Trophies are better than achievements. Therefore you are better and cooler for earning trophies. As much as people try to deny it, once you start it’s hard to stop. You love your points. Whether it be in trophies, gamerscore, or even the 3DS achievements, everyone has something keeping track of how well they’re doing. In my case, a preference for trophies is actually one of the (many) reasons I prefer the PlayStation. With a lack of original titles and a score keeping system that doesn’t interest me, my Xbox has been collecting dust. Of the most popular two, gamerscores and trophies, which do you prefer? Quite frankly I prefer trophies, and here’s why:
- Platinum trophies - The Xbox 360 does not have any special way of informing people they have finished 100% of a game. You spend hours racking up all those achievements for your favorite game, and in the end the only thing you get is a mound of points to be added to the sea of your gamer score. When you play a game on the PlayStation and complete a game, you get a platinum trophy. Anyone who plays a PlayStation knows exactly what a platinum trophy means: you have completely mastered that game. If a person has a lot of platinums, it’s pretty damn impressive. I have messaged people before just to applaud them on the amount of platinum trophies they have, and the games they achieved them in. Some of those games are really hard to platinum, and having a trophy in a really difficult game that you worked your ass off can mean a lot. Not only you, but other people who love that game may see your platinum in the trophy list and work harder to earn their own. Personally having platinum trophies motivates me a lot more to 100% a game than a bunch of numbers that don’t actually describe the hard work I put into a certain game. This leads to discoveries in a lot of games I never would have made otherwise.
- Leveling up – On the PlayStation you accumulate points when you receive trophies. These points, in turn, level you up. Each tier of trophies is worth more points which will level you up faster. We as gamers are addicted to the notion of leveling up. It is why almost every single game to date includes leveling up in some shape or form. Even shooter developers realized how much we crave the ability to level ourselves and our guns up. PlayStation was ingenious incorporating this into their trophy system; it’s a feature that makes collecting and completing games even more addicting.
- Keeping different achievements distinguishable from one another - When you complete an achievement, regardless of how hard it was, it just gets thrown into the growing number that is your score. For all anyone knows, you could have played the beginning of ten games instead of actually completing five. The PlayStation uses a ranking system. Bronze-Silver-Gold-Platinum. Very basic, very practical. Accomplishing more difficult feats means you get a better rank of trophy. With this system people know exactly where your level is coming from. They can see the 900 bronze trophies vs. the 300 gold trophies, and they know if you’re completing the hard parts of the games. It’s a huge boost seeing your trophy tiers and how well you’re doing in regards to each different rank.
- Indie Games on Xbox do not have achievements - People lie, because they’re liars. They say they don’t care about achievements, that they’re just numbers. Some Indie games beg to differ. The sales numbers for these games are often times dramatically lower solely because the Xbox doesn’t provide achievements for them. If these games were on PSN, which some of them are, not only would they have achievements, but often times they would even have platinum support.
- Arcade games offer negligible achievements points - Before April of this year, Arcade games would net you 200 points. Now they’re capable of giving you up to 400 points. Most retail games offer about 1000 gamerpoints, if I remember correctly. 400 is a paltry amount. Not even half of what a full retail game would offer. It makes sense; smaller games get fewer points. The PlayStation, however, doesn’t usually follow this system. Rainbow Moon, a recently added indie rpg, has the same amount of trophies as many full retail games; in some cases even more. It is not uncommon for indie titles to follow this regimen on the PlayStation. While not all of them do, many indie games even offer full platinum support.
- PlayStation offers free online - While this may seem like a moot point regarding a certain preference for one point system over another, keep in mind the plethora of achievements and trophies that are only available through the multiplayer features of games. Some players may only be able to get online on occasion, and because of that don’t want to pay for online privileges on the Xbox. They’ll never be able to get some of these achievements. Quite frankly, I dislike multiplayer achievements on either console for the reason that some people won’t be able to get them purely because they cannot play online. At least the PlayStation doesn’t charge you for them to boot.
