In the incredibly popular open-world games that often prove to be the best of each year, side games and side quests can prove to be as enjoyable as the main storyline. With unique mechanics and strong in-game rewards, we are more than willing to step off from the main track to indulge in these side games.
Some side games are so good that they have been able to immerse us in what are, for the most part, meaningless items to the greater schemes at play in the game. These three were able to keep us battling away long beyond the point usually deemed acceptable for a side quest.
The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, Gwent
The Witcher III: Wild Hunt can be quite daunting to new players due to its unruly difficulty curve. Even trotting around the open world in the early missions can have you fighting unwinnable battles against enemies far greater than yourself. That said, it’s this aspect of the game that has you seeking to conquer every aspect of it, including all of its challenges.
One of the most difficult challenges to complete in The Witcher III: Wild Hunt is Gwent. The unique card game is fairly intuitive, and the in-game tutorial helps to get you going, but once you find yourself assembling your first deck, you’ll almost certainly be hooked. You go around challenging all of the non-playable characters to games of Gwent to better your skills and earn rewards. Each win will often earn more Gwent cards to bolster your deck, but the ultimate prize is completing the ‘Collect ‘Em All’ Quest.
Red Dead Redemption 2, Poker
Red Dead Redemption 2 is hailed as a masterpiece in video gaming, boasting a vast open world filled with exciting and unexpected side games. As was the case with its predecessor, Red Dead Redemption 2 pulls in the real feel of the Old West by allowing you to sit down and play a number of the staple games of the time, most notably poker.
With the obvious reward being to stack chips and cash in-game, we would sit for hours in the salon in Saint-Denis to extract every last cent from the table. The reason why this particular side game appeals to so many gamers is that learning how to play the game is quite easy. As shown by the popularity of Texas hold’em poker online, learning the card game isn’t difficult, and then using your skill to overcome opponents becomes the ultimate reward.
God of War, Niflheim
God of War won "game of the year" awards all over the world and may just be one of the greatest video games of all time. There are many challenging side quests to conquer, including taking down the notoriously difficult Valkyrie and completing the trials of Muspelheim, but the one that stands out as both enjoyable and high pressure is God of War's Niflheim.
The separate realm requires you to run into a poisonous mist to open chests and defeat enemies to claim unique items which then unlock mighty rewards. You can also spend these items to make better equipment to keep you in the mist for longer. The catch is that the maze continues to change, and if you don’t find your way out in time, you lose all of your loot.
Building the best deck in Gwent, defeating the best that the Old West has to offer at the poker table, and conquering the challenge of Niflheim stand among some of the best and most rewarding side games of recent top-class titles.