In a massive (and occasionally daunting) open-world game made by hundreds of people over thousands and thousands of work hours, I sometimes nestle into one or two areas or goals to make the game feel more manageable. It usually starts out as focus on the story and side quests that interest me; from there, maybe I focus on filling out the map or tracking down secrets. By the end of my time with a game on that scale, one of those tasks triumphs over the others and becomes my favorite element in the game.
It was finding all of the Riddler trophies in Batman: Arkham Knight. For Breath of the Wild, it was completing all the shrines before facing Ganon. In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, my favorite part of the game were its fascinating side quests, especially the boxing matches in each region: that all culminated in fighting Skellige’s champion, a straight up bear. All of these goals bubble up and become the most memorable parts of these grandiose games to me.