• Sun. May 28th, 2023

30 time trial achievements to test your speedrunning skills (and patience)


Oct 15, 2021

It’s been a hot minute since we dropped one of these articles, but we’re finally back. Having already talked about achievements that are way too grindy, are heavily luck-based, require insane multiplayer skills, and are absolutely rock-solid, this time, we set our sights on another community favourite: speedrun achievements. Love ’em or hate ’em, these things have been around almost since the dawn of achievements and they’re here to stay. Given that not everyone even likes speedruns in general, it stands to reason that a lot of players won’t have the will, the patience, or sometimes even the skill to master the kinds of clips, tricks, and skips needed to go really, really fast. Here’s a selection of some of the most challenging ones we could find, and as ever, this is just the beginning — drop your own nominations in the comments to help grow this list into something even bigger and better! Let’s get this any% speedrun going… Sonic Free RidersGiven this article’s title, it’d be plain rude to deny Mr. The Hedgehog the honour of the first mention here. Oddly, though, even though most Sonic games are all about going fast, there aren’t too many achievements that directly relate to doing so. Still, this Kinect racing spin-off delivers the goods, with a ridiculous 16 achievements tied to beating all the expert courses within surprisingly strict par times. This is the rarest of the lot with just 133 unlocks on TA, though only a couple inch past the 2% mark so you’ll have your work cut out for you going for this high-ratio completion, not least because motion controls are far from the best way to precisely speed your way to victory…BraidThe Speed Run achievement in Braid worth 86 pointsComplete a full speed run of the entire game, beating the challenge time.One of the progenitors of the indie explosion, puzzle-platformer Braid also gave us one of the earliest examples of a speedrun achievement. Considering some of the trickier late-game stages could easily keep you scratching your head for 45 minutes on their own, demanding a full run of the game in that time was always going to be a challenge. You’ll need a full working knowledge of each world’s unique mechanics to even come close to breaking through the one-hour barrier, and knowing exactly how to solve every puzzle (and being able to execute them all well) should eventually be enough to shave off those extra 15 minutes or so. Interestingly, one of Braid’s secrets (which doesn’t have its own achievement) is almost an anti-speedrun — there’s a hidden star in the Cloud Bridge level which requires you to wait almost two hours on an extremely slow-moving cloud to reach it.Warhammer Vermintide 2Vermintide 2 has a fair few achievements like this one, all of which involve having a full team pull off something very specific in a very short amount of time. That raises an issue that has come up in previous articles — individual skill alone isn’t enough here, as you’re reliant on others to know their roles, play well, and not let the side down. We’ve got useful achievement guides for each on the site, but you’ll still need to find those extra adventurers to back you up, and to stick around if you don’t manage to fulfil the unlock requirements on the first few (hundred) attempts. Since a lot of these tasks seem to require pretty specific high-level builds and team compositions to complete, it’s not that surprising to see the ratios for the rarest ones shoot all the way up into the high teens.SpelunkyThe Speedlunky achievement in Spelunky worth 95 pointsComplete the game in under 8 minutes. No shortcuts.Considering most people can’t beat Spelunky at all, it should come as no surprise that finishing the game in under eight minutes is a challenging task indeed. The time limit actually isn’t especially harsh — the main problem is that racing the clock here can easily pressure you into rushing, and that’s when most silly mistakes happen. You also need to get quite lucky with items if you want to get on a good pace, with things like the compass and cape proving invaluable for speedy clears, along with a surplus of bombs and ropes. There are some great guides for this on the site with things like split times to aim for and breakdowns of how to approach each area, so be sure to give those a look if you plan on blasting through Spelunky to join this 1% club.Jurassic World EvolutionA sim game like Jurassic World Evolution isn’t the first place we’d expect to find a speedrun achievement, let alone one that is three hours long, but here we are. The task here is to go from nothing to a five-star park in under 180 minutes, and this is no mean feat. Between sabotage attempts, dino escapes, and tropical storms, there are a lot of unpredictable aspects at play that can slow you down and scupper your chances, making this as much about crossing your fingers for no drama as it is about having a solid grasp on how to quickly and efficiently throw together