10 Xbox LIVE Achievement Commandments

Written by Dick Ward

It’s time to face facts. No matter how much players may protest their hatred of achievements, there’s a small part of everyone that warms up inside when they do something really clever and are rewarded for it. The Xbox 360’s achievements is a very cool way to deliver these rewards to players that lets them share their conquests and progress with other gamers. However, the inconsistency between games is a bit astounding. Fight Night Round 3 was the easiest 1000 points I ever got, while Marvel Ultimate Alliance still holds points hostage from me, and I know there’s no way I’ll ever complete the list for Gears of War. In order to help get this all straightened out, I’ve created The Ten Commandments of Xbox 360 Achievements.

1. Thou Shalt Not Deny Player 2 Achievement Points

Spider-Man: Friend or Foe is a pretty standard beat-em-up game with some light RPG elements. It’s like Marvel Ultimate Alliance lite. The game is completely enjoyable, though the joy of beating levels is soured a bit by the fact that only the person in the first player position gets rewarded for it. So of course, in the interest of fairness, the game must be beaten twice through. This is flat out inexcusable.

2. Thou Shalt Allow the Second, Third, and Fourth Players Unlock Unique Achievements.

Gears of War had this one down. Allowing whoever played as Dominic Santiago to pick up a few bonus Achievements was a nice way to piqué some more interest. Players that had already beaten the game in single player mode were more than eager to help out friends in their playthroughs to get the achievement.

3. Thou Shalt Give Easy Mode Credit For Hard Mode Completion

Why is it that anyone should be forced to play a game on easy? Sure, some people may be new and wish to play at a simpler setting, but what of the players who complete a game the first time through on harder difficulties? If a player can beat Rock Band on hard, I’m sure they can beat it on easy and medium too. Stop making us play the watered down versions in order to get our scores up.

4. Thou Shalt Not Create Achievements Which Encourage Unnatural Play

Assassin’s Creed, I’m looking at you here. The flags are really, really annoying. So are your pigeons, GTA IV. People don’t find these naturally, they go online, find a guide, and then follow it. This isn’t helping gameplay, just creating busywork.

5. Thou Shalt Create Clever Secret Achievements

While playing through the final chapters of The Last Crusade, I, as Dr. Henry Jones, accidentally killed my friend, who was playing Indy. Much to my surprise and delight, up popped up an achievement for the act called “That’s for Blasphemy”. Recalling a classic movie line and surprising us both, this was a really cool achievement to earn. Of course, as soon as I switched to Indy, he quickly returned the favor.

6. Thou Shalt Not Create Achievements Which Ruin Online Play

As much as I praised Gears of War earlier, I must tear it down now for creating a truly awful online experience due to constant achievement farming. Were these more reasonable, or earned as medals like in Halo 3, the online competition would have been much more enjoyable.

7. Thou Shalt Offer interesting ways to earn points online that benefit the experience.

The Orange Box gets some love on this one for its Team Fortress 2 achievements. Encouraging players to try their hand at each class is nice, but offering a special medic achievement truly helps the game. In a world so often bereft of players willing to take up the medic and help their team, Valve gives them a reason to try.

8. Thou Shalt Create Achievements of Opportunity.

Those players that aren’t compulsive about their achievement points will agree: it’s cool to get something that no one else has. Being online with 1,000 in NBA Live 07 is one that will most likely never be earned again, and is a sort of mark of pride. Killing a developer in GTA IV is a great example too. Anyone with that achievement has some pretty great bragging rights.

9. Thou Shalt Not give 0 point achievements for legitimate things. (I’m looking at you Kameo! 0 points for Co-op achievements.)

Who or whatever made the makers of Kameo decide that cooperative play should garner 0 point achievements needs to be hunted down and destroyed. Achievements are really just slaps on the back with an assigned point value; the amount of points isn’t truly what’s important, but it’s nice to see. 5 or 10 point achievements are fine, but 0? That’s just a bit insulting, isn’t it? For those 0 point achievements, there’s always the Halo 3 badge route.

10. Thou Shalt Give booby prize achievements.

Two games come to mind immediately. The Simpsons Game makes great parodies of the achievement system in general with its “Press Start” achievement. Until then, I’d never laughed at an achievement before, though admittedly I did snigger at “My love for you is like a truck”. NHL 2K7 also gives out a fantastic booby prize. Players exiting a total of 10 online matches while still in progress will unlock a 0 point achievement called “Quitter”.

5 thoughts on “10 Xbox LIVE Achievement Commandments

  1. 10 commandments

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