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About ExistentialSolid

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  1. Verlet Swing Trophy Roadmap Hey everyone! Since there isn't much info on the forums for Verlet Swing and only 2 platinum achievers at the time of posting, I wanted to quickly relay my experience with the game through a roadmap in case it helps anyone else on their journey to the platinum. I'm certainly no expert, but I'm going to try my best to direct you to the resources that helped me out the most. Before I continue, I want to emphasize that none of the trophies, to my knowledge, are glitchy, missable, or unobtainable. They are, however, very difficult and time-consuming to earn. - Expect to spend 60-120+ hours working towards the game's platinum trophy. Between PSNP and TrueAchievements, only 6 of the game's 1394 players have managed to 100% Verlet Swing. Will you be the next? --- Step 1: Play through each of the game's 100 stages and earn every "Perfect Ranking." Whenever you clear a stage in Verlet Swing, your time is graded on a scale of 1-4 teacups. The faster your time, the more teacups you earn. Setting a fast enough time to earn all 4 teacups constitutes a "perfect ranking." Strategies to earn perfect rankings can be found all over YouTube, but the most helpful video I've come across is AmirGaris' Verlet Swing - All Levels [Perfect Rankings] video. As a secondary reference, I'd suggest you check out AchievementHuntersAnon's Verlet Swing - All Perfect Rankings video. Many of these stages will feel daunting at first (especially stage 100), however, with practice, patience, and the guidance of reference videos, you should be able to push through. Don't give up! If you're really struggling to earn a perfect ranking, set the stage aside and come back later once you've honed your skills a bit more. Upon completing this step, you will have earned at least 14 of the game's 26 trophies. Step 2: If you haven't already, earn each of the six miscellaneous trophies. Four of the six miscellaneous trophies should pop naturally over the course of the game. Specifically: Ouch, that hurt (die while moving really fast), Just one more attempt mom! (die more than 50 times on a level in a single go), Wait, how far does this go? (hook something extremely far away), and Went very, very, very, very fast (reach more than 130 km/h) should all pop naturally before you reach the end of the game. Don't stress about these! However, two trophies will require you to go out of your way. To earn the Event Horizon trophy (on stage 93), I'd encourage you to check out rTeuty's video: Verlet Swing | Event Horizon Achievement. To earn the An eye for an eye trophy (on stage 90), I'd encourage you to check out rTeuty's other video: Verlet Swing | An Eye For an Eye Achievement. Step 3: Clear 10 of the game's 11 challenges and begin practicing for "The Bird's Legacy" trophy. Here's where things start getting serious! You're going to begin preparing to earn The Bird's Legacy trophy for clearing a Marathon (all 100 stages back-to-back) in under 20 minutes. Note that the current trophy description on PSNP, which states that you must clear the marathon in under 15 minutes, is no longer accurate; the developers reduced these requirements on console and you'll now have an extra 5 minutes to work with! To start, I would recommend clearing all 5 world speedrun challenges: Museum Dash, A Race with the Fishes, Main Course, crtl+alt+sprint, and Ragnar's Race. Each of these challenges contains all 20 stages from their respective worlds. You can pass each challenge by simply clearing all 20 stages (there are no death or time requirements), but a single clear isn't going to give you much practice. Take advantage of these challenges to develop consistent routing through all 100 levels. You don't necessarily need to use the fastest or riskiest strategies, but you will need a low death count if you want to clear a full Marathon in under 20 minutes. Use level select to practice the trickier stages and work to shave as much time as you can off the clock for each challenge (if you're competitive and enjoy climbing the in-game leaderboards, this may be the most enjoyable part of the journey). Once you've set strong times on all 5 of these challenges and feel fairly comfortable with all 100 levels, you should be ready for full marathons! I'm going to be posting two reference runs below for inspiration: Charity Diary (Glass Hills) - Marathon in Under 15 Minutes Achievement β€” Verlet Swing β€” Xbox [14:58 as per original requirements] ExistentialSolid (Me!) - Verlet Swing - The Bird's Legacy (PS4) [17:49 as per current requirements] For additional strategies and gameplay tips, you may want to check out Glass Hill's TrueAchievements guide: How to unlock the The Bird's Legacy achievement While you're practicing for the marathon, this is a great opportunity to knock out 4 of the remaining challenges now that you have the practice to do so: Swing Counter - A marathon with no timer, but every swing is counted. Simply clear the marathon to pass the challenge. Scrambleverse! - A marathon, but the stages are in a random order. Simply clear the marathon to pass the challenge. Swinger Man - A selection of stages where you play in 3rd-person! Live your dream as spoderman and simply clear each stage to pass the challenge. No Air Control! - The hardest of the bunch! You will not be able to use the left analog stick to provide any air control as you trial-and-error your way through 13 stages. I'd recommend checking out this video by Chaotix for reference as this challenge can easily take an hour+ to clear: Verlet Swing - No Air Control Challenge. Step 4: Complete the Hardcore Marathon Challenge. The Hardcore Marathon challenge is the platinum killer. You'll be tasked with completing 30 of the game's toughest stages back-to-back and deathless. Since speed is no longer a concern, consistency is king. Prioritize individual level practice until you can confidently clear any of the marathon's 30 stages on command. As you might expect, the most difficult stage in the game, stage 100, is the last stage in the challenge and will require the most practice if you plan to develop the consistency to clear it in a marathon setting (nothing hurts more than losing the run on the last stage, so be patient and put in the practice!). To learn consistent routing through some of the trickier stages, I found Glass Hill's guide on TrueAchievements to be the most helpful all-in-one resource. Hardcore Marathon Strats and Tips <-- I know I'm going to sound like a broken record at this point, but I can't overstate the importance of consistent strategies. Whether you use the strategies outlined in this guide or develop some of your own, prioritize consistency above all else. Here are a few successful runs for reference: AmirGaris - Verlet Swing - Hardcore Marathon Challenge Clear! (PC) Bloby - Verlet Swing - Hardcore Marathon (PC) ExistentialSolid (Me!) - Verlet Swing - Hardcore Marathon Challenge (PS4) Stay strong, practice a little bit each day, and don't give up! You can do this! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or message me. Good luck! πŸ˜„
