The Top Ten Most Challenging Xbox 360 Achievements of All Time (So Far)

The Top Ten Most Challenging Xbox 360 Achievements of All Time (So Far)

  • By: CM Boots-Faubert
  • Posted 4th Apr 2012

Whether you like them or despise them, the introduction of the Achievement System on Microsoft's Xbox 360 added a new level of competition among gamers that almost never was... You read that correctly -- the powers that be at Microsoft came within a hair's breadth of chucking the Achievement System out because they viewed it as a novelty that most gamers wouldn't care about and perhaps more trouble to implement than it was worth -- which only goes to show you that as clever as they are, even the bright minds of gaming have blind spots.

The reception of the Achievements System by gamers did not just take Microsoft by surprise, it also stunned the game studios, many of whom implemented the Achievement System in early 360 titles in a haphazard way that failed to live up to its intended function and caught all sort of hell from gamers for that carelessness -- a gaff which Xbox Live and platform architect Vince Curley explained in a post to the Xbox Engineering Blog was caused because the program was not very well understood by the developers.

"Because of this, early implementations of achievements were inconsistent and not as good as they could have been," Curley explained. "Some games did the minimum required: 5 achievements which were tossed out for basically just starting the game. Some games made the achievements way too hard or too easy."

Gamer reaction to the wide degree in Achievement quality actually lead to some games doing poorly in sales as a result of word-of-mouth with regard to Achievement "lameness" and Microsoft, recognizing precisely what went wrong in those games, answered the problem by quickly providing guidance to game developers that eventually included a 21-page, 8,000 word whitepaper on the best practices for structuring and creating game achievements that it seems did the trick.

The fact that they had created something that clearly resonated with the gaming community may have been a surprise, but not nearly as big a surprise as their discovery that gamers were using the system for unintended purposes like assessing skills and gamer quality! Even gamers who do not base their assessments of other gamers solely upon the unlocked Achievements and G-Total in their Gamer Tag still tend to make quick comparisons when they play online with a new opponent, just to see what they have accomplished and how that stacks up their own record.

A quick-and-dirty estimate based upon a large sampling of Gamer Tags suggests that the average gamer only acquires 10,000 or so Gamer Score each year, split between an average of twenty game titles, with 33,000 being the average for a gamer with the 3-Year Veteran Number on their Tag. I cannot count on my hands and toes the number of PM's I have received from gamers just in the last month asking if my Gamer Score is legitimate -- it stands at 106,407 at the moment with a 3-year Veteran Number so their suspicion is reasonable, especially considering the recent round of banning by the Xbox Live Policy Enforcement Team of gamers who have "edited" their Gamer Scores claiming Achievements that they had not legitimately unlocked. I have to explain that at least part of the reason for it being so high is that my job requires me to play and review games -- it is how I pay my bills after all -- so of course it is going to be substantial.

The fact that Achievements ended up being one of the core focuses that many gamers work towards in the games that they play as well as an unofficial standard by which many gamers judge both the games and each other -- you will know who they are when you get a PM while sitting in a game lobby from another gamer calling you a "noob" for the paltry 125 G you have in Call of Duty 4 -- clearly that novelty of the Xbox LIVE Network has turned out to be an integral and valued part of the community gaming experience. So valued in fact that the conditions that each game studio must comply with have been refined over the years to ensure that the Achievements that are built into their games are at least reasonably challenging... And that brings us to the meat of this feature piece!

The Top Ten Toughest Xbox 360 Achievements of All Time

Since the launch of the Xbox 360 on 21 November 2005 there have been so many games with tough Achievements in them that the task of determining the Top Ten Toughest of All Time (so far) was really a daunting one. Some sort of standard had to be devised; do we include Achievements with horrific time requirements like the ones in Final Fantasy XI for leveling the various jobs to 75? Do we include mind-numbing Achievements like the Seriously ones from the Gears of War franchise? What about Forza 4's Bucket List Achievement?

After significant debate in the bull pen here at GU the conclusion that we came to was that no, simply requiring the application of a large amount of game play time does not really qualify an Achievement for consideration for the Top Ten Toughest -- it also has to be an Achievement that received substantial "Bitch Time" on gaming chat boards and which gamers themselves found to be among the toughest -- and that made the process a lot easier.

Submitted for your entertainment are The Top Ten Toughest Xbox 360 Achievements of All Time (so far) starting with Number 10 and ending with the toughest of all, Numero Uno, Celui qui nous fait le cri! If you agree -- we want to hear it -- and if you disagree and believe strongly that we missed one or failed to include one that you firmly believe should be on the list we want to hear about that too -- so make use of the comment system below if you have something to share, right mates? Oh, and bonus points to the first person to comment that correctly identifies the language for each of the numbers listed below: