Well, they do say that variety is the spice of life. Variety in video games, on the other hand, is just as important — especially to hungry gamers. Everyone loves to shovel through a well-written narrative and never feel bogged out by repetitive quest chains and dull carousel stories. But, sadly, there is quite a selection of games that tend to lose sight of the originality in every quest and opt for the easier route. That route, annoyingly, can either make or break a game.
As players, we’re usually happy to give every type of mission a whirl. Whether it be navigating a plane through a crowded city suburb or chasing down a criminal in anger; every mission can provide some level of entertainment in one way or another. That is until we have to do it ten times over, and the whole game becomes more of a chore than a joy. That’s when we lose sight of the conclusion and end up shelving the game entirely. But just what missions do break a game? What head-throbbing tasks make millions of gamers worldwide want to hang up the controller?
5. Trailing Missions
Assassin’s Creed is pretty guilty of using this method for a large portion of its stories. Unfortunately, trailing missions are what begin or end most tasks in every entry to the series. But we can’t target one specific franchise with this one — as many games include trailing as a major part to the gameplay structure. Plus, it isn’t always slow-paced walking alongside an enemy that counts as trailing. No, sometimes it means having to tail another vehicle for twenty minutes without driving too close. That can be frustrating — especially when we just want to take a huge bite into some gripping gameplay and move on.
We’ve all had to endure the painful slog of keeping up with an NPC, and it never gets any less infuriating. Our joysticks are usually slightly pushed forward, and for fifteen minutes — all we do is sit and wait. Of course, this is perfectly acceptable in most cases, but overusing this sort of mission can easily bring the reputation of a game down to its knees.
4. Escort Missions
Now, we’re not exactly targeting games that evolve around escorting as the main premise (like The Last of Us, Resident Evil 4 etc.) but more side-quests with useless NPC’s. Sort of like Ghost of Tsushima, where a chunk of mini-tasks are based on escorting defenceless villagers back to their homes. And, while that may be somewhat enjoyable the first few times — it definitely doesn’t make it any more interesting after the fiftieth run. Luckily, Ghost of Tsushima makes up for the shortfalls with one of the greatest entries to action-adventure gaming to date. But that’s beside the point.
We all love to feel powerful as we march a poor victim through the storm in search of a lighthouse. We don’t, however, enjoy having to act as a tour guide for the whole world’s convenience. A few times, sure — but never more than a handful. Escort missions eventually grow stale, and many of us grow tired of having to listen to the same cry for help twenty times over.
3. Time-based Missions
Nothing says “fun” like screaming through a clock as we button-mash our way to victory. Until, of course, we don’t succeed — and we’re left repeating the same mission ten times over due to the cruel amount of time given for the goal. That’s when we tend to put down the pad and go for a walk in frustration. Only after that do we retry the mission and usually dominate the hourglass. But, we can’t deny the fact that time-based missions have brought many hours of defeat and annoyance over the years.
Usually striking us like an uppercut to the jaw; time-based missions tend to creep up at the worst possible moments. Just when we’re ready to take a stroll on a new quest with a few detours to spare — bang — countdown time, friend. That’s exciting and everything — but not when its dropped on our shoulders every twenty minutes.
Depending on your reflexes, quick-time events can either make or break a gaming experience. Of course, everybody wants to possess ninja skills and trigger every button when shown — but a lot of us struggle to keep the rhythm at all. And, when there are lives on the line or secret endings to unlock, those QTE’s can become the overwhelming sparks of pressure that we could probably do without.
It doesn’t seem fair to put the outcome of a character in the hands of our reflexes, to be fair. Even if we’ve nailed every other part of the story — it seems wrong that one misplaced finger can lead to the reckoning of our journey. Of course, it feels fantastic when we do pop the QTE bubbles, but having to turn back the clock over one or two missed ones can feel incredibly disheartening — and that’s not fun.
1. Takeover Missions
There’s no greater slump than having to defeat an enemy and reclaim a camp sixty times over. Of course, plastering through the first few can feel fantastic — especially in the early stages of the adventure. But, when developers look to rely on filler material that usually consists of repetitive takeover missions — that’s when we begin to lose faith in the game altogether. Sadly, this method is used in a whole heap of video games these days, and we often lose ninety-percent of the story to unnecessary filler. Of course, some may enjoy the grind — but we can’t pretend like it doesn’t touch a nerve at the best of times.
Opening up a map and noticing the hundreds of copy and paste camps can feel somewhat overwhelming at first. But we scratch away and tick the boxes in any case — hoping that the completion will lead to a big pay-off. Only, there rarely is, and we’re usually left wondering why we made such a sacrifice in the first place. Unless, of course, you’re a completionist — in which case you have no choice but to face the music and grind. I suppose that’s all you really can do when the platinum is on the line.