The Payoff

  • What makes a side quest worth it? A new ability? New gear? An emotional cutscene? Golden poo? A stack of xp, money and/or consumables? Maybe just knowing you're that much closer to 100%?

    What are some of your favourite rewards for side quests?

  • For me, it has to be something I can use in game and preferably unique. I don't want a trophy or a house to decorate or an item I can easily find elsewhere. I want the Biggoron's Sword or Mega Man's hadouken. I generally look at games as things I play, rather than "experiences" so I just want more toys in my toybox to play with.

  • It's not really a reward, but my favorite side quests always involve stories that are unlike anything seen in the main quest. Gravity Rush 2 comes to mind. A lot of it's side quests feels like filler stuff, not because they're bad, it's just that the stories can be so odd at times, and it's a quite entertaining break from the main quests. One of my favorites is being chased around the city by a hungry ally because you're delivering a top secret package that turns out to be a big-ass cake.

    I also love side quests that have unique mission structures/setups. The Mythic Tales in Ghost of Tsushima are great example of this, these missions feel more supernatural than anything else, and it's awesome to see that contrast. Not to mention them having super unique rewards, which goes directly into the next thing I'm talking about.

    If we're strictly talking about rewards, then I really like side quests that gives you an unique item/equipment, like the Shield-Weaver armor in Horizon Zero Dawn, or the RYNO gun in the Ratchet & Clank games. The rewards for these are so clearly unique, it's worth completing them just to try these things out.

  • I think it depends on the game for me. I'm always looking for an emotional payoff for a good portion of the games I play, say something like Final Fantasy VI where a lot of the characters stories can be skipped outright if you don't go out of your way to play them, but they're at the core of what the game is about and you become more attached to your party because of them. This is especially true if the story segment comes with a special piece of gear for the party member; Chrono Trigger has a portion where you can get Frog's weapons powered up and a conclusion to his story all in one part.

    On the other end, I also love cosmetic things, but it depends on the function and the form. I'm reviewing Crash 4 right now, and even though the costumes don't do anything, they're a fun incentive to go back and get all the gems in a level to look a little different. This doesn't always work for me in other games where in something like Souls or MMO games, people are typically more interested in how something looks, and I refuse to use a piece of armor if another uglier one is more effective. I think for me, there needs to be a palpable amount of effectiveness gain on top of how it's presented in the context of the story itself, if the story isn't the main thing itself. But again, that's all me.

  • Any kind of item that's not a consumable. If it is a consumable, it better be a damn rare one, or be accompanied by a really fun moment.

    The quality of the side quest is also a factor. They all need to be as different from each other as possible. Skyrim's samey dungeons and fetch quests made the game age quickly for me.

  • All the sidequest's in Xenoblade are small side stories to tell. Some can be as simple as find my friend who got lost.

    While others can go pretty deep, like how among these small, cute and fluffy Nopon creatures, some of them are actually drug dealers and you end up investigating who is the drug lord and then taking him down.

    Just fun extra side stories to an already amazing campaign. Completeing them also helps raise party affinity, gives you items, earns experience and also gives you money.

  • I haven't played Xenoblade yet, but I think that it matches my feelings towards Persona 5. Basically anything you do has a tangible payoff for both the story of a character or party member, and an enhancement of some mechanic that will in some way benefit the game or a character.