Most Amusing Unlockables of 2010

Unlockables are almost de rigeur these days, with developers exploiting our obsessive-compulsive tendencies to ensure that we’re playing their games for longer amounts of time, while paying greater amounts of attention. Not all unlockables are created equal, however, so below we’ve highlighted some of the best.

Dead Rising 2 Combo Cards

Ben Richardson’s Pick

These don’t fall under the strictest possible definition of an unlockable, but they went a long way towards making the game as fun as it was. Dead Rising 2 is all about being creative with your carnage, and the sequel upped the ante on the original by extending that creativity to the combination of items, not just their selection. Some of the combos are outrageously awesome (the Paddlesaw), some utilitarian (the Spiked Bat), while others are just silly (see the Fountain Lizard, above).

Nevertheless, the mark of a good unlockable is that it changes the way you play the game, and changes it for the better. Dead Rising 2′s combo cards (and the combos they enable) pass this test with flying colors. I was constantly seeking new ways jury-rig a zombie death machine, and my inventory was always crowded with items that I had snagged in hopes of attaching them to their partners sometime later on. I didn’t come close to finding all the cards, but the ones I did manage to unlock led to hours of blood-soaked enjoyment.

We’ve got the full list of Combo Weapons right here.

Epic Mickey’s Cartoons

Phil Hornshaw’s Pick

Despite all the levels to wade through and the collectibles to grab, Disney Epic Mickey doesn’t give you a whole lot. You collect pins — which are totally meaningless — and you can get “extra content,” which is basically concept art that gets doled out on a piecemeal basis. Then there are film reels, which are super-easy to snag and good for a few in-game rewards, but ultimately nothing all that exciting.

Except when the game occasionally throws in full-length, super-old Disney cartoons.

Collect enough reels (there are a ton, and it’s really easy) and turn them in to a certain character in the game’s main town, and suddenly, two cartoons are unlocked in Epic Mickey’s main menu. They’re not especially difficult to get, but as far as unlockables go, these are two pretty awesome ones, especially for big-time Disney fans. You can watch the cartoons from the menu and they play just as well as you’d expect. One’s an old Mickey Mouse cartoon, “The Mad Doctor,” which gives a little insight into the titular character, who plays a fairly substantial role in the game.

The other cartoon, and the one that really makes this a worthwhile pursuit, is an old Oswald the Lucky Rabbit short. Epic Mickey creator Warren Spector has made a big deal out of Oswald, and in terms of Disney lore, there’s a good reason — Oswald is Mickey Mouse if Mickey Mouse had never been invented. He was a huge star in the late 1920′s, then disappeared because of a rights dispute. Almost 80 years later, the Oswald cartoon you can watch is a pretty extreme rarity, and the ability to catch it in a video game is actually fairly remarkable.

Take advantage of this list of Epic Mickey Film Reels.

Mafia II Playboys

Ron Whitaker’s Pick

For all the linearity that Mafia II offered up, the one thing that made you want to search every accessible nook and cranny was the chance of picking up a vintage Playboy mag. Sure, they stirred a lot of controversy, but they were actually just the sort of thing you would expect a wise guy getting home from the war to be collecting.

2K included them because Playboy was an icon of the 50’s.  Back then, they were part of the lifestyle that everyone associated with gangsters: girls, booze, cars and sex. Playboy kind of sums that up all by itself, now doesn’t it?

Besides, you knew there was going to be a collectible in a game like this.  It could have been pinstriped suits, Mama’s Italian recipes, or anything else. Wouldn’t you rather be collecting Playboys?

Check out our complete list of Mafia II Playboys

Red Dead Redemption Bounties

Mark Burnham’s Pick

Not only are bounties a great way to made make money in RDR, they also comfortably immerse you in the game world. Nothing made me feel like an old-timey frontiersman quite like the bounties did.

If you want to do it right, you do it like this. You have a few shots of whiskey in a saloon (or MANY shots of whiskey). Gotta work up your nerve. Then you stumble out and read a “wanted” poster. Wade Bassett. $240 alive, $140 dead. “That unlucky sum’bitch is about to get a belly full of lead,” you say.

And then you’re off! Playing a bounty hunter is one of the most fun things you can do in the game. You’re kind of out for justice, but just because it pays for more whiskey, or a new rifle, or a better, faster horse. Plus, hog-tying a villain is pretty priceless.

Check out our full guide to Red Dead Redemption Bounties

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1 Comment on Most Amusing Unlockables of 2010


On December 18, 2010 at 1:23 am

Is it me, or did this article change midway through from being about unlockables to collectables?