Sunday, November 8, 2020

Toughest Tasks in Gaming History - Volume Eight

These five new gaming tasks are quite the tough cookies! I'm talking as tough as trying to get a pre-order in for the PlayStation 5, or to be even more topical, as tough as it was to wait for the U.S. presidential election to be called! These five gaming tasks demand patience, persistence, and a high degree of skill to complete, so if you wish to take these on (or already have), then you are a brave, brave soul! This time around on this eighth edition of Toughest Tasks in Gaming History, we have another helping of variety--from platformers like Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time and Hollow Knight, to extreme sports games like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2. So, strap in and get ready for a steep challenge!

Check out the previous seven volumes of Toughest Tasks in Gaming History with the following links:

Earning All Platinum Relics - Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time (PS4, XB1)

Crash Bandicoot and his games have been no stranger to Toughest Tasks in Gaming History. If you thought earning Gold Relics in the Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy's three games was no walk in the park (and to be honest, you really shouldn't be walking to clear time trials), then you ain't seen nothing yet with the latest game in the series, Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time.

Crash Bandicoot 4 takes an already somewhat difficult platforming series and turns up the dial to 11 to create one incredibly hard game, even just to beat normally. It's already tough to clear the absurdly lengthy levels in Crash Bandicoot 4 without dying already, but try doing it while racing against the clock with insanely (or is that "N. Sanely?) tough times to beat in order to earn Platinum Relics. Yes, you read that right. No longer is it okay to just earn a Gold Relic for an achievement like past Crash Bandicoot games--you have to earn a Platinum Relic on each and every hair-pulling, hard-as-nails level in It's About Time. Again, Crash Bandicoot 4 is already no cakewalk (again, you really shouldn't be walking to clear time trials), so having to clear levels in one life, without dying, and rush, rush, rush to the end will separate the casual Crash fans with the Crash fanatics (dare I say, masochists?). 

Getting All "Get Theres" - Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 (PS4, XB1, PC)

We move from one Activision-published game to another with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2, yet another excellent return to form for a game series that was in hibernation for a while. Getting certain gaps in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 can be a challenge all to itself, but with the game's "Get There" challenges, the intensity of difficulty ramps up considerably.

"Get There" challenges require the player to perform consecutive gaps successively without bailing or running out their combo. While the Easy and Normal difficulty "Get There" challenges are simple enough, the Hard level "Get Theres" offer definitely daunting tasks. Many require minute-long combos to reach each and every gap necessary in a level to achieve them. Unlike the Easy and Normal "Get Theres", you can't just cheese your way through them with cheats like perfect manual or perfect grind abilities. These consecutive gap "Get There" challenges demand finely-honed precision, great execution, and above all else, immense patience to achieve. Just don't attempt to break your controller over your knee as if it were your skater's board due to the challenge and possible resulting rage.

Earning All Medals - Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition (NSW)

With a new Hyrule Warriors on the horizon this month with Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity soon releasing on the Nintendo Switch, it seems like a great time to bring up a challenging task within the original Hyrule Warriors. (Well, at least the re-release with all of the DLC included as part of the Nintendo Switch port.)

Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition is absolutely packed to the brim with content, offering so much to do and so much to play that it can be overwhelming. And believe me, perhaps "overwhelming" is an understatement. That's why the goal of getting all of the medals, or achievements, within the game is such a taxing task and no easy accomplishment.

Many of the medals are simple enough to earn, such as clearing Legend Mode, running a certain distance across all maps, and defeating a specific amount of enemies, but then you get to Adventure Mode. This mode includes over eight unique maps, each with their own multitude of stages that not only need to be beaten, but also cleared with an "A" rank for certain medals. In order to achieve an "A" rank, one must usually clear a stage within a certain time limit, defeat a number foes, and not take much damage to boot. 

Further, there's the immensely time-consuming task of playing around with the "My Fairy" feature of Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition, which has you feeding found faeries food in order for them to level up and learn new Fairy Skills. In order to get the medal for this part of the game, you have to learn every Fairy Skill, which requires an exorbitant amount of time and food. So, not only is earning every medal within Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition a tough task due to the difficulty of getting "A" ranks in Adventure Mode, but it's also an extraordinarily time-consuming one, too. I'm talking hundreds of hours "time-consuming".

Clearing Steel Soul Mode at 100% - Hollow Knight (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC)

Our final two tough gaming tasks follow the same principle--they're just from different games but of the same genre. They're both 2D platformers of the Metroidvania persuasion, and they're also both beautiful lookers, too. 

The first is Hollow Knight, a game that this month is "free" for PlayStation Plus subscribers, interestingly and conveniently enough. Hollow Knight is already a challenging game with a wide open world that encourages exploration and doesn't rely on many roadblocks to keep players from uncovering its mysterious world. Beating the game is a tough task all to itself, in some regards, but doing so in Steel Soul Mode is even tougher! Pushing even further, clearing Steel Soul Mode with 100% completion is the toughest task one could ask for within Hollow Knight.

Steel Soul Mode is essentially Hollow Knight's permadeath mode. Our buggy hero only gets one life to live in the game, and once he perishes in battle or through an environment hazard, poof! The player's save file is over and they must start the game fresh all over again. Simply surviving the harsh underground labyrinths of Hollow Knight is a challenge all to itself, but surviving while achieving 100% completion--finding every collectible there is to find and battling every boss with one life--makes it so only the bold (or very, very foolish) need apply. You'll need to have boss and enemy patterns down pat, know the world and its secrets well, and hightail it and retreat when necessary. Good luck.

Becoming "Immortal" - Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition (XB1, NSW. PC)

Similar to Hollow Knight's Steel Soul Mode, Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition's "Immortal" achievement, requires players to go through and beat the game with one life. Again, if the little spirit Ori perishes for any reason, it's game over for good.

While Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition is hardly the hardest Metroidvania out there, what makes this particular challenge so... well, challenging is that there are multiple spots and segments within the game where death can come quickly and immediately in some cases. I'm mostly referring to the chase sequences in the game, where Ori must hightail it through danger-ridden, paths of death, which demand split-second reaction times and precise execution or else an "Immortal" run will swiftly become cut short. I already had issue with the chase sequences in my normal run of the game, due to their trial and error gameplay, but attempting these knowing I only have one chance at them? Nooooooooo thanks!

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