  2. Tier 1 Update - Wrapping Up Over the last few weeks, I managed to mop up the last four games in my tier! For the sake of brevity, I'm just going to post some quick thoughts on each of them. TowerFall Ascension (0.06%): Give Madeline from Celeste a bow and arrow and you've got the baseline for TowerFall Ascension. This "archery combat platformer" tasks you and as many friends as you can cram onto your couch with the job of annihilating wave after wave of enemies (and a few bosses too if you pick up the DLC) in compact little arenas. You don't actually need friends to earn the game's trophies (I managed just fine solo while pause buffering the bosses), but they can help you thin waves out faster assuming you don't kill each other with friendly fire. The "Reaper's Crown" trophy is the most difficult requiring you to survive all 8 waves of King's Court on Hard difficulty without losing a life, but a few hours of practice and a little bit of luck goes a long way in TowerFall (here's a clip if you're curious). Dirt Rally (1.60%): @Mori and @Evil_Joker88 already covered the essentials of this tricky rally racer and I've discussed Dirt Rally 2.0 in a previous update, so I'll quickly emphasize that just about everything you can find in the original Dirt Rally, from car and track selection to game modes and online events, can also be found in Dirt Rally 2.0. The original felt utterly obsolete in comparison. If you've got the Ultra Rare bug and are thinking about playing Dirt Rally regardless, don't forget that you can backup your save to the cloud to practice the online dailies! Getting into the top 33% isn't too hard when you can time-travel. Thumper (3.12%): Feelings of inadequacy always bubble up when I try to play this acid-trip-of-a-rhythm-game. Thumper isn't afraid to assault the player with obstacles that feel impossible to react to. Blind twists and turns regularly rip you to pieces and memorization is often the only path to the coveted S rank... unless you have a really strong reaction time or a VR headset, in which case it's probably a thrilling experience. For me though, it's an exercise in frustration and I struggle to recommend it to anyone. I pushed myself to finish it to see if my feelings for it would change after 4 years away from the game, but I only grew to hate it more. Magicka 2 (1.32%): For players looking to pad their profile with UR trophies, Magicka 2 is a classic dietary staple offering up a buffet of 32 UR trophies for your troubles. I went into this wizarding co-op adventure game expecting something fairly tame, but Magicka 2 put up a surprising amount of fight. If anyone else spent hours running around the fire during the "Festival" trial trying to figure how to kill the three archdemons on wave 20... I feel your pain. Me and @dieselmanchild scored a couple lucky kills after experimenting for what felt like an eternity and I wouldn't ever want to challenge them again without scouring YouTube for a fool-proof strategy. πŸ˜… On to Tier 2!
  3. Tier 1 Update - Bleed (1.35%) Have you ever wondered if "aggravation" could be considered an art form? If I were putting together an exhibit dedicated to such an art, this conventional, Matrix-esque run-and-gun platformer would fit right in with some of the most frustrating games I've ever experienced. Despite its brevity, Bleed sent my patience packing faster than anything I've touched since last year's Super Meat Boy Forever. Like any classically-inspired platformer, you're expected to blast your way through seven short levels stuffed with hordes of opposing monsters and bosses. What sets Bleed apart is the ability to briefly slow down time and dash up to three times in mid-air. On paper, these may sound like the ingredients for a stand-out platformer, but they fall flat against uninspired level design and maddening boss patterns. You'll enjoy a few fleeting moments of fun dashing around in slow motion before quickly losing steam when you trudge through the same hum-drum level layouts you've seen in hundreds of other platformers bookended by low-effort bosses with poorly telegraphed attacks (I often had to spam slow motion to anticipate certain moves because I could never get a clear read). The cherry to top this frustrating buffet of errors is the game's "Arcade" mode in which you're tasked with beating the entire game with a single life. Bleed's hardest trophies involve beating Arcade mode on all four difficulties (Easy, Normal, Hard, and Very Hard). On "Hard" and "Very Hard," certain boss patterns can feel mercilessly unfair, your health bar might as well be made of paper, and the levels are stuffed with even more mindless fodder than they already were. Here's my run on Very Hard if you'd like to judge the game for yourself. I respect Bleed's vision and feel it could have been so much better with more time in the oven, but found very little to love with what's on display here... - I also finished Neon Drive (1.17%) a few weeks back! @Cruscah and @Eqill5 have already covered the gist about this rhythmic indie arcade, but I enjoyed my time with it much more than Bleed (aside from a few sections that leaned too heavily on memorization). I'm also making a few (hopefully final) swaps! I'm swapping out Yakuza 0, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD, and Crawl for Towerfall Ascension, Thumper, and Dirt Rally.
