XBA’s Achievement Awards 2014 - The Best, Worst, Hardest & Easiest Achievements of the Year

XBA’s Achievement Awards 2014 - The Best, Worst, Hardest & Easiest Achievements of the Year

Written Sunday, March 15, 2015 By Dan Webb
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Nine. That’s how many years old Xbox Achievements is. That’s also how many years we’ve been doing our annual Achievement Awards, and while they’re slightly later than they usually are – we run them on our birthday, February 8th, usually – they’re exactly the same as they’ve always been, and more exciting and interesting than ever before! Well, we would say that, wouldn’t we? But it’s true!

So here we are, another year, a whole new awards show, and as usual before we kick off the proceedings we’ll talk about what’s new and what’s changed since the last awards show… and that’s very little, but it had the potential to change massively this year.

“How so?” you ask. Well, with Microsoft’s move to remove the distinction between what were arcade titles and retail titles, by giving 1000G to all games, we were left in a tricky situation. Do cheaper, digital-only titles that are worth 1000G qualify in what used to exclusively be our retail categories? The short answer: no. We felt that it was unfair, because for the most part a digital-only ID@Xbox game is going to be easier and shorter to complete Gamerscore-wise, than you’re A, double-A and triple-A boxed products, so we kept things as they were. And that’s with digital-only titles being able to only qualify for a couple of “Easiest” and “Hardest” categories. They were, of course, able to qualify for our other categories, like Most Original, Most Time Consuming, Hardest Individual, and so on.

For those new to the awards, firstly, welcome; secondly, where have you been all my life? Just to clarify before we get the show on the road: a.) The winners (and losers) below, for the most part, have come from your nominations. Don’t see something there you think should have been nominated, but didn’t nominate it? Well, you lose your right to complain. b.) Lastly, it’s worth pointing out they were only nominations, we get the final say at the end of the day.

So without further ado, because we’ve been keeping you waiting long enough, ladies and gents, I present to you the 9th annual Achievement Awards. What exactly were the easiest, hardest, and more interesting achievements of 2014? Find out!

Easiest Individual Achievement of 2014

The Easiest Individual Achievement category is usually a category dominated by achievements that you get for pressing one button. Not this year, oh no. We’ve gone a slightly different route. There is logic behind it too. Bear with us here.

It’d be easy for us to sit here and give the award to the opening the inventory achievement in the Xbox One version of Minecraft (the 360 version’s achievement actually won this category in 2012) or for dying in Dark Souls II, but we didn’t. This year’s winner, in fact, is Sunset Overdrive and its “Overachiever” achievement, awarded for unlocking an achievement. Yes, this is an achievement freebie and once you unlock the first achievement in the game, you’ll unlock this humorous nugget of joy. Technically, and logically, we’re arguing that this achievement requires no button presses to unlock it. It’s a tenuous link, but hey, it’s more interesting than this category has usually been.


Winner: Sunset Overdrive’s ‘Overachiever’ Achievement


Easiest Action/Adventure 1,000 of 2014

2014 was chock full of fairly easy action and adventure titles that made this year’s Easiest 1,000 Action / Adventure shortlist. Some were a little on the lengthy side, like Watch Dogs, but the majority of them sat in the 15-20 hour bracket, like Fable Anniversary, The LEGO Movie Videogame and Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 – all relatively easy, of course, but the winner edged it every so slightly.

This year’s winner, of course, is the uninspiring Murdered: Soul Suspect, which takes around 3 or 4 hours to max out with a guide, or 6 or 7 hours without. It’s a doozy, this one… although it does mean you have to collect a bajillion collectibles. Thankfully they’re not masterfully hidden. If you’re feeling particularly feisty as well, you can collect them again on whichever platform you hadn’t been playing on, as the game is available on both the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One. There’s an easy 2,000 Gs waiting for you if you haven’t got them already.


Winner: Murdered: Soul Suspect


Easiest Racing 1,000 of 2014

Last year I distinctly remember sitting here and almost moaning about the lack of racing games that we have to choose from for this category. Well 2014 didn’t disappoint. It had it all: F1, open-world racers, MotoGP, a Micromachine-style game (Toybox Turbos), more GRID, more Forza, the only notable absentee was the-usually-yearly Need For Speed.

That should make it easier for us to choose then, right? Well, no… because they’re all so bloody time consuming. It essentially boiled down to two games… both of which can take over 100 hours, which I have to say is an achievement awards first. Those two games are Forza Horizon 2 and GRID: Autosport. There’s nothing too challenging about them, but just by sheer time alone, we had to award it to Forza Horizon 2, a game that still takes 100 hours plus to max out, but one that still has 50 hours on second place. Mental times.


Winner: Forza Horizon 2


Easiest RPG 1,000 of 2014


The winner by a long stretch is South Park: The Stick of Truth, a truly excellent RPG that also had an amazing achievement list, one with buckets of humour, tons of fan service and loads of fun stuff to do. Compared to Final Fantasy games, BioWare games and what not though, The Stick of Truth is a much smaller RPG, and as a result, can be 1Kd relatively easily and without too much effort. With some sensible saving and some careful exploration of Colorado’s infamous mountain town, you can pick up all 1000G without too much strain and more than likely in under 20 hours. The perfect reward for a superb little title from Ubisoft and Obsidian.


