XBA’s Achievement Awards 2013 - The Best, Worst, Hardest & Easiest Achievements of the Year
Written Friday, February 14, 2014 By Dan WebbView author's profile
Anecdotes, they’re always the best way to kick off a big ol’ event, don’t’cha think? Remember that year we forgot our birthday? No? Well, that was this year… ohhh, OHH! Shit, son, that’s like forgetting your first-born’s birthday! So for that, I hang our collective heads in shame. It’s also the reason the Achievement Awards are being published almost a week later this year, so let’s not dilly-dally, and because we have some making up to do, we’re going to make this the best one ever, but then we always say that, right?
As always, here’s everything you need to know before we get going: first things first, the Achievement Awards nominations are put forward by you every year – don’t see a nomination, want to complain? Did you nominate it? No, then you lose the right to complain! Secondly, bear in mind that they’re only nominations, the staff ultimately gets the final say so if you were wrong as a collective, we were there to correct you – we’re nice like that; and finally, games you’ll find here are games that saw their main release in 2013.
In terms of changes, we floated new categories, tested them in the nomination stage, but in the end, for the most part, we’re unchanged, except for the fact that the Arcade category has now been extended to “Digital Only 200/400/1000” to react to Microsoft’s changes to its systems. Anyway! Let’s get this show on the road!
Ladies and gents, I present to you the 8th Annual Achievement Awards – yes, 8, that means I’ve been writing these for over a quarter of my life now!
Easiest Individual Achievement
Roll up, roll up! Here we are once again kicking off the awards with the most ridiculous of award categories: the “Easiest Individual Achievement category. For 8 years now I’ve made lame and innocuous segues to pad out what would otherwise be a really short award blurb that basically says, “these are really easy, all the same levels of easiness, we’ll pick one that amuses us slightly more than the others.” Not this year though, I’m just going to announce the winner and be done with it.
That’s right the winner is Deadpool’s ‘First One’s Free,’ which narrowly beat’s GTA V’s ‘Off The Plane,’ Call of Duty: Ghost’s ‘Spacial Awareness’ and Payday 2’s ‘No-One Cared Who I Was.’ Speaking of no-one caring, we don’t care about this category anymore… well, until next year, that is.
Easiest Action / Adventure 1,000
Right then! On to the meat of the show, and as always, we’re kicking things off with all that is easy in the world of achievements – well, in 2013, anyway. Rather than splitting action and adventure up like we did for the nominations stage, we decided to keep them as one, like we have done for the last 8 years. In short: we’re a sucker for tradition and we didn’t want to change things.
This year is effectively like any other: the nominees list basically consisted of family title after family title, even when they weren’t particularly easy. Case in point, a lot of people nominated Disney Infinity, which isn’t exactly easy. Leading the way though with 4-5 hours to complete were The Smurfs 2 and Phineas and Ferb: Quest For Cool Stuff, and even though Phineas and Ferb was an NTSC-only title, it’s still the easiest Action/Adventure title of the year, so it rightly wins.
Easiest Racing 1,000
The racing category, both “Easiest”: and “Hardest” gets progressively harder to judge every year. It’s not because there’s a lot of games and it’s really close between them. Yes, that’s true somewhat, but it doesn’t help that we take one of last year’s racing games and create the achievement and trophy list for it, meaning the honourable thing to do is to disqualify it from the year’s award. What’s done is done though and here we are, left with effectively five games.
Between the five games though, it could effectively go to one of three: WRC 4, MotoGP 13 and Fast & Furious: Showdown. The three are slightly easier and quicker than Need For Speed: Rivals and MUD: FIM Motocross World Championship. In fact, either of those three could have won, but edging ahead, mainly because it’s more of a breeze than its competitors is WRC 4. Congrats, Milestone, you deserved it… I guess.
Easiest RPG 1,000
2013 was a weird year, with a capital W. It was the end of a generation and the beginning of a new one, and what that ultimately means is that there was a lot of ramping down and ramping up, meaning less releases. Heck, it’s the last time in recent memory there wasn’t a BioWare RPG. Mental, right?