a world-class park. Of over 110,000 players here on TA, just over 400 have managed this challenging feat of speedy dino wrangling, giving it a tasty ratio of 16.25 and making it the second rarest achievement in the game behind its Hard mode counterpart.TT Isle of Man Ride on the EdgeIf you thought three hours was a bit long for a speedrun, how about three years? Not real time, thankfully, but that doesn’t make this drawn-out race to victory any easier. You need to dazzle on the track and build a huge fanbase if you want to get invited to the TT, which will mean a lot of going fast before you even get a chance to be called up for the main event. Since you can’t get the invite until the second year at the earliest, you’ll only have a maximum of two chances to grab this achievement per Career save — don’t forget you need to actually win the TT too, so you might actually need that second try if you wind up taking an untimely spill on your first attempt. This one sits at 0.02% on Xbox, with TA bikers faring slightly better with a 0.23% unlock rate. GriftlandsIt’s really surprising to see a new game from Klei (Mark of the Ninja, Shank) only have a handful of players here on TA, especially when it’s one quite similar to beloved deck-builder, Slay the Spire. Still, of the mere 40 Griftlands players here, only one person has managed to smash through a run in under half an hour. It’s not just a small sample size skewing the data, either — the same achievement in the Steam version is the rarest of the lot there too, unlocked by 0.3% of players. The random nature of both deck-building games and roguelites in general mean that the conditions needed for a fast clear aren’t going to come around all that often, and with so many moving parts, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the win even after a strong start. Pretty much all of Griftlands’ achievements are evil, actually…Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About TimeAfter the Crash Bandicoot remake trilogy was generous enough to only demand Gold Time Trial Relics across the board for its Practice Makes Perfect!, Wumpa-Burner Engaged!, and Boo-yah, Grandma! Boo-yah! achievements, we should have seen this coming. Crash 4 upped the ante, asking for Platinum Relics on all stages, and that’s a pretty tall order. Platinum times have very little room for error, plus you’ll need to have access to (and a solid working knowledge of) Crash’s entire kit to stand a chance. It’s another 1% unlock here on TA, with just over 200 players managing to beat the challenge times on all 38 stages.Cyber ShadowA lot of folks hate speedrun achievements even in easy games, so when they pop up in games that are solid, the salt is gonna flow. Cyber Shadow is a pretty tough game any way you slice it, but if you’re going for the completion, chances are you’ll be on your third playthrough by the time you attempt to beat the clock. That experience should make the time limit somewhat manageable — I just scraped it first try despite a subpar run, and the current world record (which was done on console, unusually) comes in below 50 minutes in-game time. It’s not like Cyber Shadow is wanting for tricky achievements, so if you’re deep enough into the list that this is one of the only ones left, you’ve almost certainly got the skill and knowledge to get it done. Max Payne 3This one has been mentioned in the comments on pretty much every different hard achievements piece I’ve put together, and now it finally gets its time to shine. It’s a different kind of time attack, with an ever-ticking one-minute timer that can be topped up and overfilled with kills, headshots, explosions, and so on. There’s another achievement for just doing a basic New York Minute run, but this is the Hardcore version, meaning it all needs to be done in one sitting and if you die, your run is over. As with Spelunky, the pressure of such a short time limit can force mistakes, and mistakes can lead to… well, you get it. A patch from Rockstar reduced the amount of time earned from explosions and made this significantly more challenging, so you’ll need to bring your A game if you plan on beating Max Payne 3’s hardest mode with time to spare.ChariotChariot’s beefy ratio should be a fair indicator of how many tricky achievements lie in wait in this strange co-op puzzle-platformer, and a good few of them relate to the game’s secret level. Just unlocking this punishing 25th stage is a mission, and there are other achievements for fully looting the level and beating it without a gadget. While this one doesn’t specifically relate to this hidden level, it does involve it, as you’ll need Gold times on all 25 stages — needless to say, given how hard it is to even reach, the bonus level is by far the hardest. You’ll want a skilled co-op partner for the best shot at these time trials… but only the primary profile can unlock achievements. Ouch.Halo: The Master Chief CollectionWith its whopping pool of 700 achievements, Halo: The Master Chief Collection unsurprisingly has challenges for all