Trophy Hunters: Final Fantasy XV – Episode 2

Welcome back to another episode of Trophy Hunters. Several weeks ago, I wrote about another platinum quest, this time setting my sights on Final Fantasy XV. Square Enix’s most recent (non-remake)entry into the long-running series had been one I’d wanted to play for quite some time, and I’m glad I finally got around to it.

It’s been…a month(seriously?) since my previous update showing the trophies I’d managed to acquire in my first 14 or so hours of playing the game. I had only completed the game’s prologue and first two chapters of the story as I’d spent the majority of my time completing numerous side quests across the world. Prior to starting FFXV, I had heard the game started off with a more wide-open structure before becoming a straightforward, linear experience in the latter chapters of the game. In the past several weeks, I have completed the main story of the game and can honestly say that I quite enjoyed the game and ended up more attached to Noct, Gladio, Ignis, and Prompto than I would have imagined. The story did become linear almost to the point of feeling rushed in some of the later chapters, as it felt like the game went from chapters lasting 60-90minutes(depending on side quests, hunting, etc.) to taking roughly 20 minutes to complete each chapter in the final act of the story. This, along with the fact Square Enix had started the game’s lifespan with the intent of it following a “live service” model, FFXV can feel a little disjointed in parts(*this perhaps being due to only playing the main game and none of the additional dlc at this time*). Minor quibbles with inconsistent pacing aside, I had a lot of fun playing the game and seeing Noctis’ journey from burdened prince to king of destiny.

After finishing up the main story, you have the option to return to previous areas of the game. After taking the rest of the night to savor the story’s finale, I traveled backwards to work towards finishing the remaining trophy requirements. In addition completing 80 side quests(I had only finished half of them by the time I reached the end credits), I still need to finish collecting all 13 royal arms as well as upgrading the Regalia to a flying machine and fighting the adamantoise, a mountain-sized turtle with 5,000,000 hp. There’s also trophies for raising the skill level for each member of the party to 10…which is looking to be a bit of a grind. A preview for the next update post, right?

Note: In an attempt to stay relatively spoiler-free, I have been simply stating the story chapters as completed and not going into much detail regarding the events contained within

Here’s the trophies I have collected in the meantime…

The Open World

  • Completed Chapter 3

Living Legend

  • Completed Chapter 4

Dark Clouds

  • Completed Chapter 5

A Way Forward

  • Completed Chapter 6

Party of Three

  • Completed Chapter 7

Seaworthy

  • Completed Chapter 8

Callings

  • Completed Chapter 9

The Heart of a King

  • Completed Chapter 10

In the Dark

  • Completed Chapter 11

End of Days

  • Completed Chapter 12

Redemption

  • Completed Chapter 13

Homecoming

  • Completed Chapter 14

Divine Intervention

  • Summoned one of the Six for the first time

Being a Final Fantasy game, of course there’s a summon ability. Noctis is able to summon one of the Six, or Astrals, once certain conditions have been met during a battle. A prompt will appear on the lower left side of the screen, which I don’t think I noticed into much further in the game. Either way, once you use the summon ability for the first time you are rewarded with the Divine Intervention trophy.

Chosen King

  • Defeated Ifrit on Normal difficulty

Another of the Astrals inhabiting the world of Eos, Ifrit is one of the Six that is not able to be summoned by Noctis during the game. Instead, the party must battle against the God of Fire shortly before the final confrontation in Chapter 14. Full disclosure, I had been playing through the majority of FFXV on easy difficulty, which became a lot more difficult in some areas than I had anticipated, but for the Chosen King trophy you must defeat Ifrit(unintended rhyme) on normal difficulty. All I needed to do was remember to switch the difficulty up a notch before the fight, which wasn’t anywhere near as difficult as I was expecting given surprising difficulty curve in some of the later chapters of the game on easy.

The Power of Kings

  • Called forth the Armiger for the first time

The Armiger is essentially Noctis’ limit break in FFXV, which summons an array of royal arms and deals extra damage. It’s triggered with L1 + R1 after the Armiger gauge is filled by landing(and evading) enough attacks. Noctis is able to call forth the Armiger after collecting three of the thirteen royal arms during the main story, which unlocks the Power of Kings trophy.

Immortal Photobomb

  • Caught an image of Gentiana in a photo

Gentiana, who acts as High Messenger in aiding the Oracle, Lady Lunafreya can be captured by Prompto in a snapshot as you travel across Eos(another rhyme…). There doesn’t seem to be a particular way to unlock the Immortal Photobomb trophy as it works randomly and you won’t even notice unless you view through all of the photos taken at the end of a chapter, hence the trophy name…

Self-Mastered

  • Activated 50 ability nodes

The quickest way to the Self-Mastered trophy was to focus on the ability nodes that cost the least AP. I probably could have gotten this trophy a little bit sooner than I did if I would have remembered to take a look at the Ascension sub-menu more often. Now that I have the trophy for activating 50 of them, I can use any AP I acquire from here to put towards other skill-related ones for Noctis and Co.

