Thursday, March 6, 2008

Achievements unearned . . . Star Wars style

Okay I said I had a few achievements that I really haven't earned. And it's true. The latest one I got came from joining my brother in one of his games.

He had earned and unlocked the Gopher achievement in Star Wars: The Complete Saga. You know, the one for maxing out the stud counter. 4,000,000,000 to be precise. I hadn't collected enough studs yet to earn it myself. I was just over 2 billion studs short. I knew I would get it eventually so I wasn't worried. I joined his game so we could help him work on the blue barrels. As soon as I joined I heard that bleep and sure enough the message came up that I had now earned the achievement. Eh? For what? Joining his game?

I don't think he was very happy that he did all the work and I get some credit for it. And to be honest I wasn't happy either. There was no fulfillment with finally meeting all the qualifications for that achievement and THEN hearing the bleep. And since my brother dain and I are in a gamer score battle who can blame him. I plan on playing the game and meeting those qualifications for that achievement so I can get it legitimately. And I'll make sure he knows too.

But that's not the only achievement in The Complete Saga that has me scratching my head. It's all those "crossover" ones I'm thinking about. You know, kill Anakin with Dooku or destroy Darth Maul with Qui-Gon and all the other ones. At first I thought this meant I had to play through the level and battle someone in those "boss battles". So I'm jumping through the lava on Mustafar to get to Anakin, or circling around the center of the second Death Star to get to the Emporer only to find out that it doesn't matter. You don't have to play the level and then beat the guy. You can strike them down in the cantina. Well, that's not hard, especially if you have someone to play with or a second controller.

So where's the real work in getting those types of achievements? If you can rack up 100+ points in a matter of minutes with the help of a friends where the challenge or bragging rights? I like achievements, but aren't they suppose to be for something you . . . well . . . achieved? At least with the Bar Room Brawl achievement you had to plan things out to make sure you had a steady flow of victims to get the body count up there.

I don't like these silly easy achievements. But I'm not saying all achievements need to be incredibly hard like the "Mile High Club" in Call of Duty 4. Couldn't we compromise a little? I don't know how many times I tired to finish the Could City level still wearing a helmet only to find out online that I just have to make it to the first hat dispenser, put one on and then quit the game. Now is that something as a gamer you can be proud about?

When games for the Xbox 360 first came out achievements were required but developers didn't know what to do about them. Now the 360 has been out for over 2 years and developers are seeing what having achievements in games is doing for gamers. Just look at me and see how obsessed I am with my gamer score. So why can't they make better achievements for games. Ones that are challenging but not impossible. Fun but not tedious. Is that too much to ask for?

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