occasions. These ones — all named after the speedrun world record holders at the time — each have the same conditions, but prove challenging in their own different ways, whether it be bespoke speedrun tricks unique to each game or those infamous Halo 2 snipers. The good news is that the three-hour time limit takes into account the sum of all your fastest individual level times, so you can (and should) work on one at a time rather than attempting these in one sitting. ODST and Reach also have effectively the same achievement, although they seem slightly more forgiving (ODST especially) than the four main ones. Little NightmaresA speedrun achievement and a deathless achievement rolled into one? You’re too kind, Tarsier. Naturally, this combo has wound up a lot of players, although over 1,000 TA users have pushed through the pain to unlock it. In theory, it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle once you know what you’re doing — the current world record comes in under 35 minutes, although you’ll likely want to play a little safer to avoid taking a death on one of the trickier skips. Little Nightmares isn’t quite as tight or snappy as the kinds of hardcore platform games where you’d expect to find achievements like this, and this can be the downfall of even the most experienced players. Certainly not the hardest achievement like this on the list, but certainly one that has caught many off-guard with how surprisingly rude it is.Asseto CorsaThis isn’t purely a speed-based achievement, although the drift event component is arguably the easiest and the fact that the rest — Time Attack, Hot Lap, and Race events — all involve going fast means it easily earns its spot here. In fact, from over 20,000 tracked players here, just 16 have managed to grab every single special event gold medal, which should give you a fair idea of just how demanding this racing sim can be. It’s another that got a fair few mentions when I first started compiling lists of the hardest achievements out there, and rightly so — mastery of all the different car and course variations presented here will take a hell of a lot of dedication, so shoutouts to those speedy few who have this on their tags!Katana ZeroThe Gold Medal achievement in Katana ZERO worth 1053 pointsAchieve a total rank of gold or higher in a full speedrun.Stylish 2D action title Katana Zero doesn’t pull punches at the best of time, and the unlockable Speedrun mode serves as a true test of just how well you know each of the game’s 11 stages. You’re looking for a gold rank overall and that’s one really neat thing about this achievement — since it’s averaging out your grades, a platinum will cancel out a silver to leave you on gold pace overall, meaning that you can practice a few levels to the point that you can platinum them ‘easily’ in order to cover for a few scuffed levels you might not be quite so good at. It’s still far from easy, mind, and you’ll need to put the effort in to even reach platinum standard on any stages. Katana Zero’s Game Pass run has come to an end, but don’t let that put you off adding this challenging little gem to your collection and, if you’re brave enough, to your tag.MGSV: The Phantom PainKonami’s stealth series has always had a speedrunning element for high-level play, with the best ranks (Big Boss/Foxhound) always tied to fast, efficient runs of the games. Since The Phantom Pain’s modular nature means it doesn’t lend itself so well to that kind of overall grade system, it is instead broken down to be individual ranks per mission for all bar three of the game’s 50 missions. Sneaky play does net you a few more points which help towards hitting S ranks, but time is by far the most important factor, to the point that just skipping cutscenes in some story-heavy missions is almost enough to clear the S bar on its own. Since some of the missions are effectively hard mode retreads of older ones, 47 S ranks is no walk in the park, but at least you’re free to hit up each of the missions at your own pace. Almost 3% of TA has bossed this, but not everyone is so solid — that drops off to 0.3% on a global level.Shovel KnightJust like Halo MCC, Shovel Knight has a bunch of time trial achievements for each of its different campaigns, all with the same goal. Now Shovel Knight is far from an easy game, but it does have a built-in bonus for those who are confident enough to not need checkpoints — smashing these will drop a bunch of gold, saving you the trouble of going off the beaten path to get paid at the cost of your safety net. It might not feel like it if you’ve only done a casual play of this retro-style platform action masterpiece, but there’s a decent amount of room for error with a 90-minute time limit once you get the route and some of the trickier bosses down, and learn what’s worth losing time to pick up and what isn’t. In fact, the top players have managed to 100% all bar King Knight’s card-collecting campaign in under that time, so you don’t need to play perfectly — just well is fine, so long as you know your