Achievements are becoming a core part of the Xbox 360 game experience. It offers a whole new concept to the game called “meta-gaming”. Who knew that people out there would be going out of their way just to earn some digital points. I welcome this concept as it adds a feeling of accomplishment to your game. It used to be that finishing a game constitutes as actually “finishing” the game, now a days you have to finish it without touching the floor to get those sweet 20 gamer points. A good ratio for your game achievement completion rate is that it should be 60 percent done when you actually reach the end credits. Then you get the rest of the 40 percent doing the miscellaneous activities. With that out of the way, this is a short list of what games should do with their achievements to make their achievement junkie fans happy.
1) Have a good mix of difficulty in achievements
I’m looking at you here “Guitar Hero 3″. There should be a wide range of difficulty in it’s achievements. They should offer you some from the get go to show that it’s possible to win anything in this game. And when you bring up the rest of the list, you should be able to scroll through the list and say “That looks possible to do”. Some games include the time consuming ones, and that’s okay. But don’t go overboard, the most you should put in the game is at least two. Nobody wants to spend half their life The most notorious of games that seem to have the most frustrating achievements to get is “Mega Man 9″. Where most of them include not dying while trying to complete the game, completing the game by shooting the least amount of enemies possible, and completing the game 5 times in one day. Yeah, any sane person could do that.
2) Stop Giving out 5 points per achievement
It really is pointless for games to include this. It almost feels like your telling the gamer “Here, you did something frivolous, take this.” What this means is that there are the more difficult ones with the higher points attached to it. The average game has around 50 achievements on the disc itself, using the 5 point method more than 25 times allows the other achievements to be unbalanced. Really though, this is more for Guitar Hero’s sake than any other game out there. It’s better to get the zero point achievement, at least that way the game punishes you, and making you strive to be a better gamer.
3) Difficulty achievements should stack
I only know a couple of games that do this and it’s Battlefield: Bad Company and Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Dark Athena. Well this is just a general rule that applies to any future games. If you start off in the hard part of the game already, then you should automatically receive the normal achievement that goes along with it. It makes sense here, people. Also, there should be the hard difficulty already available to the player from the beginning. It’s just a game play lengthening strategy that they use to make you play through the game twice.
4) Have some humor in your achievements
It shouldn’t be ALL too serious. It’s a good idea to let your audience know that you like to have a little bit of fun. The orange box is a good example by mixing some humor achievement in to their games. You can actually get some points for throw a lawn gnome out in to space. This should be included more because it helps to lighten up the mood from endless gore-fests and macabre settings. We all need to laugh to help us forget that the economy is shoving our hands in to the blender.
5) Have a progress screen for your achievements
It’s good to know you only need 200 more kills to get 40 or so gamerpoints. More recent games started to do this meaning that people now start to care about getting them. The progress screen really helps the ones who are devoted to scavenge hunting. This way, you look at with the 100 kill achievement as half -full. Most games, you have blind luck in figuring out when your gonna kill your 53,096 zombie, but good games (Left 4 dead) show you how far you have to go in your long and sad road.
6) Have some that are creative
Make your game stand out. Portal: Still Alive did a good job of incorporating this in their game. Such as going out of the blue portal and calling the achievement “Out of the blue”. There are good examples of actually using the date and time to your advantage to earn the achievement. Call Of Juarez: Bound in Blood does this by having you eliminate 4 enemies between 12PM and 12:15PM and they call it “High Noon”. This is good to have because it engages the gamer and puts a whole new spin on the game. We’re not asking for Shakespeare, just a few achievements that stimulate the mind.
7) Limit the amount of online multiplayer achievements
Unless you absolutely know for a fact that people will be on the matchmaking screen until the end of time. Having multiplayer achievements for Quantum of Solace is like having full episodes of Mind Of Mencia online, sure it looks promising but is anyone going to be on there? Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground has this achievement where you play 1000 online games. This wouldn’t be a problem if weren’t for the fact that there’s 2 people still playing this game. Go ahead, go to gamercard live tracker and see if you could find anyone at all. Some multiplayer achievements work however, such as some local multiplayer achievements in Rock Band 2 or Guitar Hero: World Tour. You should hope that your friends are sympathetic to your achievement scrounging or you seem like the psycho who screams at everyone to deploy “overdrive” at the same time. I just hope some developer takes something away from this. Happy gaming to you all!