A Lack of Patience

1. My latest Uncharted 4 correspondence for Videodame’s Co-Op Campaign is up!  Check it out here.

2. Earlier this year I wrote that I was done with Lego games, having struggled to finish Lego Marvel Avengers..  To be more specific:

The voice acting is mostly taken from the movies, except each line reading feels strangely sleepy and deadened in its delivery; the action is relentlessly tedious, endless waves of enemies descending out of nowhere, for no particular reason except to pad everything out.  Plenty of bugs.  A whole bunch of puzzles that do not explain themselves at all, which is all the more frustrating because the game doesgo out of its way to explain the dumbest shit in agonizing unskippable camera swoops.  I know, I know – I’m 40 years old, I’m at least 25 years past the target demographic, etc.  This doesn’t stop a shitty game from being a shitty game.  Remind me that I said all of this when Lego: Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes out in a few months.

Well, for some stupid reason I decided to rent Lego Star Wars TFA, and, lo and behold, everything I said in the above paragraph applies to this new game as well.  I am no longer interested in having to repeat the same platforming exercise dozens of time because the game is too stupid to recognize where I’m jumping.  And while it’s great that they added some new stuff to break up the formula – 3rd-person cover shooting, space combat – the new stuff is so poorly executed that I’d rather they kept it out.  I barely got through 2 chapters before deciding I’d had enough.  I’d rather watch the movie anyway.

3. I realize that I never updated my progress with respect to INSIDE.  Well, I finished it, and… um… yeah.  I stand by my initial assertion that it packs one hell of a first impression, and that the animation and sound design are particularly excellent.  That being said, I have literally no idea what the hell happened there at the end, and I was left with a lingering sense of “what the hell did I just play, and why?”  Hard to explain unless I get into spoilers, though even with spoilers it’s not like it gets any easier.  Would be curious to discuss it with someone who got it.  Otherwise, I’m starting to wonder just what it is about PlayDead and their fascination with child murdering.

4. I’m kinda drifting along through my gaming library at the moment.  I should be focused on finishing Witcher 3: Blood and Wine, but that requires a time commitment that I simply don’t have right now; that’s not the sort of game that I can play for just 30 minutes and then log off.  For some reason I bought the PS4 editions of Saints Row 4 and Gat Out of Hell, probably because they were stupidly cheap.  I do kinda love how ridiculously dumb SR4 is; it’s the Crackdown sequel I always wanted.  The PS4 edition barely qualifies as a “remaster”, but that’s not necessarily enough to ignore it completely; it’s a fun, dumb game, and I’m happy to mess around with it unless it completely crashes (which it actually did the other night).  I’d never played Gat out of Hell, and after 30-45 minutes with it I’m not sure I need to.   I am obviously going to start playing Red Dead Redemption again on Friday, once its transition to the XB1 is complete; I don’t know if I’m going to start over from scratch or just pick up where my cloud save left off, but all I really want is just to hang out with it again.

surrounded

1. Achievement Unlocked:  we have a surround-sound system in our living room.  We don’t have to worry about annoying our downstairs neighbors, because the downstairs is still our house.  I’ve been wanting some sort of surround-sound thing for maybe 20 years, and now I have one.  Have I actually watched anything with it turned on?  No, not yet – we just got everything hooked up yesterday.  But it does work with Bluetooth and so I’ve been able to listen to rough drafts of my album with it via my phone, and that’s awesome, so, there’s that.  (As for what we got, we got this, which was in an Amazon Gold Box deal a little while ago for around $180.)

2. Books: the best part about not posting frequently is that when I do, I can suddenly recap a whole bunch of stuff instead of just one thing at a time.  I have finished Cixin Liu’s “The Dark Forest”, which moved the trilogy along in some very interesting and intriguing ways, and this morning I finished Samantha Hunt’s “Mr. Splitfoot”, which is a rather eerie and unsettling ghost story (and whose biggest reveal sent literally chills all over my body, on the train, which would’ve been even more awkward had I not been bundled up).  I’m about to start Christopher Buckley’s “The Relic Master”, which I’d heard good things about; I’m really mostly just treading water until John Wray’s “The Lost Time Accidents” comes out next week.  I don’t know why I’m so excited for that one, but I’ve been looking forward to it for many months now.

