Platinum Madness – 6 unhinged tales of unlocking PS3′s toughest trophies

Spec Ops: The Line

Iain Wilson

It’s one of the grimmest tales in gaming this year: a descent into the bloody horrors of war, charting one man’s mental dissolution and subsequent breakdown. And the plot of Spec Ops isn’t much less grim than trying to get the platinum, either. But after enduring these hardships, I’m inclined to say Captain Martin Walker had it easy.

It’s perhaps my fault for tempting fate. As I began my second playthrough on the auspicious-sounding FUBAR difficulty, I said to myself: “How hard can this really be?” The answer? Oh, just really, really hard. Enemies were now targeting me with laser-like precision, while my own character had become so weak that I could be felled in seconds. To compound my misery, any instructions I gave to my previously reliable AI squadmates now led to kamikaze charges into hails of bullets. I was going to have to win this war on my own.

As my death count steadily rose I discovered that checkpoints were widely spaced throughout the levels, often encompassing multiple seemingly distinct skirmishes. Getting from one save point to the next became a war of attrition, leading to McEnroe-esque yelps of “You cannot be serious!” when yet another stray bullet or spammed grenade set me back several fights.

At one point, about midway through, the brutal difficulty actually broke the game, making a ten-second run from a helicopter gunship practically impossible. After more than half an hour of repeated failed attempts I was screaming so manically that I swear I saw my housemate put the local loony bin on speed dial.

It was only thanks to the video nerve centre that is YouTube that I managed to escape the helicopter horrors, but my journey into the heart of darkness didn’t end there – it was a close run thing as to what came first: the game’s ending or my final thread of sanity snapping. As it was, I triumphed. Although in a war like this, there are no winners.