Just caught this bit of news on IGN, and to say I’m disappointed would be an understatement. For me, the fact that the Switch doesn’t have achievements is a glorious throwback to a simpler time, where completing the game was the true goal, not getting an overkill on a Lone Wolves map in ranked multiplayer. The reason I’m so disappointed is that I both love and detest achievements. For exhibit “love”:
Yep. I played Dark Souls three god-damn times, and leveled up every damn item to get all those achievements. I can’t even tell you why, but the sense of satisfaction I got when I completed it was amazing. I also got 100% on Arkham Asylum a lifetime ago, and that’s what started me on my path of this weird completion tic. Witcher 2, Shadow of Mordor, Arkham City, Wolfenstein, and even indies like Life is Strange and Thomas was Alone all got played a hell of a lot more than they would have without achievements to get that sweet sweet 100%.
It’s fun in some cases, but where it breaks for me?
The reason I detest them? This:
That’s my only locked achievement out of 79 for Halo 3. 78 of 79, 5 points away from 100%. That means that yes, all of the incredibly annoyingly difficult achievements in Halo 3, I spent hours grinding to try to make happen. To make matters worse, the average population of a Halo 3 server is a ghost town, so the chances of getting enough people together to play it, and to get close enough to Overkill them, is about a million to one.
Nintendo? Blissful, free to play environment. No weird “collect 100 crickets” or “headshot 1000 Bokoblins with thrown weapons” just engaging gameplay and standard goals.
There have been times where I’ve pulled off something pretty damn cool in Breath of the Wild or Mario Kart 8 and briefly missed the “boop-oop” sound of an achievement unlocking, but it also has freed me to just play the damn thing and to not worry about completing it in the way some designer decided to reward me. Hell, Mario Kart has the Gold Metal Mario locked behind a pretty damn difficult goal – and that’s more than enough enticement to keep me playing. Why fix what’s not broken?!
I can still see the benefit in achievements, as I’m still playing Xbox games and still chasing 100% on Arkham Knight and Witcher 3, but I also have a massive backlog of games to play, and spending 3X the time on one to get a god damn overkill just isn’t as fun anymore. Nintendo, as the only hold-out that keeps me playing the game just to play the game without that nagging feeling of completion over my head, please don’t head down this path. You’re doing so well without it. Forge your own new thing, just like the Wii or the Switch. Please?
Don’t @ me.