The Jimquisition: Big Empty Sandboxes

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Open world games are everywhere, and it’s getting really stupid. You can tell they’re happening just to follow a trend as well, since so few open world games manage to justify actually being open world.

There are blatant clues found in many of these desolate sandboxes, and we’re going to talk about them and why they’re making videogames rubbish.

Marcus Cohen
Guest
Marcus Cohen

Procedural generation often falls into a similar trap. It promises infinite variation, which is technically true, but somehow the most memorable gaming experiences I’ve ever had took place in hand-crafted levels with real thought and planning behind them. Ironically, they’re often more fun to explore over and over again than, say, a set of corridors that takes a slightly different shape every time. Exploring a tightly designed and unchanging level has actual meaning to it.
There are excellent open world and procedurally generated games, of course, but I really hope we’ll see more custom-designed levels in the near future.

Weasel Biggs
Member
Procedural generation’s really useful when it’s complemented by carefully crafted permanent elements. Consider the Borderlands games. Every time you start a new game, you generate a new seed for the two or three berjillion guns you’ll pick up, with careful exclusionary rules preventing the emergence of monstrosities like Torgue snipers. Everything else is designed by human hands. Hack-and-slashers tend to manage proc gen at its best, honestly. Diablo II packs a few distinct rulesets – for the items, for the levels and monster stats and attributes – but the metrics are very carefully handled. You’re never hobbled or overpowered. In… Read more »
Marcus Cohen
Guest
Marcus Cohen
You’re absolutely right, procedural games live and die on the implementation of permanent elements. One of my all time favorites is Invisible Inc. In fact, even XCOM 1 and 2. You get to choose from the same pool of hand-crafted weapons, abilities and gadgets, and make use of them them in infinite random situations. Fun times. As for procedurally generated items, I’ve never been a fan of them in ARPGs and games like Borderlands. They don’t mean anything. I don’t want to go through a gazillion of commodities like I would in a supermarket. Because even if I don’t pick… Read more »
CommonSense
Guest
CommonSense
I think its pretty important to distinguish open world from sandbox, especially with the over saturation of cheap easy to crank put sandbox games… People have began a really nasty habit of saying open world=sandbox. Similar to how all squares are rectangles but not all ectanglea are squares, there is some important distinctions to be !Ade with the nuance. All sandbox designs are open world games, but not all open world games are sandbox designs. Odds are, if you point out an open world that ‘does it right’ or have a strange compulsion to ‘defend’ certain non linear games as… Read more »
HelixShade
Guest
HelixShade
Honestly the only Sandbox I actually enjoyed in the history of ever was Crackdown for the Xbox 360. With most Sandboxes, I don’t even have a massive incentive to go and do the side quests, hunt collectables or anything. With Crackdown however, exploring the city was the goal for two reasons: 1) You were looking for the gang leaders to take down. Their locations and territories were not shown to you, so you had to explore the city to look for them, then figure out a way to break into their installations and take them down. 2) You were also… Read more »
Weasel Biggs
Member
To each their own, but I thoroughly loathed Crackdown. I get that independent exploration can be rewarded, but I quickly stopped looking for Exploration Orbs. The game’s overall lack of direction really bothered me, with Generic Superhero City having no sense of place or culture. I mean, yeah – I could jump across skyscrapers like Spider-Man and the Hulk’s lovechild, but there was no structure to any of it – nothing except the occasional interference of the gang leads. Heck, I only really remember Crackdown because my immature self is amused by the fact that one of the antagonists is… Read more »
MJC
Guest
MJC

Sunset Overdrive did a really good job with this too. Suddenly an open world is fun again when you have a fresh new way to get through instead of just “get in a car and drive for 5 minutes”.

Holy fucking shit I am so sick of driving cars for 5 minutes just to get to a mission start in an open world game.

drownedsummer
Guest
drownedsummer

Saint’s Row 4 has lots of licensed music but unless you actually think to turn it on so it isn’t just played diagetically you may never hear most of it as the game almost immediatly offers a far more fun alternative. Unless I was forced to I barely ever used a car in SR4

CaitSeith
Guest
CaitSeith

“You were also looking for the Collectables – specifically, the Green Orbs. By collecting these, you were allowed to run faster and jump higher. In other words, they had a gameplay benefit to doing so.”

So, were you looking Collectables because looking for them was fun? Or just for the benefits? Because when a game puts you on a repetitive unenjoyable task to unlock the enjoyable part, it’s called padding.

Weasel Biggs
Member

Some people can enjoy padding as though it were part of the gameplay, others are just irritated by its presence.

