The content of any acclaimed RPG can be often bolstered by its assortment of side-quests. Experiences in games like Bethesda’s RPG’s – Skyrim or Fallout 4 – and CDPR’s Witcher series are often defined by the side-quests that are present in the games.
Although it is mostly a mark of a well-developed game, side-quests do not always inspire the imagination of players. This can be down to the presence of mundane tasks such as those found in “fetch” quests. On the other hand, it can be down to the side-quest in question just being completely rubbish. So let’s look at some of the arguably most rubbish side-quests in recent gaming memory.
Fallout: NV – 100 Tin Cans:
You’d be forgiven for calling this one a little bit boring, simply because the Fallout series is chock full of side-quests. So we’ll let Bethesda off this time. But this really is the icing on an incredibly pedestrian cake. Resources are at times plentiful and scarce at other times in the universe of Fallout.
It’s a nuclear apocalyptic wasteland after all. One thing that they player must collect is the new currency in the broken world. This is mostly in the form of bottle-caps. Other things that are often collected is tin cans. However, this side-quest literally entails the player to collect 100 tin cans for a man in order to gain a unique rifle later in the game. A new weapon sounds cool, but is it really worth it after collecting all those cans?
Batman: Arkham City – Riddler Trophies:
A game that is not necessarily RPG-like but one with a lot of opportunity for collectibles. When the Riddler trophies were first featured in the first game, they were pretty cool. They allowed the player to explore the brilliantly realised comic-book environments and solves Riddler puzzles for a prize in the form of a trophy.
As the series grew on, and as the games put more emphasis on solving the puzzles as an actual requirement for progressing in the game, the puzzles grew tiresome. Riddler trophies became a ridiculous chore, and not the same amount of fun from the first game.
Dead Island – Water Bottle Fetch Quest:
Dead Island, although praised for its action-packed zombie atmosphere, included a lot of ridiculous side-quests. One in particular navigates serious fetch-quest territory. It involves the player fetching an NPC a bottle of water. Over and over again until the NPC has been satisfied. Talk about beggars being choosers on an island of flesh-eating monsters.
Fallout 3 – Vault 108:
In this objective-free side-quest, the player is tasked with exploring Vault 108. In the vault, the player finds a number of cloned males called Gary. Pretty strange, huh? The game gives no apparent reason for this odd occurrence and only invites the player to “explore” the vault, nothing more. Arguably, Bethesda contributing to simply freaking the player out.
San Andreas – Supply Lines:
This optional side mission in legendary San Andreas is one of the more notably difficult tasks in the entire game. It involves flying a plane – which sounds easy enough – until you realise it’s a miniature plane. That can run out of fuel. And can be destroyed ending in the failure of the mission.
The aim is to destroy a batch of couriers with the plane before they complete their deliveries. But those couriers can also shoot down the plane which is not easy to handle in the first place. It’s frustrating even to type about so we’ll leave it at that.
Stick of Truth – Flower for a Princess:
Moving on from the ever-frustrating to the completely short as hell. This side quest in South Park: The Stick of Truth simply involves the player picking up a flower, talking to another character and that’s it. It can be completed in less than ten seconds. It seems ridiculous but it only adds to the humour of the game – one reason the game was so well received.
Mass Effect 2 – Sushi:
This quest can be started as commander Shepard overhears two NPC’s discussing sushi. They are concerned as to whether the fish on the space station is edible. Your task? Find out if it is. Ultimately, you find that there is no edible fish on the station much to the grumbles of the NPC’s.
There we have some of the most ridiculous side-quests in recent gaming memory. Don’t think we’re being too harsh on the games though, most of the quests are included for humour if anything, not to burden the player exactly. Side-quests are often a good break from the main narrative and can even define the experience. Embrace them in all their forms.