3.  Games:  I think I’m done with the Lego games.  I may have already said this.  I had to take a sick day yesterday and I ended up finishing the campaign for the newest one, Lego Marvel Avengers, and I’m fully OD’d on both Lego and Marvel, which is not a great feeling at all.  This game feels particularly uninspired in nearly every respect; if you’d never seen the movies, you’d have no idea what’s going on – but if you’d never seen the movies, why would you even be playing this?  The voice acting is mostly taken from the movies, except each line reading feels strangely sleepy and deadened in its delivery; the action is relentlessly tedious, endless waves of enemies descending out of nowhere, for no particular reason except to pad everything out.  Plenty of bugs.  A whole bunch of puzzles that do not explain themselves at all, which is all the more frustrating because the game does go out of its way to explain the dumbest shit in agonizing unskippable camera swoops.  I know, I know – I’m 40 years old, I’m at least 25 years past the target demographic, etc.  This doesn’t stop a shitty game from being a shitty game.  Remind me that I said all of this when Lego: Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes out in a few months.

That’s it and that’s all.

the first few hours: LEGO Marvel Super Heroes

As I said last week, I am now in the process of wrangling together my retrospective(s) of this console generation.  This is no easy task; I played a lot of games since 2005, and while I’m doing my best to make sure that certain games don’t get lost in the cracks, it’s inevitable that I’ll forget something.

So I’m saying this up front – I don’t want to sleep on the LEGO games.  I’ve played almost all of them, and while I don’t think any of them have ever appeared on any of my year-end top 10 lists, I’ve generally always had fun with them, and they’ve always been great in terms of fan service.

As it happens, I’ve been a bit stressed out lately, and I felt like indulging in some minor retail therapy, and so I treated myself to a PC download of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes over the weekend, even though I knew my weekend schedule was going to prevent me from really digging in.   (Side note – this is my first PC Lego experience.  I’ve played everything else on the 360, and I’d been hoping to score a 360 rental copy of Lego Marvel from Gamefly, but the timing wasn’t going to work out and in any event I don’t care about Achievements the way I used to, so here I am.)  I did manage to sink around 2-3 hours into it, though; I did the first 5 or 6 missions, and then spent a bunch of time running around Lego NYC.

Here’s what I can offer after such a short play experience.

On the one hand: LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is by far the best Lego game yet, which is saying quite a lot considering how good the recent Harry Potter, LOTR and Batman games have been.  Even though I’m not especially knowledgeable when it comes to comics (my familiarity with all things Marvel these days is primarily through the films and my wife’s rabid Marvel fandom), I can still appreciate the unprecedented levels of fan service being offered through its absurdly deep character roster, and even in the early going I can get a kick out of pairing Wolverine, Spiderman and the Hulk.  (And the fact that each character has their own specific idle animation is sure to tickle the most die-hard Marvel fan.) The game also features a surprisingly impressive graphics engine – even if, on my PC, frames tend to lock up during mid-mission saves and level loads.  Most impressive, though, is the open world simulation of New York City that serves as both a between-missions hub world and a full game unto itself, complete with side quests and hidden Lego bricks and races and all sorts of diversions to mess around with.  It’s LEGO GTA, basically, and it’s pretty amazing.

On the other hand: the game is still janky as hell, in the same maddening ways that all Lego games have been janky ever since the first Star Wars game, and it’s absolutely mind-boggling that these sorts of control and camera issues have never been adequately addressed.  Characters still get stuck on geometry; platforming still is successfully achieved mostly through trial and error; some puzzles are still never adequately explained; the controls still never feel as responsive as I want them to.  Iron Man can fly – which is great! – except that controlling him is a nightmare, especially in tight areas.  Certain objects can only be used by “web-slinging heroes”, except that Hawkeye can also interact with them via bow-and-arrow.  Combat can grow tedious, especially as most enemies are one-hit-kills.

Still, though, I can (usually) look past that stuff, because when the game is working it’s an absolute delight.  And the amount of content on display is nothing short of ridiculous; as in previous Lego games, each level is designed to played multiple times and with multiple characters in order to unlock all the hidden areas and find all the hidden stuff (and in this case, to help free all the Stan Lees, too).  And – again – did I mention the Lego New York City that binds all this stuff together?

