X360A's Achievement Awards 2010 - The Best, Worst, Hardest & Easiest Achievements of the Year
Written Tuesday, February 08, 2011 By Dan WebbView author's profile
Today is a big day for us, as not only do we turn 5 – yay us! – but we also get to publish our 5th Achievement Awards... which I think makes it the longest and most corruption-free award ceremony ever... right? Ouch!
Easiest Individual Achievement 2010
The easiest individual achievement category is actually becoming harder and harder to judge, simply because so many are so incredibly easy to achieve these days. For this year’s awards, we not only factored in how many button presses, but how long it took as well. So our formula was simple; we took the time it took to achieve the achievement, multiplied it by the amount of button presses, then divided that number by Pi to the power of love. The result? Chime’s ‘Fairy Godmother’ achievement is the winner – an achievement you get for simply pressing one button on the main menu. It fought off stiff competition from Black Ops’ ‘Just Ask Me Nicely,’ Brotherhood’s ‘Technical Difficulties,’ Limbo’s ‘Wrong Way’ and Fable 3’s ‘Hand in Hand’... all of which are stupidly easy to achieve.
Winner: Chime: Fairy Godmother
Easiest Action 1000 2010
If there’s one thing that we noticed from the action genre in 2010 – both the easiest and hardest categories – it’s that there wasn’t really any freak results in terms of completion hours. The five games at the bottom end of the scale for instance – Prince of Persia, Iron Man 2, Dante’s Inferno, Darksiders and Dark Void – all were within a few hours of each other, except maybe Darksiders, which makes an appearance just to make up the numbers.
Fighting it out for the number one spot though were two titles that were significantly easier than their competitors – Dante’s Inferno and Prince of Persia. After much deliberation, Prince of Persia came out on top, taking around 7-8 hours to complete, with Dante’s Inferno’s estimated 8-10 hours coming in a close second. At least the Prince can finally say he’s won something in the last few years of gaming now...
Winner: Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
Easiest Racing 1000 2010
I’ll be honest... the racing category nearly went the way of the music category this year too due to its relatively small crowd of titles, but because there was a much more diverse selection of racers and developers on show, we thought we’d keep it in. Plus, with more than a few racers coming in 2011 and 2012, it’d be a little pointless to cut it for a year.
Winner: Sonic & SEGA: All-Stars Racing
Easiest RPG 1000 2010
The “easiest RPG” category conveys a message of false hope if you ask me and 2010 was no different. This phenomenon is basically down to this simple fact: RPGs are big games and as a result, for the most part, easy/quick games don’t generally exist. Yes, there are exceptions, but not in this year’s awards.
You could, however, argue that Fable III’s been streamlined so much though that it’s no longer an RPG... but ladies and gents, that’s a can of worms that we’re not willing to open up right now. At the end of the day, any game that lets you buy property, get an STD and own a poodle is more than likely going to be an RPG. End of story.
Winner: Fable III
Easiest Shooting 1000 2010
Pew pew pew. Everyone loves a good shooter. Pew pew pew. Especially when it has easy cheevos. Pew pew pew. Unless that game sucks hard. Pew P... Ladies and gents, can I present this year’s winning “easiest shooting 1000”: Jurassic: The Hunted, which had you fighting... you guessed it, dinosaurs. It had stiff competition from its almost-just-as-bad-brethren, Sniper: Ghost Warrior, but pipped it to the post by a few hours. All the decent shooters asked for more than 10 hours of gameplay for the full 1000, sorry folks. That being said, I have noticed that any shooter that has a colon in its title is likely to end up sucking.*
Winner: Jurassic: The Hunted
Easiest Sporting 1000 2010
If you so happened to live in North America in 2010 and were an “occasional achievement whore” – defined by someone who will whore points but only if they can get a thousand in under 10 hours – 2010 was ever so kind to you. Especially in the sports category.
Winner: Backyard Sports: Rookie Rush
Easiest Arcade 200 2010
From an Xbox Live Arcade perspective, 2010 brought a few easy points our way, which is frankly quite unheard of from an Xbox Live Arcade perspective – some of them are super tricky.
With the likes of Pac-Man: Championship Edition and After Burner: Climax gracing the Marketplace in 2010, it was quite possible to rack up a couple of 100% XBLA completions on those titles in just a few hours on each. However, for the second year running, it’s a free Doritos game that’s taking home the cherry pie. Yes, that’s right, Bongfish’s Harm’s Way takes the number one spot this year and considering it was free, it’s surprisingly decent. So decent... and free achievements? That’s surely a winning combination if ever there was one.