- Satisfying ding, accompanied by an image – While it’s true the Xbox does make a noise when you receive an achievement, I was never quite as fond of it as I was with the “ding!” of the trophies. Not to mention I can make an onomatopoeia of the trophy noise but I can’t for the life of me begin to spell out the noise of the Xbox achievements. The trophies also appear accompanied by an image. You may think this a pointless addition, but personally when I was playing Just Cause 2 I was vastly disappointed by the lack of images upon receiving my trophy. I will point Xbox for having the ability to take you directly to your achievement if you press the home button. It is something I miss dearly and always wish the PlayStation would patch in.
- You feel closer in score to other gamers - When you have achievements you know exactly how many achievements you have. Each game awards the same number of achievement points. That means if you have 600 everyone is going to laugh at you. Even if it’s not true and people don’t make a big deal out of it, it feels true. Your measly 600 points feels hundreds of miles away from your friend’s 45,000 points. On the PlayStation it’s a bit different. Leveling up, like in any RPG, are much easier to get the lower you are. That means just starting out you could be level 3 while many of your friends are only 9 or maybe a bit more. The difference does not seem so large at a glance. Because of the curve, the higher your level the more trophies are required to level up. This means the people who have been playing longer will respect higher levels, whereas the newbies won’t feel bad because a gap of 3 and 13 is substantially lower than a gap of 600 and 43,000. If you’re a not a serious gamer, it won’t feel like you’re miles behind your peers. Maybe that in itself will help you feel more motivated to level up and close the gap even more.
- You don’t lose your platinum with the addition of DLC - It’s a simple thing of beauty. If you complete a game 100% and they release DLC, you still have completed that game 100%. DLC isn’t mandatory for perfectionists. Even if you have yet to platinum a game, the addition of DLC to that game does not mean you now have to also buy and 100% the DLC to get the platinum. You can simply complete the achievements for the standard game and bam, trophy unlocked. You lose the 100% stamp but you can still keep, and still earn, the platinum. The Xbox, however, does not have a system to show a player completed a game to its fullest aside from the 1,000/1,000 points when you view their games. Now if they release DLC it would say 1,000/1,250. Did they get that 1,000 before or after the addition of DLC? You can never know unless you ask.
- PlayStation Plus = Free Games = More Trophies - While I won’t argue here why I think Plus is an amazing deal and why I think the games on PlayStation Plus really SHOULD be considered free; and how I feel like I’m being ripped off by the fact I have to pay for internet twice just to play multiplayer games with my friends on the Xbox, I WILL argue Plus is a point score-wise over the Xbox. You pay the same amount as us every year, approximately, for just your online privileges. How often do you get free games? If your answer is “every day” (if it is I think you’re lying to me) then how often do you get full retail games given to you? We get them pretty frequently. The free games we get means free trophies, which means more trophies and a higher level. I’ll even take into consideration the discounts we get, because those discounts have caused me to buy a lot of games I would have otherwise put off or never actually bought. This means even more trophies for me, the trophy lord! I debated about adding this to the list, but because Xbox doesn’t offer a discount service like PlayStation, one that really does create more of a score for the player, I decided to add it. Not to mention if you skip out on Plus, miss free games and discounts. However, if you skip out on Xbox Gold you miss out on a ton of achievements because suddenly you can’t play to get multiplayer ones.
Those are the reasons based on my own experiences in owning both of the consoles, the Xbox longer than the PS3, that I have come up with. Do you agree? Do you think the PlayStation’s trophy system is much better integrated than the Xbox’s achievement system? Is there a reason not listed that you prefer trophies to the Xbox? And finally, if you prefer achievements why? Maybe it’s because PlayStation trophies don’t automatically synch, perhaps you dislike how some of the older PS3 games don’t have trophy support (trophies weren’t available until 2008, a year and a half after the release of the PlayStation.) Whatever the reason you have, let me know.