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Achievements need to be more about challenge and variety than repetition and frustration!
By now you’ve all read KotBT’s wonderful piece on boring achievements in games, and if you haven’t, click the blue lines! If you have, you probably agree with all the points, especially about the Assassin’s Creed flags, which was just plain irritating to get.
I’m going to take it a step further. I’m going to say that developers aren’t taking advantage of a system, whether it’s trophies or achievements (same thing, really), that could make their games more interesting or increase their replay value. And unlike that guy who wants a Greener world or the girl at Starbucks angry about corporations, I’m going to suggest plausible and successful ways to make it happen (better achievements, not environmental homeostasis, that’s too hard).
Here’s how we make Achievements and Trophies good again.
Reward Game Progress with Less
If I’m playing Modern Warfare 3, chances are I’ve played through both 1 and 2 and I want to see the end of the story. And a good game should do that anyway. Why, then, do I get as many Achievement points for beating the campaign on Recruit as I do for finishing the toughest Spec Op on Veteran? It takes about the same amount of time, and the Spec Op at least required skill.
I want to earn my achievements, not step over them.
LIMIT THE DAMN COLLECTIBLES!
Why was that in all caps? Because I just screamed it. Collectibles have long been the bane of video gamers. Whether it’s the unappreciated concept art, the statues that serve no purpose or those infamous Assassin’s Creed flags (and later feathers) that take forever to find, they are all irritating. The hunt isn’t worth an extra twenty Achievement points unless they give me something I actually want; extra costumes, new stages, fresh abilities and
fan service extra costumes. Wait, did I say that already?
I’d rather get points and unlock things I enjoy/play with/use along the way and not for crap I will never look at again.
More Reasons to Play Again
How many times have you played Mass Effect? A whole lot, right? How about Skyrim? Too many times to count, huh? Borderlands? At least once per character, I’m sure. Fortunately, these games reward additional playthroughs with trophies; Mass Effect has the Long Service Medal, Skyrim lets you choose the Stormcloaks or the Imperial Army and Borderlands 2 has four “100 kills with your single action skill” Achievements.
If you can get everything on the first pass, chances are a ten-hour game will stay just that. Which, considering your many gaming hours, might give you a happy opportunity to go outside. For an hour, at least.
No More 100% (Conditional)
We’re not talking about anything made by Rockstar. Though at times tedious, there is a boatload of things to do in GTA, Bully and Red Dead. We mean the Platinum Trophy and the 100% Game Completion Achievements, which are pretty much just complete the list and get this one for free.
Until the prerequisites get better, the 100% Completion is basically a boring checklist with some exceptions.
Make Me Laugh
Fallout 3 has a lot of options, but eventually you hit a point of doing the same things and using the same weapons. I did much the same, before seeing the Psychotic Prankster on my list. I discovered a newfound love for explosives I never used. Also, for being very, very evil, apparently.
If more Trophies made me laugh the way blowing up pelvises does in Fallout, we’d all be happier hunters.
Expand Players’ Options
Both Bioshock Infinite and Spec Ops: The Line (among other games) have Achievements requiring X kills with certain weapons. And while most of us aren’t master snipers and SMG virtuosos like I am, we all have our comfort zones these achievements get us away from. While I still suck with shotguns, I at least learned the proper distance the fire them from. Also, grenades rank number three in my killing arsenal now.
Basically, when achievements open your eyes to new strategies, you’re not only getting more out of the game, you’re changing how you play the next one.
Challenge Me but Don’t Kill Me
Finally, a Trophy/Achievement should be a challenge, but a fair one. Pressing Start in the Simpsons game in not an achievement, it’s Gaming 101. Then again, Seriously 3.0 from Gears 3 is vicious, 7-Day Survivor from Dead Rising is unhealthy in consecutive length and don’t even get me started on how ridiculous GRAW’s World Champion is. If I wanted to do a marathon session, I’d set up my own.
Test my skill, not my endurance.
What do you think of our suggestions? Did we miss anything important? Drop a comment below and let us know!