Achievement Discussion - January - The One That Time Forgot
Written Saturday, January 31, 2009 By Dan WebbView author's profile
Ahhh, it’s good to be back ... although I’ve technically not been anywhere, but the once short lived Achievement Discussion is back and in shorter, more reliable bursts (i.e. once a month and not once a week). I won’t waste your time with excuses about why it died off so quickly but with Leipzig, PAX, and hundreds of reviews, it got kind of busy. I wrote down a whole load of other excuses but my dog ate them (see what I did there?) Anyway, in hindsight it was a stupidly ambitious timeframe (oh my, what I’d pay to have that as a special power), but here we are, lesson learned; new and improved and with a new look. Shibby!
In case you missed its brief two week spell last year, the “Achievement Discussion” is (well it is now) a monthly article looking at anything achievements ... and by anything, we mean anything. Suggestions are always welcome via the usual channels which I’ll close with. Till then, let’s get the ball rolling by looking at January’s lists and what we can expect in February’s games.
Sorry dear chap, I seemed to have checked yo ass down!!
In terms of list reveals, January, rightly so as well, was as barren as the wastelands in Fallout 3. The month saw plenty of arcade lists drop though; Uno Rush, Watchmen: The End is Nigh, Minesweeper Flags, R-Type Dimensions and my personal favourite; 3 on 3 NHL Arcade. The list isn’t all spectacular but it looks fun and possibly my most satisfying achievement of the year could be “Over and Out” whereby you have to knock an opponent over the boards. Love it! The whole NHL 3-on-3 list focuses mostly on utilising the game’s power-ups which can’t be bad and it looks fairly easy 200 points which surely means, more sales. Good for all involved except those looking for a challenging 200.
Ok, so January wasn’t all arcade games and fairy dust, we also saw two lists from games of totally different ends of the spectrum appear; the flesh baring Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad. A game that seems to appeal to every teenage boy’s fantasies of blood lust and semi-naked women ... a game that throws all aspects of shame out the window and embraces it as if it was their long lost brother. And from the other end of the spectrum, there was the upcoming simulation driving experience that is RACE Pro. The list is a bit of a shocker from RACE Pro in all seriousness, especially for a game that claims it is a hardcore, simulation racer, you’d kind of expect a list that would suit the game. The list looks to be a fairly standard one, although the ugly multiplayer achievements rears its ghastly head once again. When are developers going to realise that online achievements don’t necessarily improve the longevity of a title, as was disproved by the still hugely successful Call of Duty 4. The RACE Pro list also suffers from the “let’s use the same tile” vein of laziness as well which conveys the biggest “can’t be arsed with this achievement crap” message if ever there was one.
Speaking of the “let’s use the same tile” vein, the recently added Ninja Blade also comes under the same heading. The list however has a little bit of ingenuity to it, whether you like the innuendo which we mention later, or the MC Hammer reference (Ya Can't Touch This - Deflect 20 projectiles) which we do a little dance to every time we say it, there is plenty of variety. Looking at it though, like other games from the hack-and-slash genre, don’t expect an easy time.
Absolute ... utter ... carnage!!
February does hold a few great titles in terms of playability, but if you want some easy achievement points, computer says “look elsewhere.” FEAR 2 and Halo Wars are two of these titles that fall under the “tough as hell” achievement category requiring an obscene amount of multiplayer hours to get the most out of them. At first look, you’re looking at well in excess of 30 hours for each title and plenty of online time. FEAR actually has an 8 hour ranked online achievement and offers gamers 100 points for unlocking all the online achievements. Can anyone say lame? As for Halo Wars, aside from the 24 hours in gameplay time and 100% completion achievement, you’ll be expected to reach the online rank of General which stands to be no 5 minute job.
Oh, how could I not mention the 20 point “achievement” for FEAR 2 that “rewards” players for 5 suicides? Come to think of it, I’m not sure how suicide and achievement could even be used in the same sentence. It seems that imagination in achievement lists are lacking these days which is a real shame. We need more Fable 2 lists ... more care ... more humour.
