Video games are a wonderful thing. Ever since the medium first started gaining mainstream prominence in the late 1970s, its fans have not been able to get enough of the virtual playgrounds. Developers who want players to get the most out of their experience often add optional activities. The variety of these tasks differ greatly from game to game and genre to genre, but they are lumped into one category known as side quests.
While extra content is always a gift, they may be a present better left unwrapped. Some extra missions are not worth the effort for any number of reasons. One can't particularly be mad at a game for having lackluster optional content, however, as long as the main campaign is fulfilling enough on its own.
Never the less, there are a select few side quests so awful that they leave a blight on the whole title. These special debaucheries are usually numbingly boring, or so difficult that they cause players to quit. Either way, it makes one feel like their time was wasted. Adversely, an especially unique and fun non-obligatory adventure can single-handedly enhance a game.
This list will take a look at prime examples on both sides of the spectrum. To make the decision process easier, no single game has more than one entry. Together, we can all revel in the joy and dread of these quests, and maybe suggest to newcomers of each title which activities to avoid and which ones to dive into head first.
So quit your job at the car wash because here are the 12 Side Quests That Hurt Their Video Game (And 13 That Saved Them).
25 Hurt: Destroying 200 Pigeons In GTA IV
PETA's not going to like this one, and neither are fans of GTA IV. If Niko Bellic successfully locates all two hundred pigeons and obliterates them from existence, he is rewarded with than nothing more than a slight increase in completion percentage.
It wouldn't be so tedious if there were less pigeons, but two hundred is a lot to find in a metropolis like Liberty City. Given their size, finding all of them without a guide is nearly impossible. Unless the player wants bragging rights for one hundred percent completion, this task is better left forgotten.
24 Saved: "Come Fly With Me" From Fallout: New Vegas
Even in a post-apocalyptic United States, people need to have dreams. For a certain group of ghouls in the Mojave Wasteland, their dream involved leaving Earth via rocket ship to find greener pastures. The Courier can assist with the project, and choose to sabotage them if they are feeling sinister.
In a surprising turn from the typical Fallout pessimism, helping the ghouls actually concludes with a successful launch. It is entirely possible that the ship fell apart moments after entering the atmosphere, but that is of no concern to the player.
23 Hurt: Queen Of Cards In Final Fantasy VIII
Card games are supposed to a relaxing respite from the dire, world-ending stakes typical of RPGs. Final Fantasy VIII's Triple Triad is a tranquil way to spend time as Squall, unless he is patient enough to try and get every card.
Players will duel against the Queen of Cards multiple times in their optional quest to master Triple Triad. After each showdown, whether they win or lose, the Queen will vanish to a different location. Obtaining all of her exclusive cards takes ages, even if the process is streamlined by following specific instructions to the tee.
22 Saved: Wasteland Survival Guide In Fallout 3
Bethesda's gargantuan open worlds can feel overwhelming. Players might not even know where to go once the whole map opens up. Thankfully, "Wasteland Survival Guide" in Fallout 3 is there to give the Lone Wanderer some direction.
The charming Moira Brown tasks players with researching several survival techniques in order to create a comprehensive guide to braving the perilous post-apocalypse. Along the way, players will encounter many new towns and faces that offer unique quests of their own. By the end of the quest, the Capital Wasteland will feel just like home.
21 Hurt: Collecting King Richard Flags In Assassin's Creed
Open world games love superfluous time sinks. Usually, they will give a reward that feels less valuable than the effort put in, but rarely do they leave players empty handed. The King Richard Flags in Assassin's Creed is a slap in the face to anyone who enjoys collectables.
In the XBOX 360 version, all they net is an achievement. This seems underwhelming, but the PS3 version has it beat. Since trophies were not rolled out by the game's release, collecting these flags has no effect on the game what so ever.
20 Saved: "Shoot This Guy In The Face" From Borderlands 2
The Borderlands series wears zaniness on its sleeve. Nothing encapsulates this dedication to the bizarre more than "Shoot This Guy In The Face" from Borderlands 2, given by Face McShooty. The objective is fully explained in the title. This man simply wants someone to pump led right through his skull.
Until his wish is granted, Face enthusiastically screams at the player. Once it is done, some money and experience is awarded. It may seem like a nothing mission, but it is a shining example of the series unique personality that endears it to so many fans.
19 Hurt: Riddler Trophies In Arkham Asylum
The side activities in the Arkham series are mostly golden. They feel vividly fleshed out, as if just as much attention was poured into them as the main story. The only side quest that lags behind are the Riddler Trophies in the franchise's premiere title.
For one, there is a staggering amount of them - two hundred forty, to be exact. With that many tasks, one would expect a spectacular reward. Disappointingly, the iconic villain never even shows up in the flesh. Instead, he gets frustrated over the radio and is captured.
