Quest for the Sidequest!

Daemian Lucifer

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@ReinofFire

Forcefields arent that bad.They do have extra terrestrial technology,so making a forcefield passable only by those with certain genes,or certain armor is ok.Whats bad is the wooden doors that you cant even scratch with all the explosives you have,nor pull out with gravity gun that can lift cars.
 

Kuchinawa212

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I, always had the same problem. Why the fuck to do I need to travel to hell and back to do something I could just smash open with my boot.

Nice article. It was a good read
 

Swaki

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great article, i haven't come very far in borderlands as it feels pretty empty without my buddies (whom games I bought because john funk said it would be lonely, but stupid borderlands wont fix this till the tenth)

the most ridicules fetch quests ive been on where in "Condemned", of cause i only thought about this in retrospect, because when i played it i was way to busy turning on the light and locking my doors and putting up a electric fence to notice.
 

Crunchy English

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I love Bioshock. It's a masterpiece and a lot of its key quests make perfect sense, for instance in Hephaestus, Andrew Ryan's office door is more or less impenetrable and it makes perfect sense to do the fetch quest.

One of the games earliest quests though, makes no sense. Dr. Steinman, who you might consider the first "boss" of rapture blows up archway and blocks you from following him through the door. The rock is too heavy to push or shoot and some guy is lobbing grenades at you. The solution? Go back, grab the Incinerate Plasmid, melt the ice in the way of the Telekenesis plasmid, go to the blocked door, pluck a grenade out of the air, and then redirect it at the door to blow it open.

The grenades have like a ten second fuse. Just kick the damn grenade over to the door!

EDIT - Oh yeah, forgot my manners. Yeah, awesome article.
 

Starke

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Crunchy English said:
I love Bioshock. It's a masterpiece and a lot of its key quests make perfect sense, for instance in Hephaestus, Andrew Ryan's office door is more or less impenetrable and it makes perfect sense to do the fetch quest.

One of the games earliest quests though, makes no sense. Dr. Steinman, who you might consider the first "boss" of rapture blows up archway and blocks you from following him through the door. The rock is too heavy to push or shoot and some guy is lobbing grenades at you. The solution? Go back, grab the Incinerate Plasmid, melt the ice in the way of the Telekenesis plasmid, go to the blocked door, pluck a grenade out of the air, and then redirect it at the door to blow it open.

The grenades have like a ten second fuse. Just kick the damn grenade over to the door!
Another one I forgot about. I swear Bioshock was trying to be recursive about that sh-t. The same with System Shock 2, but at least there, it usually felt like you were trying to stay one step ahead of an intelligent enemy who was trying to block your progress.

To be fair, there is some idiotic frige logic at work in Bioshock. IIRC, Atlas asked "would you kindly" get the telekenesis plasmid. Still...
 

Pimppeter2

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The Oblivion dark brotherhood mission were you need the key to the lighthouse cellar..

You just talk to the guy, that's it. Seems pretty pointless

Nice article
 

PiCroft

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Mar 12, 2009
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Shamus, does it count to rip on the idiotic key items in the Resident Evil games? I mean the designers of the buildings must have been mentally unbalanced to lock down every third door with a "Heart Key", or with a bloody chess piece!

Having said that, contrived key fetch quests are only contrived depending on the setting and even then it also depends on the wider implications of having plausibly inpenetrable doors; Almost every locked door in Resident Evil was wooden and therefore a prime candidate for simply shooting it open, or kicking it open. In many case, you had to go through hell and back to find the object that served as its key; a juice can, a nail file, a playing card, a furry dice, whatever the hell the nutter who made the door happened to have in his pocket. Despite this, just about every door opened in this way was wooden or perhaps easily opened by smashin the window set into the door (i.e. and office door). It would have been pretty incongruous if every door in the police station proper or in the opening parts of the mansion were steel reinforced vaults!
 

xscoot

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http://www.hlcomic.com/index.php?date=2006-07-17

Sums it all up nicely.
 

The Rogue Wolf

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Chipperz said:
That, or any survival horror door that requires a star-shaped pendant, an uncut ruby the size of a baby's skull and a three-speed vibrator to open.
This. Ye gods, this. I have still yet to understand how anyone working for Umbrella Corporation ever got anything the feck done, when just getting into your office cubicle required the Eagle of East, Wolf of West and three gemstones of various geometric shapes.

Then again, on the other hand, I'd have been pissed if two-thirds of the way through the place I'd stumbled across an "Employees Only" door that led to the front gate and company parking lot.
 

Avatar Roku

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xscoot said:
http://www.hlcomic.com/index.php?date=2006-07-17

Sums it all up nicely.
Wow, I can't believe you beat me to it. I was gonna link to that. Oh well.

Nice article, by the way.
 

Undeed

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The Milkman's mind in Psychonauts is a long string of fetch quests, each requiring a specific item to get past a specific G-Man. I forgive it because the writing is great and the G-Men are hilarious, but it is likely the longest string of fetch quests I have ever seen.
 

Hexenwolf

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Undeed said:
The Milkman's mind in Psychonauts is a long string of fetch quests, each requiring a specific item to get past a specific G-Man. I forgive it because the writing is great and the G-Men are hilarious, but it is likely the longest string of fetch quests I have ever seen.
While from a gameplay standpoint a long string of fetch quests can be frustrating, I actually think that particular instance doesn't fall under this. It was not ridiculous or unreasonable simply because you were inside someone else's mind. They had total control, and if they arbitrarily wanted you to get something to proceed, then they had the power to enforce it. So that actually meshes with the story.

