TA Top Five: Absurd Xbox One Achievement Lists

By Kevin Tavore,
If you're reading this article, it seems fairly likely you care about achievements. You love that satisfying pop that signifies your accomplishment. When the system first began at the Xbox 360's launch, we had a range of games with startlingly different completion requirements. Peter Jackson's King Kong was as easy as simply completing the game, while Quake 4 lead to what is still one of the longest multiplayer grinds on any system. After that, we had many more achievement lists that could only be described as absurd. Now that the Xbox One is fully under way, it's high time we took a look at the absurd lists that have come in its lifetime so far.

But first, it's important to define what an absurd achievement list actually is. Without a definition, it's hard to say which game is more absurd than another. For the purpose of this article, this is the definition of an absurd achievement list:

An absurd achievement list is a list that requires far more than what the average player would expect from that type of a game.
Using the Quake 4 example, while one would expect it to have extensive multiplayer achievements, achieving Rank 1 on the leaderboard was far and beyond what a normal player would expect to be required to do. It was absurd. On the flip side, a game like Halo: The Master Chief Collection is not absurd despite having hundreds of achievements and a tall completion time. Why is it not? And what, then, are the most absurd achievement lists on Xbox One? Read on!

Or, instead of reading you can watch our first ever TGN Video Top 5! It's the same content, but this time you get to see what we're talking about first hand. Or you can just watch it at work. Either way, give it a shot if you're interested.

Now, without further ado...

Honorable Mentions

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Multiplayer match 1 of 500.Multiplayer match 1 of 500.

Six hundred achievements. Hours of multiplayer grinding. Legendary speed runs for every campaign. LASO. All of it sounds like the makings of an absurd achievement list and, frankly, for any other game it would be. While the rest of the this Top 5 will be games that are absurd, this is one game I believe many will be surprised is not absurd so it's important to say why.

Halo is one of the biggest franchises in all of gaming. The series has fans from all styles of gaming, from casual to hardcore. I remember spending countless hours simply trying to get out of the levels in Halo and Halo 2. Others dedicated their time to finding all the secrets. Still others set their sights on the competitive heights of the game. MCC is a compilation of all the titles and its achievements tasked you with seeing everything the game had to see. In a collection this large, a tribute to the entire series, it was not absurd to expect the achievements to pay equal tribute.


It's like sudoku with numbers.It's like sudoku with numbers.

Threes! is a casual puzzle game primarily designed for mobile. It's easy to pick up and play for just a few moments or hours. But the achievements are not casual at all. One tasks you with having essentially a perfect game, a task so tough that even comprehensive computer solvers cannot do it with consistency:

Threes!Secret AchievementThe Secret Achievement achievement in Threes! worth 1096 pointsContinue playing to unlock this secret achievement

The fact that it is at least possible to use a solver for that one is what moves this game to an honorable mention. It might have been enough for get it off the list entirely, if not for a second outrageous achievement that cannot be done with a solver:

Threes!TwelvelockThe Twelvelock achievement in Threes! worth 883 pointsYou are Duchess of the Twelves!

Threes! is a casual game meant to be fun for anyone of all ages. You might expect a bit of challenge since it is a puzzle game, but these achievements require above and beyond play. You need to be literally perfect and lucky. It's not for the feint of heart and it's certainly absurd.

5. BADLAND: Game of the Year Edition

Screenshot 4

In theory, Badland isn't actually too tough. It's a simple platformer in theory, but in reality it ends up being highly technical with almost no tutorial guidance to actually teach you how to play. The levels get increasingly difficult, throwing new mechanics at you along the way out of nowhere. With 300 levels to play, it's a lot to overcome, and that's just the start. Next you've got to save 3000 clones. This requires absolute perfection on every level and a little bit of luck. Even on a perfect run you won't always get the optimal number of clones you'll need to hit the 3000 number. Once that's done, the game serves up a real treat and makes you do it all over again in local co-op where your partner needs to be just as good and dedicated as you are for hundreds of hours.

After you finish the game many times and get all those clones, there's a final challenge to earn as well. You need to complete all the Doomsday levels in one run perfectly. I haven't done it, but it's a pretty incredible challenge by any account. The levels apparently really earn their name.

BADLAND: Game of the Year EditionIDDQDThe IDDQD achievement in BADLAND: Game of the Year Edition worth 410 pointsCOMPLETE ALL DOOMSDAY LEVELS WITH ONE TRY IN SINGLE PLAYER

4. Need for Speed

.04391 seconds short of that gold time, once again..04391 seconds short of that gold time, once again.

Need for Speed started off innocently. It's a casual arcade racing game and the achievements matched that. Players would get the completion by finishing off the (easy) story races, getting a few cars, and generally just having played the game to its fullest. It was a relaxing 12 hour completion. The title update DLC that released was some of the easiest chunks of 240GS you've ever had and tasked you with simple tasks like taking a picture, pressing a button once the picture was taken for another pop, or completing the new story missions which were also easy.

