Achievement Discussion - April - The Month of the Arcade Spoiler
Written Saturday, May 02, 2009 By Dan WebbView author's profile
With the painstakingly slow month of April behind us in terms of releases, and more importantly, whoring those achievements, it’s time to reflect on the few lists that we saw last month without forgetting to turn our attention to what we’ll be doing throughout May. Of course, it’s that time of the month again (no, not that one) ... Achievement Discussion time! As usual, we’ll start with the new lists and then mosey on over to how we’ll be getting our points in May.
April, as far as new lists goes, can officially be deemed, “month of the arcade spoiler.” The release of lists like Gunstar Heroes, Phantasy Star II, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Marvel v Capcom 2, Shinobi, Comix Zone and Altered Beast pretty much gave us our first bit of confirmation that these titles were Xbox Live Arcade bound. That being said, it also uncovered SEGA’s evil plan to release the games twice seeing as a lot of those aforementioned titles were already released in a compilation pack the other month. Despite that, in reality you can’t grumble as it’s simply good business and come on, you’re not forced into buying them, are you? If you are, see your local Trading Standards officer as it’s likely that SEGA aren’t playing by the same rulebook as us mere mortals. Releasing them separately does allow people who’ve not yet picked up the compilation pack, to pick and choose which games they wish to play, although this is an expensive method. It also means that super achievement whores can buy them twice and get a massive boost in points. If they do release them all of them separately, players effectively have the chance to earn an incredible 10,800 points just by playing SEGA classics (49 Genesis games & the compilation pack).
Juggling in a fighting game? Result!
Under the main spotlight this month, we’ll pay particular attention to the achievement lists for Marvel vs Capcom 2 and Red Faction: Guerilla which seems to be suffering the same delusions of grandeur that Chronicles of Riddick recently suffered from. Marvel vs Capcom 2 is a fairly ... generic list and requires plenty of online play. The themed achievements are a nice touch though, requiring players to create teams consisting of characters from that relevant stable (Street Fighter, the Avengers, Darkstalkers & X-Men). Not incredibly mind blowing, but not terrible. They’re run-of-the-mill if you must.
The problem with Red Faction: Guerilla’s achievement list in short, is that it’s crap. For some weird and wonderful reason, Volition want you to amass 100,000 online experience points, win (yes, I said win) 250 ranked matches and get 5,000 kills in what is destined to be another multiplayer arena that just doesn’t cut it against the big boys of today. Thanks ... but no thanks, especially if the Beta was anything to go by. The list is just pretty poor throughout and it’s hard to believe that this development team created some of the amusing Saints Row 2 achievements and had the sense of humour to include an Ostrich as a weapon in the final Red Faction build. A lack of care maybe? Who knows ... We just know that the list is generic, unbalanced and devoid of any sort of originality.
As far as May’s releases go, we don’t actually have much to rabbit on about there (lucky you!) because, quite simply put, we’ve not got the lists yet for most of the more mainstream titles. And I’m not about to sit here are discuss Hannah Montana’s Euro release ... well, not in public anyway. We can however take a look at the UFC 2009 Undisputed list after seeing the impressive demo too, as it hits the stores in May.
I want that "Flying Mouthpieces" achievement!
As far as the UFC 2009 Undisputed list goes ... well, we’re not convinced. In fact, we’re a little disappointed. On the one hand, the list looks pretty fun ... trying to win fights within 20 seconds, and winning by using submissions and no striking, and winning by striking with no grappling, which not only could be fun, but they are a great way to encourage fighters to learn more styles. But on the other hand though, the list’s balance is absolutely terrible. If you want to fully complete UFC 2009, you’ll have to spend a large amount of your time on Live, in fact, a ridiculous amount of time will be lost online. You’ll be expected to rack up 100 online ranked wins and reach level 50 on your way to securing the 470 points that are available there. They’re not even original online achievements either; excuse me while I drone on but you get awarded points for 1 win, 15 wins, 30 wins, 50 wins, 100 wins, 15 submission wins, 15 knockout wins and yada yada. Shame really ... although the secret achievements do actually show a little originality (knocking mouthpiece 3 metres, dominating all 3 replay scenes, watching the Octagon girl cutscene 15 times (like you needed an excuse!). When will developers learn that multiplayer achievements are the devil’s spawn?
Just before we move on, we thought we’d lavish some praise on Fable 2’s new achievements for the See the Future DLC (due May 12th) which look absolutely fantastic again. Kudos goes out to Lionhead there. Unfortunately, (or rather fortunately for me) I’ll be at E3 at the beginning of next month so there will be no achievement discussion published then. However, normal service resumes at the beginning of July where we should have a few treats to work through then.
On to the mail bag then and a big thanks to those who submitted questions this month, however, I’m only going to use one of them and mingle in a current talking point topic in as the other one.
First up, Filter X 2007 asks:
If Microsoft decided that 'boosting' achievements goes against the terms and use of XBL (like a few people have been talking about lately) would x360a.org remove the gamer boosting threads from each games forum?
Marcus was one of the ones whose gamerscore was reset
And finally, from x360a’s inner sanctum asks:
So then ... what do you think of these new achievement rules? Think they’ll hold up or do you think we’re destined to be writing about new ones this time next year?
Good question x360a ... have a cookie. The new rules as discussed by Alan in April and confirmed by numerous sources around the web, do seem to carry good intentions, although you can’t help but think they are a stop gap, until someone else wants to break them ... as was apparent with the first set. The only saving grace with the new rules is that they are more downloadable content friendly which the first ones were not. That says more about the state of play of DLC than it does about anything else. When Microsoft first announced the “official” achievement rules, as posted by the gone- and-not-forgotten, Gamerscoreblog, downloadable content was not a current trend and the current change in rules only goes to correct the short sightedness of those original rules. Sure they allowed for 250 extra points for retail titles, but when developers were using them on one pack of content, you knew it was only a matter of time until the rules felt the strain. Why? Because achievements linked to downloadable content sells content. Simple as. How many people would have played the Ultor Exposed pack if there were no achievements? Exactly!
Saints Row 2 DLC is shortest yet
So do we think they’ll hold up this time? Stands a good chance. Are we destined for version 3.0 this time next year? Wouldn’t have thought so. Do we like them? Well, we’d rather have some sort of guidelines in place than none, although these do seem to be a tad more unrestrictive than the ones we’re used to, which could ultimately take the phenomenon of downloadable content and achievements to another level ... and not in a good way.
That’s it till July then folks. Remember as always, questions for the mail bag are accepted via PM, Twitter, e-mail or written on a paper airplane and flown my way. We’ll leave you with the crème de la crème and dregs of the barrel of this month’s achievements.
Top of the pile this month is UFC with one of its secret achievement (as discovered by the trophy list); Wanted: Flying Mouthpieces. After playing the demo this month, we discovered that there was something so ultimately satisfying in trying to knock your opponent’s mouthpiece as far as you could with that killer blow. An achievement with thought, originality and one that surely will be an “oh awesome ... did you see that?” moment when you finally unlock it. Big finishes are always a winner in our books.
It was close this month and any one of five achievements could have taken this award home, and funnily enough, those five achievements came from two games: UFC 2009 Undisputed and Red Faction: Guerilla. In the end, we decided to give it to Red Faction simply because the two UFC achievements in the running carried a lot more points with them, making the ridiculous effort needed to gain them that little bit more rewarding. Either way, the Black Belt and Red Belt achievements from UFC and the War Veteran, Courier of Pain and Disaster Area achievements from Red Faction: Guerilla are all lacklustre, unoriginal and bland achievements.