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Submitted by PockyKing 751d ago | opinion piece

Too Many Side Missions In Open World Games Is A Bad Idea

OnlySP: Though you may not think it, games have objectives themselves. They can have a goal to make us think, make us sad or make us re-evaluate things. However, the number one goal for a game, in my opinion, is to entertain. What is the point of playing a game if it bores you to tears? You become uninterested, annoyed and frustrated that you spent your hard-earned cash on something that you don’t enjoy. How does modern open world gaming rectify this? More objectives. More side missions. More “stuff” to do. Yet is this necessarily a good thing? Let’s discuss. (Assassin's Creed III, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Batman: Arkham City, PC, PS3, Xbox 360)

maniacmayhem  +   751d ago
This is my number one problem with A LOT of open world games and why I hardly finish any of them. The side missions just really bore the living hell out of me.

I have yet to finish one GTA because I got bored quickly. Fetch this, shoot that, gain this guys trust, deliver this, repeat, repeat.

I agree with the Batman: AC, those side missions were the best. It made it feel like it's own story not some fetch/filler quest like a lot of these other open world games make you do.

I never played any of the Assassin's Creed games only because they never appealed to me but I understand his point. Good article.
PockyKing  +   751d ago
Yea, unless your a competitionist player I can't push myself to go through all the fodder content. I normally play the game for the main storyline, do some exploration and then come back to the game every once in a while if I have nothing to play. Pretty much the way I play all open-world games.
nidhogg  +   751d ago
But for me I love side missions. i don't know, these missions just satisfy the buck I gave for the game. It makes the game longer and that is good. I understand that some people can be bored so fast but sometimes, games like Skyrim, Fallout, and all the others makes it sooo much rewarding despite all the things you have to do which do not relate to the main storyline. That said, I love side missions: It just gives a game some sense of "worth it"-ness for me; longevity and replayability too. so it's fine.
I agree completely with you. The more side missions, the longer the game, the more "bang for your buck" you receive. Also what's an "open world" game without side missions? I think open world games should have as many side missions as developers can cram in there. The beauty is that anyone who disagrees with that, doesn't have to play the side missions.
mobijoker  +   751d ago
Can't agree more....Side missions sometimes even surpasses the main storyline...Main storyline will unfold no matter what you do...but some side missions quests have to be found...There lies the biggest point of open world games because you have to explore it to find new missions...
anticlimax  +   751d ago
When sidemissions are a bigger part of the story than the main story, for me, we've got a problem. I don't even remember the main story in Skyrim, all the sidemissions made the game feel scattered to me. (at least in Morrowind the main story changed the world in some ways, it made you remember)
Bigpappy  +   751d ago
You need side missions in an open world games. But they should not be fetch missions, and should have some substance. When you go to new area, you should be presented with the conditions and then make a choice as to deal with it or leave it as is. So will be happy to just explore and loot, but I like to help shape things. There were missions in Skyrim I never finished because I did not like what they were forcing me to do. I only do what I want to do, so I did not get into the brotherhood or the thieves guilds.
PsylentKiller  +   751d ago
Side missions in an RPG are worth exploring for me but in a game like Assassin's Creed, they don't seem to add anything to the experience other than give you some money. I think that's why I traded in all my AC games after I beat them.
SpiralTear  +   751d ago
They should have side missions that actually mean something. Saints Row IV did a great job with side missions. Not only were they really fun to play (especially ones like Insurance Fraud), but they gave you money and XP, which were used to improve your character. They also weren't everywhere: they were plentiful, but not pointlessly common.

Side missions should be fun AND meaningful. A lot of open-world series have lost their way in that regard.
GameSpawn  +   751d ago
Everything about SR4 was great EXCEPT the damn challenge involving traveling 2.5Mil ft in an Alien vehicle.

This was SUCH a bore. For those not familiar with SR4 that think traveling 2.5Mill ft in any vehicle much less an alien one (considering it was easy to travel that far in vehicles in SR3) would be a natural occurrence -- NOPE, you MUST go WAY out of your way to use alien vehicles throughout the game much less drive/fly them that far. The super powers become the MOST efficient way to get around, so much so that NOT using them and forcing yourself to use alien vehicles is outright painful.

Needless to say I eventually pulled it off with a rubber band and flying in circles with the alien VTOL. It was the last thing I needed before I got my Platinum.
SpiralTear  +   751d ago
Yes, the super powers do make vehicles rather obsolete, but they fix a big problem that many other open-world games have suffered from: slow transportation between missions.