  4. Cloudberry Kingdom and How I Earned "Shenanigans!" When Super Meat Boy reinvigorated the 2D-platforming genre in 2010 with its tight controls, sadistic flair, and precision-heavy gameplay, a slew of difficult platformers emerged in its wake backed by developers that were determined to capitalize on challenge-hungry players looking for their next fix. Games like Cuphead, Celeste, and Hollow Knight were assembled in part from the blueprints Super Meat Boy left behind and managed to win audiences the world over with unrelenting tough-but-fair gameplay. One game, however, dared to twist the DNA of Super Meat Boy to frightening new extremes... 2013's Cloudberry Kingdom. Throughout Cloudberry Kingdom's development, Pwnee Studios' Jordan Fisher put together a devious set of algorithms that could, with the help of an AI, procedurally generate platforming levels according to dozens of possible criteria ranging from jump difficulty and hazard type to platform frequency and level theme. With a few tweaks, these algorithms could produce some of the most diabolical levels ever to be featured in a platformer. While the most fear-inducing creations were relegated to the game's sandbox modes, a small batch of brutal levels burrowed their way into the game's story mode to ambush the player directly. Before we discuss some of these levels in more detail, let's talk about a bit about the game's story mode and introduce the prize waiting for you at the end of it all: the coveted Shenanigans! trophy. Absurdity in Motion Standing tall as Cloudberry Kingdom's flagship single-player offering, the story mode features 320 levels divided into seven chapters. With the exception of chapter 7, each chapter rocks its own theme and obstacle sets alongside 40 challenging levels tailor-made to test your resolve. Reach the end of level 320 and you'll unlock the "Shenanigans!" trophy. As straightforward as this objective may sound on paper, only 30 players have had the determination to push their way to the end on PS3 since the game's release nearly nine years ago... So, what happened? Was obscurity to blame for such a small pool of completionists? To some extent, sure. The game may have generated a smaller splash than a full-fledged AAA release, but it still enjoyed a substantial amount of coverage from popular gaming news sites (IGN, GameSpot, etc.) and was showcased on many notable YouTube channels like Achievement Hunter and Smosh Games; it even landed a slot in 2015's June PS+ lineup. Did the absence of a platinum trophy discourage players from pushing to the finish line? Maybe. Silver isn't nearly as fashionable as platinum in the trophy hunting sphere, but that alone wouldn't deter players seeking the thrill of a challenge. What's to blame then? The biggest culprit looms in plain sight at the story mode's end: levels 319 and 320. These levels exist as absurdity incarnate. They reek of the sterility of procedural design and feel decidedly anti-human. They dare the player to dive into the deepest recesses of trial-and-error-based-folly and emerge with their sanity intact. Their blatantly unfair design appears to maliciously probe the player with a single question. "How much shit are you willing to put up with to earn a trophy?" In today's update, I'm going to be walking through how I survived levels 319 and 320. Level 319: A Rolling Masochist's Fever Dream When level 319 begins, you'll notice the main character is strapped to a rolling wheel. This isn't unusual. You will have played through dozens of levels strapped to this wheel long before you ever reach this point. The wheel's platforming gimmick is momentum. You quickly gain speed if you move in either direction and will continue rolling some distance after letting go of the analog stick or dpad. Subtle movements must be made throughout each level to manage your momentum and keep yourself in control. Before I set out with my wheel, I needed to buy two essential power-ups from the in-game store. First was the pathfinder ball. The pathfinder ball projects a safe path for you to follow through the level and includes a handy on-screen indicator of where you should be positioned at each point in time. In replays, you will not see the pathfinder ball in action, so it isn't always obvious that the power-up is in use; if you'd like to see an example of the pathfinder ball in action, I'll leave a quick clip for reference (level 320; credit to Green Z-Saber). Normally, the pathfinder ball is positioned behind player 1. However, if you use a 2nd controller, you can position the pathfinder ball in front of the 2nd player to make precise navigation a little easier (you can read more about this trick in the thread I've linked below). The second powerup is slow motion. When slow motion is activated, the level operates at 0.5x speed giving you more time to react to environmental hazards and more accurately follow the pathfinder ball through the level. In replays, you can simply slow the replay to 0.5x speed to replicate this powerup's effects. It is highly recommended to use both the pathfinder ball and slow motion in tandem for both levels 319 and 320. A third optional powerup, a repeatedly viewable demonstration of the AI clearing the level, is only useful to players that are not following a reference video and is not necessary unless you have no other option. Now that we've got everything setup, I'm going to explain my procedure as best as I can. Step 1: I began by reading through this thread by ThanatosNinja2. It is by far the most comprehensive guide for levels 319 and 320 out there and includes text-based explanations for each set of jumps throughout the level. Step 2: I selected a reference video to mimic. Because I was using ThanatosNinja2's guide, I chose to follow his video for level 319 which I will link here. Step 3: Following the path of the pathfinder ball, I worked my way through the level jump by jump. Given the sheer number of obstacles you can potentially hit during each jump, your momentum, position, and height are all very important. Each jump is precise, but not frame-perfect. As you play, you'll naturally get more consistent at each section of the level even if it takes many, many attempts to get there. What helped me rationalize failure was to treat each jump like a game of stacking probabilities. On jump 1, you may initially have a 5% chance of success. Once you've performed that jump hundreds of times, your probability of making that jump successfully may climb to something closer to 95+%. Likewise, for each subsequent jump in the level, your probability of clearing the jump will go up the longer you spend practicing. At the end of your first hour, you probability in clearing the first 10 jumps may look like this: 30% - 15% - 10% - 5% - 3% - 2% - 0% - 0% - 0% - 0% At the end of your 5th hour, your probability of clearing each of the first 10 jumps might more closely resemble something like this: 90% - 80% - 70% - 60% - 50% - 40% - 30% - 20% - 10% - 5% Phrased in another, less gibberish-infused, way, "Practice makes perfect." I was always getting better the more time I spent attempting each jump. If I wasn't getting further along in the level, I would at least be making earlier jumps more consistently. If I wasn't making jumps more consistently, I'd take a break or stop for the day (though I made sure to practice at least a little bit each day to keep my muscle memory intact). Step 4: Whenever a jump was giving me trouble, I would either refer to the text-guide I linked above or closely examine my reference video. Reviewing sections of a level dozens of times helped give me a better idea of what a successful jump would look like. