk and in the process of unpacking. I didn’t really want to invest a lot of time to content heavy games so even though I started and played around with Yakuza 0 and The Darkness 2 I didn’t play long enough to achieve very much other to unlock something in The Darkness 2 for getting past the first level and wandering around Jackie’s penthouse.
To completely go back on the concept of not wanting to go through content heavy games, I did play through Dishonored twice this past month. I experienced an issue though that I have no interest in going over. Something about The Flooded City stumped me: I swore I made it through without being seen, I managed to ruin Granny Rags multiple times without being seen, and yet I just couldn’t get ghost to unlock. I’m missing a lot of achievements in Dishonored though, and that’s probably because I haven’t touched any of the DLC. I’m not sure when I’ll go back and give it a shot, but I’m not too keen on playing DLC in general, even for a game as good as Dishonored.
(More like the Thief of Dunwall)
I started playing Rusty Lake Roots about 2 years ago as part of my youtube channel, and what stopped me from playing it through to the end was me putting an end to youtubing. It was something I always considered going back to, but I ended up forgetting about it entirely. I really like the Rusty Lake games; when I got my first smart phone I would play the free Rusty Lake puzzle games and I’m glad to see larger, more intricate versions of those games on Steam, even if they’re not free anymore.
They’re also really easy to get all of the achievements on in a short amount of time. There are 16 total, and I started this month with 4 or 5. Roots is structured in such a way that key points of several people’s lives are presented as puzzles. The 19th century aesthetic and disturbing visuals drew me in and kept me engaged fairly easily. In fact the goal of Roots is to collect several body parts to use in a generation-spanning ritual meant to unlock the secret of immortality.
(The past is never dead...it is not even past)
Did I mention that I wanted to avoid games that were too content heavy this month because of other things that would require my time and energy? That was a partial lie, I played a good deal of Fallout: New Vegas, and by “a good deal” I mean somewhere in the neighborhood of 28 hours. During that run I played as a self-interested courier who didn’t go through with any of the DLC content and left permanent saves at key areas so I could easily go back to before various points of no return.
I unlocked 21 achievements while playing through quests and exploring areas that are extremely familiar to me, and it’s around this time I realized that my goal of shifting my completion rating is going to be a tough one since it was still stubbornly displayed as 31% I didn’t start devoting much time to Fallout until I unlocked 39 combined Steam achievements from my Roots and Dishonored playthrough for a total of 60 (61 counting the one from The Darkness 2).
(Jimmy? Little Jimmy!?)
Steam’s game completion percentage is based around unlocked achievements. If I play a game that doesn’t have achievements, or play a game without unlocking achievements, it’s completely unaffected. If I play one game and unlock all of the achievements, that becomes a “perfect game” on my profile and would raise my percentage to 100%. If DLC and DLC achievements launch for the hypothetical game, my understanding is that I lose perfect game and 100% completion status. If I play one game and get it to 100% completion, then play a game to 50% completion, that would make my completion percentage 66% since Steam doesn’t round values up. I have some incredibly loose ends that need tying up.
Voodoo Vince is one of those games that I played for about 10 minutes and put down for 10 months, on Steam anyway. A decade and a half ago, I played Voodoo Vince through from beginning to end several times on the original Xbox. It’s a really charming collection-based platformer where you play as a voodoo doll. Special moves harm you in creative ways which act as an area of effect type attack that instantly destroys all standard enemies. The bosses are all a bunch of set pieces too which require Vince to harm himself in much more unique ways. It was also an easy 41 Steam achievements unlocked and still not a uptick in my overall percentage.
(I feel powerful)
I played through Dark Souls 3 once on the Playstation 4, but I’m at that point on my first PC runthrough where I’ve gotten myself stuck...then stuck again...and once again I’m stuck. I managed to make some progress though and unlock a whole five Steam achievements though! The issue that’s keeping me from making too much progress is my personal reaction speed and how I prefer to dress up my Ashen One in things I like the look of rather than things that would actually protect them.
The Abyss Watchers killed me several times over because I refused to change out of the Firekeeper set, but once I did they just couldn’t put me down and I took them out during the very next fight. Wearing actual armor hasn’t been much help against heavy hitting enemies like the Dancer, but I was able to brute force my way through the Old Demon King. I don’t know how Wolnir killed me as many times as he did, because I know the secret to killing him is just to break his bling. Most embarrassingly though, I didn’t have the doll and couldn’t get into totally not Anor Londo’s undercity.
I eventually found my way though and absolutely embarrassed the Crystal Sage and a bunch of Ghost fans during my first encounter with them. What’s giving me trouble now is the Dancer, and my not being able to remember how to get to Pontiff Revan.
(Have fun playing with those giants!)
I love Final Fantasy XV. I’ve got the platinum trophy on PS4, but I’m not going to be able to get all of the achievements for the Windows release because multiplayer games are the devil. In a lot of ways Episode Prompto is also the devil. The story didn’t really endear itself to me and reminded me a lot of some of the more major plot points of Final Fantasy VII, especially when the subject of cloning was brought up.
Driving around on the snowmobile was also a nightmare during the time trial mode. I unlocked 5 achievements and finally bumped my percentage up 1 point at some point during Episode Prompto cleanup, but what I’m really excited for is getting through Episode Ardyn. I’ve already begun that one and it’s been my favorite of all of the FFXV DLC chapters by far.
The plot recontextualizes Ardyn, showing him as much more of a dark reflection of Noctis, only not really because he’s the brother of the evil Marth, who is the reason Ardyn went evil in the first place. Episode Ardyn also has a lot of info on the world and history of Eos, but after all that the main goal is to wreck the Crown City, Insomnia. There’s a good chance I’ll be playing through Final Fantasy XV again after I finish Episode Ardyn, but for the time being I’m just enjoying my time with it.
(He's such a weenie...)
You may be wondering why it’s taken me unlocking over a hundred achievements to advance one percentage in my overall completion rating. For that I’m going to blame several games with high achievement counts that I played briefly and am reluctant to fully get into;
Borderlands 2 (2/75) and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (1/63). I’ve never played these with other people so I accept that I haven’t given these awful, tedious, MMO-wannabes a fair shake. I might some day force my way through one or the other, but I can’t stand the characters, and the start-and-stop, loot-based progression.
Halo MCC (165/700). I’m not buying Halo 4, I’m not doing any LASO runs, and there likely hundreds of multiplayer achievements in here. This is probably the heaviest albatross around my neck, unless I accidentally play Tales of Maj'Eyal for a hundred or so hours and unlock one of its 1,782 achievements.
Left 4 Dead 2 (1/101). I’m not going to say I dislike Left 4 Dead, but I will say the novelty wore off back when I had it on console, and in a time where I could play this or Vermintide, I just see it as a mistake to have booted this one up when I did.
Super Meat Boy (1/48). This is a really hard game, and I’m not very good at it.
Viscera Cleanup Detail (4/85). I’m never sure of what exactly this game expects from me. I love it conceptually, but when I’m playing it I just feel like something just isn’t clicking...also multiplayer might be an issue.
There are a lot of other games, as I’ve said, that I played for a few minutes, uninstalled, and haven’t returned to. It created a sort of death by a thousand cuts, so I don’t necessarily need to become an achievement hunter flat-out to raise my numbers. I just have to work on my backlog. I’ll do a more standard games journal next month, I promise.