Spinning a Yarn IV

  • Completed 20 sidequests

5 dozen left…

Spinning a Yarn V

  • Completed 40 sidequests

Just unlocked this one the other day, officially reaching the halfway point for the Weaving a Tapestry trophy for completing 80 sidequests. Only 40 left now….<uneasy laugh>

That’s all for now. I’m not entirely certain how long it will take to clean up the rest of the FFXV trophies, making my way through those last…40 side quests and getting those skill levels maxed out will keep me busy into August. I started the game back in May, so another week or two doesn’t sound unlikely. Until next time…thanks for reading!

Donkey Kong 40th Anniversary – A Barrel of Memories

July 9, 2021 marks the 40th anniversary of Donkey Kong swinging his way into Japanese arcades in 1981. The game immediately became a massive success and put Nintendo on the gaming map. I’ve known Donkey Kong as a video game character as long as anyone and obviously, this includes Mario, known simply as “Jumpman” in the original arcade game. Donkey Kong has seen many phases and evolutions throughout his history, so, for today’s exercise in actually writing something, I’ve included a few various examples of DK memories from my own 3 decades of playing video games.

Pull up a barrel and let’s take a trip down memory lane…

Earliest

Nearly any successful game back in the 80’s had multiple iterations attempting to cash in on the newest video game craze. My family actually had two of these Coleco mini arcade games – Donkey Kong and Pac-Man. I remember lying on the living room floor at some very young age and attempting to play this, which seemed to always involve me looking around the house for the 4 C-batteries needed to power the miniature arcade cabinet. I don’t recall the game functioning all that well(when it did have batteries), but it was my first experience with Nintendo’s barrel-throwing primate. After this, it could very possibly be Donkey Kong Jr. for the NES…

Favorite

By the time we reached the early-90’s, Donkey Kong was already fading from the memories of many gamers. He was seen as a grandfather of gaming and certainly wasn’t expected to be thrust back into relevance, but that’s exactly what happened when Rare released Donkey Kong Country for the Super Nintendo in 1994.

I can still remember seeing DKC for the first time at my neighbor’s and couldn’t believe how incredible the game looked(especially for the time). DKC was one of those games I played as a kid, that I was immediately hooked upon playing and I can recall plenty of times I spent nearly all night trying to beat the game. I’ve mentioned…several times in past blog posts about how much I love Donkey Kong Country and attempting to accurately convey just what the game meant to me growing up.

Most Recent

Donkey Kong Country wasn’t the only game released in 1994 to star Nintendo’s simian mascot. Donkey Kong, commonly referred to as “DK ’94” was released on the Game Boy and very much flew under the radar for most gamers at the time – slightly understandable given it was released only a matter of months before Donkey Kong Country changed the course of history for game gorillas. Perhaps the strangest thing about the game is the fact it begins as essentially a port of the arcade version of the game, but then shifts into a puzzle-platformer spanning another 8 levels and 101 stages.

I bought the game sometime last year(?) and played it a little bit, but found out I hadn’t properly saved the game, requiring me to start from the beginning all over again. I mentioned DK ’94 in a blog post earlier this year listing some games from various Nintendo franchises celebrating milestone anniversaries this year, with the intent of seeing the game to completion sometime before the year is through…5 months and counting now. I (re)started the game a few days ago and have made it about halfway through the game. I’m really enjoying it and feel a bit ashamed of how I mistakenly saw it as just another version of the arcade game shortly after it was released, like most others it seems…

Questionable

Yes, this existed and yes I remember watching this before leaving for school in the morning…

I still like the DK Rap….I’m just not sure if it’s unironically or not?

The Return

While Rare made three Donkey Kong Country games and Donkey Kong 64(see: DK Rap), it felt like the series had begun to lose a little steam. In 2010, the series returned on the Nintendo Wii with the aptly titled, Donkey Kong Country Returns. This time, the game(s) were developed by Retro Studios, best known for the Metroid Prime games. DKC Returns was a wonderful return to form for DK and Co. with DKC: Tropical Freeze being released a few years later for the Wii U, and then re-released a couple years ago for the Nintendo Switch. Tropical Freeze perfectly encapsulates what made the games so great back in the 90’s, with many holding up the title as the series’ best entry. It took me a little bit of adjusting to the slightly heavier-feeling physics of the game, but after playing through both of the Retro DKC games, I have no issue with anyone regarding these as highly as the Rare ones and Tropical Freeze would likely be on my list of favorite Switch games.

That’s all I have for now. What are your favorite Donkey Kong games, or some of your favorite DK memories? Let me know.

Thanks for reading!