Microsoft really struck gold when decided to add Xbox Achievements to their games. It may have been seen as a cute gimmick at first, but gamers really took to it. Hunting down achievements added a ton of replay value to games, and comparing Gamerscore turned into a friendly competition between friends. These days, there are people who game solely for the purpose of passing their already monstrous Gamerscore, as well as websites and YouTube channels dedicated to providing tips and tricks on how to unlock some of the harder achievements.
Naturally, some achievements are harder than others. Completing the tutorial or first level is not the same as mowing down the final boss on the most extreme difficultly, using only a rusty fork as your weapon. Game developers quickly upped the ante with a few of the achievements they built into games, forcing anyone with an obsession for gamerscore to face some really tough tasks. Here are some of the hardest Xbox achievements to get.
[Note: This list includes games from both the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One, although some of them are available on both consoles.]
Grand Theft Auto V – Career Criminal
Reward: 100 GS
Grand Theft Auto V is an amazing game. The completely alive city of Los Santos (and surrounding area) is just as remarkable as the actual storyline and missions itself. In fact, most people playing the game will often find themselves distracted by one of the dozens of side missions, Easter eggs, or just amusing character interactions. You can even check out of the crime-based missions and spend an afternoon on the golf course, or hunting in the mountains.
In order to unlock “Career Criminal,” you’ll have to do all that and more. The achievement requires a full 100 percent completion of the game, including every side mission, stupid errand, stunt jump, etc. It’s not that any one mission in GTA V is extremely hard to complete, it’s simply the fact that 100 percent completion will require many hours of play time — and that’s if you stay on task.
Dead Rising – 7 Day Survivor
Reward: 20 GS
Dead Rising has a fun additional game mode called “Infinity Mode.” It changes some of the game mechanics to create a survive-as-long-as-you-can type of challenge, similar to horde modes in other games. In this case, the gamer is constantly losing health and must replenish it by finding pieces of food inside of a zombie-infested shopping mall. Oh, and the food doesn’t respawn. Oh, and you’re entire health bar will deplete in 20 minutes if you don’t find more. Oh, and if you want this achievement, you only have to stay alive in this mode for 14 hours! Oh, and saves are disabled. Good luck!
Call of Duty: Black Ops III – Personal Decorator
Reward: 90 GS
Collecting unlockables has long been part of the fun when it comes to Call of Duty games. However, the “Personal Decorator” achievement in Black Ops III takes things to a whole other level. You can to earn all campaign weapons, attachments, camos, fully upgrade all cyber cores, unlock or purchase every weapon, lethals, tacticals, and cyber combat abilities.
Once you’ve done all that, you can to complete the campaign on Veteran difficulty, then on Realistic difficulty, and complete every mission in the game (on Veteran or harder) without restarting from a checkpoint. And then you have to find all the collectibles, complete all the accolades, complete every campaign challenge, earn a score of 35,000 or more in the training simulator, kill 2,000 enemies, and earn all campaign decorations. Whew!
Honorable mention for another difficult Call of Duty achievement goes out to “Mile High Club” of the original Modern Warfare, requiring you to complete an extremely difficult mission (on Veteran) in under a minute — oh, and you had to finish it off with a precise headshot.
Mortal Kombat – My Kung Fu is Stronger
Reward: 60 GS
If you want to unlock this achievement, we hope you really like Mortal Kombat. The iconic fighting game was re-released for Xbox 360 in 2011, with online play and a new set of achievements. The most daunting of them all, though, is easily “My Kung Fu Is Stonger.” To snag those 60 points, gamers have to complete ALL of the following:
- 100 victories
- 100 -alities
- 150 X-Rays landed
- 10,000 pints of blood spilled
- 24 played as that character
If that doesn’t seem like a lot, there’s a catch. You have to do this for each of the game’s 28 different fighters. That’s at least 672 hours of play time, assuming you can complete the rest of the checklist within each 24-hour period.
Goat Simulator – The Flapmaster
Reward: 30 GS
Remember the Flappy Bird craze? If you don’t, it was a mobile game that went viral due to it’s cute graphics and incredibly hard gameplay, requiring gamers to tap their smartphones in order to guide a small bird through obstacles. It’s since been removed from the App Store, but it’s spirit lives on through various clones.