Saints Row IV made movement exciting and fluid instead of slow and tedious. Getting from one mission to another in other open-world games just plain sucks. It makes the downtime obnoxious. More games need to do what Saints Row IV did, maybe not with superpowers, but by making the transportation exciting.
first1NFANTRY  +   751d ago
I agree to a certain degree. I found myself latching onto any side quest available in Skyrim and completely forgot about the actual plot. After completing a few SQ i got so bored with the game i traded it in.

So i guess you could say too many side quests can potentially ruin a game.
#3 (Edited 751d ago ) | Agree(5) | Disagree(5) | Report | Reply
kratoz1209  +   751d ago
The only open world game that i finished 100% was infamous 2
-Foxtrot  +   751d ago
AC4 has a ton of stuff to do, I don't mind the missions like Assassin/Naval contracts or the Templar Keys/Mayan Seal quests but it's the chests and animus fragments scattered around the's like REALLY your expecting me to collect all them.

I wouldn't mind but you have like one chest on a small island, so you have to stop your ship, swim out to the island, grab the ONE chest, swim back and repeat....IT'S SO BORING and tedious. I don't mind them in cities because there's loads of them and you can get everything in one go.

You know I've been spending ages trying to platinum the game but totally forgot about the strupid multiplayer trophies <sigh>. Level 55.....HA...I don't think so. I don't understand why they separate DLC content for the game when you click on it but don't separate the Online
#5 (Edited 751d ago ) | Agree(3) | Disagree(6) | Report | Reply
showtimefolks  +   751d ago
i know i don't play many side missions unless i am being forced to do so to level up. Most side missions just aren't interested or don't hold the same level of polish as the main story

Dynamic side missions is what many open world games need. Witcher 3 is suppose to have some very interesting side missions but let's see

Mass Effect series side missions were awesome i hope more game developers look into making side missions better. Instead of touting that our game is 100 hours long just give us 40 hour game but 40 of the best hours possible. I rather play a great open world game that's 35-40 hours than a boring one with 100 plus hours
lonelyplayer  +   751d ago
Amalur and Skyrim have to much garbage missions.
tanookisuit  +   751d ago
I definitely felt some of the side quests in Skyrim dragged on too much. Anything involving the Dwarven ruins really pissed me off. I get it; the ruins are magnificent and should be explored, but it was too excessive!!!

Edit: Does Mass Effect 2's planet scanning count? Seriously, that whole thing ruined ME2 for me.
#7.1 (Edited 751d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(4) | Report | Reply
MAULxx  +   751d ago
I love the Skyrim freeform missions.
The main quest line was good but some of the free form quests were awesome. They had their own little stories.
Some, you had to read a few journals to get the story but man, I love that about Skyrim. There's a story everywhere if your looking.
Batman Arkham City on the other hand, I just quit playing it. It felt like a bunch of filler & padding to wade through just to get to the next part of the story.
Pissed me off because I thought Asylum was spectacular.

The Witcher 3 is supposed to be addressing this problem. We'll see how it turns out.
I think Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor has a interesting approach to this as well.
#7.2 (Edited 751d ago ) | Agree(5) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
lonelyplayer  +   748d ago
the daedras missions were good
abbyrose  +   751d ago
I try and finish most of the side quests when playing a game. However, if it's something mundane like backtrack though multiple levels to find this super secret weapon, find 200 of these hidden items, or help all these people find this sort of item and deliver it to them than I don't see the point.
#8 (Edited 751d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
NikX  +   751d ago
This is very true.. it can be a bit overwhelming sometimes.
_FantasmA_  +   751d ago
I don't care if its a fetch mission or to kill someone, but any side mission should add to the main story or get you valueble items and weapons. I hate sidemissions that don't add anything to the game and are just there to add padding or for a pointless trophy. Deus Ex Human Revolution is one game that was ruined by the side quests (but the main character sucked bad too), and Borderlands 1 and 2 are guilty of this.
DasBunker  +   751d ago
Borderlands 1 maybe.. but i thought BL2 greatly improved on the variety and quality of the side missions. Were they all involved into the story? no, but they were fun.
aNDROiD17_  +   751d ago
exactly what I've been saying about gta online. one of the reasons it sucked was because of side missions. nobody is playing with each other there just all busy doing there own thing and I'm left bored. GTA IV online was better
A LIVING LEGEND  +   751d ago
Alot of games seem to amount to nothing more than a collection of tedious 'side missions '.Take them away and you are left with an eight hour main storyline set in one corner of a dead sandbox that you just shelled out 60$ for....
Most,not all,open world games are tedious and exceedingly bland after the initial 'whoa!' wears off.
anticlimax  +   751d ago
Rather play a great 8h game than a less compelling 100h one. But what makes, a game great is different to everyone. A lot of people play pokemon games to literally collect all the pokemons. The great thing about those games is that you don't have to.
Elwenil  +   751d ago
Personally, I like side missions if they are well done. I didn't have any problem with any of the side missions in GTA 5, or any Rockstar game that I can think of. I may not do them all 100% of the time, but I don't feel pressured to do them either. To me it's just more value for my money.

