Top Six: Gaming’s Worst Unlocks

We’ve all worked our butt off for something that turned out to so not be worth it in the end. Shoveling the driveway, being nice to your parents, school, these are all things that have no tangible benefit in the long run. Nothing is more notorious for this than video games though. Whether you’re scampering across rooftops or desperately trying to get 100% on a game you don’t really like, gaming unlocks can be the biggest time-sink. Our list of the six worst offenders are below (Oh, and potential spoilers):

#1: Auditore Cape, Assassin’s Creed IIauditorecape

While the first Assassin’s Creed will go down in infamy for the multitude of useless collectible flags scattered across the Holy Land, Assassin’s Creed II deserves this spot for a different reason. The 100 feathers that you can collect along your Renaissance adventure seem like they’re actually leading somewhere, especially when you reach the half-way mark and you get the second best weapon in the game, the Condottiero hammer.

After hours of searching for the damnable leavings of the eagles, you return to your villa and deposit them in the box for the last time to receive…a hug. Then, your mother presents you with the cape and thanks you for not forgetting her. Ding, achievement unlocked, and we have a sweet piece of cloth to show for it. What does the cape do, though? Does it prevent fall damage, or something useful along those lines? No, it does the exact opposite of every other cape you earned for doing nothing. It makes you instantly notorious in every city in the game except for your villa. Thanks, Mom, so glad that all those archer’s families will wonder where their father went because he interfered with my search.

#2 Big Boss Face Camo, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriotsbigboss

As far as Metal Gear 4 goes, you get some pretty sweet unlocks and you can make Old Snake cross-dress as one of the Beauty and Beast members, so that’s pretty cool. There is one that makes the rest of them seem for naught, however. The final unlock of the game, the Big Boss Face Camo, is obtained by beating the game on the hardest difficulty, no kills (not even bosses), no continues, no recovery items used and you have to do it all in fewer than five hours. Thank god we can skip the cut scenes.

If you’ve played Metal Gear 4, I think we can agree that it’s a good game, but not without its short-comings. Clunky controls and obtuse AI are some of those problems that make the Big Boss Face Camo such a chore. Besides, all it does is make soldiers run away or faint. Once you get to the stage where you considering getting the mask, you’ve probably beaten the game to death, so what’s the point?

#3 The Hats, Team Fortress 2spybeard

Team Fortress 2 originally started off as a fairly bare-bones, if really fun and tightly built, multiplayer team-based frag fest. In an effort to make the lesser played classes of the game (beginning with the Medic) more appealing to the user base, the game’s developer Valve decided to implement an unlock system where you earned gear by getting achievements and later through random drops. All well and good, but Valve went a bit crazy with this idea.

Introduced during the Sniper vs. Spy update, the Hats quickly became objects of great desire both because of their rarity and the avatar-altering properties they had. They became so popular, in fact, that those of us with less than perfect morals began finding ways to game the item drop system and obtain Hats. Valve, ever the group of OCD sticklers, decided that those who cheated should have their Hats removed, and the honest ones will get an exclusive Hat. Now there’s Hats for buying Left 4 Dead 2, getting scared on Halloween and medal and beards …it just goes on and on. Thanks Valve.

#4 Superintendent’s Cache, Halo 3: ODSTsuperintendent

If you get the Audio Logs in Halo 3: ODST, then you gain access to a few supply drops scattered around the city which contain ammo, weapons and vehicles. Pretty useful for a lone guy trapped in a city full of murderous alien zealots, but chances are you’re not going to unlock these caches until later in the game, and with a play time of less than seven hours, you’re probably not going to use them.

Considering that you have to skulk around the night time city while snipers and giant apes hunt for you just so you can find a few terminals with some recordings of a girl with daddy issues, the Superintendent’s caches seem like they were put there to motivate you to find said terminals. While I don’t resent being made to search for item just to get achievements, the rewards need to be dealt out faster, especially in such a short game. Sorry, Bungie.

#5 Black Suit Spider-Man, Ultimate Spider-Manvenom

There’s no denying that, after Spidey’s red and blue jammies, there’s only one of his multitude of costumes that will stand the test of time: the renowned black suit. Originally a symbiotic alien from Battle World that followed Spider-Man back to Earth and became Venom, the Ultimate incarnation of Venom is a protoplasmic suit that attaches to the wearer and cures them of diseases like cancer. It’s sort of like Vick’s vaporub on steroids.

Since the black suit is so famous, it stands to reason that any Spider-Man fan worth his salt would try his hardest to obtain this treasured piece of memorabilia, correct? Well, try playing Ultimate Spider-Man and hold that goal up. To get the Venom suit for use with Spider-Man (you can play as Eddie Brock Junior in the game, too) you have to complete the game 100%. OK, what the hell is with developers thinking that people will want to play their game after they’ve beaten it completely? You can’t even carry new costumes across different play-throughs, so the black suit stands as a giant tease even in the video game industry.

#6 Laser Sword, Dead Risingzombietoss

This one’s kind of similar to the black suit Spider-Man debacle in that you have to finish Dead Rising fully before you can get the Laser Sword, but what you have to go through to get the luminescent blade is nothing short of pure torture.

Once you beat the main game, you can play through Infinity Mode where you have free reign over the mall and can slaughter zombies to your heart’s content. One problem though: you lose strength from hunger. Sure, no problem, you say. Eating food should solve this quandary, right? Well, sort of, you just have to fight other survivors for it while evading zombies and trying to keep yourself fit. The Laser Sword requires 13 hours of consecutive play (no saving, no turning off the 360) in order to get the 7-Day Survivor cheevo and beat Dead Rising. I’m sorry, but there are some things that man was not meant to accomplish, and this is one of them.

There we go, the top six unlocks that have caused me the most pain and frustration in my entire gaming career! What about you guys? Oh, I should give an honorable mention to the Gilded Sword and the Couple’s Mask from Majora’s Mask for the N64. If you didn’t get the Fierce Deity mask for all your heard work, that would be number one for sure. Chime in with your thoughts!

Written by

mitch@gamersushi.com Twitter: @mi7ch Gamertag: Lubeius PSN ID: Lubeius SteamID: Lube182 Origin/EA:Lube182 Currently Playing: Stardew Valley, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, Battlefield 4, Tom Clancy Double Feature: Rainbow Six Siege and The Division

18 thoughts on “Top Six: Gaming’s Worst Unlocks”

  1. While the rest seem like fairly lame unlocks, yes, I can’t agree with the hats, seeing as you don’t unlock them. Only in one case did you do something to gain access to it (the Ghastly Gibus). And Bill’s Hat was a preorder bonus.

    And the Gilded Sword, lame? I refuse to believe that. =( It was a great sword.

  2. Wow. This is such a great article, I am very impressed.

    I can’t think of a specific ‘unlock’, but GTAIV really shocked me with removing their classic rewards for doing the side stuff. We all got used to finishing the Ambulance, Police and Firefighting missions and recieving Infinite Run/Can’t catch fire etc etc. But GTAIV had no such rewards. The only reason to do those things was to achieve 100%… What good is that to a PC player who has dignity and time to use up elsewhere? Jeeze.

  3. I would like to argue that TF2 has some of the best unlocks of any recent game. The unlocks add new game play and keep the game interesting. Sure the hats aren’t that great, but in my opinion you overlooked the weapons. The weapons are game play and strategy changers. That keep me coming back to the game day after day. If they didn’t do all of these unlocks, the game would of died out a year ago. I am still waiting for the Engy update.

  4. Prelude, it’s not a list of the worst games with unlocks, just the worst unlocks period. Even if the game had other great ones (Assassin’s Creed 2 has some excellent ones, as well), he was just singling out the ones that were bad.

    This is a really great article, Mitch. Very well written and I found out some new info I didn’t know before.

    Also, you 100% too many games. You might have an issue.

  5. Sorry if I came off like I didn’t like the article, I didn’t mean too lol. I was just shocked when I saw tf2, because I <3 tf2

  6. Nah, it’s cool if people don’t like articles, I just wanted to point out that the article wasn’t saying these games had bad unlockables on the whole, but that they had one particularly bad unlockable.

  7. Yeah, don’t get me wrong, I love TF2 as well (I have like, 10 hours clocked on Pyro, haha). I just included the Hats in the list because of the unscrupulous behavior they inspired, and the amount of limited time or exclusive Hats/wearable items keeps going up. Team Fortress 2 has some great unlocks otherwise.

