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Games that encourage exploration while simultaneously nagging you to move on

Persagen

Member
Oct 27, 2017
916
This is a huge peeve of mine, and it reared its head constantly during my Gears 5 playthrough.

The developers have gone out of their way to encourage and reward exploration by placing collectibles, lore, weapons, ammo and components throughout every level - some in plain view, others tucked away off the beaten path.

The developers have also decided that companions should constantly vocalize their lack of patience when it comes to you wasting time wandering around. Almost immediately after a battle ends, they start pestering you to move on, and continue to do so until you get back on the main path.

Why do so many games do this? It's such a contradiction in design. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is another recent game that also had these moments - find and read the crapload of collectibles we've scattered everywhere, but also - the NPCs are waiting! Hurry the hell up!

Does this kind of thing bother you? What are examples that stand out the most?
 

kris.

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
1,399
Ocarina of Time does this but I don't really mind. Like every 15 minutes Navi will remind you of your current objective in the main story.
 
Jul 28, 2019
451
Red Dead Redemption 2 is super guilty of this. After every encounter, if you take some time to loot the dead bodies, you start getting nagged on how there's no time and you have to move. Let me loot the fucking bodies.
 
Sep 4, 2019
332
To be fair, in Gears games, there's a good reason everyone's in a rush. You're usually in a scenario where you have to keep moving forward. If you weren't, it would feel odd for the game. To explore in Gears, you do need to break a little immersion and just ignore the pestering.
 

McNum

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,272
Denmark
This is probably why Majora's Mask is my least favorite Zelda. A huge, for its time, world to explore with tons of little secrets and surprisingly involved sidequests all over.

And a timer taking up the bottom third of the screen telling you to hurry and that everything you find, except for permanent items like masks, will be deleted soon.

Then why even do anything? If you don't get some tangible, permanent reward out of a cycle, you could just as well have left the game turned off.
 

Rodney McKay

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,598
While not necessarily "nagging", this has always been a problem I had with non-BOTW Zelda games.

Games like Ocarina or Wind Waker are these epic journeys leading to fighting Ganon(dorf), but I almost always stop near the end to just dink around and do as much side stuff as possible.

When I was a kid I did all the stuff I needed to get the Unbreakable Biggoron sword before I'd even finished the first Adult Link temple.
And when I played Wind Waker for the first time I never beat it because I liked exploring the world too much.
This is probably why Majora's Mask is my least favorite Zelda. A huge, for its time, world to explore with tons of little secrets and surprisingly involved sidequests all over.

And a timer taking up the bottom third of the screen telling you to hurry and that everything you find, except for permanent items like masks, will be deleted soon.

Then why even do anything? If you don't get some tangible, permanent reward out of a cycle, you could just as well have left the game turned off.
But most of those side quests DO get you permanent rewards. To my knowledge the Majora's Mask sidequests almost always get you either a heart piece/mask/bottle which you keep in the time loops.

Even if you just get money you can just put it in the bank and keep it.

I hated the idea of losing stuff when I first played it as a kid, but actually playing the whole thing on 3DS I realized it wasn't much of an issue outside of money you forget to bank and consumables like arrows.
 
Last edited:
Oct 29, 2017
1,790
Yeah it is a little weird in Gears. I thought of it more just as the game letting me know that I'd collected everything in this location and could move on wherever I was ready. From that standpoint it was appreciated. Sometimes the actual lines are a little on the pushy side though!
 

Mr X

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
466
Virginia
While it doesn't nag you, it feels really off in Witcher 3 to stop in a random village and do some contracts...since you know, you're literally a day/days behind Ciri and it's urgent story wise to find her yesterday.
 

Fredrik

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,199
Yeah, and there is a clash when most games are also rewarding exploration ”Great! Well done! Keep on not listening to what we say and we’ll reward you even more!”
:P


Although....
(old man shouting at clouds incoming...)
I find it even more annoying in open world games if the whole world is also on pause until I walk past an invisible trigger point.

As soon as everything is killed....

Pause. Silence
...

Then someone starts to scream that we should hurry! Even though it’s clear that you could actually just put down the controller and go to bed and everything will be exactly the same in the morning, until you pick up the controller and happen to walk past another trigger point...

Then BAMMM!!! Enemies everywhere!! And a mini boss! And more enemies! Two mini bosses!!! Gah!! And the end of level boss!!! And then...

Pause.

:P

God of War does this, Gears does this, Tomb Raider does this, Mass Effect does this, Uncharted does this, etc etc etc...

Why???

It’s basically 1980s super static 8-bit shooter enemy wave design in 2019. I don’t understand why devs think we love traversing huge empty spaces between the action. Why not just add some enemies that wanders around the world? Gears did good in Act 3 at least with the insane storm but so many games completely forget to add anything that makes the traversal interesting, it’s just trigger point after trigger point, in both action and story sequences.
 

weemadarthur

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,711
The first game that actually fails the main quest due to taking too much time on sidequests is going to seriously surprise me. Then I’ll hate it for a week, then laugh my butt off and tell everyone to play it, because it’s brilliant.

Since this has been going on for at least 3 decades, my habits in game playing have adjusted to constantly ignoring NPCs.
 