In the case of Skyrim, the side missions gave the whole world much more life. Yes, there were "go here, kill a guy and come back" missions but there were also quests about items in books that had their own story and seemingly, their own history. To me it really gave me the feeling that the world was old and there was an ancient history there. In my opinion, it was a huge improvement over Oblivion which seemed to be more scattered with pointless dungeons with no real story to back up why they were there or why you should waste time in them. But Skyrim nailed it to me and I could really get into the idea of the land having a real past and all the crumbling stone buildings had a history. Admittedly the overuse of the Draugr pulled you out of the illusion often and there really could have been a lot more variety in the enemies in some locations but I think the storyline for most of the side missions made up for it. Just my .02
Adolph Fitler  +   751d ago
TOO much openness in open world games can suck...There is definitely a place for HEAVILY narrative driven games...Sometimes you've gotta be in the mood to go traversing all over the countryside to get to a mission start....then to have to repeat it several times, if you fail.. It's probably been my biggest gripe with the GTA series, as in this day & age, JUST PUT ME UP TO WHERE IS WAS UP TO if I die, as it can get real tedious, real fast, having to slog through the same section several times, & too much time lost on doing shit over & over.

I love GTA5, SR, Sleeping Dogs, etc, but there is definitely a HUGE place for the more narrative, linear style of games as well. I know heaps of people who get turned off by games like GTA, RDR, & such because of the traversing around & how it can get boring & tedious. A lot of my mates were especially like that with RDR, because there was A LOT of boring slogging around on horseback to get to wherever, & it was a lot of sparse, boring, open world that really didn't need to be there....if they could offer excitement & value in these open world games, at EVERY TURN, EVERY CORNER, then it would hook more people, but that would be an impossible task, so sometimes it's just better to cut out the excess fat, & just offer a balanced, fun, exciting, thrill ride from start to finish...This is why Unchartered & TLOU are such great games, I believe...just like many other games of there ilk, they might not offer you the freedom of a GTA, but you don't miss that freedom, as your hooked in the excellent story, characters, & narrative.
As for completely open world sandbox games having side missions, why the hell not..Gives us as customers better value fro money, doesn't it? And in this milk heavy, charged content, half game releasing gaming environment were currently experiencing....anywhere you can get extra value from a game purchase, should not be scoffed at. As if it were up to Capcom, MS, & Activision, they would all have us bent over, ripping us a new one, for every little scrap they can charge us for.
urwifeminder  +   751d ago
I have about 10 open world games that I like but have not finished they seem tedious hate traveling a lot it kills my interest very fast must admit orbs are a whole different kind of fun.
#15 (Edited 751d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
UltraAtomic  +   751d ago
Nope what i do first and i do mean "first" is the main quest, and beat it. then when i done i do the side quests. i am the one complaining that the game needs more side missions. "that way" you still got much to do after you beat the game.
DJrantz  +   751d ago
I had this problem with Xenoblade Chronicles.
ironfist92  +   751d ago
Borderlands does Side Quests right imo. They are fun, narrative driven, and sometimes quirky and humorous allowing for an enjoyable experience with a decent payoff of money, loot and experience, along with an often hilarious conclusion.
Ashby_JC  +   751d ago
You know your really starting to dislike a game when you get a mission or quest...and it's all the way on the other side of the map..!!!

I'm thinking...."Mann I don't want ...our fell like driving/walking waaaay over there!!!"

GTA5 comes to mind...especially in the online missions etc. Who the heck thought this would be fun....having to go way north to get some stupid van.Lol
tweet75  +   751d ago
side quests should not be there unless they add something significantly meaningful to the main game/story.
Nerdmaster  +   751d ago
Too many side quests is one of the reason I stopped playing Xenoblade. It's easy to say "just don't do them", but I can't get over the feeling that some of them might gave good rewards and I might be losing them.
ion53  +   751d ago
Personally, I find side content essencial. If it isn't there,mI feel the world is dead. It also makes me feel my £55 went to good use.
SneakyDoo  +   744d ago
I enjoy side quests, it just adds more content in the package after the main campaign is over. Besides, I indulge being a completionist, or is it just OCD?

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