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, take a look at this gif. Suppose I'm having trouble jumping from this swinging platform to the cloud below. By watching this jump being performed in the reference video many, many times, you will naturally internalize a better sense of the jump's timing. Using specific hazards as visual cues for when to jump can also help you progress more quickly. For example, in this jump, my eyes were drawn to the swinging yellow spike ball that sweeps across the platform after the jump. When that spike ball turns around and starts approaching me, I knew this moment was roughly the right time to jump. Step 5: When the path of the pathfinder ball stopped mid-way through the level, I placed heavier reliance on reference video analysis. Unlike most other levels in Cloudberry Kingdom, the pathfinder ball will not travel to the end of levels 319 and 320 (in Green Z-Saber's clip I linked above, you can actually see the pathfinder ball's path end in level 320). To continue from the point where it ends, you will need to heavily lean into your reference video's routing and closely examine each new jump. Using the process I detailed in step 4, repeated viewings of each new jump will help you understand how to proceed. I would typically watch my reference video up to two jumps beyond the furthest point I reached in the level before pushing onwards (any more felt excessive) . Step 6: Grind, grind, grind until you reach the finish. Staying determined was the most difficult part of the journey. I spent 35 hours and died thousands of times until I eventually reached the end of level 319. Many of those hours felt hellish and miserable, but I placed enough importance on earning the "Shenanigans!" trophy that I was willing to wade through the pain to earn it. The video below is the replay of my successful level 319 run. Level 319 Clear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BQObhvXkkw Level 320: A Petty Thumb War Leaping from one hell to another, level 320 featured the standard hero instead of the wheel-strapped masochist from the last level. The standard hero is capable of crouching which, up to this point in the game, had very limited use. Crouching in level 320, however, is necessary to avoid various mid-air hazards and to favorably affect the maximum height of certain jumps. Provided you carry enough speed, crouching can also allow you to briefly slide across platforms. The gif below shows off a quick demonstration of this crouch-sliding technique. Because crouch-sliding involves precise diagonal movements, I opted to use the dpad for this level as my experience with the analog stick (which I used from levels 1-319) felt too inconsistent. Even if the use of the dpad helped improve consistency, it also introduced its own set of problems. Besides the awkwardness of using the tip of my thumb to press dpad left and the middle of my thumb to press dpad down to perform a diagonal input, the repeated motion quickly started to cause finger pain. But I couldn't just stop. I was already in too deep. After purchasing the pathfinder ball and the slow motion power-ups, steps 1-6 were repeated to clear level 320, this time involving approximately 25 hours of practice (and worrying amounts of thumb pain) instead of the 35 that 319 required. Here's the final video of me finishing level 320 and earning the "Shenanigans!" trophy after 60 hard-fought hours across two utterly inhuman levels. Level 320 Clear + "Shenanigans!" Trophy Pop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNXd7aYU7Iw What's Next? For some of you, this update may have come out of left field! Sorry for any confusion. πŸ˜… I had been planning to write about my experience with Cloudberry Kingdom for months, since I originally finished it back in June of 2021, but, because my motivation to write was nowhere to be seen at the time, I kept putting it off. Before I forgot everything, I wanted to try my best to at least outline my process in tackling levels 319 and 320 in this update. I know this was a long one, but thank you for reading! πŸ˜„ This will probably be my last update for the next several months, but I'll still be tackling difficult games here and there in the Discord server I'm hosting. Right now, we're got a crew of 4 playing Neon Drive and we may be starting Verlet Swing soon! If you'd like to hangout, you're all welcome to visit. Discord Server Invite Link: https://discord.gg/7dBUczdXh5 If you'd rather be friends on Discord, please feel free to add me at Solid#9831. Yeah, I'm definitely looking forward to trying Elden Ring! πŸ™‚ The reviews for it have been nuts and it doesn't look like the differences between the PS4/PS5 versions are that significant, so it might be worth picking up before I get a PS5. If I end up loving it, maybe it'll make for a great option for #250. πŸ€” No, thank you for joining in! I would have been 20x more embarrassed if no one played along. πŸ˜‚ Congrats on making it through Babel and I hope you enjoy plat #200! I was actually minutes away from locking my thread, so I'm glad I got to see you clear Axis Mundi before I closed up. Your climbing skills really are insane considering how quickly you managed to climb Babel! ---- Thanks again everyone! You've all been awesome!
  5. Tier 1 Update - Skullgirls 2nd Encore (0.85/0.12%) Did anyone expect a seven-year-old rerelease of a ten-year-old fighter would receive DLC so late in its lifespan? It's certainly not something we see very often, but Skullgirls' dedicated following made it possible. Featuring a new character, a brief story component, and a fairly simple fighting challenge, the hardest part of this new DLC isn't the struggle involved in earning the added trophies, but having the stomach to fork over $10 to access it in the first place. πŸ˜… Back in 2020, I spent over 50 hours chasing the platinum trophy in Skullgirls 2nd Encore with the vast majority of that time spent in the game's trial mode. Trial mode was all about performing elaborate combo strings that could often take hours to learn and it still stands as one of the only challenges to ever reduce me to tears out of frustration. After poking around in my capture list, I found I still had about a dozen old clips of me pushing through some of the tougher trials. If you'd like to see me barely survive Ms. Fortune's infamous 3rd trial and pause-buffer my way through her 4th, I've left some links attached. Playing through the new DLC took me back to the stress-free moments of Skullgirls when I didn't have to annihilate my thumbs for the game's pleasure. I got to sit back and button mash for a change. I'm not sure if I'll ever spend the money to buy the three additional DLC packs that are expected to release in the future, but it was nice to revisit this game one last time to patch things up. I'm also going to be making two swaps! I'm swapping out Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 and Kickbeat for Bleed and Neon Drive.
  6. Thanks! Sitting bleary-eyed through another 5 hours of Rapunzel definitely isn't high on my priority list, but I'm sure I'll get it done sooner or later once I get closer to #250. πŸ˜‚ I've still gotta figure out whether I want Catherine or MGS2 as milestone plats. Maybe I'd get destroyed faster if I put "Please Destroy Me" in my Tinder bio. Damn, I thought for sure Obelisk would stop you in your tracks. πŸ˜… For me, it was Babel's most difficult stage and I can't imagine being able to climb it so soon after meeting the unlock requirements. Props for getting so good at the game so quickly! I guess Catherine just "clicks" with some people. If your skills keep improving, I'd be curious to see how well you'd do attempting Axis Mundi on Solo. In the US release of Catherine, the tower is bugged and borderline impossible to climb in Solo (Co-op is, thankfully, unaffected). You'd need some serious talent to make it to the top, but your skill trajectory seems to suggest you could get it done if you wanted to with how quickly you've managed everything else. πŸ˜‚ Either way, good luck with Axis Mundi! If nothing's stopped you yet, I can't imagine the last of Babel will slow you down.
