Monday, July 18, 2011

Let's Make Up Achievements: Resident Evil 4 (Part 1)

As I've mentioned before on my Top Ten List, Resident Evil 4 ranks highly as one of those pivotal games for me as a designer. The execution and polish on the game still hold up extremely well 7 years after it's initial release. The variety of content in the game also makes it a great game to think about how to adapt such a game for the achievement generation; the fact that it's also getting a HD Remake, with it's own Achievement List also makes a great way to compare and contrast what can be done.

Features: Single Player Campaign (~8-10 hours first play through), Competitive High Score mode (Merceneries Mode), New Game+ (retains items for additional replay)

Let's get the first thing out of the way: The announced remake's achievement list is bland and completely uninteresting:

*It Begins With a Ring - 50G
Ring the mysterious bell. What happens after that, is up to you.
*Do Not Shoot the Water! - 50G
Summon the master of the lake. Don't rock the boat.
A Rock and a Hard Place - 50G
Outmaneuver the rampaging beast, El Gigante.
*Secure the Ballistics - 50G
Rescue the president's daughter, Ashley. Afterwards, the real fun begins.
*A Bloodline Severed - 50G
Defeat the village chief in battle.
*A Terrifying Assassin - 150G
Turn the tables on Verdugo, the right hand of Salazar.
*The Castellan Falls - 50G
Defeat Salazar, and make your escape from the castle.
*The Ties That Bind - 50G
Defeat Krauser, your former partner, in battle.
*We're Going Home - 100G
Defeat Saddler in battle, and escape from the nightmare.
A Heart of Steel - 150G
Clear the game on the highest difficulty.
What Are They Worth? - 150G
Acquire all of the bottle caps in the game.
The S Stands for Stylish!! - 100G
Acquire all of the costumes in the game.

I've marked the (*) on the achievements that are progression based and unmissible in one runthrough of the game. Let's ignore the fact that this game only has 12 achievements (My quick guess, this game first started out as a XBLA port, which limited it to only 12 achievements), it's disappointing to see that there's absolutely no care when it comes to giving players incentive to play the game differently. 550G/8 achievements are definitely obtainable within the first run (Depending on how they count "Outmaneuver the rampaging beast, El Gigante.", this could potentially also be a progression based achievement), with the remaining 3 devoted to replaying the game to grind out remaining achievements. What's more disappointing is that no attention is paid to the Mercenaries mode, Separate Ways, the countless mini-games within the campaign mode, or any other potentially grinding or skill based achievements.

With that out of the way, let's come up with some interesting ways to make the game more interesting. In the next post, I'll post a brainstorm session of possible achievements based on different categories; and in the following post after that, I'll take all the created ideas and reduce the list to the limit requirements set by Microsoft and Sony.

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