Thursday, April 24, 2008

Surprise!

Some times surprises are nice. Other times they miss the mark.

I picked up two achievements yesterday. I'll tell you about the second one first. It was Ogre Slayer in Puzzle Quest. Apparently you get it for defeating on Ogre boss. I wasn't expecting to get the achievement so it was a pleasant surprise when I heard that beep. My immediate reaction was "what did I do" and then the description popped up. It's nice to just play a game because you like it and are having fun when unexpected achievements pop up. I'm not playing the game for the achievements (although I will make sure I get them all) but for the challenges and the game play. Playing that way leaves me free to enjoy what I'm experiencing.

And now to the first achievement I picked up. It was a disappointment in two ways, 1) I knew it was coming, and 2) I earned it a long time ago. I'm talking about the Private First Class achievement in Rainbow 6: Vegas 2. Because this game is a sequel they built in the capability to recognize your save from the previous Vegas game. What that meant for this game was that you probably already achieved the rank of Private First Class so you wouldn't be able to unlock the achievement in the new game. In other words the game was broken. At least this achievement was. They had to make an update for this game so that people could get an achievement they earned a while ago. All I had to do was put the disk in and boot up the game. Achievement unlocked.

I knew the fix was coming after reading about it online. Even if I hadn't planned on playing a few matches with my friends I would have put the game in just to get the achievement I already earned. It was very anticlimactic to hear that beep at the title screen knowing it was for some previous exploits in the game. And frustrating wondering if any other achievements are glitched.

There's nothing more frustrating than knowing you've done something that qualifies for an achievement and you don't get to hear that beep because the achievement is broken. What's the point of having achievements if you can't . . . um, I don't know . . . ACHIEVE them? If you need 100 kills you should get your achievement once you take out that 100th person. Not when you kill 115 people. There are several games with glitched achievements. I try to avoid games like that but I don't avoid the comments people make on forums about them. Their frustration is palatable.

Microsoft did something right but putting achievements in games. Now all the other systems are scrambling to catch up and show off their own rewards system. PS3 is suppose to have trophies and the Nintendo DS is coming out with DGamer stuff starting with the new Chronicles of Naria Prince Caspin game. I don't expect things to be perfect, but developers know what achievements are and how to program thems since they've been around for awhile. So why can't they make them work?

The frustration of a glitchy achievement could be more than the joy of unlocking an unexpected one. It could ruin a gamer's enjoyment of the game. And it could make people decide not to get it in the first place. Now I'm glad the Private First Class achievement was fixed and I got it, don't get me wrong. But my faith in developers who put out unfinished games, broken achievements and glitched games is waning. Playing video games can be expensive (more on that with my poll results in a couple of days) but they should, most importantly, be fun and exciting and full of good surprises not bad ones.

3 comments:

Zenra Nukenin said...

As a matter of fact, Vegas 2's Achievement for finishing the campaign on "realistic" difficulty was also broken. I had three Friends that couldn't get it until after the patch, and then they had to replay the last segment of the game again in order to unlock it.

Zenra Nukenin said...

I finally started Bully this weekend and found that it has really broken Achievements.

I had gotten the Achievement for completing three classes (Keener) and even after it seemed like I had done plenty more, I still had no Achievements for the six (Teacher's Pet) and nine classes (Boy Genius). I start the game up one "morning" and as it's loading the game engine, the Achievement for nine classes suddenly pops up. So now I have to wonder:
A- Why didn't I get the Achievement when I finished the ninth class, and
B- Where is my Achievement for six classes?!!

Then it happened again today with the paper route Achievement (Black & White & Read All Over). When I turned it off to go to sleep - nothing. When I wake up and start playing again - the Achievement pops up while the game loads.

It makes me wonder about the other Achievements I feel like I've earned but haven't unlocked. Have I really not done such-and-such enough times, or is the game just screwing me over again?

pengwenn said...

I tell ya it's rough when you know the achievements ahead of time, do everything you should to get the achievement and you still don't get it. Have you tried savingthe game, getting out of it and loading it back up to see if the achievements pop up then instead of the next day when you turn your system on? It's worth a shot don't you think?