  7. I wouldn't doubt yourself! Once you've gotten used to driving without certain assists (stability control and traction control among others can slow your car down dramatically), it just becomes a matter of practice and memorization. The hardest part is having the patience to drive the same track dozens of times as you shave time off the clock. πŸ˜‚
  8. Tier 1 Update - Dirt Rally 2.0 (0.12%) 140+ hours for this one. Was it worth it? Despite the intimidating image this rally racing-sim and its predecessor have built over the years, earning the platinum in Dirt Rally 2.0 doesn't really involve anything spectacular. You cruise through the historic championships and rallycross events on Very Easy, complete some daily/weekly challenges to grind for cash, buy a few cars, and finish in the "top tier" of a daily in the Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2 (which can be done pretty easily in a Delta daily). Seems pretty easy, right? The real challenge is the DLC (5 packs in all) with the star of the show being the notorious "...Flatout" trophy. You'll have to complete each of the 40 Colin McRae DLC scenarios on Very Hard difficulty to bag this trophy and, let me tell you, this monstrous feat will put your patience and your racing skills to the ultimate test (especially if you're like me and played just about everything else in the game on Very Easy ). "Very Hard" is, unsurprisingly, Very Hard and I spent hours painstakingly burning each track into memory until I was fast enough to one-up the competition. A few of these scenarios were insane, requiring hours upon hours of practice to pass (I found 2-5, 3-10, and 3-12 to be the hardest of the bunch). Most of the rest required persistence, but were nothing too mind-melting. I'll link my very last scenario before earning the trophy in case you'd like to see some gameplay for yourself (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgSeosG_mEM). Sometimes, when you've been practicing awhile, your car can start to feel like a natural extension of yourself. You'll think you're in total control and take each turn almost as effortlessly as you breathe. It's hard to compare the satisfaction I felt in those moments to anything else I've experienced in gaming. It's like some sort of racing "zen" except you're blazing down a dirt road at 170 km/h with the smallest rogue bump threatening to undo your entire existence (honestly, rally racers are goddamn lunatics πŸ˜‚). So, was it worth it? For me, absolutely. For you, I guess it'll depend on how much you enjoy rolling your car and flying into trees. I also completed Catherine: Full Body (2.75%)! You can read more about my thoughts on the game on my checklist if you're curious (they're some of the worst updates I've ever written though, so be warned ). The gist of it is that I really enjoyed the story and had a lot of fun climbing Babel in my undies! Grinding for Gold Prizes was kind of a drag, but, hey, that's trophy-hunting sometimes. Still a fantastic game that I'd recommend to anyone, even if puzzle games aren't your thing.
  9. It's no problem dude, I'm glad I could help. Congrats on getting through to the end! It seems like Assetto Corsa's reputation as one of the hardest PSN racers out there has been starting to shift lately. I wish there was more out there that could compete for the title. Right, if you're planning on earning the platinum in both games, then I'd absolutely recommend tackling Full Body first since you'll have the ability to undo in hard mode and climb Babel with energy drinks. If you were to only play one or the other, Full Body is definitely the way to go. It has a much stronger, more fleshed out, story and the much needed quality of life changes in the core gameplay make it far less frustrating than the original. As for block climbing techniques, I wouldn't let yourself get too bogged down in trying to internalize specific tech (it can quickly get overwhelming). You'll learn the most by experimenting and watching others play. I personally learned the most by watching players solve the Rapunzel levels and copying their strategies. If I had to pick something, I'd say Inazuma is the most practical. I use it constantly in Babel and whenever I can in the story mode stages. Bridge/Flying Bridge is also important to learn as it can help you build larger platforms to work with. I'll leave a link I found awhile back that included most of the techniques in the game if you wanted to study any specific tech. Thanks and good luck with Catherine! πŸ˜„
  10. Catherine and the Last Brittle Tower - Update #5 Is there a better way to spend Valentine's Day than curling up in a cozy recliner with two controllers in your lap as you try to earn a co-op trophy by yourself? ...Doubt it. An unhealthy obsession with digital bragging rights beats meaningful social interaction any day. Right? ...Right? An Icy Room In the last update, I carried on with my Hard mode playthrough of Catherine: Full Body in a gratuitous, self-imposed training arc for the more difficult PS3 version of Catherine's Babel mode. I made it to one of the last stages in the game, 7-4, before I gave in and started referring to reference videos to solve some of the game's remaining puzzles. After finishing off the last few stages and unceremoniously earning the game's platinum trophy, I returned to the PS3 version of Catherine to settle my score with Babel in round two... Since I never finished the original Catherine's story mode, the final stage of Babel, Axis Mundi, was still gated behind a progression wall. I needed to earn the Gold Prizes in every stage on Normal difficulty or higher to set foot in the last of Babel's towers. Finishing up a save that dated back to 2014 (I was apparently in the middle of Stage 6) was an option, but greed led me down a different path. Unlike the Full Body remake, you don't need to earn every Gold Prize on every last difficulty to platinum the game. In the original, you can get away with collecting every prize on Hard before the absurdity of trophy hunting ever gets a chance to weigh you down. Doing so will unlock one of the hardest trophies in the game: "The Golden Child." I figured I might as well be efficient and do one last playthrough of Catherine on Hard while I work towards unlocking Axis Mundi. A Cold Touch The conveniences that Full Body introduced were sorely missed as I marched mechanically through the PS3 original. Being unable to undo my moves (a rewind mechanic whereby you revert back one or more block "pushes") led to a litany of careless mistakes. Gold Prizes were more aggravating to earn than ever before even though I had just completed these stages in Full Body. Ignoring the pain for the sake of seeing Babel one last time was all that pushed me forward. The final two stages, 9-5 and 9-6, refused to go down easily. Hazards assaulted the player in ways that would shift each tower in unpredictable arrangements. Block type could change at the drop of a hat while some sections faced annihilation altogether. Much like Babel, luck, careful improvisation, and memorization would stand as your only saving grace. I