Fan-made challenges have been a staple of gaming since the medium began. Starting off as a way to prove you’re the best player at your local arcade, player-imposed challenges have since become a widespread way to get more replay value out of games, and socialize with like-minded players who are dedicated to pushing games to their absolute limits.
In a world with perpetual internet connection, the hardest gaming challenges on offer are no longer simply beating your friend’s scores or fastest times. The ante has well and truly been upped over the years, with communities of gamers coming together to push the limits of what’s possible within their favorite games. Despite this endless push for greatness, there are still many challenges left to be conquered.
Here are five of the hardest gaming challenges that have never been beaten.
5 Borderlands – Full Series Perma-Death Run
Borderlands is the quintessential looter shooter series, full of unpredictable enemies, loot drops, and combat encounters. This randomness makes it strongly clash with the classic no-death run format. Fortunately, that hasn’t stopped some of the most skilled Borderlands content creators from trying their hands at beating their favorite Borderlands games without dying.
Surprisingly, some of these challenges have been completed, with each game from the mainline trilogy being completed with zero deaths in individual runs. Single game deathless runs being proved possible has led to some community members wondering if the deathless challenge could be taken one step further.
Miqueagul, a Borderlands YouTuber and Twitch streamer took it upon themselves to find out, committing themselves to attempting to beat the entire Borderlands series in a single run, without dying once. This run would also include True Vault Hunter and Ultimate Vault Hunter Modes, Borderlands’ answer to New Game+ difficulty settings. A year on from the first video on the subject, it seems that progress has all but come to a standstill, despite hundreds of hours attempting the challenge. Here’s hoping a brave community member will finally topple this challenge one day.
4 Clone Hero – Starmaker 100 Percent Full Combo
Guitar Hero is perhaps the most iconic rhythm game of the 21st century. Despite the series’ unfortunate demise in 2010, the classic five-fret gameplay of the Guitar Hero games lives on through Clone Hero, a free fan-made project.
In 2022, Clone Hero has become the number one way to play Guitar Hero, thanks to its ease of use and wealth of features. One of these features is the ability to add user-generated content to the game in the form of custom songs. Many of these custom songs are designed to push professional Clone Hero players to their limits, with patterns and sections much harder than anything ever seen on an official Guitar Hero game.
One of the most infamous custom songs is Starmaker, a 6000-note chart by Archwk which has never been perfected. The pinnacle of achievement in Guitar Hero is an ‘FC’, or Full Combo, the act of hitting every note in a song in a row, without breaking a combo by missing a note or strumming the guitar too many times. Despite the incredibly high skill ceiling of competitive Clone Hero, not a single player has even attempted to FC Starmaker as of 2022. Starmaker is so difficult, in fact, that even segmented FCs of it are considered among the top tier of Clone Hero achievements by many players.
While not the absolute hardest chart ever made, Starmaker is considered by many to be the next holy grail in the Clone Hero scene, and will undoubtedly be the best FC ever once it’s eventually completed.
3 FromSoftware Games – The Ultimate No-Hit Run
If there’s one thing you can count on for FromSoftware fans for, it’s completing unbelievable challenge runs. From completing Demon’s Souls with a dance pad, to beating Dark Souls 3 without walking, just about every challenge you can think of has been taken down by a die-hard fan. All but one, that is.
Since 2016, the focus of top players has moved away from playing the games in creative ways, and towards beating them without ever taking damage. In the six years following the very first Dark Souls no-hit run, every FromSoftware game from 2009 onwards has been completed without taking a single hit. Once players took care of beating individual games without being hit, they moved on to longer runs, beating multiple games back to back without every being struck by an enemy.
In 2021, this style of challenge was seemingly perfected. ‘God Run 2’ was completed, a run in which streamer The Happy Hob completed Demon’s Souls, Bloodborne, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and the Dark Souls trilogy back to back, without getting hit once. At the time of this run’s completion, this was the longest FromSoftware no-hit run you could complete.
Since then, however, there’s been one more tough-as-nails RPG added to the FromSoftware lineup. Elden Ring has now appeared on the scene, and the hitless community has set their sights on ‘God Run 3’, a run that will take an estimated 18 hours to complete, and include every FromSoftware game, from Demon’s Souls right up to Elden Ring. Good luck to any runners attempting this monumental feat.
2 Halo Trilogy – LASO Deathless Run
There are few gaming challenges more infamous than beating Halo campaigns with LASO rules. For those who aren’t familiar with this Herculean task, LASO stands for ‘Legendary All Skulls On’, a ruleset which requires you to beat a Halo game on the hardest difficulty, legendary, with every difficulty modifying skull equipped. Some of these skulls’ effects include turning enemies invisible, removing player armor regeneration, and giving enemies hyper-awareness of the player’s movements.
For this challenge however, it’s not enough just to beat a Halo game with LASO rules, you’ll have to beat three of them back-to-back, without dying a single time. Beating just one LASO challenge without dying is hard enough, with the Halo 2 LASO deathless run only being completed in 2022, 18 years after the game was released.
This landmark achievement has re-ignited the fire within the Halo challenges community, and introduced a new summit for top Halo players to strive towards – a 12+ hour deathless run through the original Halo trilogy with LASO rules. Needless to say, this challenge demands absolute perfection from the small batch of players that are brave enough to attempt it.
1 Osu! – The Promethean Kings S Rank Pass
There are few gaming challenges more daunting than playing Osu at a professional level. Top Osu players push human dexterity and speed to the limit to outdo one another and perfect (or S rank) the hardest tracks. At the very peak of the competitive Osu skill ceiling sits The Promethean Kings, a 6-minute technical death metal song considered by many to be the hardest ranked Osu beatmap ever.
The Promethean Kings takes just about every Osu skillset to their logical conclusion, throwing near impossible feats at the player throughout the track. Despite the overall high difficulty of the song, there’s one section that stands head and shoulders above the rest, lovingly titled ‘difficulty spike’. This section increases the speed, variety, and difficulty of the track’s patterns out of nowhere, and is largely the reason for The Promethean Kings reputation as an impossible track back when it was ranked in 2016.
Years on from release, The Promethean Kings has still never been perfected, despite the community’s continued and painstaking effort. The best run so far is a 96% accuracy A-rank by Aricin, performed on November 1st, 2020.
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