Favourite Side Quests?


#1

Usually in an RPG, the main quest is good enough to motivate the player through tens or hundreds of hours of content but sometimes you find some bit of side content, or something off the beaten path that’s just as good or better.

[spoiler]For me, the reason I made this thread is I’ve been playing New Vegas (again) and I recently completed the Legend of the Star quest and remembered just how much I love how that whole thing plays with expectations. So, back story. Throughout New Vegas, you’ll find a certain brand of root beer called Sunset Sarsaparilla. There’s a random chance that each bottle of Sunset you drink will drop a special “Sunset Sarsaparilla Star Bottle Cap.” You can also find a few of these special caps throughout the world. At some point after you’ve obtained at least one, an NPC will approach you and explain the “legend of the Star” that, supposedly, if you collect enough of these bottled there’s some grand amazing prize for doing so. You know. Standard, collection sidequest stuff, it seems pretty innocuous and actually collecting the fifty caps you need isn’t particularly taxing if you’re lucky. He also warns you about a man named “Allen Marks” who’s been murdering people for their stars.

Eventually you’ll reach Sunset Sarsaparilla Headquarters, and you’ll find “Festus” an old decaying novelty robot that the company installed for tourists. Hell explain that the Sunset Stars were part of a contest- the kind of thing companies in the real world do all the time. And this is the first sign that something fishy might be going on if you’re paying attention.

Anyway, once you get fifty stars you give them to Festus, and you get your prize: A lecture on the history of Sunset Sarsaparilla. That’s it. The best part of this though is that when you finish hearing the story, the game tells you that you FAILED the quest. Because of course you did. You did all this for treasure! Not some shitty story.

Once you express your disappointment, Festus DOES give you the key to a “prize room” as consolation but even that’s a trick. The prize is literally just a bunch of cheap plastic sheriff badges. And you find the Allen Marks, finally. Already dead.

It’s just. It’s such really good quest design and it plays with expectations so well I love it.[/spoiler]


#2

Tarrey Town really got to me :sob: :sob: :sob: it was also really really cool how it progressed, at least for me, cause it ended up spanning most of the game and acted as a bit of a mirror for my progress.

but mostly geez, what a gorgeous conclusion.


#3

I won’t say its my favorite, and in fact I tend to feel repulsed at the thought of it because it reinforces a misogynistic current that runs through Troika’s games, but I must shout-out the notorious “Half-Ogre Island” quest in Arcanum. For better or worse, it’s unforgettable and elicits extreme reactions in players. I don’t think there’s ever been a side-quest quite like it in any other game before or since, particularly in the obfuscatory way its presented, the anti-climactic ending, and the eerie sense that no one else in the game world knows or cares about the events it describes. It sickens me on a profound level, and that’s probably the best thing I can say about it.


#4

Tarrey Town was absolutely incredible! Sure, you get rewards along the way for it but having a town to go to that you helped build and everyone there had a role in is so satisfying as a quest reward.

Since you already mentioned it I will say that one of my favorites in recent memory is the U.S.S. Constitution questline from Fallout 4.


#5

Boy I had to go get the full story on Half Ogre Island and wow. That…is a hell of a side quest (that also kind of tangentially ties back to the main quest?)

Also, somehow I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this game before and it sounds really interesting so. Thanks for that?


#6

You’re welcome. I’m pretty sure Half-Ogre Island has no real connection to the main quest. That’s what makes it so unsettling. You can go through the entire game and never know that systematic rape as part of eugenics experiments happened in the background.

I highly recommend Arcanum if you dig Black Isle/Obsidian style CRPGs. The whole game is basically side quests. The story told through your characters actions in side quests in some ways overshadows the game’s main story. Plus nearly every quest admits multiple solutions. Two warnings though: download the fan patch to avoid rampant bugs and crashes, and also the game doesn’t really good until 5-10 hours in. Arcanum requires a huge investment but it rewards the player’s effort just as much.


#7

I really don’t like the first Nier. Some of the quests are terrible, including the first one where you collect 10 mutton from sheep. But the game has it’s qualities and there are a handful of sidequests that are outstanding. I remember one about a kid whose family are con artists. When the game advances 5 years another quest brings you across his path again. There is another one about a dead couple that you come across. That might be the same quest chain, I can’t remember. There is another series where you’re delivering mail for the elderly woman at the lighthouse. It is very aware that it is a series of fetch quests. It is very aware that you are aware that it is a series of simple fetch quests. Part of what the game does well is that it is aware that you are aware that it is aware that it is a video game.


