Love them or hate them, Achievements (and Trophies) have become prevalent in our gaming lives, starting with the Xbox 360 and creeping over to the PS3 and the PC. While it has been a few years since the introduction of Gamerscore and e-peens, very few developers seem to grasp the point of Achievements, and there are a few out there in the wild that have caused an undue amount of frustration for many a gamer. We all know the ones, the few that makes us tear our hair out or have us stay up until three in the morning trying to earn something that isn’t real…but is. Here’s a list of six examples that I think should be removed from gaming forever:
Examples: Crackdown 1 & 2, GTA IV, Assassin’s Creed
Let’s start with this one. Collecting random crap is a part of gaming, something we’ve been doing ever since we cracked that first brick in Super Mario Bros. What we could never have predicted, though, would be that developers would use procurement to pad the Achievements until they reached the 1000g limit set by Microsoft. While all games have this to some degree, none are worse than the above offenders. We all know how annoying collecting the pigeons were, but Crackdown 2 is the biggest jerk here, giving an Achievement for collecting one Agility Orb and then not giving another one until you’ve collected four hundred and ninety-nine more. This wouldn’t have been so bad if you actually gave us a different city to collect them in, Ruffian.
Examples: Alan Wake, Resident Evil 5, GTA IV, Hexic HD
Ever look through an Achievement list and spy a couple that make you scratch your head and go “How the heck could I ever get that?”, and then nab it five minutes later by accident? Yeah, these are the cheevos that rely on some absurd condition being met totally at random. Take Resident Evil 5, which involves delivering a head-shot to a leaping enemy. OK, number one, zombies don’t jump that much, and number two, have you tried getting purposeful dome-shots in that game? It’s really hard! These types of Achievements are great in number and incredibly infuriating because you can’t plan to get them. They just have to happen.
Examples: Red Dead Redemption, Transformers, Just Cause 2, and many more
I’m just going to come out and say it: Secret Achievements are dumb. I mean, the ones that are hidden to protect the story are OK, in a way, but ones that hide for the purpose of being sneaky are just stupid. Red Dead Redemption has a few of these, but how would you ever know that you could get a cheevo by evading the law on a white horse if you didn’t go online and read about it? The Transformers movie game from 2007 is another example. Why even bother hiding the Achievements on this crap game? It’s not like anybody played it long enough to figure them out anyways.
Examples: Turok, Gears of War, Dead Rising, Halo 3
So, here’s one for you. How about an Achievement that encourages you to team kill? Yeah, that’s right, Turok (remember that game? Thought not.) had a real brilliant one called “Grab Bag” where you had to kill an adversary, a dinosaur, a teammate and yourself in one round. Turok is full of really poorly designed Achievements (like the unnecessary jab at Canadians), but this one actively encouraged griefing. Gears of War also had a bunch where you were required to kill enemies with certain weapons during a ranked match, like pistols. Why do developers do this? Don’t they realize that forcing people into certain behavioral patterns will effectively ruin the game? How many times have I been on the losing team because everyone else was trying to get curbstomps?
Examples: Burnout Paradise, Mercenaries 2, Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway, MLB 2K10
So a Gold subscription to Xbox LIVE costs money. Some people don’t like paying money. Fair enough. Now, I wouldn’t be one to punish people based on their reluctance to dole out cash for a service, but some developers are of a different mind. Take for example the viral/date specific Achievements in the above titles. Burnout Paradise and Mercs 2 both have Achievements that can only be earned by being wiped-out by an infected player or joining a co-op match with a specific partner, respectively. Way to alienate the player base, fellas. Those aren’t quite as bad as the games that make you log on for a specific date, though. Hell’s Highway, based around the ill-fated Operation: Market Garden of World War 2, has you log on on September 17 to unlock one. Not to mention, this game also has one for gaming online every day for a year. Who thought up that one?
Examples: Halo 3, Bad Company 1 & 2, Gears of War and many more
These bastards are the bane of my existence. Why oh why do developers think it’s a good idea to set impossibly hard Achievements in the realm of online warfare where there are legions and legions of players waiting to mess you up? Even if you find a group of people who are willing to band together (Some of Halo 3’s online Achievements are easy to get this way. Yeah, so sue me.), there’s always one guy who will try his damnedest to mess you up. Besides these ones, there are those that necessitate that you reach the top rank in muliplayer experience. These are probably the most pointless of all. Who the heck has the time or the inclination to do this? Certainly not me. No offense if you’ve ever gotten one of these, but you have to have some serious…dedication to pick these up. I’m of a mind that developers should stop making online Achievements so impossible…or just stop making them at all.
So there you have it, six kinds of Achievements that drive me absolutely bonkers. What about you guys? Any Achievements or Trophies that have left their impression upon your gaming lives?