Quests and missions in video games take many forms, and the best of them can be more memorable than the main story - especially in epic RPGs. Whether it’s for a self-contained story that puts you on the edge of your seat, introducing a game-changing event or mechanic, or simply combining all the great elements of the game so far into one, we wanted to know which are your favourite missions and best quests in video games.
We’re relaxed with the definition of ‘quest’. We’re counting anything that essentially has an objective in video games, whether it is a clearly laid-out mission, a series of more ambiguous related events as you might find in a Soulslike, or even minigames that take you away from the intensity of the main story for a while. Here are your picks, spanning a vast array of games, but please be warned of many spoilers for the quests discussed herein.
The Great Hunt - Fallout 4: Far Harbor
The Far Harbor expansion for Fallout 4 is one of the creepiest in the entire franchise, as the island on which it takes place is covered in a radioactive fog which conceals a menagerie of terrifying monsters. @LetitiaTHELemon has nominated The Great Hunt as her favourite quest, which is all about a “monster with piercing red eyes that has sunk a plethora of ships” nearby.
“The creature is a legend in the area, implied to be something menacing and horrific. As you go to take down the beast, you discover a much smaller creature than you’ve been led to expect - one which I thought was far too adorable to neutralise. I always feel a little bit guilty because, even though The Great Hunt is an optional quest and you don’t HAVE to kill it, it’s my preferred ending to the DLC so, sadly, this little critter has to be dealt with. I always wish there was an option to tame it and keep it as a pet elsewhere, there’s just something cute about it… and the quest overall has such a different feel compared to a lot of other quests in which you actually have to fight a big, menacing creature. It’s a fun change of pace.”
More Than Words - Final Fantasy XVI
Settling on just one quest to nominate from dozens of Final Fantasy games must be an almost impossible task, but @lanah_tyra has managed it with More Than Words, from this year’s Final Fantasy XVI. This quest focuses on the bond between Clive, the protagonist, and Torgal, his loyal, furry companion, and it certainly tugs on the ol' heartstrings.
“Clive follows his loyal companion Torgal, as the fine hound seems to be upset and keeps looking out at the horizon from the hideaway. Torgal takes him back to Rosaria, to Clive’s childhood hideout where they used to spend a lot of time together, away from the reaches of Rosalith Castle. What Clive finds at his old hideout will tell him more than words could about how much Torgal missed him during those long years spent apart.”
Lanah went on to explain that FFXVI as a whole has a number of side quests that are essential to play if you want to learn more about the characters, their relationships, and why they are the people they’ve become. She explains that “these connections and friendships are so important because without the support Clive gets from his friends throughout the game, he would not have the strength to complete his task.”
Triple Triad - Final Fantasy VIII
The Final Fantasy series has given us some of the industry’s best-ever RPGs, especially during it’s PS1-era heyday, so we’re not at all surprised to see a second FF quest make our list. This one comes from Final Fantasy VIII, still the most criminally underrated entry from said heyday. @tyrannosaur has nominated its Triple Triad minigame, the original RPG card game and thus, as @nicole points out, a spiritual precursor to Gwent in The Witcher 3. As Philip explains, you could challenge certain NPCs throughout Final Fantasy VIII to a match, and defeating them would allow you to take a card from their deck.
“The fun starts when building your card collection as some monsters drop their card upon death. Each card has numbers indicating their power, and you place a card on a 3x3 grid. If you place it adjacent to another card that has weaker power on the sides that touched it becomes your colour. You and the NPC take turns to play cards and try to get most of the cards to be your colour to win.”
Simple to pick up but with a variety of special rules to add depth, and an irresistible, bouncy soundtrack from Final Fantasy’s peerless composer Nobuo Uetmasu, Triple Triad was a treat (except when one of those rules forced upon you a hand randomly drawn from your whole collection - that was not cool). Philip recalls reading guides to learn the best strategies, along with where to find the most powerful card locations. One time, when he lost his rarest card after losing to an NPC, it turned him off the game for a few days - something I think we’ve all been through when suffering a setback in one video game or another.
Come Fly With Me - Fallout New Vegas
We’ve had two quests from Final Fantasy, so why not another from Fallout? This one comes from @Cjae, who has nominated the Come Fly With Me quest in Fallout New Vegas. Any New Vegas fans reading this will immediately recognise Come Fly With Me as one of the most memorable quests in what is still the series’ most memorable game; it involves helping a bunch of friendly ghouls repair their rocket and blast off into space.
“The first time I found this quest, I had aligned with the town of Novac and Boone, one of my favourite Fallout companions. I had just gotten my charisma high enough to get his quest, but I didn’t know where to start looking, and at the time, I didn’t know that side quest could be done entirely in Novac. So I hiked all the way to the plant where Come Fly With Me takes place in search of this other quest and discovered the ghouls by happy accident. Whenever I replay New Vegas, it’s one of the side quests I seek out if only to get to talk to Jason and Chris again. I always help the ghouls to fly.”
Death Stranding - Episode 4: Unger
Finally, @DaSamCheck has nominated Episode 4: Unger from Death Stranding as his favourite quest. Death Stranding is a divisive game: some players bounced off it quickly while others gelled with its weird, courier-esque gameplay, and among the latter group, it’s common to find that this affection is strong - many will say it’s one of their favourite games of all time. Episode 4: Unger teleports Sam Bridges (Norman Reedus), the protagonist, back in time to a World War I battlefield and introduces Cliff Unger, portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen. Here’s Sam’s take on what happens next:
“This episode is just phenomenal. It delves deeper into the game’s mysterious and complex narrative, adding another jigsaw piece to the already enormous puzzle that is the nature of Death Stranding. And Cliff Unger is absolutely badass in this episode… no other character comes close to just how cool he plays his part. And then you have to fight him? God damn, it’s spectacular.”
What is your favourite quest in video games? We’ll likely run this bounty again in the future, so have a think and let us know in the comments, then submit your answer when it comes around again!