The other big title of February is none other than Street Fighter IV and although the achievements are yet to be unveiled, the trophies have been out for some time ... but it’s all looking very generic. This comes to another problem though ... how can a fighting game’s achievements/trophies not be generic? It’s two characters on screen pummelling one another, so for that reason, and that reason alone, we’ll forgive Capcom on this one. However, like Halo Wars and FEAR 2, there is a lot of online achievements, but then again, isn’t that what Street Fighter is all about? Winner stays on, back to back, to back fights? Indeed it is. So again, forgiveness is granted. Damn, Capcom got lucky with forgiveness this month! That about wraps up January’s published lists and February’s incoming games, now it’s time we bring back the mail bag.
The mail bag proved to be a popular aspect last time around and it’d be rude not to include it this time but seeing as this is a reinvention of the feature, we opened the floor up to the staff that steady the ship first time around to set the example ... or so I thought.
Who better to open this aspect up, than the person that created the awesome graphics for this newly revamped feature; Night, our beloved graphical wizard and moderator asks:
“What’s the point in a 1250 point limit on games if Microsoft aren’t going to hold everyone to it?”
In all fairness ... it’s an unanswerable question, but thankfully it only seems like the stellar or big Microsoft franchises are doing that at the moment; Fallout 3 and Halo 3. I’m not condoning it, in fact, it makes a mockery of the whole system, but the bigger games will always want to go one better than the rest. GTA IV is almost certainly going to break that limit as well with “Lost and Damned” releasing with 250 points and we presume the second episode would release with the same. It would be nice to see a little clarity thrown back in to the system with the whole Fable 2 issue and the 1250 point limit breaks, but at the end of the day, achievements do help sell DLC, so the fact that they want to push that is not surprising. We’ve effectively made the bed ... now we must sleep in it. To be honest, seeing as its the big, AAA titles this seems to be happening to, it doesn’t make us lose any sleep at night, but we’d probably be a little more annoyed if Alone in the Dark broke that threshold, but until that happens, the system isn’t completely broken.
For our second question, our very own Minty asks:
“Why is it that an achievement list for some random game with the word bikini in its title generates 130+ comments but one for Halo Wars only generates just over 100 comments?”
Well Minty, apart from explaining the birds and the bees to you ... again (Ha I’m going to get hell for that in the next podcast), the obvious nature of a young males mind automatically ranks women over Halo ... or so we’d like to think. Well, that’s what we’re chalking it up to! The same can be said for My Horse and Me 2 which generated 155 comments ... although, that might be down to an animal fetish problem some of our users have *shudders*
Next month, I’ll open up the floor to everyone out there by reinstating “The Mail Bag” and offering the rein to the readers. You can ask us anything related to the world of achievements, whether it be a serious discussion topic or it be an amusing question of absolute randomness. The best way to submit your ideas is via my e-mail address or the site’s new Twitter account (I know, we caved!).
So there we have it, the feature is back and will be as big as ever and as always, we’ll close with a song ... Sorry, I mean the best and worst of the month.
Oh, and as a reminder, the trophy lists seem to go up way before the achievement lists these days, and because 3rd party titles have the same list, keep an eye on our sister site for an even more advanced sneak peak.
There is just too much innuendo for us to handle in Ninja Blade's "I'm Rubber and You're Glue" achievement, although looking at it, I’m not sure that was From Software's intention. If it was, touché, innuendo is the highest form of awesomeness. If not, ha, we’re taking it that way! Just you try and stop us.
Well, it was a toughie, but MLB's Front Office Manager's Historic Career just beat winning 500 games of Minesweeper to the post. Why you ask? Because Minty and myself suffered the excruciating pain of doing 30 years in Football Manager ... which was a really solid game. We just can imagine how painful this experience would be ... even if you love the damn game. Ugh!