Video games naturally attract completionists. What better way to get one’s money’s worth out of a full-priced purchase than to do everything that game has to offer? It feels like a waste to pay $70 for a game and then move on after completing a 15-hour story. Thankfully, games like to provide achievable challenges and metrics for success like Achievements and Trophies. This makes gaming the perfect medium for someone to sit down and conquer every element of even very complex games.
This holds true for most games but there are some titles that feature such impossible sidequests, and ludicrous requirements for their Achievements, that most players will find that it simply isn’t worth their time and effort. Whether it’s near-impossible Trophies or additional content that goes beyond the pale, some games are a completionist’s nightmare.
Updated on January 6th, 2023 by Michael Colwander: While Trophies and Achievements have trended toward easy in recent years, that doesn’t mean there aren’t 100%s that feel like genuine achievements. For those seeking out a challenge, there are some very difficult games to get 100% in.
15/15 Trials Fusion Is Full Of Tribulations
The Trials series has a long and infamous history of being difficult and Trials Fusion is no different. What seems like a simple concept of motorbiking through courses and performing tricks on a 2.5D plane is made especially difficult with punishing physics where even the slightest miscalculation can lead to a crash.
So asking players to complete every Track Challenge is extremely challenging. These Track Challenges can range from performing moves, holding moves for a period of time, a level-specific action, and so on. For PlayStation players, all that effort does not even yield a platinum trophy. On top of that, the 16-achievement base list is accompanied by 35 additional DLC trophies, making a 100% in Trials Fusion a true badge of honor.
14/15 A 100% In Crypt Of The NecroDancer Should Bring A Dance Of Celebration
Crypt of the NecroDancer is a fun and engaging roguelike where players who want to succeed must make their actions in rhythm with the game’s music, beat-by-beat. Go off rhythm, and the player will be left vulnerable and ineffective. It was a concept that was so successful, it received a popular The Legend of Zelda spinoff.
Completing Crypt of the NecroDancer once is tough enough as is, but for 100%, players must complete the game in basically every way possible: with each character, with all characters, with Coda (who is the combination of three of the most unforgiving characters), without dying, without picking up items… so on and so forth.
13/15 Tetris Effect Will Have Players Playing Like A Pro
The world of competitive Tetris is intense. Professional Tetris players use mind-boggling surgical actions to maintain their round. Achieving 100% in Tetris Effect is a great way to train for the professional circuit as it’s an incredibly difficult game to 100%.
The core of the otherwise fantastic Tetris Effect’s 100% is its ranking system. Players will need to complete levels with SS Rank across all areas in both Effect mode and Journey mode. The difficulty setting doesn’t matter, but even on the easiest difficulty it can pose a decent challenge. Players will still have to complete Journey mode on Expert difficulty.
12/15 Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time’s Subtitle Makes A Lot More Sense When Going For 100%
At first “It’s About Time” sounds like a cute play on words for Crash Bandicoot 4. A narrative about the multiverse and an exclamation that a true Crash 4 is finally here. Those pursuing 100% in Crash 4 will definitely be shouting “It’s about time!” when that final trophy and/or achievement pops.
Much like the games in the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, Crash 4 requires mastery of every level. Its Time Trials are strict and its Perfect Relics involve completing levels without dying. Crash 4 is tough, and not even achieving 100% in previous Crash games is enough to prepare players for this daunting task.
11/15 Ultra Street Fighter IV Is Ultra Difficult
Achieving 100% in a fighting game is rarely an easy time. Most require reaching certain ranks online, completing Arcade mode on the highest difficulty, unlocking secret fights in Arcade, and completing the daunting trials of Trial mode. The genre-saving Ultra Street Fighter IV has all of those in its 100%.
Far and away the most challenging aspect of USFIV is its trials. Each character has 24 trials ranging from simple to combos with frame-specific timing. Luckily, completing all of those should make the online portion much easier as players must reach C Rank with all characters up to the Super Street Fighter IV release, so not including characters introduced in Arcade Edition and Ultra updates. Getting 100% in USFIV is incredibly difficult for anyone new to fighting games and even those who have spent hundreds of hours getting the fundamentals down.
10/15 Alien Isolation Gives The Player Exactly One Life
A video game spin-off of the Alien series, Alien: Isolation earned critical approval as one of the best sci-fi horror games as well as for its accurate recreation of the films’ atmosphere and for its tense, difficult gameplay. The bulk of the game sees the player attempting to complete objectives around their doomed space station while avoiding the Xenomorph alien, which is unharmable by regular weaponry and capable of one-hit kills.
The ‘One Shot’ trophy, needed for the platinum and 100% completion, requires the player to complete the entire game without dying once, whether to the Xenomorph or other threats. While it is achievable, it is an immensely difficult task that requires nerve, near-perfect knowledge of the game’s map and mechanics, and more than a bit of luck.
9/15 Halo: The Master Chief Collection Rewards The Best Of The Best
The complete Halo series came to PCs with Halo: The Master Chief Collection, a bundle that includes several games from the franchise, complete with their campaigns and multiplayer modes. Given that it is six games in one, it has plenty of achievements, but it’s the quality of the challenges that causes the trouble, not the quantity.
