Tag Archives: minikits

Some collectibles are better than others, but these stink

worst collectibles to collect rain gd post

There’s no shame in saying it, but I like collecting things. Both in real life and via my digital, interactive entertainment. That’s not to say I’m a hoarder, but if you give me a list of items existing somewhere out there, I’m most certainly going to try my darnedest to find them all and happily cross each one off. This most likely stems back to my younger days, on family vacations in Avalon, NJ. Besides playing a lot of Yahtzee by the swimming pool, I signed up for every scavenger hunt offered by our hotel that I could, and these often involved finding innocuous items like a specific type of seashell, a pair of sunglasses, and so on. I have fond if fuzzy memories of running around the hotel grounds like a maniac, looking for things and screaming with joy when they were found.

That said, as a player of videogames, sometimes finding items is not fun. Yeah, I know. What a hot take. Personally, I don’t need to be told specifically where each collectible is on the map, like in later Assassin’s Creed titles where you can just purchase these waypoint symbols from a shop. I prefer discovering them myself, but I also like knowing, generally, how many are in an area or which ones I’ve already found. Some record-keeping is vital, that way I don’t need to take mental notes as I pick up each shimmery doodad. The fear of leaving an area for good and suspecting I missed something is enough to lock my feet in the dirt.

Also, while not required, I greatly enjoy when the collectibles contain something else to them other than being a thing you gnab, such as some bit of additional in-game lore. Like in Tomb Raider and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, you find a thing, say a rusty knife, and that’s a collectible for sure, but you also have to interact with it and discover a hidden symbol to bring out story details. The collectible becomes more than just an object to pocket. Heck, at least collecting all those miscellaneous gizmos in Tom Clancy’s The Division got me some sweet, colorful outfits.

Because of recent actions, I’ve decided to put my brain to the task of coming up with a bunch of collectibles that absolutely stink. These are either not fun to find, do nothing for the player in the end, or maybe cover both of these issues. Regardless, boo to them, and boo to me for attempting to collect (some of) ’em. It’s a skill in others that I greatly admire, the ability to walk by these shiny sprites and polygons and not even care. Teach me how.

Gears of War – COG tags

COG tags are a mainstay of the Gears of War series, but they only become easier to track and find starting in Gears of War 2, which introduced the war journal, a sort of in-game notebook for keeping tabs on a number of things. However, for the first Gears of War, all you get is an X out of Y line when you pause the game. That’s it. I beat the game back at the end of 2013, with something like one-third of the COG tags found.

Recently, I glanced at the Achievements list to see if there was anything I could potentially pop before deleting the game from my Xbox One for forever and saw that two were related to finding the rest of the hidden thingamajigs. Alas, I basically had to follow a video guide to find each one, level by level, because I had no memory of the ones I had already picked up. Also, barely nothing happens when you bend down to grab these COG tags save for a less-than-impression sound cue. Obviously, this was early on in both the franchise and console generation, and figuring out how to implement collectibles was still in a nascent stage.

L.A. Noire – golden film reels

I’d have to go back and confirm this, but for some reason I feel really strongly that I only ever came across one of these 50 gold film canisters scattered about L.A. Noire‘s sprawling Los Angeles. They all contain names of films from the 1940s and 1950s. That’s cool. However, the problem is that they are extremely well-hidden. Maybe too well. In my search for hopping into the driver’s seat of every car in the game, 95 in total, another stinker of a collectible of sorts, I thought I explored a good chunk of the map. I guess not. I have no idea if finding all 50 golden film reels does anything for Cole Phelps and his ultimate destiny. It’d be cool if you could take these reels back to the police station and watch a few scenes during your coffee breaks, but I’m sure the licensing around something like that would be nightmarish.

Rain – lost memories

This blog post’s origins began with Rain, a game I completed on the first day of 2016. The collectibles in Rain are in the form of lost memories that the player can find to learn more about the young boy’s past. That’s fine and dandy, and there are 24 in total to collect, but here’s the sick kicker–these only are available to find after beating the game. Also, these only appear once you are in the exact location, which means you can’t spy them off from a distance; you have to know exactly where they are to start.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I burned my lunch hour to collect them all of them in a single go, following an online guide and abusing the checkpoint system so that I did not, in fact, have to play through the entire game again. Sorry, Rain–you have some great things going for you, but you are not that amazing or varied of an experience to go through again simply to now be able to collect floating orbs that give you the slimmest of slim story details to a story fairly slim on details to begin with. Ugh.

LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga – Blue Minikits

Speaking of ugh, LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga. Here’s the thing. I’m totally and 100% completely used to collecting a number of things in all the LEGO videogames, from red bricks to gold bricks to characters to studs and so on. That’s just part of the flow, of going through levels and seeing what you can’t grab just yet, returning with the right characters/powers to pave the way. It’s been like this since day one. However, recently, Melanie and I worked our way through LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, and it truly was like going back in time.

As part of our climb to hit 100% completion, we had to find 10 blue minikits in every single level. Sounds tedious, but not tough. Except it is because there is a time limit, and sometimes missing one blue minikit means replaying the whole thing over. You are also not able to use any cheats, which means having to deal with enemies while frantically scouring the scene for blue minikits. Most are hidden somewhat in the open, and others are dastardly wedged behind objects in the environment. The hardest level, without a doubt, was “Speeder Showdown,” where you kind of need luck on your side to progress swiftly and the extra five minutes was not enough. Took us multiple attempts, but the job is done, and, as far as I know, this type of gameplay hasn’t shown up in other LEGO titles.

The Last of Us – All of Them

Amazingly, there are four types of collectibles to hoard in The Last of Us. Specifically, 30 Firefly pendants, 14 comic books, 85 artifacts, and 12 training manuals that improve your crafting skills and such. I’m pretty sure only the last set has any impact on gameplay, and the remainder are just things for Joel to bend down, pick up, and pocket away for no other reason than to give you something to do in-between moving from a safe space to an area full of Cordyceps-inspired monsters. A few help flavor the world, for sure.

Okay, I just loaded up the game–evidently, I found 95 of 141 as of when I last played, which is way more than I initially assumed. Not sure why it felt so low in my mind, but maybe I was thinking of Trophies, which the game is stingy with. Oh well. Either way, these are pretty obscurely hidden throughout the game, and the artist in me really wanted to be able to open the comic books and read a few pages instead of just staring at the covers.

I know for a fact there are many more that I’m not touching on, like the flags from the original Assassin’s Creed, score pieces from Eternal Sonata, and kissing 50 women from The Saboteur.

That said, I’d like to know what collectibles gave you the most grief. Join the conversation below in the comments.

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Turn LEGO Marvel’s post-game grind into power

gd lego marvel super heroes final grind

When I beat LEGO Marvel Super Heroes over the weekend–and by beat I mean finished all the mainline story levels and watched the credits roll–I was around the 17% completion ratio. Yowza. I’ve since then been plugging away at all the miscellaneous tasks in the hub world, finding new side levels to unlock, as well as replayed a level or two to get all its minikits or save that Stan Lee in peril I missed on the first attempt. I’m now around the 34% completion ratio–double yowza–and that’s after several hours of doing my thing. Yeah, these LEGO games are becoming more bloated with each new release.

Let me list everything out that I need to complete for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes in terms of collectibles to convince myself that I’m not a crazy fella:

  • 150 Minikits
  • 50 Stan Lee in Peril
  • 11 Deadpool Red Bricks
  • 250 Gold Bricks
  • 156 Character Tokens
  • 40 Vehicle Tokens
  • 11 Hub Missions

Triple yowza. Yeah, this, as far as I can tell, is the largest LEGO game to date. If you’ll recall, I really struggled with hitting the 100% mark in LEGO Lord of the Rings, and I only just topped off LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean recently after keeping my distance for four whole years. At times, it can feel overwhelming or simply frustrating, as finding where the collectible is and gathering it are often two very different things. Here, it requires constantly finding the right character to use and then switching to another and then maybe even to a third. Also, I ran into a problem before completing all the story levels where, if you had Spider-Man or the Hulk in play and tried to hold the “change character” button, instead, they would perform a transformation animation. Which meant the only way to change characters then was to find a blue machine via the map; thankfully, this doesn’t seem to happen anymore now that I’ve kicked Galactus’ butt.

Replaying the story levels in Free Play mode continues to feel like the developers are stretching the content a little thin, especially when the only goal of going back is to get a few items previously locked off. Now that hub worlds are a bigger focus for these LEGO games, all collectibles should be kept there so that you only need to experience the story levels once. It’s not like the critical path changes because you bring in Absorbing Man or The Blob instead of the traditional heroes. Look, when I’m president, whether of this country or the Republic of Videogames, I’ll make this happen–I swear it.

