Last weekend I got my 17th platinum trophy on PSN. Now granted for a trophy addict 17 is decidedly ‘meh’, but for your average gamer 17 is quite a few. I also never go for the easy ones, I won’t just play a game for the plat, I have to really like a game to invest myself enough to go for it. It gives me a good excuse to explore everything that the game has to offer.
My latest plat was for the recently released The Last Of Us. Getting the single player trophies was a joy; it forces you to search every corner looking for all the collectables (like diary notes, evacuation posters etc) which do a really good job of filling in the backstory and creating the tremendous atmosphere that the game possesses. And the survivor mode – magnificent. This is truly the way the game is meant to be played – no listen mode, limited ammo, and a reliance on scavenging. Needless to say, I recommend this mode completely, and I probably wouldn’t have given it a go if not for the trophies.
Multiplayer is a different matter entirely. Now don’t get me wrong, the multiplayer is great in TLOU, in fact it’s better than most multiplayer modes out there, and I certainly wouldn’t have bothered with it if it to the extent that i did if it weren’t for those sweet imaginary trophies, but that’s the problem – I didn’t enjoy it enough to warrant the time spent playing. Over here in the UK we’ve been experiencing something of a heat wave lately, with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees (Celsius, Fahrenheit would be ridiculous) so sitting in a room with a machine that is pumping out hot air, really wasn’t the funnest of things to be honest. And yet everyday I played a little, just to edge myself forwards to getting this thing. This thing that does literally nothing other than inflate my gaming ego (of course being friends with Matt Husselbury means my ego will always be eclipsed by his, but that’s not the point). Once I invested myself in getting the platinum I was not going to stop until i had sunk all 30 hours into that damn online mode to get the thing.
I remember the days when I would explore everything a game had to offer purely because I loved it so much. I would get a save file to say 100% (105% for Crash 3) just because I was a weird kid who liked to get things perfected, but now with the invention of trophies (which we can blame Microsoft for) I will only seek out a 100% completion if there is there is a chance I’ll hear that satisfying ‘ping’ when a trophy unlocks. What’s worse is that I’ll often not explore an aspect of a game if there isn’t a trophy available for performing the task meaning I could miss out on some amazing little things that could make an experience whole – the exception to this is Skyrim, obviously.
I’ve often been critical of competitors like Nintendo who haven’t embraced the achievement/trophy model, but y’know what? Maybe they’re right. Maybe they don’t need to have some little meta-game running across their systems and can just let the gamers decide how much of a game they want to play.
(Edit) After writing this blog Ian set it upon himself to obtain the platinum for Spec Ops: The Line. He doesn’t like the game yet is still going for it, so clearly doesn’t mean a thing he said in this blog. It’s been so stressful that he has apparently started talking in the third person.