The three trophies that made me lose more years of life

Note: This article has been translated from Italian by ChatGPT and may contain errors.

I have already told you that I’m a trophy hunter. More in the past than now, but the desire to accumulate platinums is always there. It’s a dirty job that can lead to existential crises, spikes in frustration, cursing, and uncontrollable blasphemy. Today, I’ve decided to talk about three trophies that put a serious strain on my nerves. There might have been others (which I can’t recall right now), but for now, take these three.

Note: They’re not ranked in any particular order.

Tough to Die – Dead Space 2

The trophy in question requires completing the game on the Hardcore difficulty level. What’s difficult about it? The fact that you only have three saves to complete the game, there are no checkpoints, and the necromorphs kill you with a few hits (and in some areas, a single mistake or hit can mean death). Translated: each time you die, you start from the previous save point, so if you’ve played for three hours, haven’t used the first save, and die, you have to start all over again. I’ve lost count, not so much of how many times I restarted the game, but how many times I reloaded my third save only to reach the final boss who promptly killed me, forcing me to repeat the hellish last chapters in a loop that drove me insane, much like the protagonist Isaac. The trophy demands complete knowledge of the entire game and a fair bit of luck. You live with the constant anxiety and tension of dying and having to start from the beginning or from a save point made hours ago. You also need to know when to use the three saves, trying to spread them out as much as possible throughout the nightmare (clearly, if you use all three in the first few hours, you’re screwed big time).

Some have given in to this trophy, labeling it nearly impossible, while others have claimed it’s not particularly difficult. I’m somewhere in between. I didn’t use cheats or tricks (like on Xbox 360, where the game was on two discs and you could arrange a sort of extra save because once you put in the second disc, dying would restart you from that point). It was quite a nerve-wracking test for me, which probably cost me about three to five years of my life.

Darn Shadow Kids!

Dead Space 2 remains my favorite chapter of the series, which I absolutely adore in all three of its main incarnations (but I also love Extraction). Dead Space 3 has a similar trophy where you have to complete the adventure without dying. If you die, your saves are deleted, and you have to start from scratch. On paper, it might seem more difficult, but in reality, I found it rather straightforward. I made it to the end without any problems, but then I encountered a bug right at the final boss (the character fell into a void and died). Just to be safe, I had copied a previous save onto a memory stick, so I didn’t have to start all over again even though I would have preferred to achieve the trophy without resorting to tricks, but in this case, it was the game’s fault.

Strategy Only – Vanquish

Complete all tactical challenges. Simple, right? No, not even close. The first five challenges are one thing, but the sixth is enough to drive you insane. Each challenge is divided into five rounds, and reaching 6-5 and completing it requires monstrous patience and remarkable controller skills. A trophy for the few and a severe blow to my mental sanity. It could only end in four ways: I would give up in despair, end up in a mental institution, commit suicide, or succeed in the task. Fortunately, it ended well, but I must have lost five to ten years of life in the process.

I sort of liked Vanquish, even if it didn’t blow me away… well, maybe it did.

If they even made a meme out of it, there must be a reason…

Galapagos – No Man’s Sky

I bet you never imagined a game like No Man’s Sky would be in a list of difficult trophies. Maybe it’s because the memory is recent, maybe it’s because this trophy is one of the many annoyances of the game, but the fact remains that I decided to include it to vent a bit against Cosmic Bullshit in Space (new title for No Crap Sky). Galapagos requires finding all animal species on ten planets. How hard can that be? It just takes a bit of patience. A bit of patience? It takes truckloads and truckloads of patience! And I’m not all that patient anymore.

From what I understand, initially, the trophy was much easier to obtain, but with updates, the geniuses at Hello Games decided to make some goals more cancerous and frustrating. Maybe they thought it would increase player engagement in their miserable universe, but the only thing that increased was the annoyance factor. I could talk about the exhausting (and pointless) journey to the center of the galaxy (I eventually got there), the other cosmic joke called the Atlas Path, the trophy for surviving 32 Sols on an extreme-condition planet (eight real hours waiting for nothing), but the shittiest shit was the fauna search. Dozens of planets visited to look for, inevitably, the last species that refuses to show up. On most planets, I gave up out of despair. Entire days and hours, HOURS (!!!), wasted wandering aimlessly on planets that became boring after five minutes. All to find those damn identical animals!

It’s official: I hate animals… but only the ones in No Man’s Sky.

Ironically enough, at one point, I encountered a bug in both of the save files I had (the character got stuck in one of the landing pads), and I had to delete the installation data. I thought of taking advantage of it and playing without patches to make things easier, but I forgot about another equally frustrating thing: constant crashes. So I updated to the latest version, only to find that the fauna and survival objectives on extreme planets had been reset. I had to start from scratch. Double crap, double frustration, double years of life lost (at least five). I was already at seven planets completed 100%, but I had to struggle on another ten, so in total, I found all the species on seventeen planets and don’t know how many hours I spent on extreme planets.

If taken for what it is, No Man’s Sky is a decent game and was keeping me reasonably entertained until I had to deal with these crappy developer choices. It’s practically a manual on how to frustrate players. Stuff that makes you want to throw the disc out the window. Now that I’ve gotten the platinum, the only thing I can say is: screw you, No Man’s Sky.

Bonus: Cosmophony

Allow me to take a little bit of satisfaction in the midst of this sea of crap. It’s an achievement that isn’t tied to trophies, but oh well. In 2014, I wrote a review of the Wii U version of Cosmophony, a game that requires a sense of rhythm and considerable reflexes, especially in the final stage. The last level is genuinely panic-inducing, hair-pulling, and instant-ageing stuff, so much so that I hadn’t managed to complete it before writing the review. But then, the studio launched a contest for the first player in the world to finish the game (at least on Wii U). That same night, I got to it and succeeded. I managed to complete the incredibly tough final stage just hours before the contest began. Unfortunately, I didn’t win since I was classified as a “journalist” and had received the title before its official release (actually just two days before, and in any case, nobody else managed to complete the game in the two following days). Nevertheless, the studio mentioned me on Twitter and complimented me (they didn’t expect anyone to achieve it in such a short time). It might not be anything exceptional (the game isn’t exactly among the most well-known…), but the satisfaction was still immense.

Besides knowing that I’ll die young, now you also know which trophies drove me crazy. What about yours? Which ones have been challenging for you?

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