I’m in Team B, personally. Watch Dogs 2 seems to mark a reassuring change of pace, but the old Ubisoft formula of packing thirty-six different varieties of collectibles across the map was draining.

HelixShade
Guest
HelixShade

Both actually. It was pretty gratifying to jump around and look for them.

Junah
Guest
Junah

Happy birthday!

Jasper Theo
Member

Just wondering why this is put under “Various Toss”.

drownedsummer
Guest
drownedsummer

Chip that would be why.

Captiosus
Member
This video explains perfectly why I find myself worried about two early 2017 games: Horizon Zero Dawn and Mass Effect Andromeda. Both of these could very easily fall into the open world, big sandbox-low content trap. I am given even more pause with the latter based on the way Bioware used such open world fluff and a timed resource mini game to pad playtime with Dragon Age Inquisition. I sincerely hope I’m wrong but in both cases all of the available gameplay videos do little to assuage my pessimism. I enjoyed the discussion about fast travel as it mirrors a… Read more »
Rachel McVeigh
Guest
Rachel McVeigh

I’m not as concerned about MEA because ME1 had planet exploring. This move is more Mass Effect adding back in a feature from the original game. I expect MEA’s planets to be just be a fancier more developed version of the same feature in ME1. This will make the new galaxy feel big.

drownedsummer
Guest
drownedsummer

Just with the hope they are more fun to explore than a lot of the planets in ME1

Captiosus
Member
Just to play devil’s advocate, couldn’t one argue that the Mako system is a good example of what Jim is discussing? We’d spend 15-30 minutes (or more, depending on terrain) driving around these planets and all there was to find was one or two mineral nodes, one or two tech nodes and, if we were really lucky, one prefab building full of the identical space pirates or Batarians (or monkeys to harass so we could hear Liara complain and Wrex laugh). I really enjoyed the element of Mako exploration at the time but playing through the ME1 again today really… Read more »
CaitSeith
Guest
CaitSeith
But really, you are underselling the enemy variety. There was a planet with rachni infestation, a couple with husks, several with geth outposts, and more planets with Thresher Maws than needed (and there were no Batarians in ME1 outside the DLC mission). There were also a couple with plot where could avoid the fight at the end with charm or intimidate. I also found funny the mission where the Alliance sends Renegade Shepard to negotiate with a egomaniac pirate lord wanting to be king, fully knowing how it was going to end for the later (although you can agree with… Read more »
Captiosus
Member
“Enemy variety” is the same kind of thing that Jim is ranting about regarding “content”. Most of those enemies were functionally identical and acted in identical ways. Killing random husks was no different than killing random space pirates. The Rachni Infestations were only there because they were a side quest that you could end up doing before you actually had the quest itself. At the end of the day, nothing you wrote disputes the reality that the vast majority of the planets and moons in ME1 were barren, large terrains with very little to actually do or discover. The exact… Read more »
MJC
Guest
MJC

What you said: “Killing random husks was no different than killing random space pirates.”

How I interpreted that: “I have never played Mass Effect before and am just talking bollocks.”

If you try fighting husks and space pirates the same way, you’re going to have a bad time, which you’d know if you’d played the game.

CaitSeith
Guest
CaitSeith

“Killing random husks was no different than killing random space pirates”

You can fight space pirates by getting into cover and shooting. Staying stationary when fighting husks is suicide (specially in hardcore). Like, WTF are you talking about?

drownedsummer
Guest
drownedsummer

Two heatsinks and a decent gun most things go down as quick as Vorcha Prostitute even on hardcore and insanity.

drownedsummer
Guest
drownedsummer

And if I remember correctly only one planet with Pyjaks and also a really great source for getting the weapon achievements.

CaitSeith
Guest
CaitSeith

And two planets with space cows (one with a shifty one that stole your credits if you gave it Shepard’s back).

drownedsummer
Guest
drownedsummer
The first Mass Effect managed to a certain extent to make it feel like there was a galaxy out there that you could explore. However at the same time a lot of the planets were horribly designed and the Mako was not the most fun vehicle to use. With minor tasks which had very little reward, which ironically later on there actually was in ME3. Which I never discovered as I gave up on completing the collection quests after my first run through the game. I still love the first game and will still sit through the planet exploration they’re… Read more »
Captiosus
Member
Correct, it did make it feel like there was a galaxy to explore. Hell, back when it came out I had three different classes of Shepards that I got to level 60, two of which I carried over to ME2 and ME3 on X360. I’ve since played the entire trilogy again on both PC and PS4 after the boxed trilogy was released. When Bioware gave us the Mako back in November of 2007 it was unique in its design and scope. Back then there wasn’t a glut of open world games boasting how large their open worlds were, cluttered with… Read more »
Brendan Christopher Marks
Guest
Brendan Christopher Marks

To play devils advocate to the previous devils advocate, Jim also mentioned content without context. It made contextual and thematic sense to be exploring these near barren planets. It all fitted with the series theme of exploration into the unknown or recently discovered, compare to almost any Ubisoft game of the same and you’ll have no reason to be exploring to that extent as its never backed up by story, context or theme. look no further than the witcher 3 to see open world/sandbox content done right.

