Side quests should be designed to offer more to a video game. They give us more reasons to spend time in its world and breathe in that extra lore and, of course, pick up bonus loot. The best side quests can be swift and a fun twist on the formula or, on the other end of the spectrum completely, be lengthy and rewarding in a deeper way.
Some may say side quests are totally optional content and that is technically true. But games that know how to use their side quests well just feel like more complete and enveloping experiences, that warm players to the idea of gunning for that 100% trophy.
As stories off the beaten path, there's certainly more space for experimentation and less time for testing. Because the focus is and should be on the main story of a title; sometimes side quests wind up buggy, unbalanced or just outright far too long.
This list will take a look at side quests that were broken, unfair or confusing. Perhaps more time and attention should've been taken or considered on this so-called optional content, because it stopped many players from completing everything the game had to offer.
10. Flying Rats - Grand Theft Auto IV
In every Grand Theft Auto game there’s always “that one side quest” that you don’t want to do. In GTA IV, it’s bound to be shooting the 200 pigeons located all over Liberty City, which is the number of hidden packages in Vice City and graffiti tags in San Andreas combined.
Even spotting them at all with a guide can be tricky as GTA IV is not the most colourful or eye-catching game so it’s easy to miss a grey pigeon in the very grey Liberty City. And with a list of 200, you’re bound to make a mistake when working your way through it.
There’s nothing quite like spending hours tracking down collectibles and not knowing which single one you missed, prompting you to do the entire list again - or throw your controller at the screen, whatever happens first.
To make this side mission even more time consuming is the fact that firing weapons on city streets will, naturally often incur the wrath of the local PD.
Shooting all 200 pigeons gets you the game’s best helicopter on the MeTV skyscraper, but it rarely spawns if you use the window washing platform to reach the top. Meaning in order to use your helicopter, you may need a helicopter to get there which… puts the hours you spent to get the reward into a humbling perspective.