Have Trophies Been a Positive Addition so Far?


With the GTA IV Trophy patch now live I’ve been wondering if the addition of Trophies to some PS3 games has been a positive addition.

I know it’s early days but I would have to say yes, for the most part. I currently have 4 games that feature Trophies but so far, for the most part, Trophies have impacted positively on all four games.

Burnout Paradise

I got bored of Burnout Paradise pretty quickly when I first played it. Too many events were the same and I got a little tired of the gameplay. They added Custom soundtracks, bikes and a day night cycle which made me play it again for about a day, then I got bored again.

Then for some reason I got into a groove for collecting Trophies and I found a new passion for Burnout Paradise. I wasn’t bothered about having to start from scratch due to trophies not being retroactive but starting over again was actually enjoyable. I started doing the Burning Routes which I had never done on my first playthrough and I played a bit more online with a friend, helping each other collect Trophies.

For me, Trophies made Burnout fun again. Custom soundtracks and adding Bikes obviously added to the enjoyment but it was the pursuit of trophies that made me give burnout a 2nd chance. That may be a bit shallow but it made me appreciate the game more.

SuperStardust: HD

I already loved SS: HD, so Trophies were never going to make me find a new passion for playing it, they did however give me the incentive to play the new different modes like Bomber and Endless more than I would have.

In turn, I got more enjoyment out of Arcade mode in general going through all the planets in one sitting and achieving a new high score as a result.

Trophies didn’t have as big of an impact on SS: HD as they did on Burnout Paradise but their inclusion gave me extra motivation to improve my skills. Late Boomer still eludes me though. I came so close last night too! :x

WipeOut HD

It’s hard to comment on WipEout HD because I’ve hardly played it and racing games as a rule, are my least favourite genre so it’s probably at a disadvantage already compared to the other games, but what I will say is that the Trophies in WipEout actually offer a real challenge compared to the majority of Trophies that can be earned in most other games.

Some Trophies are going to take hours upon hours of practice, perfecting your skills in order to beat a certain lap time or achieve all golds in Elite mode. Whether this is a good thing depends on whether you’re willing to put in the time to do that or whether WipEout is actually enjoyable enough to make you want to do that.

It is good that some devs are putting some thought into how you can achieve Trophies. Some games have taken a far too easy route but I’ll comment on this shortly.

For me, at this moment in time, I can’t be bothered to put in the time with WipEout HD. There are too many great games out now and over the next two months but because it’s a PSN game, I can come back to it in a few months time and put in the time needed. Having Trophies there to be completed will give me a reason to play it again down the line.

BioShock

I’m loving BioShock so far. It’s a game that would be played again and again just because it is that good. The Trophies in it though are a mixed bag. Some are really easy like completing the opening level. :?

Others are supposed to offer a greater test of your gaming prowess such as completing the game on Survivor difficulty without using a Vita chamber, although if it still lets you save at anytime on Survivor mode then that sort of defeats the purpose.

As a whole the Trophies in BioShock are a mixed offering. Some are just giveaways for completing standard tasks within the game while others will make you explore Rapture more or play the game with set goals in mind.

We need far more of the latter and less of the former. Burnout Paradise gives you far too many Trophies for doing the most simplest things like driving through a garage or crashing through the yellow gates. They don’t give you a sense of achievement when they are handed to you on a plate.

Of course you have Bronze, Silver and Gold Trophies to collect, with the difficulty rising as you move towards the Silver and Gold Trophies but far too many Bronze and Silver Trophies are just handed to you without having done anything special to earn them.

Trophies should offer you a sense of achievement, so that when you get them, you’ve either played a game in a different way to what you normally would or you’ve achieved something significant and improved your skills as a result and been rewarded with a Trophy for the effort you’ve put in.

I use the word achievement quite a bit. I always get far greater pleasure from most things if I know I’ve earned something rather than being given something as a token gesture, just for the sake of it.