Денис Фролов
Member

Hey, if you played Inquisition – you already know what Andromeda will be about. Same, but in space.

Captiosus
Member
I agree with the concept of giving the player the choice but I still don’t like a lot of the way it’s implemented. Take Skyrim for example: If fast travel had been restricted to just each of the individual holds (and specific story-related places), it would have still been easy to travel to a new region to save time but still need to engage with the environment to get to your final destination. Instead, by making every single location a fast travel node, it essentially killed the entire concept of horses and removed a LOT of the potential dangers from… Read more »
Marcus Cohen
Guest
Marcus Cohen
Fast travel in Skyrim was ridiculous. I liked it at first, but after a while everything I’d done and seen just blurred together and lost any reason or meaning. I didn’t care where I was in the world because there was effectively no difference. What really helped roleplaying around a similar problem, I think, was the often overlooked hardcore mode in New Vegas. Yes, you could fast travel to the other end of the wasteland in a second, no biggie, but you still had to eat, drink and sleep somewhere, so you constantly had to be aware of time and… Read more »
Justin Graham
Guest
Justin Graham

But FFXV doesn’t really lock fast travel down in a negative way. You’re only able to fast travel to locations you’ve been to before, which is how fast travel should ideally operate.

TPhil
Guest
TPhil
What makes me sad the most about this current open-world fixation is that so many of these studios have incredible talent and assets that could be spent making games good instead of just settling for big. Compare any Assassin’s Creed game to Sands of Time. Fast food vs caviar. SoT had incredible level design and puzzles, characters to give a shit about, a memorable plot (with iconic narration courtesy of the Prince himself), brilliant art design, and time-travel mechanics that were so much more than a silly gimmick. AC on the other hand has massive worlds and lots of…’stuff’. I… Read more »
Денис Фролов
Member

Developer studios change, even while retaining their names. Key people come and go, or jsut grow old and change their vision. Ubisoft that released Sand trilogy is not the same Ubisoft that mass-produced Assassin’s Creed. Especially later iterations. AC4 was actually lots of fun.

TPhil
Guest
TPhil
Same team or not, my point was that Ubisoft has some incredible talent under their thumb and it’s a shame they’re often wasted in an effort to pump out massive open world games with a quick turnaround. Even if every team member who worked on SoT were assembled to put out a new AC game every other year the results would still be subpar. It’s just the nature of the beast. When you’re spending all your resources on making a huge open world in a relatively short timespan, the actual content inside said world is bound to be cookie cutter… Read more »
Uzuki
Guest
Uzuki
I wish more open world games where made like Xenoblade Chronicles or it’s sexual X. It’s hand crafted with little booksto and crannies everywhere to explore. Xenoblade was more linear in itake design, but each environment was huge and had plenty of deviants from the path that made breaking from the path worth it. You could find an Ether deposit, a rare item for the collectipedia, an Tyrant enemy or a NPC with an quest. I’ll never forget the times I found beautiful unique locations hidden in caves or over waterfalls or the time that I went off into this… Read more »
Justin Graham
Guest
Justin Graham
I had a conversation earlier on this subject, and it was brought up that Xenoblade Chronicles has a very, very good open world. It’s aesthetically diverse and eye-catching, filled with unique and recognizable landmarks and landmasses, interesting to explore (and rewards you for exploring in the form of experience points), and the majority of the quests are tied into the world through the people you get them from and the way that the people are all interconnected. It feels very natural and lived in. Xenoblade Chronicles X does many of the same things, but is less successful at it. This… Read more »
CommonSense
Guest
CommonSense
Was that me? Your friend is a brilliant genius mastermind of unparalleled glory. That’s my exact take on XcX main problems, the progression gating being slaved to the mission structure, and equipment being slaved to levels. What’s that you found a peice of the super important life core? Sorry guy, you better pretend it doesn’t exist, because you can’t do jack crap until you go back to base and activate butt sniffers in the boondocks quest. And you can’t do that before you do the quest that unlocks it, that one about collecting five prices of driedwhite space dog shit.… Read more »
George
Member

Who this video is really bringing out the XCX fanboy in me! lol

It’s a game that I think really shows what an open world can and should be. There are problems to be sure, the main quest plot is kind of generic sic-fi stuff and the planet is as you said too sparsely populated and the humour and dialog is cringe worthy.