Winner: South Park: The Stick of Truth


Easiest Shooter 1,000 of 2014

Shooters and easy Gamerscore have gone hand-in-hand over the years and 2014 was no exception. If you were to spend your time just chasing after shooter Gamerscore, you’d have one hell of a time as well, as there are some great titles in the running for this year’s Easiest Shooter category.

Missing out on the top spot, and only just, are two of the year’s finest shooters: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Far Cry 4, two great shooters that are generous with their Gamerscore on a time to point ratio. Just pipping those two shooters to the main prize was none other than Wolfenstein, another impressive shooter from 2014. With it only taking 10-15 hours (max!) to complete, and being more than manageable on the hardest difficulty, Wolfenstein: The New Order takes home our prize as the Easiest Shooter 1,000… and one you should play anyway. The easy Gamerscore is just a bonus!


Winner: Wolfenstein: The New Order


Easiest Sports and Fitness 1,000 of 2014

I remember a time when it was fun to vote and decide on the Easiest and Hardest Sports and Fitness 1,000 categories. There was innovation, there was creativity, there was everything. Unfortunately that was about seven years ago, a few years after the Xbox 360 had launched with achievements and developers had a feel for them. Then it all went to pot. Since then we’ve had identikit lists with zero innovation… and its been like that ever since. It’s all a bit disheartening.

Rather than depress ourselves any more we’re just going to get straight to the point. FIFA 15 wins, and although it takes around 30-40 hours to get all 1000G, it’s slightly easier than getting all 1000G from the new EA Sports UFC title.


Winner: FIFA 15


Easiest Digital-Only of 2014

Before the Xbox One came around, digital-only games – or as they used to be called, Xbox Live Arcade titles – used to be the trickiest of all lists, giving gamers a mere 200 Gamerscore for what was, sometimes, a mammoth task of Herculean effort. Last year saw the 200 turn to 400 and then to 1000 in such a short amount of time and as a result Gamerscore hunters rejoiced.

Here we are, a year on, and this swift and simple move by Microsoft has created some titles that rival the Gamerscore to time spent ratio that we saw back in 2006. Two titles that are guilty of this are Nutjitsu and Another World. The former allows gamers to gain 1000 Gamerscore in 2 to 3 hours, while this year’s winner, Another World, only takes you 1 or 2. That’s 8.3 Gamerscore a minute, in case you were wondering. Okay, so it’s no Avatar: The Last Airbender, but it’s easy Gamerscore if ever we’ve heard it.


Winner: Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition


Easiest Overall 1,000 of 2014

As usual, we wrap up our Easiest categories with the grand-daddy of them all. First things first, it’s worth making people aware of our stance this year, and if you missed the intro, firstly, shame on you. But secondly, our stance is that only retail titles can qualify for the main Easiest and Hardest categories.

Yes, that means instead of Another World winning this year, which had we included digital-only titles it would have won by a country mile, this year we’re giving it to the easiest retail title… which, let’s be honest, we have done for the last eight years, so why change it now? That left us with just one worthy – or unworthy, you decide – winner, and that was of course Murdered: Soul Suspect, in which you can theoretically nab all 1000G in under five hours. 2000G if you want to do it on the Xbox One and the Xbox 360. Gamerscore for everyone! No matter what platform you currently own!


Winner: Murdered: Soul Suspect


Most Time Consuming Achievement 0f 2014

And with one distinct press of the enter key, we move from the easiest of the easy, to the most time consuming of the most time consuming. To put it into perspective this year, you could have 1,000Gd Murdered: Soul Suspect 40 times before unlocking this year’s winner. Yes, 40 times. Holy. Hell! In order to put that into a little more perspective, Murdered: Soul Suspect’s Gamerscore per minute is 3.33 Gamerscore, while this achievement’s Gamerscore per minute is 0.00416. Yikes!

Arguably, and yes, I’m going to string this out a little more, this year’s runner up has a lower Gamerscore per minute ratio, mainly because it’s worth 0, but the winner takes longer to unlock, so by the rules, it wins. The runner up is undoubtedly Titanfall’s ‘Too Legit To Quit’ offering 0 Gamerscore for the 180 plus hours of reaching Gen 10 without using Forged Certification. The winner though, by a fair distance, is Earth Defense Force 2025’s ‘Weapons 100% Complete’ achievement which can take more than 200 hours. “How many weapons?” you ask. Well, around 700! Now that’s one hell of a collectible achievement right there, and kudos to anyone who has this on their card, you deserve it.


Winner: Earth Defense Force 2025’s ‘Weapons 100% Complete’ Achievement


Hardest Individual Achievement of 2014

The Hardest Individual Achievement category was a tricky one this year and 2014 was no different to years gone by, with tons of difficult achievements knocking around. One achievement got us talking though and eventually it was decided that this would be this year’s winner.