Winner: Harm's Way
Easiest Overall 1000 2010
Before we move on to 2010’s hardest lists and achievements, we finish on the easiest of the year. Usually, this category is a face-off between all of the winners of the previous easiest categories, but considering that a vast majority of easy titles didn’t slot into the other categories for this year’s awards, only the two easy sports titles get a mention. This, may I add, has not happened before.
Ladies and gents, that’s a first then; 8 different winners for every “easiest” category in this year’s awards. I’m not sure whether we should be happy or sad about that...
Winner: Truth or Lies
Hardest Individual Achievement 2010
Moving from the easy to the insane, and we don’t just mean that an insane amount of hours is needed to complete it – that’s the next category, duh – but insane as in: “Man, dis dude has skillz!” Yes, I’m talking about the “hardest individual achievement” and up from 2010 are five proper tough cookies – probably not Ninja Gaiden tough, but still... patience, dedication and skills are almost definitely required.
They, however, were no match for Mega Man 10’s ‘Mr Perfect’ achievement which you get for clearing the game without taking any damage... Say what!? Yes, no damage! In fact, no-one on our leaderboard has 200 points in this game because of this achievement... and you only get 30 points for it as well. Wow. Hardcore Mega Man fans need only apply.
Winner: Mega Man 10's MR PERFECT
Most Time Consuming Individual Achievement 2010
I could sit here and paint a nice pretty picture about how it was a closely fought contest this year, but honestly, that would be a complete crock of shit. The truth is, that despite it taking a stupid amount of hours to get Final Fantasy XIII’s ‘Treasure Hunter’ achievement for holding every weapon and accessory, collecting all the titles in Record of Agarest for the Titular achievement, playing 500 Virtual Pro matches for FIFA 11’s ‘Virtual Legend’ achievement and unlocking all the other achievements in Super Street Fighter IV to the ‘Overachiever’ achievement; they’re all still miles away from this year’s winner in terms of time consumption.
Winner: Lost Planet 2's 'Committed 'till the End'
Hardest Action 1000 2010
As I mentioned earlier on in the feature, in the action category this year there wasn’t a Far Cry 2 or a Ninja Gaiden II that required a stupid amount of hours or a certain level of godlike skill. It was surprisingly balanced.
Perched just beneath the final two this year were two great games in their own right: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and Red Dead Redemption, both of which weren’t massively tasking, but were enough so to make the shortlist.
Hardest Racing 1000 2010
The “hardest racing” category was a much more competitive category than its easiest counterpart in this year’s awards and there is a definite emphasis on skill rather than time consumption this year... although that’s not to say they won’t take a while to compete; long story short, they will as well!
Making its way into the hardest category as well as the easiest is Disney’s Split/Second, and joining it is Bizarre Creations’ Blur, nail’d and MotoGP 2009/10.
Of course, that’s only four, so by a process of elimination you should have worked out that F1 2010 took home the award... well, you actually knew that before you read the blurb because you looked at the picture... but stop spoiling my fun will you! So yeah, thanks to the ‘World Champion – Expert’ achievement – for winning a championship season on expert difficulty – and the ‘Commitment is the Key’ achievement – for completing seven seasons! – Codemasters’ F1 2010 is both difficult and time consuming and thus, worthy of our “hardest racing 1000” award this year.
Winner: F1 2010
Hardest RPG 1000 2010
2010’s “hardest RPG” – like 2009’s Star Ocean – was a bit of a runaway leader, with no-one coming anywhere near it, both in terms of difficulty or the length of time required to fully complete the full 1,000 points.
Winner: Record of Agarest War
Hardest Shooting 1000 2010
Two words... Lost Planet 2. Okay, well, technically that’s two words and a number, but come on now, let’s not get all bogged down in semantics just yet, we’re not even halfway through!
So basically, Lost Planet 2 was more of a grind than all the other shooters put together this year, which is a massive statement to make, but it’s not far off. Anyone who has the full 1,000 then deserves eternal kudos... Now if they have the 1,000 in Lost Planet 2 and the 1,000 in Far Cry 2 from a few years back as well, then wow. Just wow.
Winner: Lost Planet 2
Hardest Sporting 1000 2010
Let’s be honest here, the achievements in sports games these days are fairly unoriginal, boring and full of way too much grinding. It’s as if the developers themselves have just got sick of being creative and thrown in carbon copy lists just to fulfil Microsoft’s achievement guidelines. 2010 was no different and there was more grinding on offer throughout the year than possibly any other year to date.
