TA Top Five: Crappy Things You Do For Achievements

By Marc Hollinshead, 2 years ago
As a member of staff of this site, I think I can safely say the majority of us love popping achievements here on TA. Whether it's the teensy 5G ones or the gigantic 100G behemoths, hearing that *bleep bloop* and seeing those precious points rack up never gets old. EVER. No matter what the cost, we simply must get that next achievement, even if it means playing absolutely abysmal games. Like any TA'er, I love the feeling of seeing another game reach the 100% completion and as quickly as I am filled with joy when the last achievement pops, I'm straight onto the next title.

However, is achievement hunting as fun as it should be? Well, yes and no. While there are plenty of achievements out there that rank up the fun factor on our Xbox, there are also too many to count that cause us to rip our hair out and make us want to quit gaming altogether. This week in the TA office, we've people discussing all things achievement related and what things make us grumble when embarking on an achievement hunt.

Honorable Mentions

Manipulating Saves

Those pesky missables. You've gotta hate 'em. When gaming, all we want to do is sit and enjoy the ride and play as naturally as possible. So when we're having to fiddle about with saves to pick the opposite decision or re-load a certain fight we missed a specific achievement in, it spoils the flow of things. Dragon Age: Origins loves to make us pick every single outcome whether we want to or not, so we're having to constantly keep an eye out for when that happens and keep a save handy. I do love achievements but no, I did not want to side with the Cult of Andraste!

Being Insanely Skilled

Obviously, the word "achievement" has connotations of something you worked hard for and are proud of having, but when we see an achievement telling us to beat every level with a SSS ranking on Nightmare mode, all we want to do is cry. Only a handful of gamers have the skill to achieve a feat such as this, and not everyone finds enjoyment in platforming across levels with more traps than stars in the sky. We all love the thought of completing every game we own, but when it involves becoming the world master in it, we may as well just throw in the towel.

Top Five

5. Playing Multiplayer

Multiplayer isn't all bad. Without it, Call of Duty wouldn't really be much of a shooter and Assassin's Creed wouldn't...errmm...have multiplayer in it. Sometimes, though, you get a game like Tomb Raider which is given multiplayer in some strange attempt to present players with more content. We have a fantastic single player experience, so what's the need for this? Whenever a single player focused game contains multiplayer achievements, huge sighs of frustration abound in the community. For the sake of our completions, we have to to endure something that we really don't want to play and it ruins the experience for us. If developers want us to play multiplayer and add achievements in to do so, they could at least attempt at making it seem less tacked on. Too many times do we see this in the games of today. We don't hate multiplayer; it just doesn't belong in every game!

4. Hunting Down Collectibles

Collectibles are the bane of gaming to many. A spectacular game full of story, a huge world and intriguing characters is too good to pass up, but when the achievements ask us to pick up 500 boxes of dust that do absolutely nothing, it's kind of a let down. Throughout our journeys through games, we are forever bound to guides and walkthroughs as we desperately try to search every nook and cranny to bag us another achievement. Every now and then we do get some interesting collectibles like the audio diaries of BioShock (Xbox 360) as we can unravel more of the story and what characters were truly thinking. Then you have the coffee thermoses of Alan Wake. They do nothing whatsoever in the game apart from sit there and act as a reference to a TV show. You'd think Alan might want to take a drink from them seeing as he's being chased by the evil darkness, but apparently not. If it wasn't for achievements, I think many of us would happily play through a game without even giving a second glance at collectibles.

3. Getting Lucky

When you think of earning an achievement, it's something YOU worked for and attained through your own doing. So when we're given the challenge of shooting an enemy off a zip wire exactly 20 metres from us only when it's raining in the game, then that's completely out of our hands. We have to somehow come across the exact scenario we need in order pull off the required actions just by playing the game and hoping for the best. It's just downright stupid. Thanks to the glories of TA, we are able to set up boosting sessions in order to combat these beastly achievements but it still doesn't make things better. The I Killed Them All achievement in Titanfall may come to mind in this category. While not having played the game myself, I've heard enough to know that a hefty amount of luck is needed to successfully do this if you aren't boosting it. If the only way of getting an achievement is boosting because the chances of getting it legitimately are extremely slim, then developers really need to re-think their achievement lists.

2. Buying DLC

We work hard for our money, don't we? When we get that delicious payslip and decide what to spend all our hard earned cash on (games, obviously), the last think we'd think of doing is buying something we won't enjoy. Thanks to our obsession with achievements, though, we have to begrudgingly scour the Xbox LIVE Marketplace for a piece of DLC that we really don't want just because it has those point scorers attached to it. Instead of creating a new and extravagant tale for us to delve into, too often will developers give us an "arena" or "challenge" mode that consists of completing tasks and fights in a closed off map or space. There's no story; all we get is another few hours of virtual point scoring in a not so enjoyable way. The Dunwall City Trials DLC from Dishonored definitely applies here. The main game was praised for its gameplay and interesting story. We never asked for killing waves of enemies and completing trials. That's not what this game is about!

1. Grinding

It doesn't matter what games you play; if you're an achievement hunter, you will be more than likely spending many hours grinding away on your Xbox. Whether you're repeating the same level over and over, fighting the same group of enemies to level up, or doing any task over and over again, the fun factor eventually diminishes into nothing. Achievements should, on the most part, be fun! A game is there for our entertainment so if we're asked to level up to a point way past that of a natural playthrough, what's the point in making the level cap that high? One game that is on everyone's minds at the moment if we think about the joys of grinding is unfortunately Destiny. Once we reach the soft level cap of 20, the never-ending grind to acquire legendary and exotic gear begins. We do our utmost to complete strikes, heroic missions and even raids in order to get those coveted engrams, but every time we are rewarded with one, we are given a piece of gear that is utterly useless to us the majority of the time. If we're supposed to equip ourselves in full legendary gear, how will we do so if we're given nothing but scraps? It's a tough time for achievement hunters, but if we want to raise our gamerscore, the inevitable plunge into grinding will happen.

The TA Team will be bringing you The TA Top Five every Sunday until we run out of coolness to debate and discuss. If you have an idea for a Top Five you'd like us to do, be sure to let us know in the comments!
Marc Hollinshead
Written by Marc Hollinshead
To summarize Marc in two words, it would be "Christian Gamer." You will usually find him getting stuck into story heavy action-adventure games, RPG's and the odd quirky title when he isn't raving about Dark Souls and Mass Effect. Outside the world of gaming, Marc attends and helps out in his church on a regular basis and has a not-so thrilling job in a supermarket.