Barring some sort of game-breaking catastrophe that I’ve yet to encounter, this seems like a very easy recommendation for the Marvel fan in your life – even if you’re just a fan of the movies.

weekend recap – birthday boy makes good

I’m having a tough time getting words to come out of my brain today.  I started writing this post around 4 hours ago, and between constant work interruption and my utter inability to maintain any semblance of focus, I’ve made it no further than this introduction.

It’s not that I went all wild and crazy for my birthday this weekend; far from it, in fact.  But it is true that I’ve not been sleeping well lately, and when my alarm clock went off this morning I felt very much like I was dead.  I took one of those mindless 20 minute shower-trances where I would stare off into space and then suddenly wonder if I had already put shampoo in my hair, or if I was simply waiting the required 3-5 minutes before I could rinse.

Anyway, here I am, in a quiet moment at work, with my mind (when it’s working) far away in the land of Far Cry 3.

I suppose it’s good that I can’t really think right now, because even though I’m having an enormous amount of fun with FC3, it’s the sort of game where I’m afraid that over-analyzing it will ruin it.  It’s like, yes, it was enormously astute of some critics to point out how bizarre it was that eating years-old potato chips in Bioshock actually granted health bonuses instead of taking them away, but the game was still awesome; likewise, if I spend too much time thinking that even though the protagonist in FC3 goes from “I’m afraid of even looking at a gun” to “Holy shit this flamethrower is fucking amazing!” in a very short amount of time, killing human beings by the dozens along the way, he still says “Ewww…..” while skinning his hundredth animal.

I mean, look – there’s a certain amount of willing suspension of disbelief that any gamer needs to have while playing a game with guns.  Leaving aside mechanical tropes like regenerating health and the ability to take more than one bullet hit and not immediately fall down dead, there’s lots of things that gamers need to ignore in order for a game’s narrative logic to not completely fall apart.  I’ve talked before about Uncharted‘s Nathan Drake and the dizzying amount of cognitive disassociation necessary for the gamer to accept that Drake isn’t a serial-murdering psychopath (who, according to my stats, murdered over 700 people in Uncharted 3) but rather a fun, charming ruffian who gets in and out of “scrapes.”   This is all to say that while I appreciate FC3’s writers trying to make the player character less of a mutant super-soldier and more of a normal dude, they either need to fully commit to the premise and have him get used to skinning animals, or just leave it alone altogether.

As for the game itself.

I’d finally gotten to the point where I’d done so much dicking around (exploring, ascending radio towers, reclaiming outposts, hunting and crafting, etc.) that I actually had too much XP – i.e., it seems that a lot of the skill tree is locked until you do more story missions.   And while screwing around is fun in and of itself, it turns out that you can have more fun if you have access to some of those locked skills.  So, I turned back to the story last night and decided to see what’s what.

Whaddya know, the story missions are also pretty awesome.  I escaped from a burning building and rescued my girlfriend, and now I’m on some sort of vision quest for the island’s high priestess, where I’ve made my way to a shanty village called “Badtown” and hooked up with some far-out CIA dude who’s having me run errands for him.

The narrative is still taking shape; there’s now apparently a super-villain that even the psychopathic Vaas must answer to, and I’m not quite sure where this high priestess / jungle mysticism thing is going, but as long as I get to continue running around and do the things I’m already doing, I’ll be happy.

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I also finished the story mode in Lego Lord of the Rings, which was a lot of fun (albeit with the same stupid platforming bullshit that has plagued the Lego games since the beginning), and I’m slowly going through the game again with the intent of getting 100%.  My wife is a huge LOTR fan, too, and she’s been having fun watching the strange incongruities that can happen in the post-completion phase of the game, like having Sauron and Frodo run around together solving puzzles.

3 amazing things

I don’t know what this says about me as a person, but I find that I’m generally much happier when the books I’m reading and the music I’m listening to and the games I’m playing are really good.  As it happens, I’m reading a great book,* and I’ve been getting back into some old music I’d forgotten about,** and after the crushing disappointments of both Need For Speed Most Wanted and Assassin’s Creed 3, I’m fully invested in at least 3 great games.

 

1.  Let me continue to sing the praises of Far Cry 3, for starters.  I hereby fully apologize for any disparaging comments/thoughts/opinions I might have had pre-release.  I never really cared about the earlier games, and the E3 presentation didn’t do all that much to impress me, but MAN.  Now that I have it in my hands?  It’s giving Borderlands 2 a serious run for its money for Game of the Year.

