While Halo's collectibles have gotten less and less interesting in recent years, the stuff hidden in Assassin's Creed games keeps getting better. Glyphs, feathers, statuettes and treasure chests? Piles of money, special weapons, exclusive armor and a crucial piece of the story if you locate them all? No wonder the Assassin's Creed II guides are still some of the most visited articles on our site.
Go back a single entry, though, and you'll enter pure completionist hell: 420 practically identical flags with absolutely no distinguishing features other than the tiny, insignificant spot of the huge, sprawling map upon which they sit. If you've played the original Assassin's Creed, you'll also remember that the game's cities – while lovely and atmospheric – are basically nothing more than a couple of blocks copied and pasted into infinity.
Even with detailed maps pointing you to the exact location of every flag, then, you'll still get lost and confused. Repeatedly. Especially if you happened to run over a random flag or two before you started your search. Just ask former GamesRadar editor Paul Ryan, who worked on our guide and kept a printout on his desk as a reminder that life could only improve from that point forward.
Alan Wake is a game that didn't need collectibles. Can you imagine if the terrorized protagonist of your favorite horror film suddenly stopped whatever he was doing – like, say, fleeing from a chainsaw wielding maniac, or desperately trying to escape from a haunted forest – so that he could check the area for plastic coffee thermoses? Such a scene would completely break the mood, and your suspension of disbelief, yet we accept it 100 times over in a videogame like Alan Wake.
We don't mind shooting a pigeon between GTA IV missions, or scouring the shadowy corners of BioShock for an audio diary – objects like those make sense within the context of their games' worlds and genres. But thermoses? Why, because he's a writer and writers drink a lot of coffee? That's the silliest excuse for a collectible we've ever heard… or at least it was until Alan Wake's DLC added collectible alarm clocks.
You know, because A. Wake may or may not be "awake"? Get it? Huh? Huh? WELL, DO YOU?!?