The grind is real: 20 achievements that are an absolute slog

By Luke Albigés,
Ever get so close to a completion you could smell it, only to find yourself held back by one pesky achievement that takes way longer than it should? Good times. Here are some of the most egregious examples out there of achievements that take things too far. Note that we've intentionally omitted ones where RNG is the main time-consuming factor, as we'll be looking at those dastardly things in more depth very soon. Enjoy, and apologies in advance for any repressed memories this list might dredge back up...

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator review

Microsoft Flight SimulatorWing CommanderThe Wing Commander achievement in Microsoft Flight Simulator worth 1890 pointsAccumulate 1,000 hours of flight time in a single pilot profile.

Sure, Microsoft Flight Simulator is great and all, but demanding a whopping 1,000 hours of flight time on a single profile is still quite the tall order. We're seeing under 100 tracked players (out of close to 60,000) who have unlocked this, and we'd wager a good few probably used the clock change trick to grab this on PC — that'd certainly go some way towards explaining why half the players with the completion don't even have close to 1,000 hours logged in the game.

Gears 5

Gears 5 Op 8 Drop 1

Gears 5Seriously 5.0 - Chapter 2The Seriously 5.0 - Chapter 2 achievement in Gears 5 worth 2701 points50 Re-Ups, Inconceivable Campaign, Master All hives & Horde Maps , All Classes at Level 20

It should surprise nobody to see a Gears game on this list and while we've picked the latest absurd Seriously achievement from Gears 5, any (and all) of them could slot in just as easily. Looking at you, Gears 3. This one was only added to the game's list in the last update, but still, 200 unlocks out of over quarter of a million tracked players is pretty crazy, so kudos to everyone who has managed to meet the shopping list of conditions required to unlock this absolutely savage achievement.

Prominence Poker

Prominence Poker

Prominence PokerBillionaireThe Billionaire achievement in Prominence Poker worth 2626 pointsReach 1 billion bankroll

A quick bit of research shows just how ridiculous this achievement is — not one of the world's most successful poker players has anywhere close to a net worth of $1 billion, so that, coupled with the fact that the first tracked unlock came some 18 months after launch, should give you an idea of how much of a grind this would be to do legitimately. Never fear, though! It's a free-to-play game so of course there are microtransactions, and you can easily unlock this achievement* by buying the Boss of all Bosses Bundle (3.5 million chips) a mere 286 times — 50G for the low, low price of just under £24,000!

* Well, in theory... for obvious reasons, we haven't actually tested this.

Dynasty Warriors 8

16/7/13 - Dynasty Warriors 8 Screens 7

Dynasty Warriors 8Vocal EnthusiastThe Vocal Enthusiast achievement in Dynasty Warriors 8 worth 55 pointsListen to all of the voice lines within the Gallery.

We fully expect that there are some even worse grinds in Omega Force's myriad Warriors games, but this one stood out purely on the basis of how utterly trivial the thing you're grinding for is. There's a lot to do before you can even start work on getting all of the Ambition voice lines, after which as I am James' thorough solution points out, you'll need to run close to 1,400 Skirmishes in Ambition mode with specific combinations of characters. The good news is that you don't need to actually listen to all the dialogue again, as the description suggests — just a trip to Gallery mode after unlocking the lot will net you your 10G. Yes, really.

Rec Room

Rec Room easy gamerscore

Rec RoomRec Roomer IIThe Rec Roomer II achievement in Rec Room worth 3037 pointsReach level 50

This is an odd one. All bar two of the weird social game's achievements can be popped in a matter of minutes, while this one — as well as its predecessor Rec Roomer I, for hitting level 30 — will take you ages. The game has an arbitrary daily XP cap, which means you have to fire it up daily over the course of months if you want the completion, and it's not even very good. In fact, it's kinda awful. Not even 100 TA members out of the 50,000 who have started Rec Room have bothered to go all the way to level 50, and we can't blame anyone who just snags the free 700G and never touches this horrible thing again.

Star Balls

grindiest xbox achievements

Star BallsSeriously, Take a BreakThe Seriously, Take a Break achievement in Star Balls worth 137 pointsSpend 500 hours in levels

Sci-fi crazy golf is a cool enough concept, but most people probably won't even want to play something like that for five hours, let alone 500. Star Balls has a total of seven cumulative play time achievements, with this being the most demanding — it's pretty telling that only a quarter of tracked players have even unlocked the first one for putting in five hours, so no surprise to see that so few people are willing to play for that extra 495 hours. When achievement solutions are talking about double-box idling, you just know that the play time expectation is wildly off-base compared to how long even the biggest fans of this game are likely to want to play it.

