Side quests usually are something that many gamers look to as throw away missions that help you gain experience, but don’t really give you much in terms of narrative and excitement. In most games, I have to agree. Many titles simply have side quests as simple fetch quests and nothing more. Yet as I play The Witcher 3, my views on side quests are starting to to change. Let’s dive into what sets its secondary quests apart from other games’.
Usually when you play a side mission of side quest, it is pretty basic. You’ll have to go fetch something, or go find someone, or maybe even protect a person / animal from point A to point B. I’m not knocking that formula, but I’ just stating that this is what we usually see from the side quest scene.
The thing I absolutely love about The Witcher 3 is that the side quests were so carefully crafted and require some actual work to progress through them. Sometimes once they are done, you even get some more story to accompany the completion as well.
I especially love doing witcher contracts. These are where you literally hunt down a beast at a towns person’s request and slay it. I think that this mechanic is good enough to form a small game out of in its own, but that’s another topic for another day.
For example, and I won’t give any places or names away, but I was on a witcher contract and I slayed the beast. I head back to the tavern that I was contracted to kill in and after I’m paid, two people come up to me to try and start a fight.
I decided to partake in the fight and ended up killing them. As I stepped out of the tavern, the guys’ dad is screaming that I killed his sons and ended his namesake / bloodline. I was then escorted off to a jail and finally had to bargain my way with the ruler of that land on my freedom.
Seeing how a simple witcher contract turned itself into a whole ordeal put a huge smile on y face and kind of caught me off guard. To see such s simple and fun aspect of the game extended and given a narrative really made me happy and it’s something that I applaud CD Projekt Red for.
Since then, I’ve ran into a few more fun side quests that result in some sort of extra adventure, but I will spare the details as to not spoil anything.
Now when I say that I think The Witcher’s side quests “blow other games’ out fo the water,” I mean their side quests and not the game as a whole. Rarely have I seen many other games have paths that diverge off of side quests and improve on the somewhat boring tradition of making side missions “fetch quests” and things of that nature.
The only other games that really spring to mind in recent memory like that are Skyrim and Fallout 3. I think that Bethesda in general just knows how to give that special something to their secondary missions and I really appreciate that. After spending this much time with The Witcher 3, I think I may just have to move CD Projekt Red into that category with them
I will confess that if I’m being 100% honest, doing the witcher contracts and secondary missions in The Witcher 3 have brought me just as much, if not more, enjoyment than the three titles that I have in the feature image.
I’m not saying that I hated those games, but the joy that W3’s secondary missions and witcher contracts brought me has surpassed the fun factor that Thief, Assassin’s Creed III, and Watch_Dogs brought me. I hate sounding negative, but I truly think that The Witcher 3 is just that special of a title.
I hope that after reading this, my point is more clear. I am not tearing down the general consensus of what side missions usually are, but instead I am raising up The Witcher 3 and CD Projekt Red for what they’ve done on that front. Who knows, maybe their work in that field will inspire other developers to enhance their games’ side missions as well.
I guess only time will tell.