With the final update the developers brought us Prestige Mode. Players jumped for joy at the chance for a couple harder races and the chance to play through some of the game again. Oh how mistaken they were. Do not forget that Need for Speed is a casual arcade racing game. With that in mind, the developers designed Prestige Mode to be the hardest challenge in any racing game ever made by a mile. It makes Trackmania Turbo look like a simple warm-up. No Forza game has ever been so tough. Literally nothing comes close. You have to be undeniably perfect at every single aspect of the game, including a 7 minute marathon at the end where a couple poor corners can end your run.

Need for SpeedGold PlatedThe Gold Plated achievement in Need for Speed worth 3706 pointsWin Gold on all Prestige events

Months after release, the achievement still has an 80.86 ratio. It is simply absurd.

3. The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited


It's an MMO, and fans of the genre probably expected to see one of these on this list. Rightfully so. ESO is easily the most absurd challenge of any MMO on Xbox One (or 360, for that matter). The game is sprawling with massive amounts of content. You'd expect to need to sink your teeth into all of it, completing the PVE and dabbling in PVP as well. That's what most console MMOs have you do, and relatively it's not absurd. It just takes hundreds of hours.

That's our baseline. ESO takes it a step further with two achievements. The first requires you to become a master of fishing. Do you think it's fun to rely to random chance to catch dozens of rare fish? How about farming many hours for bait? Yes, that sounds fun. Well ESO rewards that fun with a shiny achievement.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel UnlimitedMaster FisherThe Master Fisher achievement in The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited worth 360 pointsComplete all fishing achievements.

But hey, lots of games have one absurd achievement. That wouldn't send a game onto this list just for a hundred hours of grinding and random chance. There's also the achievement to become Emperor. To become Emperor, you need to play PVP. It's a three-way battle between every faction in the game (you choose a faction when you make you character and can't change it) and the goal is to capture six keeps around the massive Cyrodil battleground. Hundreds of your allies will fight at your side during this (minimum) week-long battle. If your faction manages to capture all six keeps, the highest-scoring player on that team will become Emperor. So for this, all you have to do is grind away at PVP objectives for 20 hours a day for a full week to ensure you're at the top of the leaderboard and hope that your allies are competent enough to capture all six keeps. You could spend your entire week going above and beyond and still end up with nothing since you have to rely on hundreds of other people to play well or poorly.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel UnlimitedEmperor!The Emperor! achievement in The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited worth 1847 pointsDominate the Alliance War battlefield and become Emperor of Tamriel. Long may you reign!

2. Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangerous Screenshots

Elite is a space simulator with a heavy focus on simulator. Want to go from one system to another? You'll need to plot your course and prepare to take your time on the journey. Want to make some money? You can either be a bounty hunter, explorer, or miner. Each of these is fun for the dedicated fans, but anyone looking for intense, thrilling gameplay should probably look elsewhere. You must have the right mindset for these.

And that would be fine. That's just the type of game that it is. But the achievements require you to spend so many hours mastering all aspects of a game that only encourages you to master one that it becomes absurd. Each of those playstyles - bounty hunting, exploring, or trading - requires hundreds of hours of investment to achieve the highest rank. It's the greatest honor you can attain in the game. But then you have to do it three times.

Elite: DangerousTriple EliteThe Triple Elite achievement in Elite: Dangerous worth 2458 pointsReach a rank of Elite in Exploration, Combat and Trading

That's a bit ridiculous and would earn the game a place on this list alone. The cherry on top that sends this game to number 2 is the multiplayer. Honestly, it's not that bad. Just a few hundred hours of regular playing in a mode that's totally disconnected from the single-player experience. The real issue is that it can take an extremely long time to even find a game since the multiplayer servers are basically dead, leaving you to resort to 60-100 hours of boosting with no recourse.

1. Pure Hold'em

Pure Hold'em Screens 2

Hey look! A game you never heard of until you read this top 5! Pure Hold'em is everyone's favorite Xbox poker game that isn't the recently released Prominence Poker. It's got all the normal things you'd expect in a poker game like completing tournaments and grinding games. It also has your everyday achievement to get to level 100. Sounds easy enough. Except it's not.

Pure Hold'emPure PokerThe Pure Poker achievement in Pure Hold'em worth 1630 pointsReach level 100

Getting to level 100 might just be one of the most absurd achievements ever. It might be the most absurd. In Pure Hold'em, every level requires you to get 10% more XP than the total you've ever earned before. So level 3 takes over twice as long as it took to get to 2. Level 4 takes over twice as long as it took to get to level 3. This very quickly spirals out of hand until you're looking at thousands of hours to go from 98 to 99. Two people have this achievement. One of them has 5000 hours played. After a bit of stalking, I've discovered that the other guy idle boosted this 24 hours a day for 10 months straight on a second Xbox. That's right. Just 10 straight months of idle boosting 24 hours a day. No problem. I'm just going to leave it at that.
Kevin Tavore
Written by Kevin Tavore
Kevin is a lover of all types of media, especially any type of long form story. The American equivalent of Aristotle, he'll write about anything and everything and you'll usually see him as the purveyor of news, reviews and the occasional op-ed. He's happy with any game that's not point and click or puzzling, but would always rather be outdoors in nature.