Collecting things is not a new concept in video games. In fact, it's something that’s been around for quite some time, and with the introduction of achievements and trophies, the need and purpose for implementing them has only grown. While this isn’t an issue or in some cases doesn’t even register with most gamers, it’s a particular bugbear of mine when random items that have no incentive for the player to go after them are just thrown into a game with little to no thought.
Some games (mostly open world due to their natural design) have a tendency to go overboard with the items they include, and its those we’re taking a look at today. Some of them have purpose like raising your character’s stats or bestowing rewards, but most are just there because they’re there.
Being an open world game (and a Ubisoft open world game at that), Assassin’s Creed games often litter their world with various items to pick up and collect that range from the wonderfully useful to the questionably trivial.
Assassin’s Creed 2 feathers had an air of sentiment tied to them thanks to the dreams and words of Ezio Auditore younger brother and you had the reward of the Assasin’s Creed 2 Auditore Cape, which gave you the “ability”(?) of having full notoriety in all districts. But it was the original Assassin’s Creed 1 back in 2007 that really tested collectors on another level.
In the original game, we were first introduced to Altair and the Creed working in secrecy (kind of) to hinder and bring down the Templar rule. In each of its segmented open world areas of the poor, middle, and rich districts of each city, there are many different types of flags to collect. There are also flags in the transitional Kingdom area linking the cities, and in the Assassin’s HQ location of Masyaf.
Sadly, there is no reward or bonus for collecting the 400+ pieces of cloth other than bragging rights and a few achievements on the Assasin’s Creed Xbox 360 version of the game.
On top of the flags, you had sixty Templar Knights to hunt down and kill, but at least this had an element of fun to it as you could plan a sneaky assassination or prep for an epic fight of some description.
Crackdown very much revels in the near-infinite amount of things it tasks you to collect, and this obsession started well before Crackdown 3 Terry Crews became the virtual face of the third entry.
Prominent in all three games in the series, it was the first game that really piled the collecting notion on thick but was the least inaccessible due to the game’s poor map interface.
The original Crackdown features some five hundred Crackdown Agility Orbs, three hundred Secret Orbs, twenty eight vehicles, and thirty eight Stunt Rings that all require hunting down. These items (except the vehicles) served a purpose in that they would raise the appropriate stats, albeit very minutely.
Crackdown 2 and Crackdown 3 continued this lineage of compulsive collect-a-thon-ness, but the UI and tools at your disposal were much better this time around, with the map being much clearer and the games tracking your progress and showing you everything you’d already found.
It feels a bit strange to class the pocket monsters (or anything that is a sentient being) as a collectible, but for the sake of this list, they do fall into that category if you’re a true Pokemon Master who wants a fully completed Pokedex.
Obviously this task becomes harder and harder the further into the Generations that you go (with a few games however not including the full roster of Pokemon from each Gen), but I think it's one of the more satisfying collecting quests to undertake in gaming, even though you’ll only ever be using 8-10 different Pokemon the entire game if you’re playing it properly/efficiently.
The fact that RNG (Random Number Generator) mechanics come into it is a huge factor in how long it will take each person, and the concept of trading (with no game in the main series having a full list of Pokemon) means you either need to know someone with the opposite series colour game to you, or you’ll have to fork out for two copies of the game and another Game Boy if you really want to cross this task off of your gaming bucket list.
I am yet to meet a person who has a fully furnished Pokedex with big Pokemons like Pikachu, Serebii, Charizard, Eevee, Snorlax Mewtwo and others on any of the main series titles, they seem to be as rare as a Chansey in Mt. Moon.
Grand Theft Auto games are never short of a thing or two to collect as you gradually take over the virtual parodies of New York, LA, and Miami. Hidden Packages are an axiomatic staple of the series and often provide sequential unlocks for every ten parcels picked up, so there’s at least some motivation for going after the contraband themed items.
GTA: San Andreas bumps things up a considerable notch by having multiple sets of things to do and special objects to find if you want to attain the goal of completing the GTA SA 100% checklist. This is only exacerbated by the game’s expansive and titanic map.
To get everything done for the magical San Andreas 100% completion, CJ will need to venture to each island and complete each set of collectible. Los Santos has 100 graffiti spots to tag up, San Fierro has fifty snapshots that need to be taken using the Camera, Las Venturas has fifty Horseshoes, and there are fifty Oysters located around the beach areas and in the sea of San Andreas. There are also five co-op Rampages that can be completed and seventy Stunt Jumps, but these don’t contribute to the 100% criteria.
To be fair, the game provides significant monetary rewards for each full set and gives the player permanent weapon spawns at certain Safehouses.
Zombie Army Trilogy (or ZAT) doesn’t have a ridiculous amount of collectibles compared to the many flags of Assassin’s Creed or the Orbs of Crackdown, but it doesn’t exactly have a petite shopping list of things to find either. Also, I’ve given it a spot more on how obscurely placed one half of the hidden items are rather than their sheer number.
The Sniper Elite spin-off series retains the same core principles and feel of its father franchise but is far more goofy in its approach, harkening back to the B-Movie Horror films of the 1970s. The preceding game in the Sniper Elite series that came before ZAT (that being Sniper Elite 3) wasn’t exactly light on things to pick up either, but most of the collectibles could be sniffed out if you took your time poking around in all the nooks and crannies.
Zombie Army Trilogy sports just two types of collectibles: ZAT Gold Bars and ZAT Bottles of Blood. There’s 75 hunks of bullion to find, and 60 containers of the red stuff to shoot and destroy. The Gold Bars won’t give players too much of a headache as they’re found just laying on the ground and give off a distinct shine. The Blood Bottles however are placed sometimes hundreds of metres outside of the map, perched on window sills, on the roofs of buildings, or through a cornucopia of trees in a murky forest.
Scouting out the bottles legitimately can take hours (believe me, I tried) and without a video and/or image guide to refer to, I have no idea how any of these were found without prior knowledge.
I just want to start off by saying Alan Wake is a fantastic game with the great hits like Alan Wake 2, Alan Wake’s American Nightmare being the most known ones, a true cult classic and deserves a proper sequel by Remedy as soon as possible.
Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I can delve into the madness that was Remedy’s creation of an unusual amount of things to collect in the poet inspired piece of work.
This ranged from caffeine laden coffee thermoses to the lore inspired Manuscript Pages. If you want to be the proud owner of everything Alan Wake has to offer, you’re looking at 298 items as a grand total.
This number comes from:
- 100 Coffee Thermoses
- 14 TV Shows
- 11 Radio Shows
- 30 Supply Chests
- 25 Signs
- 12 Pyramids of Cans
- 91 Manuscript Pages
- And 15 special Manuscript Pages only found when playing on Nightmare Difficulty
Basically, there’s a lot of things to get your hands.