Life is full of decisions: What to eat, what to wear, where to go etc. Well video game developers have come to the realisation that gamers like decisions too because they’ve implemented mechanics in their titles that allow players to shape the game world around them for years now. However, it’s not always a meaningful experience.
For all the games that effortlessly change the game’s state (looking at you, Witcher 3), there have also been titles that fail to properly utilize them. They give players tantalizing options but fail to truly capitalize on them with noticeable consequences. What’s the point of dangling an apple in front of them, only to pull it away from them when it truly matters?
Sadly, the 15 games on this list represent those ill-fated titles that clumsily include choices in games that ultimately have no bearing on proceedings. Want to shape the game around your decisions? Then stay clear of this lot–these are 15 choices in consoles games that didn’t even matter.
15 Impossible Choice In Mass Effect
The Mass Effect series was truly ground-breaking with its ability to morph and contort depending on the actions of the player. However, even an innovative franchise like it is susceptible to making the odd error–and they did in their first title.
You come across a character by the name of Conrad Verner who is quite smitten with Commander Shepard. However, you don’t have to be as kind towards him. The game gives the options of either intimidating him by pointing a gun in his direction, or acting like your best buds with him. Unfortunately, a bug in the game means that even if you’re pally with him, the game still interprets it as if you had intimidated him. What gives?!
They did make light of the decision in the third title by having Verner pop up again alive and well, so at least the developers had a sense of humor about the coding blunder.
14 Sides Don’t Matter In Dragon Age: Origins
Boy, what a game Dragon Age: Origins was. It’s another one of those titles that really made use of player decisions, remembering choices they made, and adapting itself around them. However, one decision never really mattered, and it was arguably the biggest choice of all: who to side with.
As a Grey Warden, you are given the huge choice of which races deserve be to left intact, and which ones should be done away with. Unfortunately, no matter which races you choose to destroy or exalt, the storyline of the game will always end the exact same way. It’s a bit of a bummer because the rest of the decision-making is pretty spot on.
We can forgive the game for this pretty pointless choice because of how good it is, but it does strip away some of the layers from its otherwise complex shell.
13 Different Paths In Skyrim
I absolutely love games that give players the choice of which path to take because it gives them the sense of seeing something solely unique to their gaming experience. Unfortunately, Bethesda were quite ham-fisted with their approach to this in Skyrim’s first ‘big’ decision.
It gives you the choice of either following an imperial soldier by the name of Hadvar, or a prisoner called Ralof in an attempt to flee the dragon that’s chewing up the city. Sadly, no matter which one you choose to follow, the results are always the same. You leave the area, they ask you to join their clan, and you meet them in a certain location. Boo!
It would have been a good opportunity to do something more creative than that, and judging by the rest of the quality decision-making the game offers up, it probably should’ve been more imaginative too.
12 No Consequences In Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Few franchises have made as successful a return to the video game sphere as the unstoppable Deus Ex series. And for its grand return, the developers weaved a dark tale of conspiracy theories and technological intrigue. However, the payoff wasn’t as great as it could’ve been.
Why? Well mainly because of the multiple endings that the game has. The protagonist can choose to go along with three characters in the game’s finale: Hugh Darrow, William Taggart, and David Sarif. However, despite different cut-scenes occurring, each one pretty much points to one thing: Adam Jensen has met his demise.
So it was with great astonishment then when a direct sequel by the name of Mankind Divided was release, with none other than Mr. Jensen in the lead role like nothing had happened. It begs the question: “how does a sequel to the game work if certain storyline arcs aren’t followed?” Put simply–it doesn’t.
11 Forced To Join In Xenoblade Chronicles X
Why even bother to give the player a choice when you’ve already predetermined the path they’ll choose? Well try telling that to the boys and girls behind Xenoblade Chronicles X–a game that does everything it can to force a certain ‘decision’ onto you.
You’re given the illusory choice of being able to refuse or accept the offer to join a special ops team called BLADE, who are embedded on an alien planet in an exploration mission. However, despite constantly being told that you can refuse if you want to, when you actually choose the option, the head of the division just keeps twisting the answer, before practically making you join his band of clearly not so merry men.
Good luck getting out of joining BLADE–Xenoblade Chronicles X refuses to give you any sort of choice, while flagrantly telling you that you have one. What?!
10 Romancing Everyone In Fallout 4
Even in the wasteland, romance can occur. But in Fallout 4 it can occur very often. Usually in a game that gives you love interests, the player has to make a decision on who they want their character to be with. Fallout 4 does the opposite, basically giving you the option to spread the love to multiple NPCs.
Yes, the various companions that you meet in the game can all be romanced if they’re into your character, which kind of defeats the purpose of choosing one over the other. If you don’t want to be faithful to one person, Fallout 4 has you covered.
It’s a rather odd little quirk in the game–usually pimping yourself out is exclusive to games like Grand Theft Auto. I guess the wasteland does get lonely after all…
9 No Love In Firewatch
While Fallout 4 gives the player endless choices for love, 2016’s Firewatch does the opposite–no matter how hard you try. Yes, you can forget about nabbing Delilah as a girlfriend–it’s never going to happen.
Controlled character Henry goes through a lot of soul-searching in the game, contemplating his complex relationship in the wilderness. However, lone ranger Delilah is the only one on hand to talk to Henry, and the player can actually try to get some romance blossoming between the two.