#8

The quest involving the Oasis settlement in Fallout 3 stands out in my mind, even after not touching that game in years. Harold is an especially interesting/complex character in a world with quite a few, and the cult following that pops up around him felt surprisingly believable. The end of the quest also has you make one of the few genuinely agonizing moral choices in the game, actually stuck with me for a while after playing.


#9

On the same Fallout: New Vegas topic, Beyond the Beef has always been a favorite of mine, despite it being kind of buggy.

[spoiler]Essentially, you go into the Ultra-Luxe, one of the casinos on the strip, and you meet a guy in the bar who asks you to search for his son, who went missing somewhere in the hotel. There’s a bunch of ways to complete this quest, which revolves around revealing the history of the Ultra-Luxe’s White Glove Society as a group of cannibals, and one high-ranking hotel staff member’s quest to return the White Glove Society to cannibalism.

My favorite way to do the quest is to sneak into the kitchen and create a convincing human meat substitute for Mortimer (the guy who’s trying to bring everyone back to cannibalism) to serve to the guests, and then when Mortimer announces that everyone has just eaten human meat, I bring out the person who he claims everyone just ate and turn the entire White Glove Society on him.[/spoiler]

There’s a great (spoilery) Game Maker’s Toolkit episode about all the other paths and what makes it such a great sidequest.


#10

I might have to come up with more specific ones later, but I think one of my favorite pieces of game introduction/world building wasn’t… strictly speaking, a quest?

The… scrolls of Icarian flight in TES:Morrowind served as an introduction to both the size of the world, and some of the more absurd possibilities the game offered, often with a satisfying crunch of the player’s legs, and a trip back to the last checkpoint. Basically, they were on a dead body on the road a little north of the starting town, in the direction opposite of where quests send you. (I think?) When you used one, it amplified your speed and acrobatics, so if you jumped, you went flying. Not just “oh, that’s a high jump flying,” but rather “I can no longer see my house from here,” jumping.

Particularly in retrospect, it felt like a really fast, fun way to kind of introduce far more expansive, open worlds, with a hint of the absurd the games offered.


#11

Yeah, while a lot of sidequests stand out for storytelling reasons, Beyond the Beef was fantastic just due to the multitude of ways to solve it.


#12

Fallout 4 has what I honestly feel is the only good side quest in the game, The Devil’s Due.

After overhearing someone talk about weird things going down at the Museum of Witchcraft, you go to the museum and find a dead woman outside talking about a weird job they’d been given.
Going inside the museum puts you in a basement where you slowly walk around while something big and scary stomps around above. I spent the whole time terrified. There were scare chords and everything. You could tell whoever worked on that particular quest had a love of old horror movies. And because you were in close quarters with the Deathclaw that was tramping around upstairs, the goal was to sneak, not to fight. It’s excellent. Also, the duality in the choices you have at the end (help some douche bask in unneeded luxury people died for in exchange for an admittedly good recipe, or give an egg back to a mommy Deathclaw and get a FUCKING SWEET melee weapon early in game) is actually a mechanically temping choice. And the friendly Deathclaw looks so cute!!

But yeah, no. Best part of Fallout 4.


#13

I’ve been playing NeiR: Automata and I’ve been liking the side quests quite a bit, from the goofy stuff like the Karate-bot to the more serious stuff.

My favourite side quest so far, though, is when 2B and 9S are tasked with capturing YoRHa deserters who have been stealing supplies from the Android Resistance. ( I haven’t finished all the main endings yet, I just finished A tonight, so please don’t spoil anything else for me. I’m loving the game so far.)

[spoiler]You encounter two of the deserters and the directive quickly turns from “capture” to “kill”. You’re forced to chase the deserters to a secluded rooftop at the edge of the abandoned city. You kill the pair, and then face off against their commander, killing her as well. 2B and 9S justify it by saying it’s a win for the resistance, but then quickly realize that no supplies were stolen and that they were intentionally given bad intel by yoRHa Command. When 9S asks his Operator about it he’s told that the intel is “classified”.

