Welcome to NAG Online’s first ever – and best ever, by default! – Xbox 360 achievement guide, the first ever – and best ever, by default! – in my brand new ‘Chievo Chaser series, which is a cool, trendy name I came up with on my own with Thesaurus.com (“Achievement Hunter” is already taken).

My big idea is that, instead of listing all of a game’s achievements with brief, obvious descriptions on how to get them, I’m going to pick out those that are especially difficult for one reason or another and/or those that can be acquired by more, let’s say, discreet means. Remember, it’s not cheating, it’s boosting, and it’s totally different because of the spelling.

So, gibbing off with Gears of War 3 then. About half of this game’s achievements are straightforward, just-play-the-campaign types, with the only major tripping point being…

That’s Just Crazy
Complete all campaign Acts on Insane Difficulty (Standard or Arcade)

Gears of War 3’s Insane difficulty makes both previous games’ Insane difficulties look like Baby’s First Third-Person Shooter, mostly because the down-but-not-out status is removed entirely, and replaced with an instant Locust Happy Meal.

You’ve basically got three options here – go it solo, bring some battle buddies, or play it on Arcade mode instead.

Playing solo, it’s best to leave your AI teamies to take care of stuff, while you hang back behind a big rock or something. The AI is actually surprisingly competent, and will (eventually) eliminate most threats in the vicinity, although they do have an infuriating habit of occasionally hanging back with you and broadcasting your strategically secret position to every Locust within a five mile radius (shrieking at them to eff off doesn’t help either; I tried). Also, don’t expect them to get anything useful done in the game’s final boss battle. One bonus for doing it this way, however, is that you won’t be squabbling with anybody over ammo and weapon pickups.

Alternately, there’s a neat little trick if you have one or more friends playing with you – because each player can choose their own difficulty setting, get them to play on Casual instead. This is also definitely the fastest way to get through the campaign, as your vanguard can pretty much slap its way from one checkpoint to the next. As with solo, you’ll have to maintain a safe distance from hostilities, but if you must get involved, use long-ranged weapons only, and with extreme caution.

Finally, Arcade mode forces all players to swap over to the same difficulty, but adds respawns. There’s a 25 second timer, though, and at least one player has to remain alive or it’s game over. The only real advantage of this method is that every player will knock out this achievement, as well as the My Fellow Gears and We Few, We Happy Few (where applicable) achievements for completing the game in co-op, and completing the game with four players respectively, in one go.

Special mention: Playing solo or with battle buddies, when it gets to the Lambent Zerker fight in Act 3, Chapter 2, keep moving and use the central structure to your advantage. The Zerker doesn’t deal very well with vectors that deviate from “STRAIGHT, RAAARRGHH”, so you can easily avoid any immediately regrettable incidents by skimming around this if you find yourself on the business end of a charge.

AVOID THE IMULSION VAPOUR, or cry.

There’s also an infinite supply of ammo in a shed behind this central structure. Use regular Lancers for the minimal bullet spread, and – if somebody’s feeling really brave – try tagging her with a grenade to deal loads of damage.

If you’re playing this on Arcade, lol, glhf.

Judge, Jury and Executioner
Get a kill with every possible execution finishing move (any mode)

You can get this by blagging a requisite number of kills in versus mode, OR! You can get it in campaign mode, where all execution moves are unlocked from the outset. Note that this only applies in Standard campaign mode, and not Arcade mode.

The only tricky ones might be for the Cleaver and One-Shot, which can be found in Act 2, Chapter 2, and Act 2, Chapter 3 respectively.

Enriched and Fortified
Complete all 50 waves of Horde mode (any difficulty, any map)

Okay, this is a big one. Hit it on Casual difficulty, have at least three players in total, and it helps if you’ve unlocked some mutators (Instagib Melee gets my full endorsement), but expect to invest at least 2-3 hours into this.

The easiest map is probably Checkout, simply because the number of props, obstacles, and tight corners restrict enemy movement and sniper sights, and keep most boss waves at a manageable pace. On the other end of the spectrum, Sandbar is also a great option just because of the enormous amount of space to manoeuvre.

Back on the subject of boss waves, it’s worth remembering that these occur in cycles of three. In other words, if a Brumak turns up and wrecks the COG war effort, it’ll do so for another two rounds before a new boss wave is deployed. Playing without mutators, the Reavers boss wave is, by several interstellar parsecs, the easiest, while – regardless of mutators – the Lambent Zerker is the undisputed champion of the Shitstorm Showdown. In emergency circumstances, just keep failing until the Reavers show up, but – protip! – make sure to take out grunts first for the cash.

Special mention: You can and should share your cash with your teammates. To do this, aim at them with your left trigger, and select “Give money”. Getting a Silverback out onto the dancefloor is more important than mending random bits of barbed wire.

Respect for the Dead
Your respect for the dead earned you access to Griffin’s special weapons stash

This is a secret achievement, so SPOILERS. During the first bit of Act 4, Chapter 2, you’ll be making your way through the gruesomely aptly named city of Char. Just avoid hitting any of the human remains (it doesn’t matter if the AI mucks this up), and when you get to Griffin’s tower, make sure to stop by the barred door just before his office. Assuming you demonstrated the appropriate courtesy for those heaps of post-meat cinder, this achievement will pop.