Monday, September 7, 2020

Toughest Tasks in Gaming History - Volume Seven

With this being Labor Day here in the United States, it seems like a prime opportunity to talk some laborious challenges in gaming that will definitely prove your e-cred. After all, we all know that e-cred is obviously the most important type of cred there is. But seriously, all kidding aside--these five gaming tasks will get your heart racing, thumbs sore, and temper flaring with how difficult they are to properly achieve. The weak and squeamish need not apply, as it's time for Toughest Tasks in Gaming History - Volume Seven!

Check out past installments of the Toughest Tasks series and let the community know which ones you've managed to tackle!

Volume One
Volume Two
Volume Three
Volume Four
Volume Five
Volume Six

Becoming "Infallible" - Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout (PS4, PC) 

We begin with a game that's been perfect for a pandemic--words that I never thought I'd have to utter on this blog in my lifetime--it's Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, a PlayStation Plus extra from last month turned gaming phenomenon. As the name implies, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout features multiple rounds of elimination-style games where the aim of the game is to be the last player standing out of the 60 that start. With each round, there is a threshold of qualifiers, and that number becomes smaller and smaller until the final round where only one player can become victorious.

Becoming the winner against 60 players is already a challenge as it is, but in order to achieve the name of "Infallible", a player has to become the number one player five episodes in a row. In essence, this means surviving the first four rounds of each episode AND ultimately winning the fifth... FIVE TIMES.

Getting this challenge done legitimately means you're one of the toughest Fall Guys around, as there is an intrinsic randomness to the game already. You can't control what other players do, and they're most likely gunning for the top spot as well, if not the "Infallible" achievement too. Good luck winning just one episode or luck out and somehow get a second episode win, but there's nothing more deflating than having a streak of four wins end in a crushing elimination.

Earning the 100% Ending - Paper Mario: The Origami King (NSW)

Paper Mario: The Origami King released in July, and was overall a terrific, humorous, and clever take on the Paper Mario series. I found myself yearning to play through the game, discovering what surprises the game had in store for me, thoroughly exploring each and every area for secrets and collectibles, and even liking the battle system overall. However, even as a lover of the latest Paper Mario game, there was one thing I just couldn't bring myself to do as I lack total patience: earning the special 100% ending. I won't spoil the contents of said ending, so no worries there.

Regardless, in order to get this final touch to The Origami King's ending, you must get every collectible trophy in the game. Most of them are happily and enjoyably found throughout the game world, but it's the ones for reaching certain milestones that are the hardest to acquire. Easier milestones for trophies include collecting a certain amount of coins or participating in a specific amount of battles.

The most challenging of these milestones, however, revolve around specific mini-games and events in The Origami King. I'm talking specifically about a late-scenario game show-esque event that requires you to do a perfect run of it, as well as a battle training mini-game that also necessitates a speedy and perfect run as well. Without getting into the nitty gritty of both, I can just say that if you aren't a fan of the ring-based battle system in The Origami King or get stumped easily, this won't be a pleasure cruise for you. The game show itself requires not just a photographic memory (or constantly taking screenshots to remember precise details), but the ability to quickly maneuver all three rings to provide answers in a timely fashion. Not easy, and certainly nothing that is worth getting too fussed over. I happily viewed the little extra in the 100% ending on YouTube instead, and I'm sure plenty of other players did the same.

Getting 200% Completion - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (NSW, Wii U)

Ah, SuperPhillip Central has seldom been a site to rest on its laurels, so let's not stop at 100%--let's double it up! For many players, even the most seasoned of platforming fans, the terrific Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is an already difficult game when they're just running through it normally. But, when the adventure has been completed, and the Snowmad villains have been forcefully removed from DK Isle, that's when Tropical Freeze really heats up as a platformer.

Enter Hard Mode: the final obstacle between a player and their 200% save file. By beating every level in Tropical Freeze, this mode unlocks, offering the same level designs and bosses featured in the base game. There's a banana slamma' of a difference, however, and that's that you only get one heart to work with in each level. Get hit, and you're dead. With no checkpoints and no offerings from Funky Kong to help you out this time around, this is one Kong-sized challenge. This is especially so with the rocket barrel levels and the boss battles, the latter of which were already difficult and lengthy affairs as they were! Regardless, if you can manage to beat the game via Hard Mode, not only will you be rewarded with some cool, extra concept art, but you can proudly proclaim that you're the top banana of the platforming bunch.

Achieving All Pure Platinums - The Wonderful 101 (PS4, NSW, Wii U, PC)

Platinum Games titles are well known for generally having scoring systems included, and some mighty big rewards for mastering the various gameplay systems involved. The Wonderful 101 and its recently released Remastered version are no different in this regard. The top rank in the game is a Pure Platinum, earned by being rated highly in three categories: Time--how quickly you clear a given mission, Combo--how many consecutive hits you deliver to enemies in a mission, and Damage--how little of which your team of Wonderful Ones take in a mission.

Just doing one Pure Platinum run in a given level (that is, getting all Pure Platinum ranks throughout a level) is tough enough. Try doing it for every level in the game on every difficulty. Throw in the designers' "wonderful" way of changing up the gameplay systems from a standard action game to superfluous stuff like shoot-em-up segments or Punch-Out!!-like boss battles, for instance. On top of that, so many levels in The Wonderful 101 are so lengthy that it can be agonizing to have to repeat a Pure Platinum run attempt just because you took a hit in one particular mission, especially if it's near the end of the level. Still, if you're able to come to terms with the highly complex, deep, and ultimately rewarding combat of The Wonderful 101 and manage to succeed with this truly taxing gaming task, you are definitely "one-stoppable".

Becoming a "VS Master" - Everybody's Golf (PS4)

Golf is a sport of patience and persistence. You'll need both to get the most difficult trophy in the happy-go-lucky golfing world of Everybody's Golf. The "VS Master" trophy requires you to beat every "Versus" character in match play, not once but twice due to their "revenge" versions. Many of the characters are challenging enough to compete against, especially when there are specific rules tied to them, such as taking stroke penalties for landing in the rough or in a bunker, for instance. The difference with the "revenge" variants of Versus characters is that if you lose against them, they will not be able to be re-challenged for literal days.

Furthermore, some Versus characters are secret, and they only challenge you after completing certain in-game tasks, such as sinking a specific amount of birdies, completing a certain amount of tournaments, and so forth. The hardest of these without a question is sinking not just one condor (which is one condition to unlock a secret Versus character) but THREE (which unlocks another). Only a handful of holes in the entire game offers the opportunity to sink a condor, and these require specific weather and wind conditions to have a shot in Heck to get a hole-in-one on these aforementioned handful of Par 5 holes. While free play is certainly an option to practice and pray that your driver is true, it's still immensely based on luck to score three condors, much more actually beating the challengers that come your way. As you can see, this is one gaming challenge and trophy that separates the pros from... well, "everybody" else!

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