18 Saved: Development Hell In Diablo 3
Credits are often boring to sit through, even though most players do respect and acknowledge the enormous work and personal sacrifice that goes into a game's production. Thankfully, Diablo 3 gives its credits a little more spice to players fortunate enough to find this special secret.
This area, which only has a one percent chance of showing up, appears in the Cemetery of the Forsaken. In it, a horde of zombies with the staff's names will spawn, and the player has no choice but to slice and dice them. We guess putting zombie game developers out of their misery is one way to pay tribute.
17 Hurt: Collecting Nuclear Waste In Grand Theft Auto V
GTA V has a few side tasks that test players' patience. There is a triathlon and even a side mission that involves running five miles in the desert on foot. However, collecting nuclear waste from the bottom of the ocean takes the cake simply because it requires a property purchase to access.
The mission will unlock after buying the Sonar Docks and entails gathering thirty barrels from the ocean floor with the submarine. This mundane objective was more grating in the last generation versions where the radio was not available in the sub.
16 Saved: Chocobo Breeding In Final Fantasy VII
Breeding the iconic fictional livestock is not itself the most entertaining endeavor, but the reward for successfully cultivating the ultimate Chocobo is more than worth the arduous trial and error quests.
There are several areas that are inaccessible without the green, black, and gold chocobos that possess the ability to traverse different terrain. In these areas, one will find the most powerful tools the game has to offer, such as the Knights of the Round materia. Becoming an unstoppable beast is the most satisfying part of most RPGs, and chocobo breeding is the sure fire way to do it.
15 Hurt: Lost Sanctum In Chrono Trigger
This side quest is only available in all versions since the Nintendo DS release, so retro gamers still rocking the Super Nintendo are saved from the misfortune of stumbling upon it. The bonus dungeon first becomes available once Dalton is dealt with and the Epoch is in Crono's hands.
Once inside, players will find nothing more than a repetitive fetch quest that involves traversing the same environments several times over. It gets boring fast and is best ignored, especially considering the legendary title already has a plethora of worth while bonus content.
14 Saved: Hundred Acre Wood In Kingdom Hearts
Winnie the Pooh's uplifting stories and cast of colorful characters are absolutely timeless, making an inclusion in the Kingdom Hearts series a no-brainer. Christopher Robin and his pals are such a shining symbol of innocence that fighting hordes of heartless in the Hundred Acre Wood would have seemed inappropriate.
To remedy this, the world is included as a series of mini games. The games are not always ideal, but they stay true to the spirit of Pooh Bear and friends. While the chapters lack combat, their narrative does connect to the main conflict.
13 Hurt: Collecting Eggs In Monster Hunter
In a game centered around nobly slaying ferocious beasts in an untamed wilderness, collecting eggs is definitely not first on the to do list. These fetch quests are the worst of the worst, particularly since carrying the eggs means restricted weapons access. Things can be made more manageable by bringing a friend along, though.
Collecting eggs has been featured in just about every Monster Hunter title, despite the universal disdain. Has no one told the developers to stop making them? Also, stop stealing animals' unborn children - you're the real monsters.
12 Saved: "I Remember Me" From Mass Effect
Mass Effect's game play is incredible, but its stellar, impactful writing is really what sets the epic space opera apart from all the other RPGs. By the end of the three game journey, players really feel like they've explored an entire galaxy.
Picking a favorite side quest is tough, but "I Remember Me" stayed with players long after completion. The emotional mission, which is only available to Shephards who have a colonist background, involves the player trying to calm down a woman on the edge of taking her own life. It's short, but it proves that the finest side quests don't have to involve shooting things.
11 Hurt: "Where The Druffalo Roam" In Dragon Age: Inquisition
With the massive, powerful party of characters at disposal in Dragon Age: Inquisition, the first thing on players' minds is guiding lost livestock back to their homes, right? It would not be an awful task if simply locating the druffalo was enough, but the animal must also be guided back to its flock.
The escortee, named Druffy, will follow without instructions, but stops if the player goes too far ahead. Druffy is slow, so expect to spend a lot of time waiting for it to catch up before moving closer to the goal.
10 Saved: Hidden Packages In Grand Theft Auto III
GTA III sits in a weird place. The aesthetic started aiming for realism, but it still retains arcadey elements from its two-dimensional predecessors. This turns out favorably for the old title, which is still a blast to play. The hidden packages add spice to the New York inspired setting.
PS2 era Liberty City is small enough for most of the packages to be reasonably found without a guide. Every tenth pick up makes a weapon spawn at each garage. By the time the fiftieth or so item is collected, players have a whole arsenal, free of charge, at their save spots.