The winner is none other than Destiny’s ‘Flawless Raider’ achievement, which requires you to complete a raid without anyone in your fireteam dying. Considering that the first clan to complete Vault of Glass died 1600 times and it took them 11 hours, Flawless Raider seemed like 2014’s worthy winner. Admittedly, it does get easier with each new update as the level cap is increased and the earlier raids become easier, but even then, it’s no easy feat… mainly because you’re not just relying on yourself, but on your team around you too. One little slip up, one slight breakdown in communication or one lapse in concentration, and that’s it, you have to start again. Anyone who can not only find the patience to stick with Destiny, but can find a group of friends who have the patience to stick with it as well, they deserve the utmost respect. Unlocking Flawless Raider is going to take just that too: skill, patience and a little bit of luck. A worthy winner I’m sure you will agree.


Winner: Destiny’s ‘Flawless Raider’ Achievement


Hardest Action/Adventure 1,000 of 2014

The Hardest Action 1000 category has been a category that’s largely been dominated by Japanese developers over the years. Whether you’re talking the likes of Bayonetta, Child of Eden, numerous Ninja Gaidens, Devil May Cry and so on, it’s a category that’s only ever been won by one Western developer – Radical Entertainment for Prototype in 2009. It’s as it they like causing gamers pain.

Spanish studio, MercurySteam, looked to buck that trend this year with the nearly-forgotten Castlevania: Lords of the Shadow 2, a game that asks for a good 50 hours of your time, and one that can test your patience and skill. But like any good underdog movie, the underdog gets smashed in the last minute by the firm favourite. Isn’t that how it usually goes in the movies? Well it happened here. Yes, Japan nips in and takes it… again, thanks to The Evil Within, a game that asks you to not only complete it in 5-hours – which is no easy feat – and multiple times, but also to complete the Akuma difficulty, which, let’s face it, is bloody tough! Like, reeeeeeallly tough! And in case you were wondering, that’s 8 in 9 years now, Japan. 8 out of 9!


Winner: The Evil Within


Hardest Racing 1,000 of 2014

Let me give you an insight into how the Achievement Awards usually work behind the scenes. Firstly, we ask you to nominate. Secondly, we go through your nominations and the staff add their own suggestions – making sure you haven’t missed any. After that, a small team of us band together to do our due diligence and last minute research, to make sure that we as a unit haven’t missed anything else. Like the really obscure stuff. Then, after we have our list, we gather together and whittle it down to one winner for each category.

That's usually the case, however this year for the Hardest Racing 1,000, there were no arguments or no whittling down. Nothing. One name stood there in its magnanimous glory. It was the clear winner. Not even the notoriously hard MotoGP or F1 could match the winner’s scope or difficulty. Yes, we’re of course talking about the gigantic The Crew, which will not only have you spending a good 150 to 180 hours in the mini-America – which isn’t really that mini at all – but it’ll have you tearing your hair out at times as you go for all those Platinum medals. Congrats, The Crew… you’re one tough cookie!


Winner: The Crew


Hardest RPG 1,000 of 2014

The Hardest RPG 1,000 category over the years has been an interesting one. In the early years of the achievement system, Japan led the way with truly difficult and time consuming lists, but in the last two years, Western studios have started to take the honours, after taking the honours from the original Dark Souls, two years ago.

2014 put a stop on the West’s rise in this category with two old-skool Japanese franchises duking it out for the number one spot and to be crowned, the Hardest RPG 1,000 of 2014. In the one corner, a classic RPG franchise, Final Fantasy, with the third iteration in the Final Fantasy XIII era of games, Lightning Returns; and in the other corner, the sequel to the title that last won the award for Japan, way back in 2011, Dark Souls 2. Honestly, it could have gone either way. On the one hand, Lightning Returns is a tricky-ish title that will take you a good 50 hours or so to complete, and on the other hand, Dark Souls 2 is a tricky title that will take you a good 50 hours or so to complete. In the end it came down to difficulty, and Dark Souls 2 did just enough to take home the gold. That’s 2 for 2 for the Japanese studio. It’s like they enjoy causing us all this torment.


Winner: Dark Souls II


Hardest Shooter 1,000 of 2014

There’s always one category that causes us grief when it comes to choosing a winner. Ladies and gents, I present to you this year’s difficult category. Why, you ask? Simple: because in it was a game that launched with 4,500 Gamerscore (Halo: The Master Chief Collection), one that has the hardest individual achievement (Destiny), one that has the most time-consuming (Earth Defense Force 2025) and the other which is bloody time-consuming and tricky (Titanfall). It was a tough fought battle, but we can only have one winner.

First things first, Halo: The Master Chief Collection we disqualified early on… you know, due to the fact that it launched with 4,500 Gamerscore. Sure it’s tricky as hell, but it has 4,500 Gamerscore… 4 and a half times more than the winner had. Not fair. Secondly, we got rid of Destiny, mainly because it wasn’t as tough as the last two finalists. That was it then, a showdown between Titanfall and Earth Defense Force 2025. Admittedly, it was tough to get it down to just two, let alone one, but the general consensus among the staff was that Earth Defense Force 2025 was the hardest, by a fraction. The fact that one achievement takes 200 hours plus helped us choose a side to lean, but the fact that Ydocris’ guide ranked it 10 out of 10 in terms of difficulty pushed us over the finish line. Earth Defense Force 2025 all the way. Good luck if you’re looking to tackle this beast. Kudos if you've already slain it.


Winner: Earth Defense Force 2025


Hardest Sporting 1,000 of 2014

Sports! Bloody sports! If they’re not easy, generic lists, they’re bloody hard and overly complicated! Remember NHL 06, ha. That was an easy 1K! Remember Fight Night Champion? What a load of old cock that achievement list was!

Anyway, I digress, but I have a point… this year’s winner is a pain and it’s up there with Fight Night Champion in some respects. The winner is so much of a pain in fact that no-one – to our knowledge, anyway – currently has 1000 Gamerscore in this game. Not one person. This game no less is NBA 2K15, a game that has had its issues with save games and a few achievement problems in its early days, but what makes it the Hardest Sports and Fitness 1,000 is the long winded and grindy requirements needed to unlock all the rare historical players. Good luck if you’re going for the full 1K on this badboy. You’re going to need it!


Winner: NBA 2K15


Hardest Digital-Only of 2014

There are certain franchises that come along and like to test the patience of even the sanest person. Franchises that let their achievements do the talking. Franchises that take no prisoners. Of course, I’m alluding to one franchise in particular here. A franchise that is currently on its third iteration on consoles. A franchise that with each iteration on consoles has won this here award in the yearly achievement awards. Not sure whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. You be the judge.

That franchise is in fact Trials. In 2009 Trials HD graced our consoles, winning the Hardest Arcade 200 Achievement Award. In 2012, the sequel rolled out, Trials: Evolution, a game that also took home our Hardest Arcade 200 award. Here we are, 2 years later, and yes, RedLynx has made it a hat trick, beating off stiff opposition in the form of Chariot and Blood of the Werewolf. Well done, Trials Fusion, you’ve frustrated the masses once again. We hope you’re proud of yourself, RedLynx! No, really, we hope you are!


Winner: Trials Fusion


Hardest Overall 1,000 of 2014

In the last eight years the Hardest Overall 1000 category has seen a few interesting things happen. Firstly, 50% of the winners in this category have been action games (yes, 4 of the 8 previous winners have been action games). Secondly, the other winners have been from different categories, like shooter, RPG and sports, but one the winners was actually a game that didn’t qualify for the other categories – it was Guitar Hero III in 2007, if you’re interested. Thirdly, 6 of the 8 winners were developed in Japan.

Interestingly though, the last 3 years have been dominated by action games, all of which developed in Japan, so what would it take to break that trend? Why, a Japanese developed shooter, of course, and that is without a shadow of a doubt, Earth Defense Force 2025, developed by Sandlot. Should it surprise you? No. Does it surprise us? No. But it does make it 7 out of 9 for Japan. Nice one, Japan… I think.


Winner: Earth Defense Force 2025


Game With Most Glitched Achievements in 2014

We hate this category. We really do. But as long as there’s glitched achievements, this category will exist, and while it’d be easy of us to name and shame Halo: The Master Chief Collection this year, we’re not. Oh, we’re naming and shaming it. See, we just did that, but it’s not winning. No, this year’s winner isn’t even a game, it’s a box… an Xbox… the Xbox. The Xbox One, of course.

Since its launch back in 2013, the Xbox One has done nothing to further the achievement craze and support its hunters. In fact, it’s done the opposite. Over the last year too many times have we heard the complaint, “My Xbox says I’ve done everything I need to get this achievement but I still don’t have it. Why?!” On top of that, sometimes achievements don’t unlock for months and sometimes they unlock even when you haven’t completed the criteria. We’re sick of it. We’re sick of hearing it. We’re sick of seeing it happen to us. Sort it out, Microsoft, please. We beg of you!


Winner: Xbox One


Worst Achievement Tile of 2014

The Xbox One did something wonderful with achievement tiles, and that’s that it made them much bigger and gave them more prominence, you know, like mini pieces of art… pieces of art that you could even make your Xbox One background. Oh boy, that means that we’ll really start to see developers shine then and it now gives them no excuse for poor achievement titles, right? Well, yes, in a perfect world, but it also highlights lazy achievement titles more so than ever. Oh boy, this should be fun then…

The 5 nominees this year performed one fatal sin after another, including two lists that used the same background over and over again with a slightly different icon layered on top (Far Cry 4 and Alien: Isolation); a lists that used very few different pictures for all the achievement tiles, some of which make no bloody sense (PES 2015); Destiny’s ‘Ship Rite’ achievement that references a jumpship, but instead shows the picture of a Sparrow on the tile; and the usual EA sellout achievement.