For one, getting every achievement in the game requires a player to beat every campaign in the ‘LASO’ difficulty, short for “Legendary, All Skulls On”, meaning the player has to fight the toughest enemies without checkpoints, a HUD, and a host of other difficulty amplifiers. In addition, there is a challenge to complete Halo 2, considered the hardest in the series, in less than three hours.
8/15 Super Meat Boy Is Punishing
Unlike some other games, the immensely difficult platformer Super Meat Boy doesn’t require the player to go through the entire game without dying once. Instead, it simply rewards achievements for getting through each individual level without dying. The catch, and the reason the game has a frighteningly low 100% completion rate, is that Super Meat Boy‘s levels are immensely hard.
Its ‘Dark’ levels typically have single-digit rates of completion without death on their own. The number of people who have gotten through all of them without dying, in addition to the game’s other challenges, is vanishingly small.
7/15 Hollow Knight Has Its Notorious Boss Rushes
For the most part, Hollow Knight is a Metroidvania action RPG that rewards exploration and battling a wide variety of foes across several environments. Despite this, its hardest challenges are a series of boss rushes known as ‘Pantheons,’ pitting players against a large number of the game’s bosses one by one, with few breaks in between.
In addition, Pantheons allow players to equip ‘Bindings,’ a series of optional limiters on their power that restricts damage, abilities, and SOUL. Completing the ‘Pantheon of the Hallownest,’ containing nearly every boss in Hollow Knight, with Bindings equipped is a painfully lengthy exercise that few players have managed to complete. Both Hollow Knight and Super Meat Boy are great games, especially for those eager for Earthblade, which will likely be tough in itself.
6/15 Wolfenstein II Demands Perfection
Despite its acclaim, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is considered a game with somewhat lopsided difficulty. The player spends a lot of the game on their back foot. The player’s character is incredibly fragile to enemy fire and can die in seconds, particularly on higher difficulties. These problems provide the game’s primary challenges.
Despite this, the game includes an achievement for completion without dying. Rewarding luck as much as skill, trying to get this achievement can turn an immensely fun game into an exercise in frustration, as players attempt to guide a fragile character through frenzied gunfights without receiving so much as a scratch.
5/15 Cloudberry Kingdom’s Levels Become Excessive
Sometimes just finishing the game is its own impossible challenge. Cloudberry Kingdom is a 2D platformer with an emphasis on horizontal movement and extreme difficulty. Starting simply, it adds obstacle after obstacle over its hundreds of levels, until they become truly ridiculous.
Notorious for having levels crammed with threats with no visible path through, Cloudberry Kingdom isn’t made to be beaten. Achievements encourage it nonetheless. Ultimately, reaching and beating its final level, Level 320, is harder than acquiring all the achievements in other games. Its final chapter is even titled ‘The Masochist’.
4/15 Dead Rising Drains Your Health Non-Stop
The first Dead Rising game has some notorious achievements, but none are quite as hated as ‘7 Day Survivor.’ In contrast to the base game’s time-limited playtime, ‘Survivor Mode’ lets the player enjoy the world for as long as they like but drains their health every 1 minute and 40 seconds, forcing them to constantly use healing items to stay alive.
The achievement ‘7 Day Survivor’ forces the player to survive for a week of in-game time in this mode, without dying or saving. Not only is this immensely difficult with the health drain, forcing the player to constantly take healing items, but it also requires a fourteen-hour play session that, on the original consoles, couldn’t be interrupted.
3/15 The Stanley Parable Mocks Completionist Gamers
As a surreal, post-modern narrative that raises far more questions than it answers, The Stanley Parable comments on many aspects of gaming, including hunting for achievements. In addition to its standard achievements, it has some ludicrous and unrealistic inclusions designed to make full completion almost impossible.
One of the most notorious is ‘Go Outside,’ which requires a player to not play the game for five years, putting an enormous time requirement on any full completion. This goal was recently extended to ten years with the ‘Super Go Outside’ Achievement. Another achievement, literally titled ‘Unachievable,’ requires players to alter their game files to cross it off their list.
2/15 The Binding Of Isaac Doesn’t Stop At 100%
There are a number of barriers keeping players from total completion in The Binding of Isaac, one of which is simply the game’s size. The game is vast, with many levels populated by multiple bosses, and players need to complete it several times with several different characters. The amount a player has to unlock is enormous and growing.
The Binding of Isaac receives infrequent DLC, each of which adds another huge load of content. The developers also keep adding difficult new achievements, causing some players to decide it’s simply not worth it. Strangely, the game actually encourages a player to go beyond 100%. Although players unlock everything when they reach it, its loading screen goads the player into doing it twice more, awarding them with ‘300,000,000%’ Completion if they do.
1/15 Rock Band 2 Tests Human Endurance
Individual songs can develop notorious reputations in music games like Rock Band 2, but completionism can go beyond simply perfecting every song in the game. To get every achievement in Rock Band 2, a player has to push themselves physically with the aptly-named ‘Bladder of Steel’ trophy.
The trophy requires the player to complete the ‘Endless Setlist 2’ without pausing or failing once, a challenge that can take over five unbroken hours with limited opportunities for breaks. As such, a player has to not only battle the game but avoid fatigue and go for an extended period of time with highly limited access to food, water, or bathroom breaks.
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