Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Achievements: The Five Most Tiresome

You either love them or you hate them, but it seems that achievements and trophies are here to stay. Personally, I love the little critters - that welcome bling as they pop up on screen and the sense of satisfaction when you're awarded one of the more substantial accolades like a 100G or a Gold Trophy. It makes you feel that it's almost worthwhile spending all those hours playing; it's a congratulatory slap on the back as well as a badge of honour.

But for all the good things about achievements, there are some that really wind us up at Megabits. I'm not talking about the ones that require you to complete the game on the hardest setting or kill a boss without taking damage... there are some that are even more frustrating than that. Here are our five most hated types:

5) Kill, kill, kill

Megabits has just been fighting its way through Army of Two: The 40th Day and has to admit that it's pretty good. We've completed it on its toughest difficulty, freed all the hostages and collected enough weaponry to start a small war... but the achievement that is likely to forever elude us is appropriately called "The Beast" and will only ping after we rack up 6,666 enemy kills in the campaign. Seeing as we only mustered 1,500 when we completed the game, this means we'd have to replay the thing at least four times. And at the end of this tedium? A measly 50G. Still, at least it's not as ballbreaking as Gears of War 2's ludicrous Seriously 2.0 - again for a meagre 50G! We hate these kill achievements.

4) Don't die!
Vanquish is a prime example of this one. Its "Living Legend" achievement is worth a Gold Trophy/50G but is an absolute stinker. "Complete the game without dying, regardless of difficulty level" - really? It's not an easy game by any means and boasts some pretty tricky giant enemy robots. Unless you're an absolute god at sliding around on your backside, this is one that's best gained by taking the coward's way out and quitting to the title screen to restart if you even look like dying.

3) Alternative endings
Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Fable II, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, Army of Two: The 40th Day... the list goes on and on. There's nothing more infuriating than getting to the end of the game, having to make some decision and then sitting back to watch the credits scroll down the screen, and only then realising that the game wants you to play all over again so you can take one of the other choices to see a slightly different cut scene and get another achievement. Of course, the less moral amongst us will simply replay from the last checkpoint... but that's not the point.

2) Online achievements
To me, the words "online achievements" translate as "never gonna get 1000G or a Platinum trophy". Single player games and their accolades, no matter how tricky, are always obtainable - even if you do have to kill ridiculous numbers of bad guys (see above). But when the developers decide to throw in a couple of online achievements, I immediately concede that I'm probably never going to get them all. They generally involve taking on some random opponent and winning several times or getting to the top of a leaderboard after meeting certain criteria. There are several reasons for my misery: a) other people out there are infinitely more skillful than me and I'm unlikely to come out on top, b) the online challenges typically require you to play - and win - each map numerous times (it's tedious and repetitive), c) the servers will probably be shut down before that trophy pops up on screen! We loathe online achievements!

1) Collectibles
Our biggest pet hate has to be collectibles. More often than not, you're required to find loads of orbs, feathers, skulls, weapons, pigeons etc... that are hidden away so well that they're almost impossible to find without the help of a game guide. And even then it requires you to retread old ground countless times and pore over ever pixel. It's just annoying and drags a game out excessively - possibly spoiling something you'd otherwise enjoyed during the first few playthroughs. You know who your are... Crackdown, Assassin's Creed 2, GTA IV...