9 Hurt: Collecting Figurines In Wind Waker
Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was polarizing upon release, but the passing of time looks upon it favorably. It's vast world can at times feel empty, but that does little to detract from the grand scope and the entertainment. What does take away from the fun, however, is collecting all one hundred and thirty four figurines for the Nintendo Gallery.
To obtain a figuring, Link must snap a photo and bring it to Carlov. Should the NPC accept it, the figurine will be made. This task is made more frustrating by the sheer quantity of figurines out there to collect.
8 Saved: "Hung Over" From The Witcher 2
Geralt of Riveria, whose name sounds oddly close to Geraldo Rivera, is known to enjoy the drink. Sometimes he can enjoy it too much, though, which usually leads to hilarity. "Hung Over" from The Witcher 2 involves the stone faced white wolf tracking down his equipment after a night of heavy partying.
The Witcher series' dark fantasy setting deals with heavy themes, so these bits of jolly fun are a welcome respite from the gloom. With this being said, they manage to never feel out of place or too distracting.
7 Hurt: Defending Settlements In Fallout 4
Many of the additions Fallout 4 brought to the table were welcome with open arms by fans. Building settlements is entirely optional and adds hours of fun for those who thoroughly explore the systems. An unfortunate side effect to this mechanic is having to constantly defend these territories.
It adds an element of endless replayability to the experience, but this constant intrusion is more of a chore than entertaining. Fortunately, it can be ignored without consequence, other than the senseless slaughter of the settlement's citizens on the Sole Survivor's conscience.
6 Saved: Hunts In Final Fantasy XII
In a series known for its epic adventures, Final Fantasy XII still sticks out for having an especially grand scope. The main journey alone will take upwards of fifty hours, and the always intriguing hunts are there for players who want more from their time in Ivalice.
There are several locations with job boards, and the adorable moogle, Montblanc, offers elite marks to Vaan and the party. Fighting the monsters is only part of the task. Sometimes, locating them requires thinking and ingenuity, since the game does not hold the player's hand.
5 Hurt: Getting The Evil Tallisman In Legend Of Legaia
Legend of Legaia is one of the most underrated pieces of fiction across any medium. It's one flaw is a lack of any meaningful content to keep players engaged outside of the main story.
The notable exception is the Evil Tallisman, which unlocks the game's most powerful magic spell. Unlocking it requires getting the party to level ninety nine. By the last dungeon, the average level is between forty five and fify. Given the lack of side quests, the only real solution is to grind for what feels like an eternity.
4 Saved: "Last Wish" From The Witcher 3
This one is doubly special for long time fans of the series. "The Last Wish" is the culmination of Geralt and Yennefer's storied relationship. Both the title and quest make direct reference to a short story from the series.
Like most quests in The Witcher 3, the player's choice results in a different outcome. Geralt can cement his romantic feelings with Yennefer, or break her heart and solidify a purely platonic friendship. These bits of humanity among the grand quest make CD Projekt Red's game so unique and memorable long after the credits roll.
3 Hurt: Getting The Venus Sigil in Final Fantasy X
Upgrading the Celestial Weapons in Final Fantasy X is a worthwhile endeavor. Most of the quests involved are reasonable, even if they can be a little obtuse. Adversely, getting the Venus Sigil for Lulu's Onion Knight is an evil test of patience.
To get this Sigil, Tidus must dodge two hundred lightning strikes consecutively in the Thunder Plains. That's right, miss once and it is back to square one. It's incredibly frustrating to obtain, and not entirely necessary considering how powerful the party already is with all of the other fully decked out Celestial Weapons.
2 Saved: The Battle Arena In Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Coincidentally, the Elder Scrolls series started life as an arena combat game before morphing into an epic RPG. Oblivion features its own arena in Cyrodil, which offers an entertaining series of duels. As expected with the series, many of these fights can be won through less than honorable tactics exploiting the game's mechanics.
A simple championship would be more than enough, but there is also an additional quest attached. Should players complete this, the final fight is instantly won, creating an opportunity for a ton of easily obtained experience points.
1 Saved: "Lair of the Shadow Broker" From Mass Effect 2
This DLC campaign adds nearly a small game worth of content to the already staggeringly dense Mass Effect 2. On the PS3, it was included on the disc right from the get go, making the mission even sweeter.
The quest follows Shephard as they help Liara T'Soni track down the titular Shadow Broker. After completing it, players will have access to the intel center and further their relationship with Liara if they made the right moves. Considering the breadth of the mission, ten dollars is a more than reasonable price, and getting it for free on the PS3 is a welcome gift for the franchise's late arrival on the console.
What are your favorite side quests in video games? Let us know in the comments!