I try not to make VL blog posts sound like a broken record, but blogs are for random thoughts and insights. Playing more Guitar Hero has given me a few more.
I’ve commented in the past about how the achievement system on the 360 is a little goofy, yet we still clamor for them. I know I do, despite my best efforts. Its one thing when two games have vastly different ideas of what an achievement should constitute, but it is even more interesting to see what two sequels have to say on the matter.
Both GH2 and 3 have mostly the same kinds of achievements – beat the game on all the different difficulties, five star all the songs, earn big note streaks, buy stuff from the store, etc. Here are the pages for my achievements in both games (they’re nothing to brag about, they’re just there for you to examine the awards). Note that the point scores for these shared goals are drastically different. GH2 will generally give you between 10-30 points. GH3 gives you just 5 points for beating career on easy. I can get you 5 points in the first 5 minutes of a Halo 3 mission. Furthermore, GH2 only requires that you buy all the default items from the store to get one of its achievements. For GH3 you have to buy everything, meaning you must five star all difficulties in order to unlock all the secret guitars.
So why does GH3 act so much stingier with its points, especially when it only has 9 more? This is partly due to the fact that it throws in about 9 or so achievements for playing online or in co-op career, which spreads things out a bit more. The most blatant reason however is the “Long Road Ahead” achievement, which you only get after doing just about everything possible in the game and is worth a whopping 100 points. Even if they made it just 50, that’s another 50 extra points that could be distributed to make other achievements beefier. Plus the name makes no sense considering how far you have to get to earn it. Neversoft was never obligated to hand out gamerpoints to us, and I’m glad to see that some of them will require some good skill on Xbox Live, but their sense of scale is out of whack.
Harmonix on the other hand messed up in their own ways. Overal the GH2 achievements are more reasonable, but there are a few silly ones, like “watch the credits to the end”, or earning points just for unlocking venues (which you do in career mode anyway). Ultimately this is likely due to the fact that the game is a port, and no one on the team really felt like putting much time into the achievements (I don’t blame them). Ultimately I’ll have to side with their decision, as it means I can make up for the hours I’ve spent in GH3 to earn just a handful of points, by earning 30-40 in two songs in GH2.
P.S./edit – you may notice that I got the achievement for beating the game on hard with a gamepad. This is false – this particular award is broken, and can be earned by beating hard with a guitar controller, and then navigating to that career with a game pad. Look how low I’ve gone!