Because we expected more from Destiny and Bungie, for a game that’s generally classed as a triple-A game, this year it has to go to Destiny’s ‘Ship Rite.’ Poor form, Bungie. Poor. Form. We expected more from you, especially with your track record.


Winner: Destiny’s ‘Ship Rite’ Achievement


Worst Company for Achievements in 2014

If we listened to the majority of nominations every year, this category would be called the EA Award. Honesty, we’re not sure why though. Maybe people still have the EA of yesteryear fresh in their minds when voting, maybe people really just hate their identikit lists and what not, which is fair enough, but almost always, this one category has leaned towards EA, no matter what they do.

Usually we disagree with you, I mean, EA has only won this category 2 out of 8 years, but this year, we’re inclined to agree. Yes, once again you flocked in your masses to nominate EA and for its identikit sports lists, its grindy Titanfall list, and considering that’s all EA really did last year in terms of lists, it seemed like a worthy winner this year. Everyone else nominated had a few decent lists to their name, but EA, nope, not really. Sure, Dragon Age: Inquisition’s was a great list, but that was it really. EA as a company really needs to do better in its sports lists. It really does.


Winner: EA


Worst Achievement List of 2014

Over the years we’ve given the Worst Achievement List “award” for many reasons. Sometimes we’ve given it to developers for identikit, cookie-cutter lists, sometimes for lazy lists, sometimes for missed potential, sometimes for creating a list so difficult that we can’t comprehend and so on. This year is a little different, but as always, bear with us, we’re about to justify the shit out of it.

This year’s winner isn’t the worst list in the history of achievements, it is an identikit list though. This year’s winner is PES 2014, a game that has essentially had the same achievement list since it started way back when. “Why now though?” you ask. Well that’s simple, and it’s because PES 2014 was such a great game, a return to form for the franchise, something we’d not really seen since the early Xbox 360 days, so much so that we expected a little effort elsewhere with the title… like in the achievements. Unfortunately we didn’t get it. Oh well. Baby steps, right? Now we have a good game, can we please get a good achievement list? Is that too much to ask, Konami?


Winner: PES 2015


Best Achievement Tile of 2014

Out with the negative vibes and in with the positive vibes, ahhhh, that’s better. What were we saying earlier about the Xbox One and achievement tiles? Oh, that was it! It gives developers a chance to really show off their artistic prowess. This category is to reward just that! New achievement titles and a new potential for beautiful game art, and 2014 was a perfect example of that.

The nominations included an epic shot of some stunning motors (Forza Horizon 2); a shot of all of Dragon Age: Inquisition’s companions gathered around a large table, Last Supper style; a Sunset Overdrive achievement that featured a blow-up doll and some amusing body graffiti; an 8-bit shot of Super Time Force’s “Squirty Harry,” a poop man with a beasty magnum; and a stunning shot of Master Chief in all his glory.

As far as categories go, it was a tricky one to call, with each of the pieces of art having their strong points, but when push came to shove, we all agreed that Dragon Age: Inquisition’s ‘Brightest of Their Age’ was the strongest out the lot. That’d make one hell of a wallpaper for your dashboard, something you can do with one of the latest Xbox One updates. Just saying.


Winner: Dragon Age: Inquisition’s ‘Brightest of Their Age’ Achievement


Best Company for Achievements in 2014

When they tell tales of complete turnarounds in the history of the world, they talk about Liverpool’s European Cup Final against AC Milan in 2005 or how the Alien video game franchise went from a complete clusterfuck like Alien: Colonial Marines to a masterpiece like Alien: Isolation. Ladies and gents, we might have a new one to add to that list of miraculous turnarounds.

Yes, last year’s “Worst Publisher” is now this year’s “Best Publisher.” Microsoft Studios, stand up and take a bow, son, you’ve done well. No, in fact, you’ve made us proud and as a publisher this year, you’ve had a great year from an achievement perspective. Whether you’re talking about Fable: Anniversary, which was ace; Forza Horizon 2, which was better than usual Forza lists; Halo, which was an achievement goldmine with plenty of originality; Sunset Overdrive, which had its moments; and more; it’s clear that this was a great year for the publisher. Sure, the Xbox One is playing up with the achievements, but Microsoft Studios – the game developing arm of Microsoft – had a good year. Nay, a great one!


Winner: Microsoft Studios


Best DLC Achievement List of 2014

Since this category’s creation five years ago, when downloadable content really started to hit the mainstream, the Best DLC category has been an interesting one. For the most part, we’ve managed to cherry pick the greatest DLC lists and heap praise on them. That was until last year though, and although the DLC itself was great (we’re talking about Mass Effect 3’s Citadel DLC, of course), the achievements weren’t all that.

2014’s DLC achievements are more akin to 2013 than the 3 years that preceded it. That made it incredibly difficult to pick then. What we were left with were a lot of solid, but at the end of the day, uninspiring DLC lists. Whether you’re talking the Alien Invasion DLC for Worms Battlegrounds or the Storm Island DLC for Forza Horizon 2, they were perfect indicators of the quality of the DLC achievements for the year. Again, not bad, but just not creative enough for our liking. Well, aside from one. One that just about stood out from the pack, and that is the achievement list for the Titanfall Expedition DLC. It was a list that encouraged players try all facets of the DLC out, but more importantly for us, encouraged players to try out some neat stuff, like parkour around the Swampland map. Devs, this is what makes achievements interesting! Good stuff, Respawn.