I spent 2 hours last night in the game, not even doing any story missions – just hunting and crafting, liberating outposts and climbing radio towers.  It’s quite shocking to see how pretty much everything AC3 got wrong, FC3 is getting right – starting with those radio towers.  In AC3, you basically climbed the same 2 or 3 buildings, or the same 1 (one) tree.  In FC3, though, each radio tower is its own mini-platforming puzzle.  It’s nothing terribly difficult to figure out (at least, not yet – I’ve only unlocked 4 or 5), but it keeps the experience fresh each time – not to mention, of course, that some radio towers are also festooned with assorted wildlife.  I managed to climb one tower last night before almost getting eaten by a fucking leopard, who jumped out of nowhere – and by the time I got up to the second floor, the leopard was being stalked by 3 fucking gila monsters.

There are real, tangible incentives for doing at least some of this side stuff – the hunting in particular is actually pretty necessary as the amount of stuff you can carry at the beginning of the game is barely enough to keep you alive.  I haven’t done any of the assassination missions, and I’ve only done one of the Great Hunt missions, but I’ve also been plenty busy as it is just exploring and opening up the map.  I’m almost a little reluctant to truly dive into the story until I’ve crafted enough stuff, actually – and it’s just as well, since I’m still having a blast.

2.  I’ve mostly found the Lego games to be quite charming and fun and playfully respectful of their respective franchises, if also occasionally stuffed with maddeningly frustrating platforming elements.  But I’ve gotta hand it to Traveler’s Tales – Lego LOTR is one hell of a package.  The Lego formula works to absolute perfection with this IP, and the improvements they’ve made – to the camera, to the hubworld, to pretty much everything – are quite staggering.  The trademark Legoese has been replaced with actual dialogue from the movies, which is a little odd at first, but it generally works quite well.  Precision jumping is still shitty, but thankfully there’s not a tremendous amount of it.  If you’re a fan of either Lego or the LOTR movies, there is absolutely no excuse not to play this game – this is a guilty pleasure that’s 100% guilt-free.

3.  I’ve made no secret of my fanboy status with respect to the Grand Theft Auto franchise, and so I gobbled up yesterday’s iPad release of GTA Vice City before I got out of bed.  Ironically – and I know this is a somewhat controversial thing to admit, given that I’m most certainly in the minority – Vice City is probably my least favorite entry of the post-III-era console games. ***   Still, that said, it’s obvious that there’s still a tremendous amount to love, and the fact that I can play it on my iPad – and the fact that it looks and sounds as good as it does – is nothing short of amazing.  The iPad controls are about as good as they can be, given the nature of the touchscreen – they make sense, and it’s pretty easy to get up and running in a short amount of time.  I don’t know how much time I’m going to spend actually playing it – I didn’t really play all that much of the iOS version of GTA3, either – but I love knowing that I have it on my iPad.  (It stands to reason that San Andreas is in the works, right?  I would definitely play the hell out of that one.)

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* Justin Cronin’s “The Twelve“, which is perhaps not quite as good as “The Passage” but it’s still pretty great.  Also, I can’t say enough good things about the new Kindle Paperwhite – it’s totally worth the upgrade.  And the X-Ray feature is indispensable.

** including stuff like Cornelius, Tony Allen, and especially Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate’s “In The Heart of the Moon”

*** This is something I’ll most likely have to address when I get around to the inevitable GTA5 wishlist post, which is most assuredly in the works.

Weekend preview: BBQ edition

1.  I downloaded The Witcher 2 yesterday, in a moment of weakness.  (As it happens, I downloaded it right when the 1.1 patch was coming out, which meant that I ended up downloading the whole thing twice.)  I gave it a very quick 5 minute look, just to see it.  And you know what?  The reviewers weren’t kidding around – this game doesn’t explain anything.  I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing and no idea how to do anything.  At a certain point the game told me about meditating before battle, and how to pull up the meditation menu.  OK, but the menu is just filled with runes, without any explanation as to what the runes mean, or why I need to meditate.  The game’s gotten too many great reviews for me to dismiss it so quickly, but when a game makes such a horrendous first impression, what the hell are you supposed to do?

