Side quests are often a divisive topic among gamers. If they’re bolted onto a title without much thought or purpose — other than padding — plot deviation becomes a laborious chore.
But, if implemented correctly, side quests become unsung heroes. They take credit for expanding game worlds, informing stories, tying up loose ends, and most importantly, ramping up the fun factor to eleven.
In such a case, leaving the central plot thread for a more complete experience can be a blessing. Side quests can be the best part of a game, allowing the player to break free from the campaign and experience nuggets of additional fun.
Is your mission log clogging up with random tasks? Read on to learn about some of the greatest side quests you shouldn’t avoid.
Borderlands 3 — Regaining One’s Feet
The best side missions should be quick, fun, and easy. Case in point: Borderlands 3. The Borderlands franchise is known for its wacky characters, cell-shaded art style, and gun-toting, non-stop action
It’s hard to pick just one side quest out of the hundreds listed across the three main titles. From the top of my head, a handful of equally deserving nominations come to mind: Shooty Mc Shoot Face, A Real Boy, and You Are Cordially Invited. Not because they are particularly challenging, but because they offer fun memory bites to look back on years after playing.
However, my ultimate pick is Regaining One’s Feet — an easy to miss gem from the Moxxi’s Heist Of The Handsome Jackpot DLC. This random quest sums up everything there is to love about Borderlands 3 in around 10 minutes.
It combines the aura of the formerly beloved Handsome Jack, snappy fight sequences, and a humorous lampoon on a dystopian casino left to rot amongst space.
The basis is simple, Allan’s on a losing streak and you have to find his lucky charms, to watch his fortunes turn on the slot machines. Throw in some explosions and you have the perfect pitch for a Borderlands mission.
However, it’s unfortunate that reality doesn’t favor the same fortune on real money slot sites. I’m afraid you need a few more hints and tips than a rabbit’s foot when it comes to the genuine article. But that’s why we love borderlands, its exciting, zany and completely detached from real life.
Red Dead Redemption — I Know You
Other great sidequests serve a purpose to inform the main story.
By any storytelling standard, Red Dead Redemption knocks the ball out of the park. But in the quest, I Know You, we get to question the morality of John Marston’s actions on a deeper level.
During the questline we appear to acquaint ourselves with Death himself, dressed in top hat and tailcoat. After torturing John Marston with questions of morality, the gunslinger pulls a weapon on The Stange Man, only for nothing to happen.
And what creeps us out more than anything else? The spot where John shoots the ghostly apparition is the very same spot he dies at the end of the game.
The abstract identity of The Strange Man still has players searching for answers years on from his original appearance. And the appearance of his cabin in RDR2 only stokes the fire.
Doom Eternal — Doomguys PC
Side quests shouldn’t always be taken seriously. They can be a great way to let go, delivering fan service and quirky plot threads, without encroaching on the main story.
Take Doom Eternal for example — the latest installment in a top tier franchise, so old you can expect the odd nostalgic nod to the past, in particular the old PC found in Doomguy’s room.
If you interact with the computer you can download two files. The first is the original Doom game. And the other is hidden behind a password. Should you find the password you will be lucky enough to be rewarded with Doom 2.
I won’t reveal the answer because its a problem made more satisfying by its solution. If you’re struggling to solve the mystery, there are many comprehensive guides online.
Though not a strict side quest, messing around with Doomguys PC deviates away from the campaign, offering a reprieve from destruction. Plus you get two free games, so it’s worth completing just for that.
Side quests come in all shapes and sizes. And not everything has to be about fetch and delivery. The best games deviate away from the plot in some innovative ways you’d be mad to miss out on.