Sunday, 28 August 2011

Kinect Based Achievement Has Completionists In Its Scope With Forza Motorsport 4

With the recent release of the Forza Motorsport 4 Achievement List, pockets of gaming communities have erupted in outrage over a particular achievement.

"Look Ma, No Controller" will require you to make use of the Kinect prephiral to unlock it, which comes at a shock for many achievement enthusiasts and completionists. But is there more to this story and its implications across the gamer-verse than meets the eye? Hit the jump to find out.

Kinect as a late term addon for the Xbox 360 has enjoyed great sales and success in the gaming market, breaking world records in its sales rates to become the fastest selling consumer electronic in the world.

Achievements have always been a staple of gaming on the Xbox 360. They have brought about a deeper element of playing games, beating them and sharing your game progress with your friends online.

Achievement difficulty has been a source of complaints from gamers but they are often dismissed readily. Achievements are meant to be difficult and challenging, otherwise they wouldnt be achievements.

However, I believe it is taken far too far by developers/publishers behind their design to tie any of them in to external hardware. To force consumers to purchase expensive peripherals to enjoy the maximum gamerscore out of a game is not a fair design choice at all.

What many people seem to ignore is the fact that achievements aren't born from the elements whenever a game goes gold. Yes, there ARE people behind their design. Somone out there is actively looking at the game, assessing its playability and finally scripting the achievements to unlock within interwoven fabrics of gameplay and in-game accomplishments.

This is where I am lead to question the integrity of said designer/s to involve external devices in the process. This isn't the first case btw. The Rainbow Six: Vegas series contained an achievement that involved the purchase and use of the Xbox Live Vision camera. Tottemball, a camera based XBLA title also fully required the use of the Vision camera to even play the game. The latter is completely understandable as it is a dedicated standalone game.

The real problem occurs is when you have standard titles, in this case a racing simulator nonetheless, placing single achievements that require the use of Kinect to unlock. Some have replied stating that it is only 5G gamerscore. As a completionist, I find no merit whatsoever in the actual score of achievements. I do however enjoy completing ALL achievements in any video game I like to play.

A second proposal from some voices has been to change it to a 0G achievement. While this would bring some relief for gamerscore enthusiasts, it does not remedy the issue... and it IS an issue.

You see, Forza Motorsport 4 won't be the last Xbox 360 title that will support the purple banner of 'Better With Kinect Sensor' on its game cover.

Mass Effect 3 is a AAA title that will also seek to incorporate Kinect into its core gameplay. I am having less and less doubt that it will also have a Kinect based achievement.

What I really feel sorry for are the people will most likely end up dismissing a potentially superb game in Forza 4 because of this achievement fiasco from Microsoft/Turn 10. They should be bringing the community together not splitting it apart. Sometimes I think they have lost touch just how important achievements have become and will continue to be to almost all Xbox 360 gamers. You don't have to be a completionist or even an achievement lover to understand that practices like this make many people upset. Would the dissenting voices be echoing as loudly if they were to place an achievement for driving with the Offical Xbox 360 Racing Wheel? I don't think so.

To those reading that will be getting Forza 4, if you don't have Kinect and don't intend on getting it, find a workaround. Borrow a friend's unit if you can, or lend a VERY TRUSTWORTHY friend of yours your profile over LIVE if you want to pursue the full 1000G in Forza 4.

Just remember, it's not the only hard achievement you will face. Looking at the list, "Unicorn Hunter" will be as common as unicorns.

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