Super Bomberman R

SUPER BOMBERMAN R

SUPER BOMBERMAN RBomb 1,000,000The Bomb 1,000,000 achievement in SUPER BOMBERMAN R worth 1597 pointsUse 1,000,000 Bombs

If there's one sure-fire way to make something not fun, it's being told to do it a million times. We have no idea what Konami was thinking (nothing new there) when it decided to do that not once but twice in Super Bomberman R, with achievements for setting a million bombs and breaking a million blocks. Seeing as how a single bomb can take out multiple blocks, this is the more demanding of the two, and even the most ardent of Bomberman fans isn't likely to unlock this naturally in any reasonable amount of time. Even grinding it out under optimal conditions will take well over 200 hours, and that's way too long to spend playing Bomberman wrong.

Friday the 13th: The Game

Jason

Friday the 13th: The GameThe Final ChapterThe The Final Chapter achievement in Friday the 13th: The Game worth 1915 pointsPlay 1000 multiplayer matches as Jason.

Just playing 1,000 online games in general would be a pretty steep requirement when typical matches aren't exactly quick, but it gets worse. In a full lobby, you only have a 12.5% chance of being chosen to play as Jason, so it's going to take way more games to grind out the thousand killer roles. Even boosting it with just one other person will double that requirement (assuming you both need it... good luck finding someone who doesn't who is simply willing to help you out of kindness), and this is far from the game's only grindy achievement, so expect to have to put up with a lot of jank if you're planning on adding this completion to your tag.

Splitgate

Splitgate

Splitgate1047The 1047 achievement in Splitgate worth 4682 pointsWin 1,047 matches

Splitgate hasn't been out that long, so it's hardly surprising that nobody on TA has reached this lofty milestone yet. Heck, at the time of writing, only 5% of tracked players have even made it as far as 50 wins, so this one is going to prove to be quite the investment. We get that it's a reference to developer 1047 Games, but assigning it to something more manageable (kills perhaps, or portals placed?) would have made Splitgate a much less tedious completion...

Mortal Kombat

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Mortal KombatMy Kung Fu Is StrongerThe My Kung Fu Is Stronger achievement in Mortal Kombat worth 819 pointsGain Mastery of All Fighters

This one looks fairly innocuous until you learn exactly what 'mastery' entails, at which point you realise that it's actually disgusting. You're looking at 100 wins, 100 Fatalities, 150 X-Ray moves, 10,000 pints of blood spilled, and 24 hours total play time with each character. All 27 of them. Even factoring in Tag mode letting you work on two characters, that's still almost 350 hours minimum, and you should be done with all the other conditions long before you reach a full day's worth of play time with a character. Oh, and you better cross your fingers that your save file doesn't corrupt itself, sending you all the way back to square one. A masterclass in how not to do achievements for fighting games.

Total Conquest

grindiest xbox achievements

Total Conquest (WP)Power Grind 2The Power Grind 2 achievement in Total Conquest (WP) worth 903 pointsReach level 30

A proper horror story now, courtesy of the delisted Total Conquest. Requirements for the three Power Grind achievements were mistakenly offset, meaning the first would unlock at level 30 rather than level 5, while this one actually required you to reach level 100, not 30 as the description claims. This in turn caused Power Grind 3 to be unobtainable. We only have a single tracked player on each version of the game who braved this grind in an unfinishable game — dieotze74 on Windows 8, and our own Shadow Kisuragi on Windows Phone, who told us that this took over 11,000 hours!

Gems of War

Gems of War

Gems of WarTry this one, GeoffThe Try this one, Geoff achievement in Gems of War worth 1378 pointsUse Medals to upgrade 100 Troops to the Gold Elite Level

This achievement was the only new one added in Patch 4.7 in late 2019, so the fact that this update alone has a 200+ hour completion estimate should tell you everything you need to know. Unlocking this is extremely resource-intensive, requiring hundreds of Medals and millions of Souls, which will take thousands of battles to accrue. RadicalSniper99's extensive guide delves into the maths behind this lengthy grind, and it's far from the only one on the ever-growing list, so bear that in mind if you ever consider firing this up.

Beautiful Katamari

grindiest xbox achievements

Beautiful Katamari100 Hours PlaytimeThe 100 Hours Playtime achievement in Beautiful Katamari worth 312 pointsPlayed for 100 hours. (Secret)

Compared to a lot of these other grinds, 100 hours might not seem like an awfully long time. But it's a matter of context, and in a game like Beautiful Katamari, there's no way getting the rest of the achievements will take anything like that long, leaving you to do nothing but grind out playtime. These kinds of achievements are arguably the worst offenders when it comes to grindy unlocks — at least with specific goals and targets, there's some kind of sense of progress and purpose, but when the only condition to meet is simply showing up, that final achievement is going to end up being the least satisfying of the lot.

ShellShock Live

grindiest xbox achievements

ShellShock LiveXP HoarderThe XP Hoarder achievement in ShellShock Live worth 379 pointsEarn 1,000,000 XP

Back to the seven-figure silliness now, with this unassuming little artillery game and an achievement list so grindy that you'd think The Coalition had a hand in coming up with it. ShellShock Live only has a single tracked completion on TA, thanks in no small part to this epic investment. Racking up a million XP is one hell of an ask, especially when the game only seems to want to hand out 100 or so at a time, so this will easily set you back hundreds of hours. With so many other cumulative achievements to work through, though, chances are you'd have to play for pretty much that long even if this one wasn't on the list.

