Five Collectibles In Good Games That We’re Still Cursing At

by Mike Futter on Jan 02, 2015 at 10:16 AM

I have a problem (OK, I have lots of problems, but we’re only talking about one today). I collect stuff. My shelves are full with Skylanders and Collector’s Editions tsotchkes and oodles of items from Loot Crates. If it stopped there, I’d be fine.

My collector obsession bleeds into gaming. Even before it was about achievements and trophies, I wanted to find every doodad and macguffin on a game’s map. I won’t tell you how much time I spent finding one little “figment” in Psychonauts (at least those appeared in a grid so I knew which was absent).

Here are five more that I still have unkind words for (even though I probably found them all). No matter how much I enjoy these games (and I really do like all of them), these aspects will remain a sore spot.

Assassin’s Creed - Flags
When I played Assassin’s Creed for the first time, it took me about twice as long as it should have. Of course I finished every repetitive objective on the way to the assassinations. 

I picked pockets, threatened snitches, and eavesdropped on meetings. That wasn’t enough, though.

Scattered across the cities and the connecting regions are 420 flags. On my first play through, I found 418. It wasn’t until years later that I returned with the express purpose of finding the remaining pair. 

There are individual, low point achievements for nabbing all of each type, but nothing to reward a full set. They don’t even impact the gameplay experience. What a waste of time. 

Thankfully, things got better in Assassin’s Creed II. The feathers scattered around Italy have narrative significance and award you a little gold on a recurring basis. At least you get something for your effort.

Infamous - Blast Shards 
Don’t get me wrong, Infamous’ Blast Shards are fun to find, but only if you are methodical. If you look up how many there are in each part of the city, and only move on once you’ve found them all, you can save yourself a lot of trouble.

Unfortunately, if you are more haphazard, finding the stragglers toward the end of the game is a nightmare. There’s no good resource to assist.

Furthermore, there are a couple you can’t easily “ping” using Cole’s electro-radar sense. They’re out in the water and you can’t “see” them from the shore. 

There are 350 in the game (though you’ll max out your power before you find them all). In order to get a Platinum trophy though, you’ll want a full set.

In the sequel, you were eventually able to unlock locations on the map once you’d found enough. The improvements are appreciated, but collecting all of them in the first game was an exercise in frustration.

Read on for singing plants, foul-mouthed ducks, and more.

Destiny - Dead Ghosts
Destiny is the number one reason why my backlog hasn’t shrunk. Every time I sit down to play something else, I end up playing Destiny, completing bounties, and leveling up new gear.

As much as I enjoy the gameplay, one aspect of the game is rougher than sandpaper. The story is told largely through “grimoire cards” that can only be found outside the game.

Many of these are unlocked by locating “dead ghosts” around the game locations. These are tiny specs on the screen that don’t distinguish themselves in any meaningful way unless you happen to wander by.

If you’re interested in finding the ones you’ve missed. We recently wrote about a website currently in beta that can help you pinpoint your missing story elements. There are currently 67 Ghosts hidden throughout the game (a half dozen of which were added in The Dark Below expansion).

Nirnroot - The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
I put well over 100 hours into vanilla Oblivion. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I loved every moment of my time with that game, which culminated with a sword that did stupid amounts of elemental damage and cast soul trap with every swing. Oh, and I was invisible.

I did just about every side quest in that game, save one. I never found the 40 Nirnroot I needed to complete the quest. I recognize that there were far more out in the world than I needed, but between epic adventures, demons, and murder, I couldn’t be bothered (and I made my money on potions in that game).

Maybe someday I’ll traipse through the fields of Cyrodiil once more. But even then, it might be to kill monsters instead of hunt down elusive singing herbs. 

That One Character You Really Want To Play As - Lego Games
Whether you make yours Marvel or side with the Bat Family, you may have been lured to one of Traveller’s Tales delightful Lego games. At some point along the way, you probably wanted to play as your favorite obscure character. Good luck.

TT Games has been loading up its titles with more characters every time there is a new iteration. Locating your target (in some cases requiring a number of unlockable gold bricks) and then having enough studs to permanently unlock him or her is a task (one you’ll be doing dozens of times if you want the full roster).

This requires serious dedication, especially since by the time you can unlock some of the most unique additions, the story is over. I love all of the fan service included in these games, but roster diving doesn’t feel as fulfilling as it should. 

Do you have any nominations for the collectibles hall of shame? Let us know in the comments.