But the ability to explore a world in it’s originality interesting aesthetic design and specific animal behaviour was quite striking.

Uzuki
Guest
Uzuki

Man those Saltats always freak me out. Doing that little dance, being posted around strange areas so they make cryptic ritual circles and shit, their stomach literally pops out of their body and you can see their insides. It’s freaking gross and awesome at the same time.

George
Member

LOL They are awesome! Although, I think they’re cute in an odd sort of way. haha

Santo Guevarra
Guest
Santo Guevarra

FYI, Jim, “Guillemot” should be pronounced (in english) “gui-lem-oh”, with a hard G, as in “guile”.

Talib Zeine
Guest
Talib Zeine

I feel guilty because Jim has to make everything so convenient for us “child races”. Even as much as going back in time, and ensuring that the holy mother parturated on the eve of the new years. All so that we wouldn’t have to concern our feeble minds with learning to remember another birthdate. TGFJ.

Archangel
Guest

First off, happy belated birthday Mr. Sterlingsson =)

I really wish more developers would try to do something like Dragon Age: Origins did, lots of big areas, not open world but I don’t think it’s quite a hub either. The segmentation and the more controlled space let them create a world that felt dense and bigger than it really was.

Shui Gor
Guest
Shui Gor

Happy belated birthday, Jim Fucking Sterling, Son.

fireaura08
Guest
fireaura08

Happy belated birthday!

Денис Фролов
Member

To be honest, I felt that Witcher 3 have fallen in the same trap. There was no point in its open world, and it was filled with boring repetitive monster dens and godfuckingdamned smuggler caches. Yes, Witcher 3 put out big amount of high quality quests to still remain good, but I always felt it was in spite of open world “bigger than Skyrim”. It would have lost absolutely nothing by going without it.

nicethugbert
Guest
nicethugbert
I’ve put tons of hours in Skyrim and I’ve yet to advance the story past the first quest. I’ve been busy with housing, wandering, and scrounging. The reason why I’ve done it is: 1) Getting to know the game mechanics because none of these games have a fucking tutorial worth a shit. 2) The character starts off so weak that I have to scrounge to build him up. 3) NO FUCKING BACKSTORY WORTH SPEAKING OF. Basically, all that housing, wandering, and scrounging amounts to SITUATING THE CHARACTER IN THE WORLD, developing a history and identity. #3 is a grand opportunity… Read more »
Jason Farrell
Guest
Jason Farrell
It’s your character. YOU write the backstory for him/her. There are literally a thousand YouTube series who do that if you haven’t a clue how, and many millions of players who managed. The point with Elder Scrolls games is that you’re creating character, much like you would in a P&P campaign, not a preselected character for you to inhabit. I wouldn’t enjoy doing this in every game. I’m very much looking forward to Torment: Tides of Numenera, for example, and the specificity of your character and background in that game is essential to how it plays out. But I embrace… Read more »
nicethugbert
Guest
nicethugbert

You’re typical RPG moron, TOTALLY MISSING THE POINT. Backstory should be game play, especially in a world like Skyrim.

Jason Farrell
Guest
Jason Farrell

Backstory and gameplay are two completely different things, as anyone with even a basic understanding of the entire idea of story could tell you. You’ll find that having a point that is based on fluff and nonsense will lead to your point being missed by anyone and everyone who doesn’t share your particular brand of ignorance.

drownedsummer
Guest
drownedsummer

I managed 365 days in game before I went to see the Greybeards on my first game.