Rock Band 2

gotg

Rock Band 2The Bladder of Steel AwardThe The Bladder of Steel Award achievement in Rock Band 2 worth 121 pointsCompleted the Endless Setlist 2 without pausing or failing. (Secret)

Most of the grinds on this list are extensive but not especially involved, which is why we thought an endurance rhythm-action session might make for a nice change of pace. Rock Band 2's Endless Setlist 2 is a physical grind, tasking players with rocking their way through all of the game's 84 songs in one go. Considering this goes on for over six hours, this one can get pretty painful depending on your instrument of choice and difficulty level, especially since this achievement in particular precludes you from taking breaks of any kind. Our hearts go out to everyone who has missed out on this due to a controller disconnect, an accidental pause, or simply from underestimating Visions or Panic Attack and stumbling at practically the final hurdle.

Battlefield Hardline

Battlefield Hardline

Battlefield HardlineHave Some ProfessionalismThe Have Some Professionalism achievement in Battlefield Hardline worth 538 pointsGet 10,000 kills with the Professional class

In a move straight out of the Gears playbook, EA put out a Battlefield Hardline update three months after release which added some ludicrously grindtastic achievements, presumably in an attempt to drive player retention. This is but one of four, with separate achievements for the Enforcer, Mechanic, and Operator classes also requiring 10,000 kills a piece. Best of all, these did not track retroactively, meaning that even the game's most dedicated players would still need to rack up another 40,000 kills to unlock all four. Rude.

Elite: Dangerous

Beyond - Chapter Two Screens

Elite: DangerousTriple EliteThe Triple Elite achievement in Elite: Dangerous worth 2444 pointsReach a rank of Elite in Exploration, Combat and Trading

Just getting to Elite status in any one of Elite: Dangerous' three core pillars — Combat, Exploration, and Trading — takes serious dedication, so it should go without saying that locking down all three might as well be a full-time job. The list has grown to be absolutely huge, with 3,810G up for grabs across 225 achievements, and there are plenty of others that are as rare (and as lucrative, ratio hunters) as this one, if not more so. You'd likely make a solid dent in the list purely by working your way towards Triple Elite, but just be sure you know what you're getting yourself into — Elite is something of an acquired taste.

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin

grindiest xbox achievements

F.E.A.R. 2: Project OriginFour Star GeneralThe Four Star General achievement in F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin worth 623 pointsPromoted to rank: Four Star General

We've heard tell of fine people descending into madness after grinding out the multiplayer achievements in this cult horror-shooter, and we can plainly see why. It's another of those lovely million-XP deals that will easily take upwards of 100 hours, and it's not as though the multiplayer component of the game was either especially good or particularly popular. Here on TA, all bar a few of F.E.A.R. 2's online achievements have only been unlocked by around 5% of tracked players, and we still see regular boosting sessions as others eye up this painstaking completion.

Skater XL

Skater XL

Skater XLAround the worldThe Around the world achievement in Skater XL worth 936 pointsTravel over 40.075 km in total

Circumnavigating the globe famously takes quite a long time, so just imagine how long it would take on a skateboard. Well, imagine no longer, as Skater XL's list asks you to do just that, accruing a total travel distance of just over 40,000km. Rough estimates suggest doing this legit would take upwards of 2,500 hours — a heck of a lot longer than the equivalent achievement in GRID — so it's hardly surprising that players have resorted to all manner of tricks and glitches to speed up the process. Here's the kicker, though — even if you do manage to pull off your round-the-world trip, you still can't get the completion, as Skater XL's platinum-style 'unlock the rest' achievement is bugged and unobtainable.

Star Renegades

Star Renegades Xbox Game Pass

Star RenegadesLord of the MultiverseThe Lord of the Multiverse achievement in Star Renegades worth 1544 pointsVictorious 100 times

It can be hard to work out what is broken and what's not, but it looks as though this one might be the highest ratio achievement that is currently actually available, and we've only got a single tracked unlock on the console version, compared to 34 on the PC version which has been out a little longer. We understand some of this game's achievements can be glitchy, but assuming this one works, you'd need to chalk up 100 winning runs — each around 5-6 hours or so — so you're looking at 500+ hours as a baseline before you even factor in failed attempts. And assuming it doesn't glitch on you. Which, by the sounds of it, may not be the best assumption to make.

How many of these have you fallen foul of, or managed to overcome? Got any suggestions of your own to add to the discussion? As ever, let us know down there in the comments!
Luke Albigés
Written by Luke Albigés
Luke runs the TA news team, contributing where he can primarily with reviews and other long-form features — crafts he has honed across two decades of print and online gaming media experience, having worked with the likes of gamesTM, Eurogamer, Play, Retro Gamer, Edge, and many more. He loves all things Monster Hunter, enjoys a good D&D session, and has played way too much Destiny.