The Achievement Research Project 2017 is still ongoing. In the last two weeks the project hit the unofficial halfway point. Basically when you sort achievements down to just physical games on the Xbox 360, you get around 330 pages of results, around 30 of which are Japanese-only games I can't read or understand, so those ones will be left out. Before this week I was around page 160, since it can take anywhere from 7-20 minutes to process one full page. Progress was steady, and since there is no real due date for the project completion, it slowly soldiered on.
This is when the project hit a rather major snag that will drastically increase the amount of time required to complete this project. To sort the games, I first sorted by platform (Xbox 360) and title type (Games Only). Sort by achievement in alphabetical order and away you go. Up until this point there were different sort fields for Xbox 360, Windows, XBLA, and Xbox One. However sometime in the last week one of those sort fields was removed: the XBLA sort field. This now means the XBLA games like Minecraft
and World of Tanks
are sorted alongside physical titles like Halo 3
and Call of Duty 4
This now means that every time a common achievement name comes up, extra care has to be taken to ensure the games I'm counting are indeed physical games and not XBLA games sneaking in. If I was any further back in this whole process, ideally less than 100 pages in, I would consider starting over and including XBLA games into the fold. It might even sway the results and make a new top ten. However I'm over 150 pages in (now over 180 pages in since the number of entries I need to process has swelled considerably) and I'm going to continue as this process began: physical Xbox 360 games only.
The main result is this process will take quite a bit longer to complete, and now will make it much harder to do follow-up research into XBLA titles or any other medium. Let's just hope TA doesn't remove the Windows sort field as well before all is said and done otherwise this project may never be completed. To have all the research done and for it all to mean nothing would be truly a tragic end to all of this work. In less depressing news, here's a Micro-Review for a game I am thoroughly burned out on and is likely one of the most colourful games you will ever see:de Blob 2
Micro-Review: Game consoles today are littered with the same dull industrial shooters of varying shades of grey and brown. When a game comes along that throws all of those conventions out of the window, it's worth your time to sit up and take notice. This is what I did with de Blob 2
, and for the most part the game delivered on its promise of vibrant colour, but somewhat fell flat on the gameplay front. You play as Blob, an amorphous mass of variable size and colour, set out to restore said colour to the world.
This game is all about visual style. You absorb paint, and proceed to colour the entire world around you, from buildings to vehicles and even local plant life. You are restoring colour as fast as it's being taken away by Comrade Black and the Inkies. The game will endear itself with its lively music and visuals and compelling narrative. It's a shame then that the gameplay doesn't hold up across all 12 levels. As diverse as the levels are, the core gameplay gets repetitive and somewhat boring toward the end. Even adding temporary power-ups does little to break it up.
One thing that surprised me the most was how stingy this game is with achievements. Only 25 available, however a majority of them only come at the end of the game, assuming you found all collectibles, freed every civilian, earned S-rank everywhere and didn't purchase a single power-up. Good luck with that last one on the last few levels. Despite this, the game is beautiful visually, and even available on your Xbox One through backward compatibility. The game has an incredible original music selection, with three tracks available for each level and an unlockable fourth track as well.
Expect to spend anywhere from 20-30 hours on this game across multiple sittings. I found I could only handle two levels at absolute maximum per day, since to get all collectibles you need to use an admittedly-excellent text guide. Your mileage may vary and you may be able to play half the game in one day. More power to you if you can. Otherwise, take this one slow, enjoy the atmosphere and restore colour to the world of Raydia. Full disclosure: the title for this entire blog came from my friend and co-op partner petranat. Go check out her blog!
Verdict: a truly unique concept, held back by repetitive gameplay and unnecessary time limits on most levels. 6/10
Coming up on Monday: a long-term project completed, again.