would climb and fall with biting regularity. An hour passed before I scaled 9-5; 9-6 devoured a second. I stared at the screen with eyes glazed over as "The Golden Child" popped and the last stage of Babel was unlocked. Hollow Words When I last brought up Babel's difficulties a few weeks ago, I showcased a dramatized retelling of my experiences with Axis Mundi and Obelisk. The story didn't actually end there... As my trophy list might betray, I immediately dove in to the PS3 version of Babel to see if the difficulty of Babel really warranted the "9/10" difficulty label it received on the PSNP trophy guide compared to Full Body's comparably tame "7/10" label. I found that Altar and Menhir were not much different than their Full Body counterparts. The lack of energy drinks (items that let you jump up two blocks to get out of a jam) made the climb trickier, but all the practice I've had since I last visited these towers meant that making mistakes was less commonplace. Both towers were quickly conquered. Obelisk, however, was the first to bend the rules. In Full Body's rendition of Obelisk, you'd normally come across normal, cracked, ice, trap, and heavy blocks... ... but this isn't the case in the PS3 original. In the PS3 version you have to deal with additional Mystery, Monster, and Explosive blocks. Mystery blocks, when stepped on, have the ability to transform into any other block type (normal, cracked, ice, trap, heavy, monster, or explosive). Monster blocks will randomly move one block's length throughout the stage whenever they feel like it and will drop the player if they hang off the block's face. These blocks can also be "killed" by stepping on them. Explosive blocks, when stepped on, damage all blocks in range after a set amount of time has much like the TNT boxes in Crash Bandicoot (these damaged blocks then become cracked). I can only imagine that the Full Body remake toned down the co-op version of Obelisk to minimize the chaotic RNG-driven nature of mystery and monster blocks. Maybe people complained about it feeling unfair. πŸ€” In any case, the climb was the most brutal I'd experienced up to this point. I spent 3 hours slaving away in my undies in a Sisyphean effort to reach the top. One of the most heart-breaking ways I've died is by sliding off the edge of the stage when a mystery block decided to transform into ice (it is usually best to assume these blocks are going to be either ice or trap types to avoid an early death). Once I had finished, I readied myself for the last of Babel's trials: Axis Mundi. Chasing Phantoms Babel's final tower loomed ahead for the second, and final, time. All those hours spent grinding for Gold Prizes were leading to this moment. When I first climbed Axis Mundi in Full Body, I used up 4 energy drinks (2 for each climber) to cover for moments of poor climbing. Could I complete the climb without the energy drink? I was determined to find out. When I set out to play the PS3 original back in 2014, I felt like an incapable idiot. I didn't think I had what it took to finish the game on Normal difficulty, let alone climb some of the most difficult structures the game had to offer. 7 long years later, I came back a different person. I learned that no matter how "stupid" or "incapable" you feel, obstacles will fall if you have the patience to keep pushing against them. I learned that failure is little more than an inevitable byproduct in the formula for success. As the last trophy in Catherine: Full Body states, "Persistence conquers all things." Like a ferocious beast egging me on to higher and higher peaks, my mentality had been sharpened by years of failure and was hungry for another victory. This climb was something moreβ€”it was validationβ€”it was evidence that I had changedβ€”it was a feast for the ego. I would climb and fall. I would try again. I would fall again. I resisted the temptations to give in until I claimed my rightful place on the top of the tower a few short hours later. Axis Mundi fell for the last time. Circling Back Remember how I mentioned that Babel was significantly easier in co-op than it is in Solo mode? Well, before I end this series of updates, I thought it might be fun to see how I fared in the Solo versions of these monstrous towers. There aren't any trophies on the line, but the increased step counts and complex block patterns were sure to give me the reality check I needed. I'll save you another long-winded ego trip and just post videos of my three successful runs below. πŸ˜‚ [Altar - Solo] [Menhir - Solo] [Obelisk - Solo] If anyone's reading and wants to take on the Solo version of Babel, I'd love to see your runs! Axis Mundi on Solo, while not required for any trophy-related feats, is still out of my reach for now (I'd especially love to see someone brave enough to give it a shot). πŸ˜… In addition to the co-op times I provided in a previous update, here are my Solo times in Catherine: Full Body for those that want something more to compete against. ~ Catherine Confessional ~ The Catherine confessional polls have come to a close! Thanks for participating everyone! I guess embarrassment isn't a very common kink. Below, I'm going to be posting images of each poll before it was closed and removed. Often times, these images can unfortunately look really small if you're viewing on mobile. If they aren't readable, zooming in may solve the issue, but, if that doesn't work, let me know and I'd be happy to type out the results below. Respect to the brave souls that answered these questions honestly! I feel like I understand you all just a little bit better. πŸ˜… What's Next? Since I earned the platinum in Catherine: Full Body and wrapped up the last of the PS3 Catherine's challenging trophies, I'm going to save the last few story/Rapunzel trophies for later. I'm trying to figure out good milestone material for platinum #250 and the PS3 version of Catherine seems like a strong candidate. πŸ˜‚ We'll see how things pan out! My journey through Catherine might be over, but that doesn't necessarily mean we won't be seeing updates from other players in the coming weeks. You're all, of course, still welcome to post Catherine (PS3) or Catherine: Full Body (PS4) updates until March 6th! We won't be seeing any updates from me until then. If anyone remembers that Cloudberry Kingdom all-in-one update I never got around to writing last year, I'm going to take advantage of the time between now and March 6th to get that written and posted. I don't have any definite plans beyond that point, so we'll wing it from there. Thank you all for joining me for Catherine and I'll see you on March 6th! πŸ˜„
  11. Going from a blank slate to being able to climb Altar and Menhir without energy drinks in just a few days is insane. 😨 You're a natural! Transforming your "biggest mistake" into something you can feel a sense of accomplishment over is inspiring as hell. Even with the energy drink assists, I wasn't able to climb Menhir at all in 2019 and my save file had 40+ hours on it. πŸ˜‚ Keep it up! I'm excited to see whether Obelisk puts up more of a fight or if you'll steamroll straight through.