Winner: 2010 FIFA World Cup
Hardest Arcade 200 2010
You know it’s true when they say that some of the individual Xbox Live Arcade achievements are actually harder than the vast majority of retail games, and this bunch proves it. The five games up for nomination this year were in two camps: camp one; where the vast majority of points were relatively straightforward, but there was that one bitch of an achievement; and camp two; the general slogfest.
There was always going to be one winner though, especially considering it won the ‘hardest individual achievement’ award of this year’s awards... and that’s none other than, Mega Man 10. Well done you blue bastard, you’ve resulted in a lot of frustration in 2010 for a lot of gamers... but that’s why we love you!
Winner: Mega Man 10
Hardest Overall 1000 2010
Wrapping up the 'hardest' categories of the awards is, of course, the "hardest overall 1,000" and although Lost Planet 2 has been kicking ass throughout most of the Achievement Awards, it’s in for a much tougher time in this category.
Winner: Lost Planet 2
Game With Most Glitched Achievements 2010
There was a point in 2009 when we thought that the glitchy achievement phenomenon was on its way out. Games seemed to be tested much more thoroughly than in years gone by and aside from Ghostbusters that year, things were picking up. Then 2010 happened. The year of the haunted DLC.
Although Your Shape: Fitness Evolved didn’t technically have any glitched achievements, the whole “event” stuff and the fact there hasn’t been an event yet ultimately means that it might as well be glitched. May I add it’s completely ridiculous and irresponsible to tie achievements to something that you’re not going to follow through with. Just missing out on the top spot was EA’s Army of Two 2, whose DLC was so glitchy that some achievements weren’t unlocking for players, but that’s nothing compared to our winner: Dark Void.
Winner: Dark Void
Worst Achievement Picture 2010
Moving from the unprofessional to the damn right ugly; it’s time to point and laugh at those terrible achievement tiles and this year had its fair share.
Winner: Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
Worst Publisher for Achievements 2010
In pretty much all the categories in our award feature, we try to have five final nominees, all of which are whittled down and tweaked, based upon your nominations – even in categories that are clearly one-sided - until we have our winner.
Worst Achievement List 2010
Finally, topping off the worst of the worst is the ultimate category that no-one wants to win... I mean, why would they? We’re saying, “Hey you, Mr Developer, your creativity and fan service sucks!” Ladies and gents, may I present, the “worst achievement list of 2010”... a year with a lot of bad lists.
Just ahead of them is Prince of Persia and its lazy achievement tiles which makes the POP franchise 2 for 2 on the Xbox 360, and Fallout: New Vegas, with Obsidian opting for grinding and a by-the-numbers list, as opposed to an interesting and original one. Still, they weren’t enough to topple... you guessed it, Lost Planet 2 and it’s ridiculously time consuming and demanding achievement list. Now, we don’t mind a challenge, but come on, at least make it reasonable!
Winner: Lost Planet 2
Best Achievement Picture 2010
With the worst of the worst now covered and put behind us, I can finally take off my cynical hat and put on my rose-tinted glasses once again. Kicking off the positive vibes section of the award show is the “best achievement picture” category, where we focus on style and substance, and that alone... okay, we’ll take a little humour as well.
In terms of iconic this year, Splinter Cell: Conviction’s ‘Best of the Best’ achievement is pretty iconic, as was Super Street Fighter IV’s ‘Quarter Up,’ but all those weren’t a match for both comedy and sheer brilliance under one roof... AKA Dead Rising 2’s Masquerade tile... because putting random stuff on a zombie’s head is as fun as it gets, which we think the tile captures perfectly.
Winner: Dead Rising 2's 'Masquerade'
Best Publisher for Achievements 2010
No publisher is ever going to have a perfect run throughout the year in terms of achievement lists – partly because it depends on the developer and how many games they released – but praising the most consistent bunch is what we do best.
Ubisoft on the one hand may have had a strong showing with Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Splinter Cell: Conviction, but HAWX 2 and various others let them down. Then there’s Microsoft, who had three extremely strong lists with Halo: Reach, Fable III and Crackdown 2... Oh, who am I kidding, of course Microsoft won this year... did you read which three lists they had in their stable? Very, very good examples of what makes the achievement system so great.
