Metacognition: Sidequest Nightmare

We’re back with our “thinking about thinking” series! If you’re interested in our previous deep thoughts, check out the Metacognition series.  Join us for some deep thoughts (and maybe the occasional not-so-deep thought) about gaming. If you find one you’d like to answer, you can either comment below or write a post and share the link so we can all read your fantastic thoughts!

What is a side-quest that was harder than a main quest?

Spoiler alert for Dragon Age: Origins


So there I was, happily traipsing across Thedas on “normal” difficulty, righting wrongs and going about my world-saving business. I took down a dragon at the Sacred Ashes, and was feeling pretty good about myself, when I was sent on a mission by Morrigan.

Flemeth. Holy Maker. Flemeth.

I’ve never been owned by a dragon so quickly in all my gaming life.

I’ll be the first to admit that Dragon Age: Origins has some ridiculous difficulty spikes, but this one was seriously ridiculous. I knocked the difficulty down to “casual” after about 15 minutes of failed attempts, and still had another 15 minutes of attempts and changing party members and trying to level up beforehand before I finally prevailed.

Image result for flemeth as dragon

Just for fun, I replayed the archdemon fight on casual to compare, and the final boss was easier than Flemeth’s battle.

The terrain was cramped, Flemeth took up all of the land the players could walk on, if you tried to get away for a moment to heal in the six inches of space her body wasn’t occupying, she’d suck you back onto the cramped field with her wings… My poor rogue Warden never survived the battle. It was her (sadly dead) and three tanks that eventually won the day.

Meanwhile, on “casual” mode I beat the archdemon with two rogues, a mage, and a warrior, thank you very much.

Image result for jackie chan meme

My friend and I joked that the reason the battle was so hard was because Flemeth was a human who turned into a dragon, and so fought with that sort of intelligence. But that is nothing more than a headcanon. And without that sort of insight, it was just the most ridiculously difficult side quest I can think of…

What about you? Of all the games you’ve played, and of all the bosses and sidequests you’ve completed, was there ever a sidequest that was harder than a main quest? What was it? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. I never managed to beat Flemeth! I actually some of the Dragons in the Dragon Age series are harder than the final bosses. In Inquisition I always find the final battle a little anti-climatic (kind of disappointing actually) and there are three Dragons that I am struggling with on my current play through (when I say current I mean not finished but haven’t touched for months). In terms of other games, after finishing a neutral Undertale run I can say that the final boss was actually no where near as hard as some of the previous fights. Miss Muffet is the true boss fight.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. She’s a tough one, for sure!! The dragons in Dragon Age are insane. I’ve been playing through Skyrim, and I was braced for impact for the first dragon, but… yep that was fine. The second one, that would *have* to be hard, but… nope, still good. It’s amazing how differently the games treat dragons… I do agree that the final boss in Inquisition was anti-climactic, but I was also overpowered by the end… I’m not sure why the final bosses in the DA games are so easy, to be honest.

      I’ve heard that some of the Undertale bosses are pretty tough… I’d certainly believe someone named Miss Muffet is deceptively difficult, as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe the final bosses aren’t supposed to be as difficult as the dragons because they’re the namesake of the game? They’re usually optional as well which is interesting.
        I did exactly the same as you in Skyrim! You have to be careful when you go back to Dragon Age after playing Skyrim though in case it catches you out!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The Mario series has had two examples I can think of offhand. The first is in Super Mario Galaxy 2. Getting the last star in that game involves completing an incredibly difficult level without getting hit once. I was surprised that the corresponding achievement in Super Mario Odyssey wasn’t nearly as difficult. Instead, the incredibly difficult sidequest came from, of all things, a jump rope competition. Getting the associated reward is straightforward enough; you have to jump the rope 100 times in a row. There are ways to cheese it, but I did it without restoring to those methods.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey, don’t diss jump rope! That is a sport not for the weak of heart, and I’m not even joking haha. You should have come around my grammar school’s playground at recess. Yikes. But in regards to the game, what makes it so difficult? On paper it doesn’t sound so hard, but then, neither does “stab the dragon with a sword until it falls down.”

      Congratulations on completing the quest!


      1. I’d say what made that last star in Super Mario Galaxy 2 so difficult is the sheer number of opportunities you have to get hit. It’s one of those things you need to have played through to get why it’s such a daunting task. Took me about 80 tries, but I did ultimately get it.

        What makes having to jump the rope 100 times in a row in Super Mario Odyssey so difficult is that you have to jump the rope 100 times in a row.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The one that comes to mind is forging the Great Goron Sword in Ocarina of Time. I remember spending weeks trying to figure out every delivery. Times were much harder for 90s kids that didn’t have access to the internet. Luckily, I had a friend that figured everything out before I did and he was able to help me out.

    I will just go ahead and add every side quest in Ocarina.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My two-handed warrior downed Flemeth on her second-ish try (on easy of course, haha). If my memory is correct, her and Alistair tanked, while Leliana died twice but did a lot of damage before going down. During the fight, I was mostly in direct control of Wynne (who was standing very far away from the dragon lady, near the hut) so I could heal when necessary. The Archdemon is definitely a cake walk compared to Flemeth. Also, Dragon Age Inquisition taught me another reason why Flemeth is so strong… 🙂

    For me, I’d have to say the Cie’th Stones in Final Fantasy XIII. Some of them are much harder than any of the story bosses.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I tried that type of set up, too, with similar effects. I can also attest that playing on PC is a lot easier than on a console, too, so that might have explained some of it. But it still doesn’t explain the difficulty spike! haha

      Ah, yes, I can understand that…..

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Flemeth definitely comes to mind, haha. What a brutal fight that was.

    I’m really bad at time-trial or race-type side-quests in RPGs, and NieR Automata had a racing one that I never could finish. Sleeping Dogs has a side-quest for an “enduro” race around the entire map, which has you zipping through narrow alleyways on a speedy motorcycle. Never finished that one either. Final Fantasy XII’s recent remaster has a few tricky optional bosses as well, which made me think of the Flemeth fight.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. First time I played Dragon Age Origins, I had to give up on Flemeth. Just couldn’t make it happen, no matter what I did.

    Second time, I beat her after a few tries, but it was still pretty close. She’s tough.

    As far as my experience, well, I play a lot of JRPGs, and Uberbosses consigned to sidequests are pretty common there. The worst I can think of is the Demi-Fiend from Digital Devil Saga. He’s a cameo, a playable character from an earlier game showing up as an enemy in this one, and… man. You could be strong enough to be able to knock out the final boss with ease, yet still not be able to scratch him.

    Liked by 2 people

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