In fact, we could count only three: Dead Island: Riptide (which could easily have been thrown under the action genre), Defiance and Diablo III – there was also Dark Arisen, but that’s more of an expansion for us and didn't feature any new achievements anyway. When you lay them out on the table like that, there really wasn’t any competition and a resounding winner this year was Dead Island: Riptide.
“You said Borderlands 2 wasn’t an RPG last year yet you say Dead Island is this year!? Where is the consistency?”, I hear at least one troll scream. The truth is that in our eyes Riptide is more RPG than action, while Borderlands was more shooter than RPG. Plus, we make the rules, right?
Easiest Shooter 1,000
Gather round, folks! It’s fun fact time. Did you know that in the 8 years that this category has been running, not once has a sequel won this category, it’s all been won by new IPs – unless you count Cabela, but no-one counts that as a sequel. It has been won by a few big games though, whether you’re talking Prey, BioShock or Brink. For quite a few years though, the good games have steered away from this category and for one more year, it seems they will too.
Despite the best efforts of Call of Duty: Ghosts (20-ish hours), Army of Two: Devil’s Cartel (15-25 hours) and The Bureau: XCOM Declassified (10-20 hours) this year though, a new, what we’re going to call “steaming pile of dog excrement” wins the “Easiest Shooter” category once again. A game that, honestly, I’d not heard of until I was writing this here piece and doing my research. A game that, ridiculously, has scored a mere 35% on Metacritic, but more ridiculously, has only been reviewed by two outlets. Yes, it’s that well known. Yes, it’s Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear… what a name though, right? Sounds so… powerful!
Easiest Sports and Fitness 1,000
If ever there was a category this year that was too close to call, it has to the “Easiest Sports and Fitness” category. Now, there are a lot of reasons for us saying that and it mostly falls down to subjectivity – and there’s also a lot of the whole “easier if boosted, takes a lot longer without” which complicates everything.
Let’s run through them one by one. First up there’s Madden NFL 25, a game that takes 20 hours or less (depending on boosting) and we reckon is super easy with boosting, a lot harder if not. Then there’s AFL Live 2, which is really easy, but 30 hours long. Next up is NCAA Football 14, which like Madden varies based on boosting. Finally there’s FIFA 14 (current and last-gen), which I may as well say now, is our eventual winner. Despite taking 20-30 hours, it’s real easy. We mean, as easy as it’s ever been, and the best thing? No boosting required. Now, because the two versions are slightly different (the Xbox 360 version requires you clear a ball off the line with a diving header), for the first time ever we have to stipulate which version wins… and that’s the Xbox One version. Madness!
Easiest Digital-Only 200/400/1,000
Welcome to the transition category for the transition year. Because of Microsoft’s decision to scrap the Xbox Live Arcade that means we were left in a bit of a quandary... do we change the rules of the category, or do we bin it altogether? Because, again, we’re creatures of tradition, we couldn’t just cut it… we love it too much, so we changed it to fit. Welcome to the “Easiest Digital-Only 200/400/1,000” category.
The question is, do the rules of the category change? Do we lean towards 1,000G games because you get more points for your time? Do we create a points per minute unlocking formula to get us a winner? The answer is no, we award it to Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, not only because it doesn’t require skill to get all 400 points, but because it doesn’t take long either. Sure, Contrast and LocoCycle gave it a good run for its money, but alas, it wasn’t to be and Brothers wins. It’s a great game too, so play it, grab 400Gs, and maybe cry a little. You can’t ask for more than that. That ending! *sniff*
Easiest Overall 1,000
And last, but by no means least, we have the “Easiest Overall” category, a game filled to the brim with some of the most abhorrent tripe that 2013 had to offer. Now, the question is, what does that say about easy achievement lists? That’s easy, it says that a lot of developers look for people to buy them for that because the game has no other redeeming qualities, which is a damn shame.
I’m guessing that the average Metacritic value of all this year’s nominees was below 40%, which isn’t hard to imagine when there’s classics like Phineas and Ferb: Quest For Cool Stuff, The Smurfs 2, Spongebob Squarepants: Plankton’s Robotic Revenge, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, and Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear, which for the most part are complete and utter dross. LocoCycle was also nominated, but we feel that’s not completely terrible. Other than that, it’s a who’s who of utter garbage but there has to be a winner. In the words of Connor MacLeod, “There can be only one,” and that one is Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear. Well… done?