Niahak

Member
Oct 25, 2017
251
The first game that actually fails the main quest due to taking too much time on sidequests is going to seriously surprise me. Then I’ll hate it for a week, then laugh my butt off and tell everyone to play it, because it’s brilliant.

Since this has been going on for at least 3 decades, my habits in game playing have adjusted to constantly ignoring NPCs.
Pathfinder: Kingmaker does this - you lose the game if your kingdom is destroyed, and much of the game involves reeling from crisis to crisis, each of which has a time limit (sometimes hard to find). There's a varying amount of "free time" between these to build up your kingdom and do side quests. In actual gameplay, as long as you don't do all the side quests before you do the main quests (there's enough buffer to do some questing in the new areas of each section, in my experience so far), you're okay. But there are some rough penalties to your kingdom as you get closer to some of the deadlines to poke you in the right direction.
 

ashtaar

Member
Oct 27, 2017
974
This happened when i was playing max payne 3, I found a piano that played the max Payne theme but he was so busy nagging I couldn’t enjoy it
 

ghibli99

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,760
USA
While it doesn't nag you, it feels really off in Witcher 3 to stop in a random village and do some contracts...since you know, you're literally a day/days behind Ciri and it's urgent story wise to find her yesterday.
First thing I thought of.

I like the BOTW approach of, hey, the ending is there for whenever you want to tackle it, but the game isn't going to be bugging you to head to the castle every hour or so.
 

roguesquirrel

The Fallen
Oct 29, 2017
2,473
I didnt get too much of Del hurrying me along mid-mission in Gears 5 (although he wouldnt shut up when i was using that Comms tower in Act 2 to mark all of the side locations), but what did stand out to me is what feels like every side area in Act 3 has the entire rest of your crew throwing a bitch fit for stopping and Kait has to assure them with "Might be supplies here" as if these meatheads completely forgot every place denoted with flags conveniently has a Jack upgrade.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,613
Arizona
I didnt get too much of Del hurrying me along mid-mission in Gears 5 (although he wouldnt shut up when i was using that Comms tower in Act 2 to mark all of the side locations), but what did stand out to me is what feels like every side area in Act 3 has the entire rest of your crew throwing a bitch fit for stopping and Kait has to assure them with "Might be supplies here" as if these meatheads completely forgot every place denoted with flags conveniently has a Jack upgrade.
What's funnier is when you have the same character also suggesting you stop to begin with:

JD: "Hey, look at that ____, might be worth checking out!"
*stop skiff*
JD: "Woah hey, why are we stopping?"
Kait: "Might be worth checking out."
 

gebler

Member
Oct 27, 2017
428
The first game that actually fails the main quest due to taking too much time on sidequests is going to seriously surprise me. Then I’ll hate it for a week, then laugh my butt off and tell everyone to play it, because it’s brilliant.
"FFXIII: Lightning Returns" does this in a rather upfront manner. I'd heard that it wasn't really an issue in practice, what with the way side activities earn you extra time, but I actually failed the main quest due to side questing too much on my first play-through. Turned out that only some types of side activities earn extra time, and the effect is rather small compared to advancing the main quest in a timely manner. Some boss fights also scale with time spent in the game rather than how powerful you actually are, also punishing being too nonchalant about how your spending time. After I failed, the game offered to start over with relaxed conditions, but I opted to reload an older save file instead, trying to play super-efficiently from then on to make up for lost time. It worked out in the end but made things quite challenging.
 

ActWan

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
1,494
Israel
Yeah I’m not a fan when this happens...
Recently finished Quantum Break and there is tons of lore to read in each area, and often character who wait for you will tell you to come on already and it’s pretty annoying. At least they stop after a few times. Rdr2 is a big fault of this too, but there it’s just when looting bodies and hanging around after combat.
I get that you want the players to be guided in a somewhat immersive way, and to give the characters and main objective more presence in the gameworld, but there’s gotta be some easy solutions for it like having them addressing what the player is doing and ‘accepting’ that, instead of constant nagging.
 

Kuro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,638
I think its to remind you where to go if you pick up the game after a while but it does get annoying
 
Jun 24, 2019
73
As a gamer who loves to explore, I hate it when that happens. The only game that I can excuse is Last of Us. Last of Us at least puts you in a position that your life is in danger, so exploring would be less of a priority as survival comes first. Even when you think it's safe to explore, there is always that one zombie lurking to ambush you.
 

crazillo

Member
Apr 5, 2018
1,698
Stuttgart, Germany
It's quite common in many games and I frankly don't understand it. You could push realism further, set a time limit and drop those collectibles. But time limits are very unpopular with players, so if you want to stick with encouraging exploration, let those NPCs shut up. Saving the world, I guess, is not always as important as looting your next body :p
 

Korigama

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,740
Deadly Premonition has deadlines specifying where you should be and when according to the in-game clock, but the majority of the time you can and should ignore them to prioritize completing sidequests, particularly ones that unlock items/weapons that improve QoL. If you miss the window for those specific scheduled events, you can just wait for them to roll around again the next in-game day (getting some sleep or smoking being ways to advance the clock more quickly).