There's nothing quite like getting stuck into a brand new RPG, delving into lands unknown and meeting all the people that dwell within them. But there's no getting away from the fact that some of the main quests can be riddled with clichés. Save one princess/planet/galaxy and you've saved them all.
Any digital adventurer worth their salt knows that the treats lie off the beaten path, in side quest land. In honour of The Witcher 3, a true master of the dramatic aside, we opted to get ourselves blind drunk, warp a few minds, dump some bodies and murder our fans, all in the name of bringing you the weirdest side quests in RPG history...
Fallout 3 - Oasis
The desolate wastes of Fallout 3 aren't known for their nature tours, but explore long enough and you'll find a lush forest. Drink from the basin of purification and prepare to meet The Great One. The game does a great job of hyping you up to meet a God, and then introduces you to a talking tree who'll ask you to kill him. Whatever you decide, there's a clear moral here: stay away from nature, and stick to video games. Nature only leads to trouble and talking trees.
Fable 2 - Love Hurts
Theres nothing more romantic than harvesting body parts for a mad scientist so he can resurrect his dead girlfriend. Indeed, it would take a real cad to step in the way of Cupid's arrow. Enter Fable 2: Cad Simulator. The resurrected Lady Grey will fall in love with the first person she sees. Sure, you could let true love win out and leave the scientist to his beloved, or you can let her fall in love with you and poach yourself a handy undead girlfriend. Hang on, true love at first sight? Realism in games is dead.
Fallout 3: Point Lookout - Walking With Spirits
Thought Fallout 3 would tone down the weirdness for the DLC? Think again. Exposure to Point Lookout's powerful punga seeds leaves you with visions of passive-aggressive bobble-heads, a red saw in the sky and a giant needle sewing the ground. Followed by violin trees, exploding Nuka-Cola bottles and, uh, what? Relax, Wastelander, there's no need to panic. This is all a harmless hallucination. In reality you're actually just undergoing unsolicited brain surgery. Phew!
Diablo 3 - Development Hell
Playing Diablo 3 on Nightmare, or an even higher difficulty (we think well pass, thanks), gives you the chance to trigger this rare, zombie-stuffed level. Gaming's most generic foes are spiced up a bit when you notice that they're all named after the Diablo 3 development team, with the descriptions of the monsters showing you their job titles. Trust us, after a few hours of enduring Nightmare difficulty, you'll relish putting the boot in to the dude who built the 3D model of said boot.
Dark Souls - Save Solaire of Astore
There are no obvious side quests in Lordran, because that would involve helping out the player, and this is Dark Souls we're talking about. But who wouldn't want to save Solaire of Astora? His love of sunlight, jolly optimism and this brilliant joke:
"I am a warrior of the Sun! Spot my summon signature easily by its brilliant aura. If you miss it, you must be blind!"
Hah hah hah! Zing! You really have to go the extra mile to save Solaire. But if there was ever an NPC worth saving, it'd be him.
Dragon Age: Origins - Solving Problems
Heroes don't have to be perfect, right? Exactly. So there's no problem with us completing Solving Problems where you help murderers get rid of some irritatingly incriminating dead bodies... right?
It makes a nice change from being the good guy, even if we're not sure throwing corpses in the water supply is the best idea we've ever had. Worth playing just to hear the pathetic excuses of the murderers that we happily helped out. Uh, don't tell anyone in Denerim we did this quest, okay?
Jade Empire - The Play's The Thing
Budding thespians should speak to aspiring playwright Incisive Chorus. He's furious that the sponsor of his newest play has altered the script to make it a satire of the Empire, and gives you the lead role. Do you respect art and follow his original script? Or risk provoking the Empire with the new one? It's a bit like playing James Franco in The Interview, except funny. The scene's even better when you deliberately fluff all your lines, forcing your co-star to badly improvise.
The Witcher 2 - Hung Over
What is a Witcher anyway? Based on most of this games side quests, it requires you to be a total sleazeball. After a heavy night, Geralt wakes up by the lake, missing most of his gear and with a tattoo of a naked lady on his neck. You stumble through the village, trying to figure out what you did last night. According to the NPCs, at one point you apparently tried to ride a woman to the local port like a horse and the tattoo isn't coming off easily. Laugh all you want; we don't regret our BLINX 4EVER back tats.
Dragon's Dogma - Talent in Bloom
Give the blessed flower to a character of your choice. Hmm, is this really one of the best side quests to be found in Dragons Dogma? Perhaps not, but shouldn't there be more games about handing out flowers to your fellow videogame companions? Maybe if there were a few less Call of Duty games taking up space on our hard drives and a few more Flower Arranging 3000s, then oh! What a wonderful world this could be! [He's been at those punga seeds again - Ed.]