“Why Achievements Ruin Gameplay” or “Predicting The Walking Dead”
I just got done with the third episode of in the phenomenal first season of The Walking Dead from Telltale Games. I bought the title during a Steam sale, and I have been very pleasantly surprised and thoroughly satisfied with my purchase.
When I first started playing, there were a 24 achievements to be, uh, achieved. I have two problems with this. The first with the way the achievements have been “designed” and the second with the way developers have laid these out in Steam.
First, You get one achievement for completing each of the chapters in every episode, of which there are seven per episode, and an eighth achievement for finishing the episode itself. That is eight achievements per episode, and thus 24 achievements for the three released episodes thus far. All achievements are story progression achievements. In other words, regardless of what choices you make along the way or how the story unfolds, you will have all 24 achievements when you finish episode 3. It sort of takes the “achievement” feel out of the achievements doesn’t it?
Second, as I launched the game via Steam to get started on the third episode, eight achievements were left (seven for each chapter of the episode, and the eight for completing all seven chapters). I could see the icons for all eight achievements. Before the game even launched I knew the survivors would flee Macon in an RV, that they would use a train as a conveyance, and there two of the main characters will have a decisive fight. That ruined the experience a little. If I had not glimpsed those icons, I would have been pleasantly surprised by the RV and the train segments. But as I played episode three over the course of about two and a half hours, I was acutely aware these these things would happen at some point during the story.
I think Steam should have the achievements under lockdown, and they should be shown to you only if you click an icon to view them. This way you don’t end up accidentally ruining a major surprise for someone playing the game.