2.  Spent a number of hours powering through Lego Pirates of the Caribbean; I finished the 3rd movie yesterday before powering off.  I’ve played a lot of Lego games – not all of them, but certainly most of them – and Pirates is pretty good, I guess.  Certainly it’s the prettiest.  But it’s also locked up on my 360 more than a few times – Lego games in general tend to do that, but Pirates is the worst offender by far.  I haven’t seen the 4th movie yet and so I’m not sure what enjoyment I’m going to get out of playing the 4th movie, especially since the cutscene shorthand really only makes sense if you know what the scenes are referring to.  Still, it’s fun enough, I suppose, and Lego Jack Sparrow is a sight (and sound!) to behold.

3.  I’m a few races into my 2nd season in Dirt 3.  I’ve been starting to mess around with the assists; I turned all of them off yesterday for a few races, and found that I had a much easier time staying on the road (although the cars felt a lot heavier and stiffer).  I don’t hate the Gymkhana events the way other people do; I’m not very good at them, but they’re certainly a pleasant enough diversion and you don’t have to try terribly hard in order to pass each event and move on to the next thing.  My only real complaint is that one of the announcers has an overtly “dude” vibe and likes to call me “amigo” and I kinda want to punch him in the face, repeatedly.

4.  With all this going on, I’ve kinda put L.A. Noire on hold, and this worries me a bit because I’m afraid that if I wait too much longer, I’m never going to go back.  And that would be a shame.  I’ve certainly cooled off on it a little bit, but it’s still a remarkably unique experience and I’d very much like to see where it goes.

You’re not going to be coming here for your E3 needs, I know, but I’ll be offering up some opinions just the same.  I’m not entirely sure how this year’s edition is going to pan out.  Last year’s had some clear themes – motion control and 3D – and I suppose that the bulk of the media attention this year will be focused on the new Nintendo console and Sony’s new handheld.  2011’s release calendar doesn’t leave a lot of room for surprises – we all know what’s coming at this point – so my personal focus will be on what’s coming up in 2012.

Have a wonderful 3-day weekend, everyone.  Stay safe!  And I’ll most likely be on XBL Saturday night, if you want to get something going.

WIPTW: anniversary edition

This past weekend was my 7-year anniversary with the wife, so you can probably surmise that there wasn’t a tremendous amount of videogame time to be had.  Still, I managed to finish the Homicide desk in L.A. Noire, and the wife and I knocked out the first level of Lego Pirates of the Caribbean in co-op.

Let me get the Lego game out of the way – it’s quite good, as far as Lego games go, and it doesn’t seem to radically change the tried-and-true formula.  Certainly it’s very good looking.  My main problem with it, after about 20 minutes of gameplay, is the co-op camera.  I’ve not really done much co-op in other Lego games, so I’m not sure how the camera compares, but the co-op camera in Pirates is fucking ridiculous.  I appreciate what it’s trying to do, but it’s incredibly distracting and ultra-sensitive when it doesn’t need to be, and if anything it causes more harm than good.

My wife isn’t a gamer, as she’ll readily admit.  But she knows I am, obviously, and I try my darnedest to either (a) keep my gaming time from intruding on her TV time, or (b) keep her engaged with what I’m doing.  We’ve played Rock Band together, which is fun, and we recently completed the Portal 2 co-op campaign together, which was wonderful.  (She wrote about her experience here.)  I’d very much like to keep playing Lego Pirates with her, but that camera will need to be dealt with.

As to L.A. Noire… well, as I said before, I finished the Homicide desk very late on Saturday, and the wife helped me a bit with the interrogations.  It’s hard to talk about what I want to talk about without getting into spoiler territory, but I’m going to work under the presumption that if you’re reading this, you probably don’t care.  In any event, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD.

**********SPOILERS BELOW************

Let me say, firstly, that I’m enjoying L.A. Noire immensely.  I’m not totally 100% in love with it, but it should be noted that it’s a fantastic technical achievement, and I must salute Rockstar, Take Two and Team Bondi for taking such a bold, experimental risk.