Winner: Titanfall’s ‘Expedition’ DLC


Most Original Achievement in 2014

Another year, and another Most Original Achievement award category blurb where I get the chance to wax lyrical over some of the creative uses of achievements from the year. This is where developers get the chance to shine and our shortlist this year is as brilliant as ever. If we could give awards to all the devs, we would… but that would defeat the object of the awards.

There are four exceptional achievements that we want to highlight this year – of many more, may I add. First up, there’s Fable Anniversary’s ‘Ass Creed’ achievement, which requires you “Whilst dressed as an Assassin, be silent but deadly,” which basically means, farting on someone. It’s got everything: humour, a nod to other games and is hugely creative. Brilliant. Then there’s South Park: The Stick of Truth’s ‘Are We Cool?’ which, in true South Park style, asks you to “Find Jesus while playing as a Jew.” Again, brilliant. Thirdly, there’s Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel’s “360 No Scope,” which rewards you for “While airborne, spin 360 degrees then got a kill with a Sniper Rifle without using the scope.” Again, marvellous stuff.

Last, but by no means least – because this was our winner – is Fable Anniversary’s “I Did This For A Cheevo” achievement. First things first, it’s obvious that Lionhead had fun with this one and it’s a clear use of how developers can have fun with achievements and make players laugh at the same time. It also shows how far players will go to get an achievement, as this one requires players “Perform a headshot with a Crossbow whilst dressed as a woman wearing a beard and the Redhead Wig.” Brilliant. Just brilliant. Oh, and they used the word “Cheevo” too, obviously to butter us up and guess what, it worked! It won! You won! Congrats, Lionhead. Congrats to Obsidian and Gearbox too, superb effort. We need more of these!


Winner: Fable Anniversary’s ‘I Did This For A Cheevo’ Achievement


Best Achievement List

Here we are, once again, the Nobel Peace Prize of achievement awards. The biggie. The grand daddy. The one that matters. The peak of any achievement designer’s career. The crème de la crème. You get the idea, and without further ado, here’s the shortlist for this year’s Best Achievement List:

Sunset Overdrive - I wasn’t particularly enamoured with Sunset Overdrive’s list when the game shipped last year – loved the game but found the achievements… lacking. You obviously, didn’t feel the same as me, and looking back, I can see why. The Sunset Overdrive achievement list is a balanced one, with a good spread across all the various facets of the game, but importantly, it’s got some doses of creativity, whether it’s the Overachiever achievement, the winner of our Easiest Individual category, or The Floor Is Lava achievement, for chaining together 100 traversal moves. Maybe not as much as our other two contenders, but enough to get the nod.

Fable Anniversary - Let’s just say it right now: Lionhead knows how to make a great achievement list and had it not been for the debacle of Fable II in 2008, it would have already won this award. Alas, that was the past, this is the present and boy, Fable Anniversary had one hell of a list. The fact it managed to get two achievements into the Most Original Achievement category says a lot! Not only that though, the achievement list is balanced, has amusing pop-culture inspired descriptions, encourages players to explore and try out all that Albion has to offer, and more interestingly, it offers players multiple ways to unlock achievements, something that has never been done before.

South Park: The Stick of Truth - If you were to imagine a South Park achievement list in your head, The Stick of Truth’s list would come pretty damn close to what you were thinking in your mind’s eye. You mean things like being rewarded for being bitten by a ginger? Check. Being rewarded for flinging poop? Check. What about being rewarded for farting on a dog? Check. What about shitting your pants? Check. Finding Jesus while dressed as a Jew? Yup. Check. Hmm, how about watching your parents have sex for 60 seconds? Check… oh come on now! Okay, what about farting on the corpse of an aborted Nazi Zombie fetus? Check… wait, what? Yes, South Park is as risqué and as controversial as the show itself and that shines through in the hilarious achievement list.


And the winner of our ninth annual Achievement Awards is, of course, Fable Anniversary, which is as close to a perfect achievement list as we’ve come across in our nine years of doing this. Admittedly, it was a close call in the end between that and South Park, mainly because both lists are brilliant, but Fable takes it by a whisker. While South Park’s might be controversial and hilarious in places, Fable Anniversary’s matches that, while maintaining a level of consistency across the list that is unparalleled and unrivalled. Throw in the fact that Lionhead has allowed multiple ways to unlock each achievement and what you have right there is one of the most innovative achievement lists and systems of all time. Yes, all time. Congrats, Lionhead, you deserve it. You really do.

Winner: Fable Anniversary


Game with Most Potential for Achievements in 2015

Want to know how many times the Game With Most Potential winner has ever gone on to win the Best List the next year? Once, and that was in 2010/2011, when Portal 2 got the nod for the Game With Most Potential For Achievements and only went on to win it the following year. Once in 8 years though, that’s not a great conversion rate. This year though, we feel that might change… we have a good ‘un lined up this year.

