LethalBunny.com: Jai's Weekly Rant - Collectibles

Hello people. This article was taken from my fledgling gaming website: LethalBunny.com. I hope you enjoy it and leave me some feedback :)
Hello fellow Lethal Bunnies. I know I have not been prevalent on the front page recently, mainly due to Easter holidays and the fact I had to go to Spain (I know, poor me!). I have decided I will have a weekly rant on a feature of games, and will comment on the benefits and shortcomings of said feature. This week, I shall be discussing collectibles and why they change games so much, and can be both a blessing or a curse.

I could not start my weekly rant without talking about the eponymous "Orbs" from the one and only Crackdown. There is a very good reason why it is called Crackdown. Gamers all over the world were searching high and low, spending hours on end hunting down these glowing spherical beauties.

The Orbs were divided into the green "Agility Orbs" and the purple "Hidden Orbs" which were drastically more dificult to find, hence the name. The Agility Orbs added points to the agility stat, which in turn made the player's character jump higher and move faster. The Hidden Orbs on the other hand increased all of the stats across the board - making this particular orb much more valuable although it is harder to actually attain.

In my opinion the Orbs gave Crackdown a more lasting appeal, and actually forced the gamer to explore the sprawling urban environments, scale the towering skyscrapers and search all the nooks and crannies to get those precious orbs. However, it did make the game very frustrating for myself, as I only had about three Orbs left to find, and I had no idea what area of the city they would be in, therefore I had to resort to numerous YouTube videos, following their paths until I found all three!

In Assassin's Creed 2, the game designers actually incoporated a hidden story within the main game. Another test subject actually hacked into the Animus 2.0 and planted a mystery for Desmond to solve. When the player found certain insignias crafted onto various key buildings he would have to solve a puzzle which in turn granted the player a short two second glimpse of a much larger video.

Every time the player found another insignia and solved the puzzle that followed, he would see the next piece of the video. Eventually once the gamer solves all the puzzles, he can see the whole mystery unfold. I believe that this was a very clever way of getting the gamer hooked into finding all the "hacked" parts of Renaissance Italy, however the whole grand mystery was a bit of an anti-climax, despite being overly hyped by the unknown test subject.

In Batman Arkham Asylum, Robert E. Nigma  (get it? Enigma?) AKA "The Riddler", leaves Batman riddles which he has to solve my using the "Detective Mode" and by zooming in on various objects in the game. Many of these are awfully simple, however as the game progresses they get gradually harder and harder to solve. I think that the game designers have used the riddles as a way for the gamer to get to use the Detective Mode in a more interesting way, not just for viewing the enemy.

As well as the riddles, The Riddler leaves "Chattering Teeth", which the Batman has to kill using his iconic Batarang,  and "Riddler Trophies", all over the vast Asylum. Some of the trophies can be found throughout the game with little effort but the others require the gamer to use Batman's assortment of gadgetry, including a Foam Gun filled with explosive chemicals, a Decoder to get past the electric barriers spread throughout the asylum, and a Zip Line which is deplyed to rip off Vents to expose the trophies.

In conlusion, I repeat what I mentioned earlier: "collectibles can be both a blessing and a curse to games". On the one hand they provide countless hours of entertainment and value to the gamer, allowing them to explore the game environment more thoroughly than they would have originally. On the other hand, they can be a frustrating and unnecessary burden, used as "filler" by the developer with the sole purpose of giving the game more play-time. However in actuality I feel that collectibles, added in a fresh and intuitive way can be a great addition to some of the best games on the market right now, giving them more value for your hard-earned money.