All that said, I can’t stay away from these games. They are silly and fun and not terribly punishing in the moment-to-moment action sequences, though I did look up a cryptic puzzle solution or two. You can sort of pick back up where you left off and, so long as you’re gathering studs and got some multipliers on, you are making progress. Slow, but steady. Plus, while I don’t know every single character making an appearance here, I do have a deep fondness for all things X-Men, which means I’m constantly using Cyclops to destroy gold statues, Jean Grey to mind-control innocents, and Wolverine to dig up junk. Characters that fly or hover a foot off the ground can be tricky to use, especially since some like to speed up in the air on their own or never want to touch terra firma ever again.

Even now, as I’m grumbling about trying to finish off my current LEGO logjam endeavor, I’m still thinking about getting LEGO Jurassic World for the home console, as the 3DS version really did not do it for me. Plus, though I only saw the first of the three Hobbit films–talk about bloated, Peter Jackson–and didn’t much care for it, there’s also LEGO The Hobbit to consider. Let me look up what other ones I’ve missed out on in the last few years: there’s two other LEGO Batmans, The LEGO Movie Videogame, and a couple from the Star Wars universe that I’m not really foaming at the mouth for. Toss in the inevitable LEGO Ghostbusters for good measure. Yeah, I should have enough block-building, stud-collecting grinding for years to come. Join me.

Now bring me that horizon, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean

lego pirates of the caribbean all achievements finally gd

Four years and some months later, I finally unlocked the remaining, lingering three Achievements for LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, making this the twenty-seventh fully completed game–in terms of popping all the available Achievements–on my dwindling, dying Xbox 360 console. Shiver me timbers, I’m a terrible freebooter. That means pirate in pirate speak, by the way.

Yup, I last touched this title back in June 2011, with the unspoken promise to finish it off entirely, in terms of Achievements and unlockables and 100%-ing, which I’ve done with every other LEGO game in my collection up to this point. However, something went wrong; I found the levels too frustrating to replay and replay and replay, feeling burned a bit too harshly after I’d spent fifteen to twenty minutes searching every nook and cranny of a level only to accidentally finish it by killing a specific dude or walking to a key point. I must’ve figured I’d take a break, distancing myself while I massaged my surprising burst of impatience back into patience, but I never suspected it would take me this long to return.

Here’s the three specific Achievements that have been waiting oh-so-patiently for me to come back and do my thing:

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Take what you can (65G): Collect all Gold bricks (Single Player Only)

 

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Hoist the colours! (50G): Sail all the minikits in the hub

 

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Now bring me that horizon (100G): Complete the game to 100% (Single Player Only)

 

It might not seem like much, but there’s a lot of steps to finishing these three off. Basically, they are all interconnected: to reach a 100% completion rate, one must first collect all the gold bricks, which means finding every minikit and hidden treasure in every level. Once you’ve found all the minikits, you can sail every boat at the harbor. Also, to get that final gold brick, you have to play an extra bonus level, which is cool in concept, but tiresome after all the grinding you have to do to get there. At that point, one shiny object away from complete and total domination, the last thing I wanted to do was punch more breakable things for pointless studs and watch a boss’ health meter deplete slowly.

All of this took a couple of hours and a few trips to YouTube to watch some walkthroughs to confirm I wasn’t crazy and only missing a hidden room or path. Plus, the game froze on me twice, which is weird, because I was motivated to finish this off after having LEGO Marvel constantly freeze on my girlfriend and I as we slowly crawl to its super-heroic conclusion. Yes, my Xbox 360 is getting pretty old, but not many other games hardlock like these LEGO games as of late. Well, save for Fallout: New Vegas, obviously.

Hopefully I grind out the rest of LEGO Marvel in a much faster pace once all the main level missions are cleared. Then I can think about moving on to other block-building journeys, like LEGO Jurassic World on a bigger, badder console, or that LEGO Dimensions thing, which seems neat, though I’m hesitant to buy separate toys to unlock characters and special playsets. If anything, I’ll be getting some Animal Crossing amiibo figurines first. That’s right, Blathers–I’m coming for you.