But first, the notable mentions… and those fall to two massive, open-world games: Batman: Arkham Knight and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Two games with tons of potential, not just from the actual game, but from the achievement list as well. The winner though, I’m sure you’ll agree, has what the two former has, and then some. Yes, this year’s winner is of course, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. With a huge open-world, Hideo Kojima, the Fulton Recovery System, cardboard boxes and cardboard cut-out distractions, this game has all the makings of a great achievement list. Admittedly, Kojima Productions didn’t create the greatest of lists with Ground Zeroes, but the recent HD versions had some brilliant achievement like “Sexting - Send Otacon a picture of the marine with no pants,” “Kissing Booth - Kiss a poster in a locker” and “Snake Beater - Get caught by Otacon stimulating yourself.” More of that, please, Kojima Productions. More. Of. That.


Winner: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain


Wow, there you go, folks… 9 years, probably 50,000 plus words, over 230 award categories and winners. It’s been a hell of a ride… and next year we turn 10, so we’re going big. So. Big. And maybe on time, who knows? What a year 2014 was though, if just for the Fable Anniversary and South Park: The Stick of Truth lists, which were phenomenal, and we’re hoping 2015 can bring more of the same.

Again, I know I say this a lot, but I truly mean it: thanks for sticking with us over the years and thanks for your unwavering support. Here’s to our 10th birthday and the 10th annual Achievement Awards, it’s going to be epic, as is the rest of 2015. Stick with us here at XBA, we’ll look after you. We always do.

Too long, didn't read? Then watch our Achievement Award video. Yes, we're too good to you.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 28310
Comment #1 by BiggD
Sunday, March 15, 2015 @ 06:16:25 PM
I feel as though The Witcher 3, as a massive RPG, has so much more potential for achievements in 2015.

Other categories look great. Best achievement tile…I have that as my screenshot. Halo: TMCC's "Halo 2 LASO" was hilarious and should have won though. It was the Prophet of Regret with chains and bling with the text: #SAWG#YOLO

Forum Posts: 7
Comment #2 by zIHenasIz
Sunday, March 15, 2015 @ 06:41:57 PM
Dragon Age SPOILER:
I assume this is part of why Brightest Of Their Age won, but it's worth mentioning that in the style if the Last Supper, Solas is in the same spot as Judas

Forum Posts: 106
Comment #3 by TSG Dwaggie
Sunday, March 15, 2015 @ 06:47:20 PM
"Hardest Digital-Only of 2014"
Trials Fusion.


Forum Posts: 80
Comment #4 by Kroesis
Sunday, March 15, 2015 @ 07:52:19 PM
Developers are going to have to do something special for the 10th anniversary! I think Dan, Rich and Lee need to drop this hint every time they do an interview.

Forum Posts: 1581
Comment #5 by supadryz
Sunday, March 15, 2015 @ 09:39:24 PM
Have to say disagree with easiest sports game to 1000G you try and get Extra Effort achievement in FIFA 15. It is near impossible!!!

Forum Posts: 3197
Comment #6 by Bare Bum Cheeks
Monday, March 16, 2015 @ 12:38:01 AM
Trials Fusion beat Chariot? according to TA, 34,211 gamers have played Trials Fusion and 210 of those have completed it, and 37,679 gamers have played Chariot and only 28 completed it... It's pretty obvious which game is more difficult.

Besides that, I agree with most of the other winners. Titanfall is not as difficult as it's made out to be, though, if you have a boosting partner on a japanese server.

Forum Posts: 97
Comment #7 by killa86
Monday, March 16, 2015 @ 12:28:58 PM
Sucks that the two lists he praises the most, Fable and South Park, were last-gen only. Why couldn't we have got them on Xbox One, especially South Park. Oh well.

Forum Posts: 4583
Comment #8 by jackanape
Monday, March 16, 2015 @ 01:35:17 PM
@3 It was a digital release initially. Plenty of games have had a disc version later on - like Minecraft, Walking Dead etc. Hell, you could even get compilation discs for the 360 that had stuff like Luxor 2 and Geometry Wars on them. Doesn't mean they didn't start as a digital only title.

Forum Posts: 182
Comment #9 by CellFrame
Monday, March 16, 2015 @ 03:11:22 PM
♫♪To save our Mother Earth from any alien attack - from vicious giant insects who have once again come back - we'll unleash all our forces we won't cut them any slack...♫♪

♫♪The EDF deploys!♫♪

Looking at this years Hardest Shooter, Hardest Overall and Most Time-Consuming categories, it's good to see that the Achievement Awards are spot-on. That said, these nominations are still an understatement.

Forum Posts: 2702
Comment #10 by Fragarach Luin
Monday, March 16, 2015 @ 03:43:31 PM
Apparently "identikit" is the word of the day.