  12. No worries! I haven't played a GT since 4 myself, but 6 seems like a solid entry point into the series. I've been thinking about picking up GT7 once it comes out, but it feels like such a waste to play it on a PS4 when it was designed to take advantage of the PS5. I could just upgrade in the future when I get a PS5 since it's cross-buy though... πŸ€” I tried to start up Trine 2: Complete Story awhile back, but it felt like such a slog. 😩 The gameplay is sluggish and the collectibles are hidden in weird and obscure locations, so you kind of have to rely on videos throughout the entire first playthrough. After a few levels of mindlessly following video after video, I accepted the fact that the process was miserable and set the game aside. There's a bunch of UR trophies (17) for your trouble though if you can stomach it. I can't really comment on the difficulty yet, since I haven't put much time into the Hard mode playthrough, but I'd have to follow another series of reference videos to get it done so it stopped appealing to me. Someday I'll give it another chance. With Batman: Arkham Knight, I felt that the amount of effort required to earn the three hardest trophies just wasn't worth the prestige of the 100% completion. I'd probably need a minimum of 10-15 hours of practice to get used to the combat system again and learn whichever tactics are required to succeed. As much as I'd like to get it done sometime, I think I've been spoiled by ultra rare trophies that require half the effort Batman demands. πŸ˜… Even if there's no UR trophies, Arkham Knight is a far more impressive completion than most UR games, so major props for getting it done. Haha, you're absolutely right about me not being much of a fan of open world games. πŸ˜‚ I can't really pin down what it is about them that pushes me away, but I get bored so easily nowadays that I can't put up with all the fluff inherent in open-world design. The great thing about Kiwami's open-world was that it felt compact and everything had purpose. I never had to run for more than a few minutes to get anywhere and rarely felt like I was wasting my time. It helped that the Yakuza games have kickass stories too. I'm hoping to get back to Yakuza 0 (I originally played it when I wasn't hunting for trophies) later this year alongside Kiwami 2.
  13. Catherine and the Golden Playhouse Curse - Update #4 It's finally time to dive into Catherine's story levels proper! 😀 I feel like lecturing today, so we're going to be discussing the process of earning a "Gold Prize," highlighting some of the differences between Classic and Remix mode, and following the rabbit hole down to a puzzle I was unable to solve. But first... it's been awhile since my last update and my progression has been confusing enough as it is, so I figured it'd be best to do a quick bullet-point recap of everything that's happened since I started my playthrough of Catherine: Full Body. 2019 - Progress - Finished the story mode levels on Easy and Easy Remix - Finished the story mode levels on Normal and Normal Remix - Unlocked all endings - Reached level 28 of the Rapunzel arcade - Completed Altar (Babel) in co-op 2022 - Progress - Finished Stage 1 on Hard and stopped - Completed Altar (Babel) in co-op again, but slower - Followed video guides to complete the Rapunzel Arcade. - Completed Menhir (Babel) in co-op - Completed Obelisk (Babel) in co-op - Completed Axis Mundi (last of Babel) in co-op - Got confused about my rate of progression [Present] The Burden of the "Gold Prize" With my experience at Babel starting to feel like a distant memory, I continued onwards to stage 2 of my hard mode playthrough. Pushing blocks in my undies never felt so good! I was effortlessly solving sections that would've melted the mind of my former self. I felt so... capableβ€”nearly invincible in factβ€”as I climbed each tower at blistering speeds. Stages 2, 3, 4, and 5 passed in a blur, but stage 6 was where my progress started to feel more sporadic and hard-fought. Block arrangement complexity was on the rise and I was lagging behind my usual pace. It was here that I identified one of the hidden culprits behind my sudden obsession with Babel: the irritating "Gold Prize." Unlike Babel where you climb to the beat of your own drum, your performance in the story mode stages are judged according to some questionable criteria. Criteria #1 is the amount of money you collect. Money has been associated with desirability in tales as old as time, but the money you find scattered about in your nightmares is surely worthless, no? Not quite. Sprinkled in difficult to reach places, money is littered all throughout these stages to encourage creative puzzle solving and exploration. Collect all (sometimes most is good enough) of the money you can find and you'll satisfy the moneygrubbing judges that stir behind the scenes. If you can't eat the rich, your only option is to collect the scraps they leave behind until capitalism and human greed reduce our world to rubble. 🍻 Criteria #2, however, is one of the only design choices in Catherine that I take issue with: your step count combo. I mentioned in the last update that a "step" in Babel qualifies as a "step" if you climb upwards one block layer. That definition carries over into the story mode, but is saddled with a combo system and a time limit that, I swear, does nothing but cramp your climbing style. When you move up a step, your combo goes up and a timer starts ticking down. If the timer expires before you go up another step, the combo is broken which apparently upsets the judges bickering backstage. Because Catherine's gameplay is all about solving puzzles, your combo is going to be broken every time a block arrangement confuses you for more than a few seconds. I can't tell you the number of times I had to pull out an unnecessary block just to bump up my step count and keep my combo alive for a little longer. In order to earn the "Gold Prize," you need to memorize a route to victory that includes all (or most) of the money and obeys the step count combo rules for a high combo score. Without videos to guide your routing, this usually involves several replays of each stage until you can practically play it in your sleep. Should you come short, the game will pity you with some silver and bronze consolation prizes. Getting every "Gold Prize" in every level across all 6 difficulty modes is one hell of a slog even if the levels themselves are well-designed and fun to puzzle out. A Remixed Nightmare Unique to the Catherine: Full Body rerelease is an alternate story mode called "Remix" mode. In remix mode, you'll travel through the same stages as you would in the game's original mode, but you'll have modified level layouts and new larger blocks to deal with that come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. These new blocks may be as small as two conjoined blocks or as large as a 12+ block megastructure. At Remix mode's best, the inclusion of larger blocks can present a fresh and creative take on the original level's solutions. There are moments, however, in which this creativity can feel stifled from linear "one-and-done" solutions as some blocks only offer up a single possible use. If you'd like to get a taste of what Remix mode has to offer, I've included the first two stages on Hard Remix below. 