Most Time Consuming Achievement
Moving swiftly on from the soul crushing and depressing category that is “Easiest Overall,” we start our uphill climb to “Hardest Overall,” starting with the “Most Time Consuming” achievement of 2013. The criteria is simple: the achievement must be relatively easy – attainable for mostly everyone – but take a ridiculous amount of time. Some would say, the most ridiculous amount of time, ever.
The big problem for us this year when we looked at this category was in fact, an exploit. Yes, we’re talking about GTA V’s ‘Above the Law,’ which is reaching rank 100 online. Originally there was an exploit in GTA V, allowing you the chance to rack up mass amounts of XP, meaning you could rank up quickly. That has since been patched, meaning it was once easy but is now time consuming again. Then the question was, is that as time consuming as Spartacus Legends’ ‘Rich and Famous’ (which could take 50 hours of grinding), Diablo III’s ‘All That Glitters’ (the last Diablo achievement you’ll get in a game that takes around 80-100 hours for the full 1,000G) or Forza 5’s ‘Golden Standard,’ which requires you win 400 gold medals in career races? Then a challenger came in, one that said, “Hey guys, screw that, those are quick compared to me,” and it was right. That achievement was Defiance’s ‘Legend of Defiance,’ which is effectively the equivalent of a PlayStation Platinum Trophy and takes a cool 200 plus hours to achieve. Ouch!
Hardest Individual Achievement
One of the best parts of my job when it comes to writing this feature every year is discussing with the staff members their opinions on what’s what when it comes to this award. Just getting to research the maddest achievements and coming across various people’s quests to unlock them, it’s genuinely engaging stuff, and this year was no different.
First things first, we narrowed it down to as few of your nominations as possible. It should come as no surprise then that 2 of the 4 were the product of Japanese developers (Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance’s ‘Become a Lightning God’ and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge’s ‘You Got Skills’) and one of the others was a fighting game achievement (Injustice: Gods Among Us’ ‘Ultimate Battler’). The winner though, is actually an achievement that no-one had on our leaderboard. In fact, it’s said that no-one has this achievement legitimately – two people supposedly have it, but they’re under suspicious circumstance… in other words, unlocked offline, and I know if that was me, I’d make sure I was online before doing it! Yes, we’re talking Cloudberry Kingdom’s ‘Shenanigans’ achievement, which people get for completing chapter 7 i.e. completing level 320, which is what I can only describe as fucking nuts and requires the luck of the Irish, the patience of a saint and the reflexes of a ninja to unlock, and even then, you're not guaranteed to get it.
Hardest Action 1,000
It may come as no surprise that in the previous seven years, in this category, there have been six Japanese winners. Fun fact, the only non-Japanese winner was actually the original Prototype game, way back in 2009. Actually, make that seven winners in the last 8 years.
Battling it out for the top spot this year are three franchises, all with Japanese roots. Firstly, DmC, which despite now being developed in the UK, has obviously kept its Japanese roots, but admittedly, that was no match for the two real finalists. On the one hand, you have Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, a franchise that has won this award before, while on the other hand, you have Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, a developer who has won this award before (Platinum Games with Bayonetta back in 2010). It’s effectively a toss up this year and it could have gone either way. You could argue that Razor’s Edge is slightly easier than Revengeance, and we’d probably agree, but Razor’s Edge takes much, much longer to grind through, meaning you don’t only need insane skills, but you need crazy amounts of patience as well. For that reason this year we’re giving it to Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge.
Hardest Racing 1,000
Fun fact time, everyone! Gather round. Did you know that last generation every single Forza Motorsport title won this “Hardest Racing” category in the Achievement Awards. Forza 2 won it in 2007, Forza 3 in 2009 and Forza 4 in 2011 – also, Forza Horizon, funnily enough, won the “Easiest Racing” category in 2012. Ha. Can they continue that rich vein of form into the next-generation? Short answer, no.
