I like trophies. I never really got into gamerscore on the Xbox but when I switched platforms over to PlayStation I fell for trophies hard for one reason: the platinum. Sometimes, I'm not sure when to put a game down and the Platinum trophy is one milestone I use to gauge that. Now there are some platinums that I'm desperately proud of (Vanquish, Mirror's Edge, and Killzone 2) and others I know I'll never get (Red Dead Redemption 2) and yet others I may never get but might spend the rest of my life trying for (Tetris Effect). Platinum trophies may not be the definitive way of determine the end of a game, but they are something I like to both collect (58 platinums and counting) and use as a marker to make the decision when to move on.
Which brings us to Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. For a month I've been sitting on having every trophy completed in this game except for one: Reunited with Fidolina. This trophy is acquired by running through 64 levels of Dead Ops Arcade, a top down twin stick shooter hell, and take down a beast of a boss. The farthest I've ever gotten in random 4 player lobbies is round 40, and that took probably two hours of straight play. I've heard round 64 is a long, long slog - up to 4 hours of uninterrupted play with no checkpoints through what is, in my opinion, a poorly executed game mode. The gameplay itself is solid, the power-ups decent, the locations and secrets cool, but the visuals completely let the mode down. It is simply too difficult to see the tiny enemies that barely distinguish themselves from the surrounding locales well enough. The vast majority of my deaths come from enemies I simply did not know were there. Ones I might have decapitated their legs and couldn't tell the still crawling zombie corpse from a newly re-dead zombie corpse.
I was seriously contemplating just deleting Cold War Black Ops entirely from my PS5 and free up the 170+ GB it's hoarding on my hard drive. Just chalk this trophy up to one I'm not going to get and move on from the game, knowing that the time investment to get gud and the luck required to join with a gang of 4 skilled enough to see this trophy through were probably beyond what I was willing to commit. And then a thing happened:
Still chasing the “Reunited With Fidolina” trophy for the Platinum?
Start off Dead Ops Arcade 3 at your highest arena checkpoint in the new Solo Advanced Start mode this week. Achievements are enabled, so now's your chance!
Two weeks ago, Black Ops Cold War very quietly dropped an updated game mode for Dead Ops Arcade that saved progress in solo mode with checkpoints. So now rather than having to start at level 1 every game, it picks up my game at whatever the last location I was able to advance to, with 3 fresh lives, 2 speed boosts, a nuke, and a free permanent power-up once you get past the Room of Fates where you would have picked it up in the storyline. Whoa. Game changer.
Now it remains to be seen if this is the blessing it appears. While I can work my way farther solo this way than I ever could in random lobbies, I may still eventually run into a wall when I get dropped into the final boss fight with only three lives and power-up (good teams will have 2-3 power-ups and horde many more lives, nukes, and boosts for this last challenge). So while this mode allows me to inch my way up what seemed like an insurmountable mountain, it might still throw me into a brick wall at the end. But it at least gives me the hope to keep chipping away and see. And while I chip, I'm actually getting gud, or at least better than I was, and maybe that will be the foundation to actually jump back into a 4-man lobby later to conquer Everest. Who knows? But at least I'm back on the journey to find out...