way. There’s such a different feel and flow to each character that they could almost be their own game, and most (Specter Knight in particular) feel amazing once you master the movement, so this winds up being four unique speedrun challenges in one game.The Evil WithinFive hours might seem like a pretty generous target time, and under the right conditions, it actually sort of is. If you tried to do this on a fresh save, though, you would definitely struggle. Instead, this wants to be saved for a New Game+ run when you’ve already got a bunch of upgrades, and you can even then drop the difficulty to Casual to make life that much easier. Better yet, if you’re going for the full completion, save this one for last as the Brass Knuckles you unlock from beating Nightmare difficulty make this pretty trivial, since they let you one-shot most enemies with your fists, saving ammo for big threats you can’t drop Saitama-style. Of course, you’ll also need to beat Akumu mode if you’re gunning for the completion, and the tables are turned there — everything kills you in one hit. Velocity 2XThe clue is in the name with this one. Velocity is a blink-and-you’re-dead kinda game, with this sequel adding on-foot platforming on top of the fast-paced space flight to really keep you on your toes. The target times on the speed levels are pretty brutal even if you don’t worry about collectables (of which each level has hundreds), but getting a perfect rating means you need to get the lot. That means a lot of memorisation, a lot of risks you wouldn’t usually take in a normal speedrun, and a lot of failed attempts when you accidentally leave something behind or reach the goal a second too late. Just 30 TA members have managed this, and while the levels are pretty short, the way they bounce between two different gameplay styles and the abundance of stuff you need to collect quickly means there’s very little room for error.DishonoredThe Dunwall City Trials DLC for Dishonored added some pretty crazy challenges, many of which treat speed as the most important factor. Impressively, nearly 20% of TA users who played the DLC back on the 360 version managed this, but you know what you’re getting into if you stump up for something like Dunwall City Trials — compare that to the Definitive Edition on Xbox One and sure enough, that number crumbles to less than 1%. Dishonored is such an amazing game to watch when played at a high level as so much happens in such a short space of time, with combinations of powers often able to break the game in creative and interesting ways. Once you get the rhythm down and can be pulling off the kinds of impressive passages of play that these challenges require, it’s hugely satisfying.Slay the SpireBetter hope RNG is on your side if you’re going for this one, as you need a lot of things to go in your favour to achieve a 20-minute winning run in a roguelite like Slay the Spire. You’ll also need a good deal of experience with the game itself, as you don’t have the luxury of agonising over which cards to pick up or reading up on what they do — decisions need to be almost instant if you want to stand a chance at beating the clock. Once again, we have some great guides on the site that should help with character, card, and relic choices to make this more manageable, but there’s still a fair bit of luck involved, too.QUICKFIRE BONUS ROUNDCall of Duty 4: Modern WarfareIt didn’t seem right to include time trial achievements with short timers in the main list, as you can get so many more attempts in that ones like this just aren’t as much of an investment to try for and unlock as the longer ones. That certainly explains why 20% of TA players have managed this minute-long achievement (well, that and the 24 guides), but that drops to just 3% on the wider Xbox level. Even though it’s certainly not the most challenging speedrun achievement out there, this one is pretty iconic and deserves a mention all the same.Split/SecondRacing game devs love putting in staff ghosts and times to really test players, and this one has been known to wind people up. You don’t need to be perfect — there’s room to shave off at least a full second, if not more — but you still need to put in one hell of a lap, and that will likely take a good few attempts. Good thing it’s only a little over a minute per attempt… or even less, if you notice you’re off the pace early and can just restart.Titanfall 2This one is the quickest of the lot, with a goal time of just over 33 seconds. Don’t think that makes it any easier, mind — your run needs to be almost flawless to get on that leaderboard, which means making optimal use of Titanfall 2’s complex yet satisfying movement tech. You need to hit every target as well, since it’d be impossible to make this tight deadline with even the two-second penalty for missing one. And that’s your lot for this time! Rush on into the comments with your own suggestions, tales of woe, humble-brags, other topics you’d like to see covered, or whatever else…

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