Forum Posts: 68
Comment #11 by lukeather
Monday, March 16, 2015 @ 06:09:03 PM
Last year i suggested a section where you comment on how the winner of last years 'Most Potential' did. You said you'd do it :'(

Forum Posts: 14854
Comment #12 by Webb [STAFF]
Monday, March 16, 2015 @ 06:59:28 PM
@#11 - Ahhhh! My bad! I have the memory of a sieve. I would totally have done that had I remember. Eek.

Forum Posts: 97
Comment #13 by killa86
Monday, March 16, 2015 @ 07:10:24 PM
@11 I remember you making that comment and was hoping to see it here. Hope they remember next year. Last year's Most Potential winner was Watch_Dogs, in case anyone was interested.

Forum Posts: 68
Comment #14 by lukeather
Monday, March 16, 2015 @ 08:23:10 PM
@12 - No worries. I still enjoyed the article enough to read the whole thing at work....

@13 - I don't think tat Watchdog had a good list when considering the world they had available.

Forum Posts: 6329
Comment #15 by LickableLemons7
Monday, March 16, 2015 @ 09:25:24 PM
I'm not expecting much from The Phantom Pain's achievement's already being dubbed as "Peace Walker on steroids," and for the most part that's looking to be true (based on what Konami has shown us).

I think most people are expecting a more Peace Walker/Ground Zeroes achievement/trophy list for The Phantom Pain, and that's fine by me. I've completed the main story missions from Peace Walker but I still have so many other things left to do in that game for other achievements. Pretty tedious but it's a game I can play for hours upon hours and still have fun.

Would be cool to have some more of those silly achievements of course...I like that 'Handle with Caution' trophy from MGS4, thought that was pretty funny. Gonna be interesting to see if there's achievements for Metal Gear Online 3 too.

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #16 by EpicWicked
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 @ 08:31:15 PM
@8 But they were pretty much released at the same time, only a two day difference, it shouldn't really count as digital only.

Forum Posts: 182
Comment #17 by CellFrame
Friday, March 20, 2015 @ 08:09:31 AM
After having read the awards a few times now, Mr. Dan Webb, I gotta admit that they're quite boring this time, especially compared to last year. And given the fact that they're also over a month late, I'm wondering if you've lost interest in doing them, which would be sad.

Forum Posts: 2165
Comment #18 by mjc0961
Friday, March 20, 2015 @ 09:00:15 AM
"Maybe people still have the EA of yesteryear"

Ugh, there is no EA of yesteryear. They're still just as shit now as they've ever been. They just closed yet another studio after running into the ground, like they always do. The only good thing EA does is refunds on Origin; Valve doesn't do that, and in fact just made it harder for people in Europe to get refunds they are entitled to by law. I can't believe I have to say this, but Valve needs to step it up and get on EA's level on this one. But other than that, yeah, EA is just as shitty now as they ever were in the past. There's more to public perception of a developer than just how fun the games they put out are.

Forum Posts: 2165
Comment #19 by mjc0961
Friday, March 20, 2015 @ 09:02:54 AM
@14: Watch Dogs also had that stupid achievement for finishing the totally out of place and insanely difficult (compared to the rest of the game, which was fairly easy) drinking games. Potential definitely wasted.

Forum Posts: 2098
Comment #20 by FSparacino4
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 @ 04:03:50 PM
@18 I don't get all the hate that EA gets. While some of their games (i.e. Medal of Honor: Warfighter) aren't the greatest, I've enjoyed most of their games as of late. I also enjoy their EA Access program and have definately got my money's worth with BF 4, Need for Speed Rivals PvZ: Garden Warfare and the discounts I get on DLC for being a member. For $25 a year, I think it's tremendous value.

Forum Posts: 78
Comment #21 by StatikFoBia
Wednesday, April 08, 2015 @ 02:41:36 AM
Finally got the flawless raider achievement. It took me 5 months of searching to find the perfect team. By far the hardest. So worth it though.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #22 by narvalia
Saturday, April 11, 2015 @ 06:59:34 PM
Soo... When the PST Trophy awards 2014 coming out on the sister site? It's been a while already! I alway read both of them. :(

Forum Posts: 276
Comment #23 by specularblinky
Sunday, April 12, 2015 @ 03:57:38 AM
I have a feeling neverwinter may be taking up a couple spots on this list next year

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #26 by intention
Monday, June 01, 2015 @ 06:49:00 AM
I absolutely Love these lists and have been reading them since your second year. Way to go.

Forum Posts: 4
Comment #27 by Shadow Intent
Monday, August 31, 2015 @ 11:04:42 PM
Pretty curious to see if the "retail only" rule will change for the next batch, considering Hitman will be out digitally in December, but not at retailers until sometime in 2016.

Forum Posts: 1672
Comment #28 by lornesbored
Sunday, October 11, 2015 @ 07:25:12 PM
Flawless Raider Achievement winner in the house :)

Forum Posts: 51
Comment #29 by Cr4shed
Thursday, March 03, 2016 @ 01:16:58 AM
MGSV was the absolute correct choice for most potential... and it completely fell flat on it's face in the achievement department. How disappointing!

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