Long answer: it tried bloody hard to win it, but the truth is that despite it being a long 1,000Gs, it’s relatively easy. The real winner is in fact one that went under the radar in the nomination stage, and that is F1 2013, picking up the “Hardest Racing” title, after not winning it since its 2010 debut. That’s not to say it’s impossible, far from it, but from a difficulty standpoint, you’re going to need some skills to pay the bills, whereas in Forza 5, you just need time. That is the true message of all these “Hardest” categories, that skill is a much more commendable trait than patience, and the fact F1 2013 takes home the award over Forza 5 drives home that message.
Hardest RPG 1,000
Did we tell you that there were only three disc-based RPGs released in 2013? Yeah? Oh… did we say that BioWare didn’t release one? Yeah? Oh… did you know it’s the first time in a lot of years that’s happened? Oh, we did? Balls. Well, the truth is, there isn’t really much to talk about in the “Easiest” or Hardest RPG” category this year.
When it comes to the “Hardest,” it’s not that any of them are particularly hard either. In fact, they’re not. None of them are. And if you needed your mind refreshing, the three RPGs we’re talking about are Dead Island: Riptide, Diablo III and Defiance. When neither of them are hard and they’re all of equal skill level it becomes a question of mathematics: “Which one takes the longest?” While that’s a subjective question in its own, it’s not even close this time: Dead Island: Riptide takes about 30 hours, Diablo III takes around 80-100 hours and Defiance will take around a ridiculous 200 hours to 1,000G. Defiance wins.
Hardest Shooter 1,000
The “Hardest Shooter” award winners in the past is basically the who’s who of monstrous franchises. Call of Duty has won it, Lost Planet has, Max Payne has, Far Cry has, Left 4 Dead’s won it, so has Gears of War, heck, even Quake has! Let’s add another one into the fray.
Yes, that’s right, in what was a landslide in terms of nominations this year, 2013’s “Hardest Shooter” is Resident Evil: Revelations, beating off competition from previous franchise winners like Gears of War: Judgment and Lost Planet 3, with a little competition from Payday 2. To say Resident Evil: Revelations is brutal is not far off the mark. Getting S ranks on all Raid mode levels, getting to rank 50, killing 10,000 enemies, and so on, it’s a tricky list from start to finish and is going to eat up a good 60-80 hours of your time as well!. Oh, Japan, you do like to test us with your hard achievement lists, don’t you? What are you like? What. Are. You. Like!?
Hardest Sports and Fitness 1,000
The “Hardest Sports and Fitness” category this year is suffering from the same issues that the “Hardest RPG” category suffered from, and that’s that the sports games of 2013 weren’t particularly hard, just time consuming. And because of that, you won’t find it odd to hear that the nominees for the “Easiest” category are largely similar to the “Hardest” category.
Rather than beat around the bush here, we’ll get straight to the point: NHL 14 wins this one. It was not only nominated by you more than any other game, but all the staff tended to agree too. Well done, EA, that’s five years in a row now. Considering you do 90% of sports games, that’s not too much of a stretch of the imagination. The category still remains unpredictable though, with insane lists winning it some years and fairly easy and straightforward ones in other years. Dear “Sports,” “Action” called, they want you to be more consistent like them. Thanks.
Hardest Digital-Only 200/400/1,000
Interestingly, two out of the last three years the “Hardest Individual Achievement” award has been “won” by Xbox Live Arcade games – Mega Man 10 in 2010 and War of the Worlds in 2011. This year continues that trend, with Cloudberry Kingdom’s ‘Shenanigans’ winning the award. It should come as no surprise then that Cloudberry Kingdom is also the “Hardest Digital” title of 2013, and that’s truly justified, right? I mean, no-one seems to legitimately have all the points in that game – we’d love to be proved wrong – so how can anything be harder?
The fact that Xbox Live Arcade games were getting harder might have been a ploy by developers to extend playability and artificially extend the life of their title. Call me cynical. The question remains though, will that trend continue now that all Digital-Only titles are 1,000Gs, as that might be incentive enough for people to actually purchase them now. That’s me being even more cynical, right? So sue me, I’m British.
Hardest Overall 1,000
Six out of the eight years we’ve been doing this, Japanese developed games have won this award. A Western developed game hasn’t actually won this award since 2009… and that’s not going to change any time soon, it seems. It gave it a good go this year though.