This is the problem I’ve found with Trophies so far. I know it is early days and that devs are probably trying to strike the right balance between how difficult some Trophies should be to get and they probably don’t want to make Trophies appear as a burden. However, I would be happier if they offered less trophies if it meant the ones available would give you a greater sense of achievement once you earned them.

It’s worth remembering that Trophies are optional and if someone isn’t willing to put the time in, like I’m not with WipEout HD but I am willing to with BioShock, then that’s the player’s choice. Devs shouldn’t have to put in a Trophy just to make up the numbers or just for the sake of it. Trophies should challenge the player to play games differently and to test their game playing ability in ways they would not normally do. If the game is good enough then I’m sure most people would put the effort in.

Overall, I like Trophies, they’ve made me appreciate certain games more and I’ve put more time in games that I would probably not bother with again and made me play them in a different way to what I normally would. I just hope devs start to show more imagination with the Trophies they implement rather than simply giving them away in future.

I’m interested to hear whether you guys agree or disagree with any of the points I’ve raised.


Written by: Gary - News Contributor


  1. #1 by Sylvrfonic on October 27th, 2008

    I am really glad that there are different strata of trophies. The trophies that you feel are too easy to achieve (i.e. many of the silver trophies) are the very trophies that allow a gamer like myself (the middle ground between hardcore and casual yet enthusiastic about gaming) a chance to benefit from the trophy system instead of begrudgingly ignoring the whole thing because they are too difficult to achieve.

    It’s interesting that to think that perhaps there is a ideology that would see the trophy system become more of an electronic standard for an elite hardcore that would begrudge casual players the trophies that they would receive that mark progressing through the game as the developers intended.

    The system is already in place to allow you to compare trophies with other players. Those elite can still hold their gold and platinum trophies over the heads of less stalwart gamers.

    The trophies that mark a greater level of achievement are already there. Why would you take away trophies from others? What would that accomplish? Wouldn’t that make trophies that much less inclusive?

  2. #2 by Gary on October 27th, 2008 [ 1780 Points ]

    You misunderstand me. My point isn’t to take away trophies from the less ‘hardcore’ gamers. I class myself in the same bracket as you (in-between the hardcore and casual gamers). I don’t have a single Platinum Trophy to my name and that is not what my aim is with Trophies.

    My point is for devs to come up with a more imaginative use for trophies within games. Getting a Trophy for driving through a gas station in Burnout Paradise is NOT an imaginative way to use Trophies in games.

    There’s not much creativity involved in that process. Trophies should encourage us to explore the game world more and do things we would normally not do in a particular game.

    It’s not about Trophies being frustratingly hard so that people just give up. I know I won’t get most of the Trophies in WipEout HD simply because some will require too much effort but at least they have put some thought into their Trophies compared to many of the trophies available in Burnout.

    The Trophies in WipEout will push some gamers to a new level but at the same time, some gamers will give up and not bother with them (me). It’s about finding the right balance between challenging your gaming ideals via imaginative use, making you think of different ways to approach certain games and tasks outside of how you would normally approach them and offering the right amount of challenge to make you feel like you’ve earned the Trophy.

    So far, no game has really done all of those. Maybe BioShock and PixelJunk Monsters (to name drop two games) are heading in the right direction. I just want less Trophies that are given for doing something so simple and basic within a game world, like a lot of the Trophies in Burnout Paradise.

    Trophies have so much potential to add to a game’s lifespan and make you appreciate each game in a way you maybe wouldn’t.

  3. #3 by Emrah on October 27th, 2008 [ 7319 Points ]

    Trophies added a lot of time for SSHD, for me. What’s more, since I started using a new username on PSN, I started re-getting the SSHD trophies, luckily I got late boomer on my first try of my second username :) Still waiting to get the endless 10 nukes thingie. I’ll play uncharted once again for the 4th time (I started a third time for trophies with my old user name, was at 50% of the game)

    What is more, I now play SSHD to get new highscores (I was world top 500 with my old username on late boomer, eheh)

    SSHD trophies are a very good example of achievable trophies. Some are real hard to get, but you know you can get them when it’s your day. However, trophies that requires too much repetition in a game should not be allowed, such as doing a mundane task 100 times, that is out of the course of the normal gameplay..