1-1 / 2-1 / 2-2 / 2-3 Down the Rabbit Hole With explanations and judgmental old moneygrubbers out of the way, I kept pushing blocks one stage at a time, determined to see how far I could get without using any sort of reference material. To save time, I would often complete a stage's classic layout and remixed layout one after the other as the solutions between the two modes tend to share the same DNA. Eventually, however, things started getting ridiculous... Full section [7-2] This hollow, diamond-shaped monstrosity left me clueless for a good 40 minutes. I don't even know how to explain the solution, but, with trial and error, I was proud to stumble my way to success. πŸ˜‚ I knew it was only a matter of time before my luck ran out. The puzzles were only getting tougher and I struggled to keep up without sitting in a corner for hours trying every possible combination of actions until blind luck cut me a break. Upon reaching stage 7-4, I spent around 90 minutes pushing a particular set of blocks in every possible orientation, but the solution just wasn't there. I could reach the stage's end, but I had no idea how to grab the gold just below the goal and make it back alive. My patience started to wear thin. I caved and watched a reference video, but I don't really regret it because I'm sure I could have easily spent another 2-3 hours before I ever figured out the solution. I decided (I'm not sure why ) to record my successful runs leading up to 7-4 since that was my breaking point as far as using not using reference material in the story goes. If you'd like to see the successful bits of my journey through hard mode, my runs are all listed below. Classic - Hard Playthrough 1-1 / 2-1 / 2-2 / 2-3 / 3-1 3-2 / 3-3 / 4-1 / 4-2 / 5-1 5-2 / 5-3 / 6-1 / 6-2 / 6-3 6-4 / 7-1 / 7-2 / 7-3 / *7-4 (*the reference I followed) What's Next? Since the remaining levels involve major story-related spoilers, I'll be completing those on my own in preparation for my return visit to Babel on the PS3 version of Catherine (the harder version of Babel). In order to unlock the final stage of Babel in the PS3 version, I'll have to complete the story and earn all of the "Gold Prizes" on Normal difficulty or higher. I plan to do a playthrough on Hard to knock out the 2nd hardest trophy along the way in case I decide to platinum the original Catherine later down the line. Expect Catherine: Full Body to be done and dusted in the next update! Depending on how far I get in the PS3 version of Catherine, the next update, which will be posted on February 17th, might be my last for Catherine. Thank you for reading! I'll see you all soon! πŸ˜„
  14. I'm happy to hear it! You'll have to let me know if you end up obsessing over Babel as much as I have. Have fun and enjoy the story!
  15. The "Please Destroy Us" Discord Server 🍻 Server Invite Link: https://discord.gg/7dBUczdXh5 🍻 Why a Discord Server? Hey! Writing updates in my own little world can feel isolating and exhausting. I kinda just wanna hang out and get to know the community a little better. I figure a Discord server might be a more accessible environment for everyone to be themselves and have some fun working towards a collective goal. Recently, I've been interested in trying to earn the "Flatout" trophy in Dirt Rally 2.0 and thought this would make for a great opportunity to try to get the community involved in the action! Posting quick informal updates, cheering each other on, shooting the breeze, and comparing times/tuning setups might make for a more memorable experience than if I were to huddle in some dark corner of my room and do this all on my own. πŸ˜‚ What's "Flatout" all about? One of Dirt Rally 2.0's final DLC packs was themed around rally racing legend, Colin McRae, and features 40 "scenarios" that follow in the footsteps of the man's fabled career. To earn the Flatout trophy, you must complete each of these scenarios on "Very Hard" difficulty. Now, many of these scenarios require several hours of practice to clear, but can be made significantly easier with specific tuning setups and assists. Having a small community on your side to identify strong setups or cheer you on can make all the difference between a swift success and several aggravating hours of failure. Your driving skills will be put to the ultimate test should you choose to take this challenge on, so I hope you're ready! If you'd like to read a little more about Flatout before deciding to join in, I'm going to leave a few links below that discuss the trophy in more detail: Dirt Rally 2.0 - Colin McRae Trophy Guide Flatout Discussion Thread TrueAchievements Mini Guide I want to emphasize to anyone on the fence that Flatout can be earned on automatic with assists enabled. If you're not feeling confident in your driving skills or have never played a rally racer in your life, this might be a good chance to improve and have some fun with the community in the process! Additionally, the Colin McRae scenarios are available from the outset provided you have the DLC installed. You will not need to have made any prior progress in Dirt Rally 2.0 to get involved. What if I don't want to play Dirt Rally 2.0? That's okay! Anyone is welcome to join the server whether you want to observe or participate. Hanging out with the community is the whole point, so don't worry about playing along if Dirt Rally 2.0 isn't your cup of tea. Depending on how many people join the server, we may add new games into the mix along the way that cater to a wider variety of players. This can't happen of course unless you join. What's next? If the server ends up being a total ghost town, we will downsize to a group chat or disband entirely by February 15th. πŸ‘» If you'd like to contact me with any questions, concerns, or ideas, feel free to message me on PSNP, PSN, or Discord at Solid#9831. Otherwise, Catherine updates will carry on as normal with the next to be posted on February 10th! I won't be available for the next few hours to welcome those of you that join, but know that I'm happy to have you! Thank you for reading and I hope to see you there! πŸ˜„