    Also, Sinister Minister, I thought the Gilded Sword was great too, but you had to dedicate a whole three day cycle to getting it because the Razor Sword wouldn’t come back in time with you. Besides, you had to skirt the knife edge of the three days and win that damned Goron race.

    Eddy, I did have an issue. It was called High School.

  8. Really? I thought it was relatively easy to get the Gilded Sword and had plenty of time to spare. Before I attempted it, I beat Snowhead and got certified for Powder Kegs, then reset time. First thing then I leave my sword with the swordsmith after unfreezing them, then warped to and beat the boss of Snowhead, then immediately after went and did the race. (which actually is the most frustrating part of all of this. Damned Goron bastards.) It’s actually pretty reasonable to have that done even before the Razor Sword is completed. Maybe i’m forgetting something, I don’t know. I haven’t played the game for quite a long time.

  9. Yeah, I haven’t played that game since grade 8, but I remember the sword and the Mask being kind of painful to obtain. If I tried it again now it might be easier, which is why I gave them honorable mentions.

  10. What about gold weapons in the first Modern Warfare? Those were a pain to get and then they reset after prestige.

  11. Am i the only one who considers sleeping with Morrigan an “unlock”? If so, that was clearly the biggest let down ever. I wore my best shirt and everything…

  12. @Mitch: Yeah, I agree that in our younger times it was much harder.

    Man, I always come across as an ass when I don’t mean to. I need to watch what I post.

  13. Mitch: You should do more articles like this. Such a great idea.

    Also, Im sure as you guys write these articles you have ideas for bizzaro articles. Like “Best Unlocks” or “Worst Sequel”. I think those would be good to follow shortly after.

    ps. Worst sequel ever? Deus Ex 2.
    Best unlock ever? The GTAIII rewards for collecting “Hidden Packages”. Made things a lot easier if you invested the time!

  14. Yeah, every GTA except for IV has some pretty awesome unlocks. They really dropped the ball on IV in that respect.

    I play Saint’s Row 2 for my crazy crime related unlocks. *Thumbs up*

  15. I don’t know whether or not this can be counted as an unlock, since, on the PC, at least, you can get it by going to the Testing Hall, but what about the Raiment of Valor from Oblivion? It’s not so hard to do, I know, but wouldn’t it make sense to get something a little more powerful than that?

  16. Fun article, but I always have a hard time swallowing this type of subject. I remember a day in age where you were given an almost impossible goal, and the reward would be a “CONGRATULATIONS – YOU WIN” sign and then the game would loop. From what I can tell, things like the sword in Dead Rising and the Big Boss Face Camo are mostly there as a minor reward or item of bragging rights. The actual challenge in itself and the feeling of accomplishment is typically what I play games for, and if I earn something, ANYTHING for it I’m extra happy about it. Same thing sorta goes for the Auditore Cloak, since something that made the game 10x harder would be awesome for somebody like me.

    As for the hats, I don’t know why you would even mention them here. No work goes into earning them unless they’re the event masks. The game suddenly got a character customization feature and at the same time made it a rarity so that only certain people could use it, which results in those who do use the hats having more personal characters (since if it’s a random drop hat they’re wearing, you’re not likely to find another person wearing the same one in the same server). It’s a nice touch, and the list didn’t really seem to say why they’re a bad thing. This is supposed to be gaming’s worst unlocks, but you didn’t give a very clear reason why the hats are any worse than anything else.

    I don’t mean to smear crap all over the article, but like I said; for me an article like this is just too hard for me to swallow. To me unlocks are about unlocking them, if you need any real function in them I’m surprised Super Smash Bros: Melee isn’t on here with the trophies which require things like beating All Star Mode on very hard.

  17. Couple things that I take issue with in your post.

    Number one, you state right in the beginning that this is a “fun article” which is all that it was supposed to be. This is just my opinion and not a definitive list in any way. This was written more to poke fun at ridiculous extravagances in game design than anything else.

    As for the hats, the reason why they’re on here is because of the debacle they instigated which I believe I mentioned. If unlocks inspire cheating just to obtain them, that makes the grade in my books.

    You’re certainty entitled to your opinions, but just remember that I wrote this piece to entertain more than anything else.

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