Coming in at a close second this year was NetherRealm’s Injustice: Gods Among Us, a list which not only takes a considerable amount of time (75 hours, approximately) but is bloody hard as well – the ‘Ultimate Battler’ achievement was in the running for the “Hardest Individual Achievement” category, for instance. It still wasn’t enough for what has always been known as a difficult franchise: Ninja Gaiden. Yes, that’s right, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, like its predecessor Ninja Gaiden II, which won it in 2008, is 2013’s “Hardest Overall” award winner. Incidentally, in case you were wondering, Ninja Gaiden 3 lost out to the Devil May Cry HD Collection in 2012, so you could say the awards is back in its rightful place now, with Team Ninja, the uncompromising and sadistic bastards! Now let’s see whether Yaiba can do it again in 2014 and make it 3 out of 4 for Team Ninja.
Game With Most Glitched Achievements
And that’s it, the more objective categories are behind us, it’s time to get our subjective on. Less so for the “Game With Most Glitched Achievements” category, but still ever so slightly so.
Here we are then, 8 years on, and another year that I lament the fact that we still have this category, but it’s necessary. We’re here to name and shame, and as far as 2013 goes, there’s a lot of naming and shaming to go around.
I could sit here all night and point out the progression tracking glitches in Dead Island: Riptide or Batman: Arkham Origins meaning you either replay the game or actually can’t get all the Gamerscore, but there’s one real winner this year, and that’s Battlefield 4. We all know about the server issues that DICE’s popular Battlefield game has been having, but you tend to hear less about the campaign achievements not popping or the game deleting your save file, which makes progression bloody difficult. For what is meant to be one of the year’s triple-A titles, we expect a hell of a lot more. A hell of a lot!
Worst Achievement Tile
To continue the negative naming and shaming trend – well, for a short while, anyway – next up we have the “Worst Achievement Tile” category, a category where we pick the most disgusting, lazy and/or ridiculous achievement tiles out there and point and laugh at them. You know, in the hope that those nominated actually take a look at their pride and joy and go, “You know what, Cyril, we really should put more care, love and attention into every facet of every game.” What we’ve learnt recently though, thanks to this year’s winner is, things rarely change. They seem to stay the same.
For the last three years at least, Madden has used a “Verizon” logo in one of their achievement tiles. In 2011 it won this category. In 2012 it was a runner-up to another Madden title (ha!) and in 2013, it looks like it’s won again. Are EA Sports and Tiburon really not bothered how shameless and tacky it looks? Do they not care that fans, who play and buy their game, don’t like the message that it sends? No, apparently not, and they wonder why people don’t like them as a company.
Worst Company for Achievements
On the back of the tone of the last award, it could be easy for us to continue the negativity towards EA in this category and just pile it on. The “Worst Publisher for Achievements” is a category that they have won three out of four years and if we’re being perfectly honest, if we went solely with you guys and gals this year, it’d be four in eight. This year, however, we have a point to make. A point that is: this is your platform, you should be setting the example.
Yes, I am indeed talking about this year’s winner, none other than Microsoft, in our eyes, a company that should never be winning this award or even be suggested. For too long they’ve creeped close to the edge, today that changes. Not only did Forza 5 have a diabolically boring and lacklustre achievement list for what must be the third game in a row, but there were even more bizarre and frankly terrible lists where that came from, like Killer Instinct, for example, which has since been patched. Gears of War: Judgment’s list was a bit of a mess too. That’s three fairly high-profile games, all swinging and missing. Also, the whole challenges thing Microsoft introduced… newsflash, they’re completely redundant and pointless – quite literally.
Also, thanks to the one person who nominated Codemasters. Considering they had one game last year and we did the achievement list, we can only assume that was intended as a dagger right through our heart. It worked, you bastard! We cried ourselves to sleep over that one, we swears it!
Worst Achievement List
Ladies and gents, here it is! The last negative one, then it’s time for us to get our gush on and be supremely positive from that point to the end of the awards, and trust us, when it comes to achievements, we like to be positive. After all, they’re a wonderful thing if done right.