Winner: Microsoft Game Studios
Best DLC for Achievements 2010
Obviously, creating worthwhile DLC is a fairly new experience for most developers and publishers, but creating achievements for those bite-size adventures shouldn’t really differ from their usual creative processes. That’s in theory. In practice, some seem to lose their way when it comes to DLC... not in these five lists though, and although Dragon Age: Awakening, Crackdown 2’s ‘Toy Box,’ Alan Wake’s ‘The Writer’ and Borderlands’ ‘The Secret Armory of General Knoxx’ all had very solid lists with a few highlights, none of them held a candle to Red Dead’s ‘Undead Nightmare’ DLC.
Winner: Red Dead Redemption's Undead Nightmare
Most Original Achievement in 2010
Original and unique achievements are what make the world go round... or the achievement world, anyway. It’s as simple as that. In recent years, some of the tasks that these achievements have asked of us have been the highlight of our gaming calendar and despite there being no Valve achievements this year, it was still a good bunch of five finalists.
The winner though, by a long shot it must be said, is Red Dead Redemption’s ‘Dastardly’ achievement, for hog-tying a woman, placing her on the railroad tracks and then watching her disappear under a steam train. Brilliant... I can still picture the red mist now that flies up as a result! I’d go as far as to say, that it's not only one of 2010’s best, but one of the best individual achievements since the system’s creation.
Winner: Red Dead Redemption's 'Dastardly'
Best Achievement List 2010
Unlike most years, this year’s “best achievement” list wasn’t as clean-cut usual. You could argue that’s because Valve didn’t release a game, and to be perfectly frank, you’re probably right on the money. Out of the five-strong shortlist though, any of them could have won, but because Fable III had way too many collectibles, as did the other runner-up, Crackdown 2, they both just missed out on the final three this year, which consisted of these three beauties:
After much deliberation and plenty of to-ing and fro-ing, we came to the decision that 2010’s best achievement list was... *drum roll* Halo: Reach. The decision was simple; although Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Red Dead Redemption both had great lists, we felt that Ubisoft Montreal and Rockstar had forgotten why people play their games in the first place... for their single-player experiences. Like we always say, it’s alright to tempt people into those modes, but to ask too much of their weaker aspect seems like a huge oversight. Bungie on the other hand crafted a list with an almost impeccable balance and although Halo is almost certainly multiplayer-centric, they created achievements that would come naturally if someone dedicated a fair amount of time to the modes, rather than going out of their way to do stuff that didn't feel natural to them. I said fair amount of time, not inordinate, by the way. Anyway, five great lists this year in the final five, but a worthy winner in Halo: Reach.
Winner: Halo: Reach
Game With Most Potential for Achievements 2011
Here’s something I’ve always noticed... whatever game ends up winning this category never actually delivers as we expect them to. Are our expectations too high? I don’t know, but GTA IV (x 2), BioShock 2 and Dead Rising 2 all had decent lists, though nothing special. We’re hoping this year, that changes.
Like most categories before this one, we had five final nominees on our shortlist, each with a valid reason why we think that they could churn out a great list in 2011, most of which were simple reasons.
Making the shortlist, but failing to win, was Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham City because if Rocksteady continue to put the care and attention to detail into the game that they did with the original, we could see a different direction with the achievements. Joining Arkham City is Duke Nukem Forever, simply because a.) it’s the Duke and b.) Gearbox are no doubt doing the achievements. Joining the dynamic duo is Brink, mainly because Richard Ham is the Creative Director and he loves his cheevos – just look at Fable II, which he was Creative Director on – and also, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, because we feel that now the achievement system is older than a year, Bethesda Softworks understand it a lot better.
The winner though? Simple... it’s Portal 2. Why? That question’s even easier to answer... it’s Valve, innit? You know, the Seattle based developer who have won 3 out of 4 of our “best achievement list” awards – The Orange Box (which I still attest is the greatest list ever created), Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. In case you’re wondering, they have a 100% success rate in winning that award; 3 games, 3 awards. Attention developers of 2011, you have your work cut out to break that trend. Do us proud!
Winner: Portal 2
That’s it! We’re done! My fingers are bleeding now and although your eyes may be bleeding too, hopefully we kept you entertained long enough to fight through the pain. Thanks to everyone as per usual who nominated and thanks to the staff who filtered through said nominations and handed us a list of numbers on a plate. I’m now off to bathe myself in ice for about a week... I mean, whose idea was it to have two award ceremonies within a month of each other? What’s that? Mine? D’oh! Either way, it’s been a blast for the last 5 years and here’s to another 5. Don’t forget to enter our birthday giveaway... we are 5 after all, which means we’re giving away 5 Kinect devices. Wait, shouldn’t you be buying us presents!?
Till next year!