I’m about 20 hours into Ni No Kuni Wrath of the White Witch, and I’ve just been given the ability to travel around the world freely with a rather nifty travel spell. This is the point that I look forward to in most JRPGs. That moment when you are taken off the rails and allowed to zoom around, completing the little things you forgot to do in previous locations.
The main reason I love this? Sidequests. I love nothing more than a good sidequest, and I can spend hours hunting around for flowers that people want, and beating up monsters that are causing havoc. There’s just something so rewarding about it, and Ni No Kuni has done an excellent job of this.
As soon as I enter a town in Ni No Kuni I make sure to accept all the side missions, and sign up for all the bounties. To be honest, I don’t really absorb all the information in these little extra quests until I’m looking through my journal and wondering ‘What on earth did this person want?’, but when you go out onto the world map and see all these little icons hovering over where you need to be, there’s a real sense of excitement that washes over me. I’m thinking to myself ‘Is that a new bounty? Or is that where that person needed me to find something?’.
I can’t quite explain it, but I’ve always love sidequests. Even in games that aren’t JRPGs, there is still an element of excitement at being able to explore some more when you recieve an ‘Optional mission’ in something like Bioshock Infinite. To tell the truth, I only really managed to do about two optional missions, but that’s because I was too busy drooling over the landscape and wanting to know more about what on earth was going on (my ponderings on the ending of that will be coming very, soon I promise).
Extra missions just add a little bit of extra fun to games. You get extra things for your efforts, some of which are a bit useless, but it’s worth plodding through all the rubbish ones to get the good stuff. In the case of JRPGs you normally end up getting a lot of money that would have taken you ages to scrounge from grinding out in the field, or you get some rather handy pieces of equipment for free that will help you later in the game.
I find it quite sad when people ignore sidequests in games though, like they’re not important. I can understand just wanting to get on with the main story and not get too distracted, but side quests really help you learn more about the character you are either playing as, or the others you are travelling with. Ni No Kuni is full of witty banter on the optional parts, and it really adds even more magic to the already wonderful story. It gives you even more time to appreciate the world you’re in, and regardless of whether I’m hunting down a giant beastie, or simply foraging for flowers, I haven’t been let down by a side quest yet.
Are you a side quest fanatic, or a main story plower?