Goat Simulator is already kind of a stupid game, featuring purposeful glitchy graphics and no real purpose. However, it can be fun pretending to be a goat and smashing things, so at least there’s that. If you get to the right spots, your goat can find a game called Flappy Goat, which plays the same way as Flappy Bird. You only have to get a score of 10 to unlock this achievement, but the hit detection and button reaction is painfully awful, which makes it extremely hard and very frustrating.
War of the Worlds – I Am Arthur Clarke
Reward: 50 GS
You might be thinking to yourself: “I’ve never heard of War of the Worlds.” And that’s perfectly okay, because the 2011 Xbox Live Arcade title wasn’t much to remember. It’s a basic side scrolling platformer, based on the movie of the same name, but the graphics were bland and the controls were clumsy. Overall, it’s just not a very fun game.
Making it even less fun is the achievement “I Am Arthur Clarke,” which requires you to beat the game in a single sitting without dying. Not even once. It’s an extremely hard achievement, given how difficult and unpopular the game was. Only a tiny number of gamers have ever unlocked it.
Outlast – Enegiser
Reward: 200 GS
Playing through Outlast is already a harrowing experience, as the survival horror game is right up there with the most terrifying games ever made. In order to unlock this achievement, not only do gamers have to complete the game on “Insane Difficulty,” they have to do it without reloading their camera batteries. If you’ve never played Outlast, allow us to explain why this is so hard.
Most of the game takes place in the dark, with gamers being able to look through the lenses of a camcorder that has night vision enabled. The more you use the camera, the faster the battery wears down. Before long, you’ll be trying to finish an already terrifying game in mostly darkness. No thanks!
Elite: Dangerous – Well Trained
Reward: 25 GS
If you love getting those easy achievements for simply completing the tutorial of whatever new game you’ve started playing, then stay the hell away from Elite: Dangerous. The space adventure/flight simulator, which actually received strong reviews from critics, includes one of the most ridiculously hard tutorials in any game, ever. It’s a shame, then, that they actually included an achievement for completing them.
Only a handful of gamers have actually unlocked this achievement, making it one of the hardest of any Xbox game. The tutorials require precise flying and landing skills, which are next to impossible to master.
Limbo – No Point in Dying
Reward: 100 GS
The 100 points you can earn for unlocking this achievement are tempting, but prepare for frustration if you do decide to go after them. Limbo is an entire game where basically everything kills you — water, falling from height, spikes, giant spiders, bear traps, etc… Seriously, the whole game is one giant booby trap.
However, if you can complete the entire game in one sitting and only die five times (or less), this achievement will be yours. With some practice, it should take you roughly an hour, but you’ll have to memorize every trap and every puzzle solution in order to keep those deaths down.
Rock Band 2 – Bladder of Steel
Reward: 25 GS
The plastic instrument craze might be over, but we’ll never forget those long nights of pretending to be a musical superstar with Rock Band and its sequels/spinoffs. However, if you want to unlock the “Bladder of Steel” achievement, you better prepare yourself.
This achievement requires gamers to complete the entire Endless Setlist, which is every non-DLC song in the game, in a row without pausing or failing. That equals almost seven hours of non-stop jamming! If your batteries die somewhere around hour five? Too bad. Your drummer can’t find the beat and fails a song in hour six? Tough luck. And bathroom breaks? Forget about it.
Gears of War 4 – Seriously 4.0
Reward: 200 GS
Every Gears of War game has a “Seriously” achievement, and they are all incredibly hard. The latest installment in the franchise features “Seriously 4.0,” which is basically the same as getting 100 percent throughout the entire game. The achievement requires loyal COG soldiers to complete the game on Insane difficulty, get to re-up Level 10 (similar to Call of Duty prestige modes), collect all the multiplayer ribbons (141 of them), achieve a rank placements in each mode, level up every Horde Mode class to level 10 (there are five of them), level any five Horde skills up to level five, and complete all Horde maps. That’s a daunting combination of hard gameplay and tedious grinding!
Cloudberry Kingdom – Shenanigans!
Reward: 20 GS
Cloudberry Kingdom is your standard platformer game that was released for Xbox Live Arcade in 2013. This achievement only requires you to complete Chapter 7, which doesn’t seem that bad until you realize that it includes the impossible Level 319 (and Level 320 isn’t much better). These procedurally generated levels are just massive clusters of enemies, making it almost impossible for a human player to make it through.
Even watching the A.I. complete the level doesn’t really offer any helpful hints. Getting to the end requires a series of extremely precise movements and jumps, and small mistake will cost you. Only try to unlock achievement if you have a huge block of free time on your hands (and you literally hate yourself).