As for ridiculous fetch quests that don't need to be done, I completely agree, please get rid of them. Matter of fact I literally cannot remember the last time I had to do this, but I am positively certain it's happened. The only possible answer is that my brain destroyed the memory so I would never have to think of it again.

And out of curiosity, which quest in Borderlands are you referring to? I've played through the entire game at least twice, and I can't remember that quest.

EDIT: OH OH OH, Sledge's Safehouse! Yea, that. I actually rather liked that quest, because I always enjoyed killing the Roid Rage Psycho and the key is actually a ring with thumbs attached (for a scanner presumably), which is both gruesome and funny. In retrospect, you're right, that gate was positively pathetic. I guess that particular one never really bothered me because I never saw the gate before getting the key, no part of the quests or story takes you by there. Which actually makes for a pretty hilarious situation. I can just imagine Brick showing up after tearing through dozens of bandits and taking one look at the gate before cursing the gods for at least 20 minutes. Like he imagined it was some insurmountable obstacle when he was told about it, but since he didn't actually see it he didn't know how easy it would've been to avoid it.
 

Helmutye

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Undoubtedly the single stupidest fetch quest I've ever played was in the old, old, OLD game Betrayal in Antara. The game was kind of like a pre-Oblivion, but the world was realistically large (it took several in game days to travel between towns, and the days, while not as long as an actual day, were still pretty darn long) and there was no fast travel. Traveling from one town to another could take as long as forty minutes, and because you got very little direction about what there was to do out there you could easily spend forty minutes heading to one town that sounded interesting, only to find out that the gate was locked and you weren't allowed to enter until later in the game.

The stupid fetch quest part requires a short background: one of the main characters, a young country bumpkin named Aren, has just discovered that he has magical powers. Now, magicians are dangerous if they don't learn how to control their emerging powers, so he and his new friend set out for some big city to find this famous mage who can teach Aren enough to keep him from blowing himself or anyone else up. A nice, simple first step to get you out into the world, right?

However, when you find the mage, he refuses to teach you until you go and find him some rare tea that he likes. There is a shop in the nearby city that supposedly has the tea, but when you get there you find out that the shop has been robbed and everything has been taken, including the tea. He tells you that the local loan shark and his goons trashed the place, and to go talk to him about it. The loan shark then has something he wants you to do, and so on (I can't remember the whole sequence, but if you don't know exactly what to do it easily takes six or seven hours of tedious, continuous play). Finally, after all that, you get the tea and bring it to the mage, who "hilariously" discovers that he actually had some left over in his other pocket, and therefore didn't need the tea at all! HA HA!!

What a stupid game...
 

keitarobg

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Another excellent article, Mr.Young!

I'm a huge adventure game fan and what freaks me out the most is when something is so damn close to you - let's say a little,tiny gap in a bridge - but your character just can't jump on the other side! Or can't stretch his hands to take something in close range. Something a baby can take with ease! The examples are numerous - one could say, that every adventure game has this annoying element - do something, that completely defines logic!

I mean, wtf game designers! Can't you make the gap a bit bigger, so it actually makes sense to solve all the freaking puzzles just to get to the other side! Sometimes I think game designers abandon logic and reason...which is weird for games, that rotate around logic and reason. Is it logical to just jump across the gap! It's logical just to crawl down the hole...I thought I was controlling a human being?!
 

Kollega

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Hey,i just had an idea! What i would really like to see is a subversion of a sidequest - as in:
Heroes do a part-time "dungeon cleaning". You can substitute crime den,military base,blah blah blah,for a "dungeon" if you want. They go off to fetch the key to a locked door. Then they see something they were not supposed to,and land neck-deep into epic adventure to stop yet another world domination plot.
 

Samurai Goomba

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Escape from Butcher Bay offers a lot of straightforward answers to simple puzzles (shotgun+locked door= freedom), but there's one part where you have to venture into a completely dark sublevel of the prison workings in order to locate a trinket for a stupid idiot doctor so he will then agree to perform surgery on your eyes or some crap which he DOESN'T EVER ACTUALLY DO and which YOU DON'T NEED, because you are Paul Muad'Dib and gain perfect awesome spice vision anyway, thanks to some trippy vision. This sidequest has infinitely spawning enemies, exploding barrels and forced you to constantly put away your weapons so you can toss out flares to light your way. It's IMPOSSIBLE to play this portion of the game during daylight hours (any glare is unacceptable), and it's generally just a horrible section. I hate it. I almost stopped playing Butcher Bay completely because of it.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, games like Jade Empire let you ignore, beat, kill, maim and otherwise surpass a lot of sidequests. Some are still required, but you can often just kill the person who wants your help and continue on your way. Or tell them what they can do with their offer.
 

WhiteTigerShiro

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Pointless fetch quests don't bug me as long as I can delve into what makes the game fun along the way. If I'm needlessly running around in town doing a lot of menial tasks, I'm going to start to wonder just why I'm bothering with it all when I could be out shooting dudes. On the other hand, if the quest giver ends his task with "and there will be lots of dudes to kill along the way," then sign me up.

I'm not a huge story gnome, though. A semantic non-realism like that doesn't really bother me. Burly door or flimsy door, if I need to get a key, I need to get a key. I'm usually more worried about whether or not I'll have fun fetching it.
 

Vlane

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Shamus Young said:
Vlane said:
Like always: A really nice article.

But can somebody help me? I haven't played Resident Evil 4 in a while and I have no idea which gate Shamus means but I want to know.
Once you rescue President's Daughter, just try to take her back the way you came in when you first entered the village.
Oh that gate.

It wouldn't make a lot of sense to go there because the bridge was destroyed at the beginning.

I know what you mean but it wouldn't really help to go there.