I love this quest because it just begins to sew seeds of mistrust between the player and YoRHa. I had already suspected they/humanity weren’t completely on the up and up, but now I have no doubts.

The quest is also a pretty good piece of world building. YoRHa does some dirt to get the results they want. They have a “serve or die” thing going on, and I encountered this quest before I met A2, so it felt like good staging for her introduction. It makes you question your position as the “good guy”, which, so far, seems to be a pretty central part of the story.[/spoiler]


#14

That’s mine for that game too, dude. Plus the reward for it is good too…


#15

I don’t know if it’s my favorite but it’s something that sticks out to me. There’s a side quest in Tomba 2 (yes, Tomba 2) where you meet a person who is apparently a great potter who has lost his pottery tool. He thinks it may be at the house across from his, and since you’re the hero you go there to get it for him. When you get there, there’s a guy who is admiring his priceless vase, talking about how much he loves it and admires the craftsmanship that went into making it. Instead of just asking the dude if he knows where the tool is, that game requires you to wait for him to leave and smash the pot on the floor. Once you do that, the item is revealed to have been in the vase. The guy walks back inside and burst into tears. You collect the item and return it back to the potter, who says something like ‘oops! Forgot I left it in there!’.

It’s a dumb quest, but it’s the first time I can recollect being against the game. Where instead of just doing what the game wanted me to do to get the best stuff/ending/whatever, I wanted only do things I wanted to do, or things I could justify my character doing. If that makes sense. I felt bad for the crying dude :cry:


#16

it also does a good job of introducing the silly nonsense you can do w making your own spells in the game

i gave myself an unofficial quest to make icarian flight work (it turns out a feather effect of literally any number stops fall damage which is… not an exciting way to get around it but it was fun dinking around to discover this) and well. as much as i legitimately like a lot of the game proper it was one of my fav experiences in game probably

god
morrowind is so good


#17

Another vote for Tarrey Town here. One of my favourites is in Mass Effect 2. It’s a real basic fetch quest, but I found it incredibly powerful: you have to go to where the original Normandy crashed and collect the dog tags of those who didn’t survive. There are no enemies, there’s not even any soundtrack, it’s just the sound of you making your way across this cold, foggy planet. My favourite touch is that instead of just saying “4/20 dog tags collected” it also tells you the name of who you just picked up. It’s such a tiny detail but it’s a nice attempt to humanise what we’re just a collection of polygons going through scripted routines.


#18

While this probably doesn’t count as much as a side quest as the others listed in this thread, I always liked the interactions with the Gascoigne family in Bloodborne. Your first introduction to them is through the daughter character talking to you through a window. She asks you to find her parents; her mother, who wears a red brooch, and gives you a music box that is supposed to help her father remember them. You eventually get to the mandatory boss fight with Father Gascoigne who is at the peak of his beasthood overwhelming him and thus you slay him. The music box actually serves a purpose in that it makes him stop attacking for a few seconds while he seems to be in confusion. Upon defeating Gascoigne, you can find a body on a ledge off the stairs in the back of the area. This body of course has a red brooch revealing that the mother is dead and more than likely killed by Gascoigne in his feral state. Giving the brooch to the daughter will cause her to sob and leave towards Gascoigne’s location. By killing the pig enemy that spawns at the bottom of a ladder normally, you find a bloody ribbon which is a possession of the young girl. Later in the game, you can come back to the window and find her sister asking about her whereabouts. After giving her the ribbon, the sister laughs and is overjoyed to have her sister’s ribbon. Upon reloading the area, you will find her corpse at the bottom of the ladder next to her house supposedly due to a fall or being killed by the nearby enemy. You then get the clean version of the ribbon. Sorry for the length of this post but the amazing tragedy that dominated this family’s arc really spoke to the idea of hopelessness for many characters in the Souls series and really blindsided me with children being victims as well.


#19

Oh man, I had completely forgotten that quest! That was such a good one. So glad you’re loving that game - I almost envy you a little bit, Would love to go back into that game fresh! Enjoy :smiley:


#20

I only ever really played everything from the demo, but the first Tomba had some great mystery quests built in too actually. I squeezed everything I could out of that demo, man that’s a classic.