The worst Xbox 360 achievements I earned

I’ve recently taken the decisive step to ditch my old Xbox 360 and purchase an Xbox One S, bringing me back into the light from a four year period of darkness on what the wider public refer to as “serious gaming”. [1]

Playing on an Xbox console is synonymous with the strangest of progress markers: the Achievement. I unlocked my first achievement for over a year on Monday night, “Cast Member”, essentially for starting to play a fun platformer called BattleBlock Theater. I had this sudden dread fall over me, which reminded me of a time when I had fallen out of love for video games and had instead got addicted to increasing my GamerScore, which for those of you who don’t have an Xbox console is their way of keeping track of your progress in a videogame in a way that displays your progress to everyone on your friends list. It’s a hollow existence, especially when you don’t know anyone on your friends list and you’re doing it anyway.

So to remind myself to not get involved in this silliness again, I thought it would be cathartic to list out the worst “achievements” I earned in my first run during the Xbox 360 era. Before I start I will answer the two questions that will spring to mind for you as you read: I was largely single and my job wasn’t very taxing.

1000 GS for “completing” Avatar: The Last Airbender

This is probably the most shameful on the list, and it’s one I can’t even believe I did. In the time where the internet existed but Netflix hadn’t taken off, there was a thing called Lovefilm in the UK that allowed people to rent DVDs, Blu-rays and games via post… Sorry, what? Oh… it still exists.

Anyway, I’d heard that there was a glitch in the training section of this children’s game that allowed you to unlock all the achievements in around five minutes. I rented it, I exploited the glitch, then put the game back in the post.

For what? I’ve no idea. I’ve spent the intervening time (almost a decade) hiding it from anyone I speak to.

80 GS for Treasure Hunter in Final Fantasy XIII

This started off as an innocuous attempt to complete my first Final Fantasy game since the seventh installment on the PlayStation. What ended up happening was a 60 hour end game that book-ended the conclusion of the game with misery and a huge detriment to my mental and physical health.

The game finishes after about 40 hours and there are a few standard completionist-type achievements for maximising all of your stats and getting five star ratings all Cie’th Stone missions, but this one took the biscuit.

Whilst collecting all the weapons and items might seem like a normal request, what was required was an unexpected and very slow slap in the face. The precise requirements were a heck of a lot of gill, some very precise catalyst items and (most importantly) six trapezohedrems. It was unrewarding and unforgiving and all I got was 80 measly GamerScore points. It’s almost worthy of a t-shirt, but for the fact that nobody would want to wear it and nobody else would understand it.

1650 GS for being a frustrated completionist by Family Game Night

Due to a rights issue, Yahtzee wasn’t available on Family Game Night in the UK (it isn’t owned by Hasbro outside the United States). So whilst I sat there playing Connect 4 for hours and hours with nothing to show for my efforts, I also wasn’t even able to 100% the achievements.

So what have we learned? I’m an idiot.

120 GS for 100 matches won in Pro Evolution Soccer 6

This is where the online community of website True Achievements comes into play. I managed to hook up with someone else with the same chronic completionist issues as myself and spent several long nights connecting and then immediately quitting online Pro Evolution Soccer 6 matches, taking it in turns to get default wins. The game was so awful we couldn’t even bring ourselves to keep playing it; even on the last game we decided we’d play an actual game and the lag was so bad we got kicked out. This all happened five years after its initial release and took about ten hours of our lives that we will never ever get back.

Please help me.

50 GS for Duo-Hedgeidecimal on FIFA 09

I’m still split on this one. I’m not sure if it was a complete embarrassment or a triumph of the wills.

This achievement required 20 players to play in the same match session at the same time, making a 10 v 10 game. It was a logistical nightmare that was co-ordinated by a group over on xboxachievements.com. That we got it over the line was something of a fantastic gaming moment.

But why? Why did we do it? I’ve got no idea. The match was actually played, but it was dreadful. No fun to be had here.

765 GS for some random achievements in Football Manager 2006

The sad thing about this was that I played this game for months and months in an honest manner when I first owned an Xbox 360. At the time I only had Football Manager 2006 and Top Spin 2 so I had to make do. Then, six years later, I booted it up and within a couple of weeks had boosted my GS for the game from 15 to 765, by exploiting glitches and collaborating online.

Nobody on my friends list owns this game and nobody I know in real life would be impressed by the so called achievements.

1000 GS for 100% completion of Truth or Lies

This took me just under four hours to complete on 20th January 2011. It’s probably the worst game I’ve ever played, involving a quiz where you ask your friends to be honest about the answers to questions. I sat there, alone, answering questions in particular tones of voices that exploited a glitch with the interface between the microphone and the software.

Just imagine that.

A hollow existence indeed.

[1] By this I mean I’ve been playing on my Wii U for four years, so even though I’ve enjoyed gaming moments like the stupidly challenging Champions Road on Super Mario 3D World, or the very much adult-themed Bayonetta 2, or the complex fighting mechanics of Super Smash Bros. U, all of these are on a Nintendo console so can’t be really serious games, right?

 

South Park: The Stick Of Truth (Obsidian, 2014)

After a good number of games based on the South Park franchise – some good and some pretty terrible – finally the quintessential tie-in has arrived. The reason? We finally feel like we’re living in the middle of an episode.

The plot line revolves around alien anal probing, the aborted foetus of a Kardashian, an ooze that turns people into zombie nazis, Cartman being an asshole and underpants gnomes. Fairly standard stuff for an RPG really. You play as the new kid in town -invariably referred to as Douchebag throughout – and join Cartman, Kenny and Butters in their quest to find and protect the Stick of Truth.

The plot-lines are full of comedy gold, which is bound to keep South Park fans happy whilst entertaining newcomers. The mechanics of battle, as RPGs go, is fairly basic. You have a choice of weapons to fit into two slots, plus a few summons and magic choices too. The enemies aren’t complex enough to worry you too much and you can usually put reducers on tougher enemies pre-battle to ensure you win. It wouldn’t trouble the complexities of, say, the Final Fantasy series.

I have to say I found certain parts really frustrating. I stupidly checked out the achievement list before I started, and this alone ruined my fun in my first play through. I had in my mind there were a number of missable tasks to complete for 100%, including collection of the Chinpokomon and making friends with all of South Park (for the hilariously-titled “More Popular Than John Lennon” achievement), which were tied together. Unfortunately, the checkpoint system used when saving means that you’re often taken back a couple of screens when you reload and I missed one collectible even though I knew I’d already collected it, but unbeknown to me it didn’t register when I reloaded. All this means I have to do a complete second play-through to finish the game. Why oh why do games do this? The worst case was Tomb Raider’s Chatterbox achievement. I’ll have to make a conscious decision to not think about achievements in future, but I guess it’s my OCD kicking in.

Another frustration will only be relevant to those playing in Europe. PEGI saw it fit to censor a handful of segments due to them being in bad taste. How you can decide that anally probing a cast member on an alien spaceship is off-limits, whilst happily allowing a battle against a Kardashian’s reanimated aborted foetus is beyond me. Sort it out!

The game has some amazing side quests, involving all your South Park favourites. Jimbo and Ned, Mr Hankey, Al Gore and Manbearpig, Crab People, Mr Slave and Randy all feature in the bonus material that will keep you entertained beyond the main plot of the game.

Small annoyances aside, I really recommend this to anyone with an interest in comical video games or indeed South Park itself. That this game almost never saw the light of day is a travesty and it’s wonderful we get to enjoy it now. It’s probably not very challenging to experienced gamers, but there’s plenty to enjoy if you want to commit some time to it. At the newly reduced price it’s a complete steal.