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The Official GamesFirst! Guide to Achievement Points
game: Xbox 360
posted by: Matt James
publisher: Microsoft
developer: Microsoft
date posted: 02:57 AM Tue Jun 6th, 2006
last revision: 03:08 PM Mon Jul 10th, 2006

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Click to read.The Xbox 360 has added a new element to the gaming experience. The achievement point is perhaps one of the most brilliant additions Microsoft has implemented in their next-gen console. Already, people across the globe are comparing Gamerscores. Once, gamers had only multiplayer games with which to compete, but now with the invention of the Gamerscore, Microsoft has created a way to be competitive in all aspects of gaming, both single player and multiplayer. Of course, we want GamesFirst! readers to have the upper hand, so we created the first Official GamesFirst! Guide to Achievement Points.

The Rules:

Every game for the Xbox 360 is supposed to have achievements. Normal length games are supposed to have at least 5 achievements, although the more the merrier. When added up, all the achievement points should equal 1000 points. Microsoft suggests that the achievements have a learning curve. (i.e. the points come fast and easy in the beginning but have a smaller value, becoming harder to unlock and worth more as the game progresses.) Of course, some developers are lazier than others when it comes to achievements. Some games have the minimum 5 achievements and they aren\'t very well thought out. This should lessen as Gamerscores become more and more popular and the achievements become something that future games are graded on.

For Live Arcade games the same rules apply, except they each have 200 points to spread throughout their achievements. Since many of these achievements are as hard and time consuming to unlock as those in normal length games, one must assume that Microsoft bases the points allotment less on content and more on the price point.

The only exception to the rule seems to be Final Fantasy XI, which has no points. This could be because it has cross platform interactivity. Or perhaps Microsoft was trying so hard to court Square Enix that they let them slide. Either way, it is disappointing that a game that demands so much of your time won\'t reward you with any of those nifty achievement points.

Easy Points:

For a quick and easy 1000 points, no game gives it up like Peter Jackson\'s King Kong. There are no tricks or special tasks to perform; you simply have to play through the game. Unfortunately, you must play through the game. Still, King Kong is the quickest, easiest way to rack up points. You can play the entire game in about 6 hours, easily doable in the space of a rental. Heck, the die-hard could do it in an evening without much trouble, possibly after dinner. It\'s really only a little longer than watching the movie, and the storyline is basically the same. You might as well rent the game instead and set yourself on your way to that massive Gamerscore.

From the Xbox Live Arcade, Uno is by far the achievement hunter\'s best bet. In a couple sit-downs you can clean Uno\'s 200 points right up. It is a great game to play online with buddies and further your Gamerscore dominance at the same time. In fact, you\'ll get your first achievement just for finishing that first game online. If you have a full game of four, that is. All those easy points and Uno is cheap and quick to download. You might as well get it started downloading while you read the rest of this article.

Points the Hard Way:

Some games aren\'t so loose about giving out those coveted achievement points. Sometimes this is because the challenges are well thought out and designed to be challenging. Sometimes it is obviously just a product of developers not wanting to spend much time on achievements.

Major League Baseball 2K6 falls into the latter category, with a whopping 5 achievements (Yeah, the minimum). With no room for a curve, it should be no surprise that there is none. There are no multiplayer achievements either. In order to get any of MLB 2K6\'s point you\'ve got to be serious and put some time into it. A little luck wouldn\'t hurt either.

For instance: It isn\'t good enough to hit three homeruns in a single game. Nope, MLB 2K6 insists that you hit three homeruns with a single player in a single game. This is probably one of the easier achievements in MLB 2K6. At least if you do unlock an achievement you are well rewarded. Since those 1000 points are only spread across 5 achievements.

If you are looking to get the most points for your time, it is best that you skip Major League Baseball 2K6.

Then there is every Live Arcade game except Uno. These fall more into the simply challenging category. Since Live Arcade games have a 200 point cap, one or two tough achievements can cut down the number of more attainable points very quickly. You also end up with many achievements that take a significant amount of patience and time for minimal amounts of points.

You may want to spend hours playing Geometry Wars to become a master because it is so fun. For the Gamerscore inclined though, it isn\'t an effective use of your time for a 15 point achievement. This is pretty normal for all of the Live Arcade games.

Points Pointers:

In Tony Hawk\'s American Wasteland you unlock levels as you go through the Story and Classic modes. These levels are then available for free skate and online play. Each of these modes have achievements for each level. A quick way to put an extra little feather in your Gamerscore is to immediately go play these levels once unlocked. For the online achievement you aren\'t even required to play with another player. So all you have to do is start a game in your newest level and skate for a moment. The high score achievement is almost as easy. Since you haven\'t played any of the levels yet, the default high score is zero. Any trick will grant you a new high score and an achievement. They aren\'t high point achievements but they add up if do them all.

The Gamerscore friendly Uno has one achievement that might appear to be, at the least, time consuming. The Devotee achievement requires you to win 40 games. Since so much of Uno is chance and a game can take so long it may seem like you will never reach that 40 wins. The key is to make the games go quicker. Simply start a House Rules game and change the scoring to no scoring. That way each game lasts only one hand. You can get those 40 wins quicker than you can play a single game in some of those online matches.

Condemned is littered with achievements. Each level has a plethora of things to collect, some instantly unlocking points and others that accumulate throughout the game, giving you achievements after collecting them all in each level. Condemned can be a pretty intense game and sometimes it is pretty hard to keep an eye out for these little things while running for your life. I would suggest you use your save files to go back through certain key parts of the game after completing it. That way you can search more thoroughly when the pressure is off. Also, when searching for the birds remember to keep your eyes and ears open. You will notice that when a dead bird is close by you will hear the flies buzzing around it. When you hear that buzzing all you have to do is stop and look a little closer.

Feeding Frenzy has a number of tough achievements. The Shark Eater achievement requires you to munch 1000 of those pesky sharks. You are only able to eat the sharks on the last handful of levels and that is at the end of those levels. Typically you can complete the game with only eating ten or twenty sharks, which is a long way from a thousand. The trick is, once you complete the game you can go back and replay any level. So go directly to the last level. Swim your way through the level eating the smaller fish, building towards your full size, when you can eat the shark. Once you are big enough to feast on shark be careful not to eat the smaller fish any longer. The smaller fish will continue to boost your meter, moving you towards completing the level. Eating the shark does not. So you can just keep eating shark after shark as long as you stay away from the appetizers.

Madden 06 is the holy grail for Gamerscore aficionados. Heck, you don\'t even have to be good at football games in order to clean up this easy 1000 points. You see, most of the achievements can be unlocked in the two player games as well. So all you have to do is have a cooperative partner and it is easy to score big, make the sack, and rush the long yards. But the real coup for achievement points hounds is Madden\'s 400 point complete 30 years of franchise play achievement.

Might sound crazy at first, I know. 30 years is a lot of franchise play. It\'s not that bad though. You can do it without even playing a single game, but it will eat up some time. All you have to do is use the simulate feature and sim your way through each season. The game will do most of the work for you. If some one gives you a hard time for doing it the easy way just give them a hard time for doing it the stupid way. I\'d rather be known as clever than the guy who spent his whole life playing Madden.

Well, I hope you found some helpful tips. We at GamesFirst! really want our readers to kick their friends butts. Of course, we don\'t want you to have to work any harder at it than you need to. That way you have more free time to read GamesFirst!

If you have any helpful hints for boosting your Gamerscore we\'d be happy to hear them. Just drop us a line at mailbag@gamesfirst.com.

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