TA Top Five: Pointless Collectibles

By Marc Hollinshead, 5 years ago
Collectibles. Just the utterance of that one word causes even the best gaming veterans to shudder whenever it enters their ears. Collectibles are one of those video game nuisances that we gamers simply cannot avoid. Whether that’s picking up an item from different areas, performing a certain action in a particular place, or completing any other activity in a gaming world, they have become well and truly integrated into video games and have been for a very long time.

Sometimes, though, we come across collectibles that we simply do not want at all (some would argue that for ALL collectibles) because they have nothing to add to the experience whatsoever. Developers like to give collectibles a purpose and so reward you with something depending on what you collect. On the other hand, they also shoe-horn in items and activities as though they are trying to prolong the completion that we so sorely desire. We’ve come up with a list of those collectibles which are essentially not needed as they add almost nothing to a game other than a gut-wrenchingly boring and very long search.

5. L.A. Noire – Film Reels

Film Reels

LA Noire got some stellar reviews when it launched two years ago. Amazing face-capturing technology, an intriguing gameplay mechanic, a beautiful reimagining of 1940’s Los-Angeles, and...Hollywood film reels lying on the floor? It has to be said that it was rather creative that Team Bondi referenced a huge number of classic oldies from the movies so that the reels fit the setting, but apart from that, they served no real purpose. I remember running and driving all over the city for a good few hours to find these, and although it was interesting to see different film names, my face fell flat once I picked up the last one. No in-game reward (from what I could see)? All we got was a 30G achievement as a well done for picking these things up. Oh, well, I guess an achievement counts for something, right?

4. Mirror's Edge - Bags


The aim of the game in Mirror’s Edge is speed. The faster you run through the levels of the game, the higher your score will be, and you’ll just look a lot more stylish doing so. What better way to screw that aspect up than making you search for random bags that are hidden in some pretty silly places. Faith is meant to sprint and jump over buildings at break-neck speed, not search under nooks and crannies for pointless items! The game does help you slightly through the use of showing the game’s main logo on walls when you are near a bag, but even those logos are so small and obscure that they become as hard to find as the bags themselves! At least there are only three per level, making thirty for the entire game. If you sucked at the game like me, don’t expect to find these naturally.

3. Alan Wake – Coffee Thermoses

Coffee Thermoses

Oh, Alan...running around in a spooky forest with only possessed lunatics with axes to keep you company must be hard. You must have ticked off Remedy quite a bit to cause them to chuck in a ton of collectibles for you to search for as well. Alan Wake is by no means short of collectibles. Manuscript pages, information signs around Bright Falls, supply boxes, tin-can pyramids, radio stations, TV shows...get the picture? Probably the worst and most pointless one of them all, though, is the one hundred coffee thermoses. These flasks are scattered all over the game’s six episodes and serve no in-game purpose whatsoever, unless Alan is getting secretly ultra-energised from them. If you happen to be a fan of the Twin Peaks TV show, then you may be aware that these thermoses are a reference to that show. If not, then you do now!

2. Grand Theft Auto IV – Pigeons


The flying rats of Grand Theft Auto IV must be some of the most random collectibles around. Perched on bridges, tables, walls, and any other surface you can think of in Liberty City, you will see these birds casually standing there minding their own business until Niko Bellic causes them to explode with a single bullet. You could say that Rockstar tried to ease the monotony by having you find something to shoot at instead of picking up, but no. Having to scour the entire city for two hundred of these is still as monotonous as ever. You do obtain a rather shiny looking 50G achievement for collecting all of these ‘hidden packages,’ but it would have been even better to get an amazing in-game car, or maybe even a secret boss fight with the mother of all pigeons because you decimated two hundred of her babies.

1. Assassin's Creed – Flags


The infamous flags of the first game in the Assassin’s Creed franchise are at the pinnacle of pointless item gathering, or at least extremely close to that pinnacle. Altair certainly has his work cut out for him with these nasty things. He will have to find about four hundred flags to be able to say he’s completed the search. I spent a solid week of dedicating searching until I finally triumphed over what ended up being one of the most pointless hunts for collectibles ever. You bag quite a few achievements for finding the different groups of flags, but that’s really all you get as there is nothing rewarded in-game from these (as is the trend for this list). It makes you think that the developers solely put these in to encourage extra exploration, but what have we spent the entirety of the game doing? We neither want nor need these!

The world of gaming is rife with collectibles, so we have all come across many pointless and annoying ones across all the games we have played. The Fable series certainly enjoys its collectibles, and the more recent Grand Theft Auto V seems to have all sorts scattered around San Andreas. I'd name a few more honorable mentions, but I'll leave that to you guys. What collectibles have you found pointless or just a downright pile of poop to find?

The TA Team will be bringing you The TA Top Five every Sunday until we run out of coolness to debate and discuss. If you have an idea for a Top Five you'd like us to do, be sure to let us know in the comments!
Marc Hollinshead
Written by Marc Hollinshead
To summarize Marc in two words, it would be "Christian Gamer." You will usually find him getting stuck into story heavy action-adventure games, RPG's and the odd quirky title when he isn't raving about Dark Souls and Mass Effect. Outside the world of gaming, Marc attends and helps out in his church on a regular basis and has a not-so thrilling job in a supermarket.