Confession: Unlocking Achievements Is How Some Games Never Bored Me
I’m not exactly sure how to say that better, but my confession for this week involves a certain predisposition I have towards achievements, and how that has helped me to get past some otherwise monotonous endeavours.
Now before I continue with that, let me just say that some games were extremely painful to play through. Most recently, I played through RAGE on the Nightmare difficulty and I hated it. Not because it was difficult, because it wasn’t, I never died, but because it was just so damn unimaginative. Post-apocalyptic wasteland meets light RPG elements. Could you rip off Fallout 3 and Borderlands any more, iD Software? Even those apparently amazing character animations fell flat after ten minutes, for me.
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So it’s not to say that this applies to all games. However.
I’ve been noting that a few months later, nobody really professes great things about Assassin’s Creed III. Sure there are those who’ve played through the game and enjoyed it, but for some it’s taken them months to complete the game because they couldn’t get stuck into it, or for others it’s been a case of slowly soldiering on through it, no pun intended. And yet I played through the game in a matter of weeks, non-stop, until I had achieved 100% sync.
I think a large part of that was just me enjoying playing an Assassin’s Creed game. I’ve loved them to bits since the first one, where I collected all the flags everywhere, and on the PC version which had no achievements — back then I didn’t even know what an achievement was. But larger still, was the part that drove me onwards, made me do some stuff I wouldn’t necessarily even bother with in a game: I wanted to unlock every achievement in the game.
Effectively then, the achievements gave the game some sorely lacking sense of purpose. And I believe that’s why certain games never bored me, where others could not wait to be done with them.
If you played Assassin’s Creed III on PC, for example, or even PS3, you don’t care about achievements or GamerScore or anything of the sort, so why would you bother? You would blitz through the story and rush off to declare the game Ubisoft’s greatest failure, the death of the series, a massive disappointment and so on. Meanwhile, someone such as myself is still heartily enjoying the game because there are a few more achievements to unlock. Granted the game needed to do enough on its own, for me to enjoy it that much, or I surely would have also enjoyed RAGE. And yet, it was the combination that worked absolute magic.
I could use other example of games where this applied, but I do feel that my point has been served. Can you guys relate to this at all, or is the idea a silly one? Perhaps we’ve finally found some tangible positive of achievements: it allows us to get that much more value out of our games. Or you might still dismiss them as meaningless, arbitrary numbers that do nothing.