So then, worst list? What makes a terrible list? Well, they have to be uninspired, boring, generic, bland, devoid of creativity and ask extraordinary things of the players. For example, we could have given this award to Diablo III or Skylanders Swap Force for making you play the game through four times. Yes. Four. Fucking. Times!! We could have given it to Tomb Raider for making you play that absolutely horrific multiplayer. Heck, we could have given it to Killer Instinct for a whole host of reasons… even the newly patched list is pretty naff. No, we actually decided to give it to none other than Forza Motorsport 5 meaning this is the second Forza title to win this award. Sort it out, Turn 10! Car passion this, car passion that, what about showing that in your achievement list, rather than rewarding players with really generic and terribly bland achievements?
Best Achievement Picture
Right! Out with the negativity, in with the positivity, and personally, a favourite category of mine: the “Best Achievement Tile” category, where we reward creativity, expression, artistic style, and so on. If it catches our eye, then it’s doing something right.
In terms of eye-catching and memorable tiles this year, we’ve got to be honest, it was slim pickings, more so than usual anyway. Batman: Arkham Origins had some iconic bat action, Deadpool had Deadpool in a pirate hat, there were some pretty artsy Gears of War medals and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon has some ultimate badassery going on, but the winner has to be – and you’ll appreciate this more if you’re a product of the 80s - a LEGO version of Howard the Duck. Brilliant! That’s two in two for TT Games, they sure know how to win us over, huh?
Best Publisher for Achievements
I know I’ve blathered on about “consistency” in this category for many years, but going with the community vote this year was a little too hard to stomach for most, if not all of the staff. The community said Rockstar; we said, but they only had one game… and while that’s as consistent as you can get – it’s a 100% success rate, after all – it was still a little hard to stomach, so we thought, nay to it all, back to the drawing board.
That effectively made it a two horse race then: Ubisoft vs. 2K, and it truly could have gone either way, but in the end 2K took it. 2K had a great year with solid DLC achievements for Borderlands 2, a solid BioShock Infinite list, a great WWE list and a decent XCOM: Enemy Within list. Consistent all round, for the most part. Plus, Ubisoft had Cloudberry Kingdom, a game that’s currently so insane in terms of difficulty that no-one has completed it. Hardly a message we want to be supporting.
Best DLC for Achievements
If I had a pound for every time I’d heard the, “the vast majority of developers just don’t get DLC” discussion since the prominent rise of downloadable, I’d at least have £17 by now. Similarly, the same goes for DLC achievements. Since the creation of this category five years ago, we’ve had four strong winners. 2013 was not a strong year for achievements in DLC.
That’s not to say it was a bad year, but there was nothing really inspiring or truly impressive about most of the nominees, in fact, all of them tended to put a foot wrong. The Walking Dead’s 400 Days’ achievements included a frustrating luck-based one, Dishonored’s The Brigmore Witches’ achievements required multiple playthroughs and BioShock Infinite’s Burial At Sea was by-the-numbers. In the end we decided to give it to Mass Effect 3’s Citadel DLC. Why? Because you get rewarded for throwing a party for your friends, and that party, ladies and gents, was one hell of an emotional shindig! Just being able to get the old band back together and then getting rewarded for it? That’s the dream, baby. That’s the dream!
Most Original Achievement
Here we go! The home straight! And the first of the two big coveted awards of the year. The one where we reward a moment of brilliance, a moment of sheer creativity, or in the case of last year, one hell of an act that’s enough to bring a tear to the eye – see the 'Tribute to a Vault Hunter' story from last year *wipes tear away from his eye*.
Anyway! This year we have five great achievements, all of which have been nominated for very different reasons. First up, for shits and giggles, Call of Duty: Ghosts’ ‘Carbon Faceprint’ achievement for letting a photocopier hit your face; then GTA V’s ‘Out of Your Depth’ for being eaten by a shark. Then there’s Payday 2’s ‘Fish AI,’ which pokes fun at COD: Ghosts’ whole fish AI shenanigans and also GTA V’s ‘Altruist Acolyte,’ for driving a helpless hitchhiker into the mountains to get killed by a crazy cult – classic GTA! All of which are amusing and great tasks in their right, but they still weren’t enough to grab the award this year.