Unfortunately, nothing ever comes of it, even if you choose the most romantic options available. She still wants to be good friends though with him though, which is a response that every guy loves to hear…
8 Meaningless Choice In Saints Row IV
The fourth instalment in the Saints Row series gives you quite the decision to make in its opening sequence–solve world hunger or cure cancer. So quite a deep choice to make, but what happens when you choose them? Well, nothing actually.
Yes, no matter which one you choose, there’s no noticeable impact from your decision. You–as the president in the game–must make the call on which bill should pass, which generates a pretty generic response from your character depending on which one you pick… and that’s it?
Unfortunately yes. Once the decision’s been made, the game gets properly underway, and what initially seemed like a massive decision to make never gets brought up again. Pointless? Most definitely.
7 Death Inevitable In Deadly Premonition
Deadly Premonition is one truly messed up game, but it’s also one of my favourite adventure horror games in recent years (goodness knows what that says about me). However, the creators missed a trick with the final choices that are forced upon the player at the end.
One of gaming’s most underrated protagonists Agent York/Zach is faced with three options at the end; point the gun at Emily, point the gun at Kaysen, or point the gun at himself. However, no matter which one the player chooses, the outcome is always the same. Emily dies, Kaysen dies, and York survives.
Makes you wonder why they’d even bother having these supposed choices in the game at all. Although for a game like Deadly Premonition, it’s probably the least weird thing about it…
6 In The Line Of Fire In Spec Ops: The Line
It’s a solid enough third person shooter, but Spec Ops: The Line features some bewildering moments–not least the ‘choice’ you have to make on which of the two hanging prisoners to save. Turns out there’s really no correct decision to make.
Once you choose to save one, the other gets shot. Okay, so the decision-making works here then? Well, not exactly. For one, if you decide you want to leg it and spare both victims’ lives, the snipers will gun you down–preventing any further progress being made. Worst of all though is that you learn towards the game’s climax that it was an illusion and the two men have already perished.
Some games make you feel the weight of your decisions. Spec Ops: The Line makes you feel none of those emotions, but rather, just makes you wish they had of eliminated the choice-making component altogether.
5 G-Man’s Offer In Half-Life
The first Half-Life game still stands up well today with its intriguing plot revolved around Dr. Gordon Freeman in his attempts to escape a research facility that’s been overrun with alien lifeforms. Although, we thought one choice in the game would have played a more prominent role in the plot.
Yes, it’s the offer from the mysteriously named G-Man. After popping up several times throughout the game, he makes Freeman an unexplained offer at the game’s conclusion; accept the opportunity or refuse it and accept the consequences. However, by the time the second instalment rolls around, it’s clear that Freeman accepts.
If you do choose to refuse instead, the game fades to black as enemies fill the room you’re in. In other words, if you do pick the latter, the sequel to the game won’t make sense. Very pointless.
4 No Changing Fate In Game Of Thrones
It goes without saying that Ramsey Snow in Game of Thrones is a truly horrible human being. Well, Telltale’s Game of Thrones game follows this character arc by having him commit a heinous act on Ethan Forrester–the character you control in the first episode.
Despite the game giving you the choice of whether to go toe-to-toe with the wretched villain, or to simply let him have his way–there’s no impact on the outcome. No, he kills you either way, rendering this moment of decision-making useless.
Unfortunately, there’s no way of surviving your encounter with Snow, so best to just accept your fate from the outset. However, we’ll get to some more of Telltale’s inconsequential choices shortly…
3 Unavoidable Jail Time In Chrono Trigger
There’s no denying it–Chrono Trigger is one of the best RPGs ever made. Initially released for the SNES in 1995, the game was a triumph in terms of gameplay, plot, and graphics. Although, we’re still going to point out a flaw in it because we’re mean like that.
After being accused of kidnapping Princess Nadia, lead character Crono is forced to face a trial to determine his innocence or lack thereof. After being grilled on his involvement in the abduction, the judge finds Crono guilty and tosses him in jail. Unfortunately, no matter how you answer the questions, the character will always be placed behind bars.
Even more annoying is that your choices and decisions up until that point have an effect on the trial, but not the outcome, so what’s the point? Well, there isn’t one, hence its inclusion here. Still… what a game!
2 Batman Can’t Die In Batman Arkham City
In the DLC for 2011’s fantastic Batman: Arkham City, the player gains access to a set of levels designed for use with Catwoman. In one of said missions, her story overlaps with Batman’s–giving the player the choice of whether to save The Caped Crusader or not.
Except, it doesn’t really, but simply gives them the illusion of having a choice. After seeing Batman unconscious, Catwoman deliberates over whether to save him or not. However, if you choose to leave him be, the game will literally rewind time and make you save him. Rage!
Why the developers even felt the need to insert this into the story is anyone’s guess. Some video game choices are genuinely overlooked or forgotten about by the creators. In this game, however, Rocksteady knew all too well what they were doing–insulting the player’s intelligence.
1 Almost Everything In The Walking Dead
Where do we begin with this one? Telltale’s The Walking Dead video game series is fantastic, but it’s almost comical how many of the choices it features provide no real alterations in the plot. It’s all about making big decisions, but not all of them are as important as it would first seem.
From thinking you’re saving someone only for them to die regardless, to choosing who you should help only for them to turn out okay without you–The Walking Dead is littered with decisions that don’t really have any bearing on the plot. However, perhaps the most inconsequential action the player has to take is revolved around Rebecca in Season Two.
Seeing Rebecca has turned to the dark side, Clementine has three options; shoot her, call for assistance, or do nothing. Sadly, no matter which one the player picks, Rebecca dies. A surprisingly poignant ending to our list of pointless gaming choices.