Games aren’t as hard as they used to be. I’m old and allowed to say things like that now! That and that those damn kids should get off my lawn. But I do think that games being easier now is true in most cases. Back in the day, games were often hard to get you to drop a few more coins into the arcade machine or to elongate games that were often much shorter than the experiences we have now. In some cases they were never ending games, getting to the point where they were so hard that it would be near impossible to carry or (or you hit the legendary kill screens).
Today though, games are designed to be finished. Much of what we play can be considered as stories that we participate in, and stories are meant to be finished. I find it unlikely that developers would create an experience with a story that they didn’t want people to see the end of. But sometimes people need that challenge, and if the core game experience isn’t hard enough then people may well turn to horribly difficult achievements or self appointed challenges. Here, we look at a few of those challenges that us mere mortals are not meant to manage. Challenges that only the committed (perhaps to an insane asylum) few will ever see the end of.
Whilst there are many, many options to choose from, I’ve once again gone for games I have played, but certainly not challenges I’ve completed myself. I’m not even close to managing some of these, and I don’t have the patience to consider trying them. I’m also not including games that are deliberately designed to be near impossible, so don’t expect any of those crazy flash games on here. On with the show!
Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter – World Champion
This was one of the earlier games I picked up for XBox 360. I liked the old Ghost Recon games on PC, which were hard as all hell themselves and figured this would be a fun game to pick up. It was not what I was expecting. Gone were the slow, methodical crawl across huge environments only to be picked off by an enemy you couldn’t even see from half a mile away. Instead we had a third person cover based shooter. It was fine, but not what I was hoping for. At any rate, the achievement in question was called World Champion.
This achievement requires you to reach number 1 in the multiplayer rankings. So to get this, you literally need to be the best in the world at the online multiplayer mode. This could be achieved by grinding for a huge length of time with a willing group I suppose, but that’s the sort of time commitment few could manage, let alone want to manage. Then consider the fact that the longer you wait, the more people will have climbed the leaderboards, meaning more work will be needed! It’s utterly bonkers. Plus the multiplayer wasn’t even that good to begin with…
Dead Space 2 – Hard to the Core
I love Dead Space 2. It was unsettling, horrifying, just the right level of challenging, and had sharp controls. It rarely felt cheap to me either (although that stupid eye poke machine…); I almost always felt I had a chance to survive every encounter. And the return to the Ishimura was fantastically well done. Anyway, back to that thing about surviving. Hard to the Core was an achievement that required you to finish the game on Hardcore difficulty.
Now, this game was pretty tough. Playing through on the middle setting was fairly challenging resulting in me screwing up and dying on more than a few occasions. Hardcore takes that difficulty, then allows you only 3 saves (4 if you’re a smarty pants on the XBox 360 version) to get through the whole game. This would be something I wouldn’t even dare to try, not wanting to have hours of progress set back because of a careless mistake or that eye poke machine ruining my day. A friend of mine actually has managed to do this across two 6-hour sessions. “Mate, there isn’t one thing I didn’t do in that game” were his words when I asked if he ever managed. After that, I don’t think I’d ever want to go back to it.
Dark Souls – Guitar Controller
This was just bananas. You know Dark Souls don’t you? The one that’s really rather difficult. Punishing even. A friend at work has recently started playing Dark Souls 3 and has likened it to banging his head against a wall, but not giving up due to seeing that ever growing crack in it (the wall, not his head). Well timed attacks, dodges and blocks are the order of the day as well as extensive knowledge of enemies and areas. So doing all this with a Guitar Hero controller is crazy.
The fact that someone even thought of doing it is odd enough. The fact that other people have gone on to complete it with ever more creative control methods is even more bizarre. Taking a challenging game and making it even harder is a ridiculous challenge, but well done to those who have managed to pull it off. Check one guy out beating Ornstein and Smough using an “axe” here.
Mega Man 10 – Mr. Perfect
I saw this on the trophy list for Mega Man 10 and wondered what in the world would possess someone to try and do this. The Mega Man series is notorious for being a challenging classic. Capcom brought it back for the ninth and tenth installment on previous generation consoles, with that level of challenge in tact. I struggled to beat the levels with the lives given so seeing Mr. Perfect amazed me.
Beat the whole game without getting hit. Not just without losing a life. Beat all the robot masters as well as Wily’s castle without taking a single unit of damage. This game is damn hard and the idea of finishing even one level without taking damage fills me with dread. Yes, you can do this on easy mode, but I really don’t think easy is the right word for this.
The Legend of Zelda – No Sword Challenge
“It’s dangerous to go alone. Take this.” Those words are etched into the mind of a great many gamers of a certain age. The first person you find in the first cave on the first screen utters this iconic sentence as they offer you a sword to allow you to survive the over and under world of Hyrule. But what if you didn’t go into that cave…
That’s the whole premise of this challenge. It’s possible to complete almost the entire first entry in this venerable series without the most basic of weapons. The only time a sword is genuinely needed is during the final battle with Ganon. Various (probably psychotic) players have completed this challenge which requires patience by the bucket load and very delicate use of bombs and the boomerang. Here’s Awesome Games Done Quick doing a speed run of it: HERE! but there are others who have managed to do it whilst limiting themselves to the 3 starting hearts. How do they do this stuff?!
A quick mention has to go to the Twitch Plays insanity, in which the Twitch chat room controls a game through typing commands into the chat window. Managing to finish a game of Pokémon with countless people yelling “UP” “LEFT” and so forth at any one moment is one thing, but finishing Dark Souls? Unbelievable. This is less of a player challenge so I didn’t include it in the list, but it is an amazing thing to see in action.
How about you? Are there any achievements or challenges that you’re particularly proud of? I for one am pretty happy about getting all the achievements in Mass Effect, including finishing it on the hardest setting. That pales in comparison to those above though!