The winner, not only by a majority vote from you guys and gals, but from us as well, was GTA V’s ‘Kifflom!’ meaning that’s three out of five for this year’s awards in this category – a record, I do believe. While the achievement itself isn’t particularly ingenious – it essentially requires you complete a quest line – it’s what you have to do for it, and the subject matter it so amusingly mocks and the way it goes about it. Players will have to donate ridiculous amounts of in-game cash, walk stupid amounts of miles in the desert, wear a bizarre set of clothes for a period of time and so on, all while Rockstar injects its trademark humour into proceedings. It’s classic Rockstar and classic GTA content, and a real treat of a quest line, if only for its sharp satirical social commentary.
Best Achievement List
And here we are again… the biggie. Numero uno. The top dog. The big cheese. The one that everyone wants to win. Well, they should anyway. If not then they’re dead inside. Yes, I am of course talking about the ultimate “Best Achievement List” award, and as usual, we’ve narrowed it down to the three finalists.
Call of Duty: Ghosts - You might be surprised to hear that in the early days of this award Infinity Ward actually did quite well, notching two runners up in the space of three years, but the team since fell out of favour with lacklustre and predictable lists. Thanks to Ghosts’ impressive list this year, the team deserves to be back in contention for this category. On the surface it just looks like a great list with a decent spread and solid balance, but underneath the surface are some great creative achievements, and ones that encourage certain playthrough styles in the game’s campaign missions. It’s a safe list, but one that complements the game, which is the whole point.
Deadpool - The way achievement lists usually go is: big budget games equals more people, which equals more creativity, which equals a better list. Deadpool is an anomaly then, coming from what must be a relatively small budget considering, but boasts a list with more creativity. It puts most triple-A titles to shame. There’s great humour throughout, oddles of creativity, sexy achievement tiles, good balance, a really good spread and a metric fuckton of variety. This, ladies and gents, is how all achievement lists should be.
Grand Theft Auto V - The fact that Grand Theft Auto V got three out of five of the top nominations for the “Most Original” category says a lot about how creative Rockstar’s latest list was. In fact, they did a lot right on that front and the balance was pretty damn solid too. It could be argued that there is too much by-the-numbers stuff and the completionist tasks sully what would have otherwise been a stunning list. Still, even with those included, it’s an excellent list for one hell of a game.
Ladies and gents, I am proud to announce that the anomaly wins! That’s right, Deadpool takes home the biggie and officially has the “Best Achievement List” of 2013. It’s actually a turn up for the books and looking back over the last seven years this category has been running, it’s the lowest scoring game to ever win this award – it’s Norway winning the World Cup! It’s well deserved though, High Moon Studios did everything we’ve been asking of developers for years, and that’s to actually put some thought, humour and creativity into their list. It’s a perfect example for other devs out there who maybe don’t have the big budgets and is maybe one of the most important winners of this award in its entire history.
Game with Most Potential for Achievements in 2014
Had the Achievement Awards ran at the beginning of December, this year’s winner here could have been very different. Since then we’ve seen Fable: Anniversary, Thief and South Park: The Stick of Truth’s achievement lists (and they all look great too!). That said, it’s not, it’s done now, so none of those qualify, as we know what the lists are.
In terms of who wins though, the nominees list was incredibly strong, one that ranged from Destiny and The Division, to Titanfall and Elder Scrolls Online. Throw in a Halo and Fable Legends, and there’s a crapton of potential right there. However, the winner actually goes to the delayed Watch Dogs, a list that does have the potential to shine. I mean, not only is Ubisoft Montreal full of creative souls, but with a new IP sporting new mechanics and potentially amazing ones at that, the sky’s the limit. If Ubisoft Montreal puts even a fraction of its creativity into Watch Dogs’ achievement list, then we’re onto a winner.
Regardless of who won this, next year’s awards are already in a really strong place with the lists we’ve already seen this year, and that, my friends, is all that matters.
And that’s it ladies and gents, 8 years later and one whole console generation and we – as well as the achievement system – are going strong. With a whole slew of new titles and new technologies on the horizon, 2014 looks to be shaping up to be a great year… and if South Park and Fable Anniversary’s achievements are anything to go by, 2014 could be the best achievement year yet!
Thanks for joining us and sticking with us over the years, your support means the world to us. Here’s to another generation of awesome!