I’ve read a bunch of complaints from players and reviewers (this Kotaku piece in particular) about how the game isn’t open enough; you don’t really have much to do in this meticulously-designed city when you’re not in the mood to crack a case.  I guess I understand that, but I think that’s their own fault for expecting the game to be something it never claimed to be.  If anything, I think that the open-world element feels a bit shoe-horned in; it’s not really all that necessary, and considering that you can fast-travel from location to location anyway, it can be downright irrelevant.  I generally ignore radio dispatches when I’m working a case, and I haven’t really done any exploring beyond figuring out the map system and simply trying to get from point A to point B.  Considering how much collateral damage I incur when I drive, I prefer fast-travelling, frankly.

If I have any real complaints at this stage in the game, it’s that, well, for all of its valiant attempts at immersion and cinematic presentation, it can still feel very game-y in spots, especially in the interrogation sequences.  I’ve gotten a little bit better at them since my first write-up, but I’ve still never gotten all of them right in a case.  The irony, of course, is that the conclusion of the Homicide desk story arc pretty much renders all the previous interrogations irrelevant anyway.  I suppose it’s a neat twist if you didn’t see it coming, but I knew something was off, and as soon as I’d heard mention of a temp bartender in one of the later cases (after already meeting one towards the beginning of the arc – and a “temp bartender” is somewhat eye-catching to begin with), I started getting ideas that would soon be confirmed.

That story arc has some other significant plot holes, too, that don’t really hold up under scrutiny, the main one being that it just seems a bit too contrived that the serial killer could find that many women to murder with husbands that easy to frame.

More to the point, though, it makes me less inclined to replay those missions in an effort to 5-star all the cases since I know I’m going to be putting the wrong people away every time.

**********END SPOILERS**************

Tomorrow comes the arrival of Dirt 3, which I’m tremendously excited about.  It’s been too long since I’ve played a good driving game.

>Compulsive Collecting

>I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating (at least in terms of giving this post some sort of thematic focus): of my 57,908 Achievement Points, the points I’m most proud of were the 50 I earned for finding all 500 Agility Orbs in the first Crackdown. Yes, I earned them. I didn’t use a walkthrough, I didn’t cheat; I found all those motherfuckers on my own, and all the hours I spent in doing so were totally worth it.

The hunt for Agility Orbs more than made up for the game’s many flaws, and the rewards for leveling up were tangible – Crackdown’s Pacific City was made for running around and jumping, and having a maxed out Agility stat meant that running around and jumping was more awesome. In retrospect, I can acknowledge (well, admit) that the first Crackdown was not a particularly good game; it’s just that it did this one particular thing exceedingly well, and that one particular thing was so much fun that it kinda became the heart and soul of the game, for me.

And so I pre-ordered Crackdown 2 without thinking twice. You can’t put something as addictive as Agility Orbs in a game called Crackdown and not have collection junkies like me foaming at the mouth.

I got my copy yesterday, and guess what? It’s almost the exact same game as the first one. This ought not to be too big a deal – hunting Agility Orbs is still fun – but the sense of deja vu is overwhelming, and the game’s differences are mostly superficial. More importantly, the game’s flaws are much more apparent, especially when compared to games like InFamous; the shooting is janky as hell, the driving is more or less unnecessary (and certainly feels like it was under-designed, as a result), and the city feels somewhat lifeless (which is odd, considering how many people are wandering the streets). Hunting Agility Orbs is pretty much my only real motivation for finishing the game, now, and I’m not entirely sure that I want to “play the actual game” unless I have to, in order to access a new part of the city. This makes me a little sad, frankly. This makes me feel guilty for slogging through a shitty game just so that I can find a new Orb.

—-

My wife was out of town for this past 4th of July weekend, which meant that I had the TV all to myself. And this meant that I could play the hell out of Lego Harry Potter. There’s not a lot that needs to be said about this game; if you like the Lego series, this is the best one of the lot. If you’re a fan of the movies, you will appreciate this game a lot more than if you’re just a fan of the books. If you’re totally unfamiliar with the Harry Potter brand, this game will not make any sense, but it’s still incredibly approachable and easy and if you’re a compulsive collector, you will have a hard time pulling yourself away from it. I decided I’d had enough when I got up to 98% completion; I was never going to find every last character token. But I did get all 200 gold bricks, all 50 students in peril, all 20 red bricks, and the few Achievements I missed are not necessarily that hard to get; if I really need to, I’m sure I can go back and get the full 1,000 without too much trouble.