  4. #4 by Gary on October 27th, 2008 [ 1780 Points ]

    I agree Emrah, Trophies that are awarded for doing repetitive tasks can be pointless but for tasks such as finding all hidden packages in GTA, then they can be an incentive for the player to explore the game world more.

  5. #5 by Sylvrfonic on October 27th, 2008

    I did miss your point. Thanks for clarifying. I agree that there is a great potential for trophies to expand the way that people look at the games that they play.

    That said I believe that there must be a middle ground. Burnout Paradise’s trophy list is a rather long one. The example that you give about having a trophy for driving through a gas station is a bit misleading. You get the trophy for driving through a gas station during a race. In this case you are being rewarded for strategic use of the facilities….

    I get your point. Actually, I didn’t really understand it until I took a closer look at Burnout Paradise’s trophy list. This is a game that is doing exactly what you are arguing. Burnout, as a series, has been mostly car battles along a linear route from point A to point B. Burnout Paradise has broken away from that mold. Now, the game is as much about exploration as it is about racing. The trophy list shows the developers desire to get you to think about Burnout in different terms from other racing games. This is why there are so many awards for exploration. These trophies are less about freebies and more about getting you to play a car battle/racing game in a ways that you’ve not played one before.

    I hope that you are right. I hope that more developers use trophies to expand what we perceive as core gameplay in their titles. I also hope that as a gaming community we are observant enough to realize it and appreciate it when it happens.

  6. #6 by Sylvrfonic on October 27th, 2008

    Wow, I just read the end of my last post and though, “what a condecending prick.” I am sorry. I didn’t mean it to sound that way. >_

  7. #7 by mpz on October 27th, 2008

    I got a couple just to get a couple in SSHD, but that was about it. I don’t mind a few that pop up just as you’re playing the game – at least it shows you’ve played it, and for the very casual, it shows that they exist, which might get them into looking further. I was borrowing uncharted when the patch came out and I didn’t even bother to start it up.

    Remember, this is still early days, at least for most PS3 devs. Insomniac had ‘skill points’ for a long time, so I think their system is more developed than most. They were always completely hidden tasks, which meant you had to play a fair bit and experiment to discover them, and they unlocked videos and other stuff, so you had at least some reason to play for them. And many, if not most, were quite imaginative and not totally obvious. Personally, if I unexpectedly got a ‘good shooting’ skill point for 10 head-shots in a row … it makes it more interesting than just getting a trophy for something explicit listed as ‘get 10 head-shots in a row’ (i.e. more of a surprise, and less of a job).

  8. #8 by Paranoimia on October 27th, 2008 [ 1285 Points ]

    I stand by what I’ve said from the beginning: Trophies make little difference to me, and I won’t be bothering with them unless I really enjoy the game.

    I got all the Uncharted ones because I love the game. I persevered and got all the Burnout ones simply because I was waiting for other games to come out – otherwise, I wouldn’t have bothered. But I won’t buy games simply for Trophies, and I won’t go back and complete games just for the sake of them either.

    I’m not bothering with the GTA IV Trophies; although I really enjoyed playing it, I stopped playing after completing the story mode. I couldn’t be bothered killing all 200 pigeons in the first place, and I’m certainly not going to bother just for a Trophy. In fact, I’ll be trading it in soon.

    I’ve got a few from Super Stardust HD, and may get others as it’s a game I enjoy playing… but that will be ‘as and when’… I’m not deliberately going looking for them.

    I’m currently playing Dead Space, and am loving that… so I may well bother trying to get all the Trophies in that.

    And some Trophies are just insanely difficult. PAIN, for example, has some which – to me – seem utterly impossible to obtain.

    I’d be more tempted to go for Trophies if you actually had a chance of getting something for them other than bragging rights. I don’t really have a competitive streak, so I don’t care if I have more or less than anyone else. But if you could exchange the ‘points’ for money off stuff from the PlayStation Store (for example) I’d be more tempted.


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