Peter Quint
Guest
Peter Quint
How long ago was it that the critical consensus was that being pushed down linear paths and made to watch staged events like a guy on a ghost train was the big problem with AAA games? The problem is not open worlds, but rather the open world idea has been turned into a formula that doesn’t consider what can be done with sandboxes. And part of the reason for that, aside from normal AAA commercial factors, is that for the fully interactive, dynamic, permanent and non instanced worlds everyone wants we do, for once, actually need more powerful computers. It’s… Read more »
MJC
Guest
MJC
Being pushed down linear paths and made to watch staged events like a guy on a ghost train is STILL a big problem with AAA games. A big empty open world is just as pointless as a linear modern military shooter that basically plays itself. I don’t want to drive around a big empty map to get to the next mission any more than I want to play a game that threatens to kill me or literally does kill me if I stray even slightly from its script. No Man’s Sky is just as stupid and pointless as Medal of… Read more »
George
Member
I slightly disagree with your last point. Let’s look at a very old but classic game. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. Yes it was single player game with no on-line ability and it wasn’t fully interactive in the way we think of today but… It felt fully interactive and it felt dynamic. Slashing the flowers and grass and occasionally blowing up walls to find secrets allowed a person to interact in the world. Cruelty to the birds had consequences, stealing had consequences, items like the feather, boots and bracelet allowed the player to interact with the world differently and… Read more »
Peter Quint
Guest
Peter Quint
Good point, I liked the Zelda idea but disagree that it is entirely an artistic question because I suspect we might be talking about slightly different things. I was thinking of something like the old Molyneux idea of planting an acorn and it growing in the world – that level of permanent transformation being possible. Make it more like living in a simulation than what amounts to a bunch of non interactive obstacles. Have the world generated on levels that strive to get closer and closer to the real physics on smaller and smaller level of objects. Basically, I want… Read more »
MJC
Guest
MJC

“I was thinking of something like the old Molyneux idea of planting an acorn and it growing in the world”

Funny you say that after George mentioned Link’s Awakening, because the next two GameBoy Zelda game: Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons both did the plant a tree and it grows thing on the GameBoy Color. And you can actually get beneficial items from the fully grown tree instead of it just being a useless tree that means nothing.

nicethugbert
Guest
nicethugbert
I don’t think we need more powerful computers. Take Skyrim for instance. The main quest can be put off indefinitely while the player wanders, houses, side quests, and scrounges. All that amounts to developing a history and identity, which your character starts off without. That problem could have been solved very easily by a simple mechanism to put off the main quest until the player feels they have built up their character’s identity and history and situated the character as a somebody in the world, not some faceless hobo off a cart. Instead of imagining some elaborate backstory, Open Worlds… Read more »
MJC
Guest
MJC
As long as they can make the “building a backstory” part just as interesting as the main quest, I’m all for it. But if the building a backstory part is boring busywork until you can play the game proper, that sounds like a downgrade. That reminds me of those awful “FF13 gets really good once you get 20 hours in, you just have to keep playing!” defenses people used to spout for a shitty game. A game with 20 hours of crap to be slogged through before you can have any fun is not a game I’m ever going to… Read more »
nicethugbert
Guest
nicethugbert

I agree. That’s why I specify that building backstory has to be the player’s choice. But, the developer has to provide the choice, the mechanism, for the player to build his backstory in the world through game play.

Tobasco da Gama
Guest

Well, TES in particular is never going to give the player character a backstory beyond “You’re a prisoner”. At this point, the idea of The Unknown Prisoner Turned Hero is an archetype well-anchored within the in-universe lore.

I do appreciate the way Fallout 4 at least gave you a family and made them part of the main plot, though. It’s “cheap heat” in a lot of ways, but it still kept me a lot more focussed than I usually am playing through a Beth game.

RifleAvenger Sashiro
Guest
RifleAvenger Sashiro

Daggerfall’s main character is a personal friend of Uriel Septim III, one of the only people he trusts to investigate the untimely death of the King of Daggerfall. This friendship, and whether it’s been mutually upheld, is something several characters play on as they attempt to sway you to their side in the political struggle.

Watchmedance
Guest
Watchmedance

I guess I was the outlier in Fallout 4. I couldn’t have possibly cared less that my character had a family, because I had no context for the family outside of him loving his family. I didn’t care at all though, and since I was the one calling the shots, neither did my character despite him supposedly loving his late wife and baby.

It felt lazy, and the previous Fallout games handled the introduction and motivations much better in my opinion.

MJC
Guest
MJC
Yep. I couldn’t really care less about a spouse and baby that exist for maybe 5 whole minutes before dying and/or disappearing. If you want me to care about the character you have to build them up a bit first. I used to rag on Command and Conquer 4 for having a wife character be in the game for about 30 minutes before she dies and you’re supposed to care, but Fallout 4 manage to lower that bar even further. Also I didn’t cry for Joel’s daughter at the start of The Last of Us either. Don’t even remember her… Read more »
Andrzej Sugier
Guest
Andrzej Sugier

+1. And the set personality made the protagonist of FO4 soooooo boring. Goody-two-shoes with no backbone. If you want us to play a pre-made character, make him at least a bit interesting in the future, pretty please…

InfamousDS
Guest
InfamousDS

Goody two-shoes with no backbone who has no qualms about genocidal rampages because he was in the army probably or she was married to a soldier.

I was and am so disappointed that violence was the only solution to the overarching conflict, when it never has been before. At least not so… permanently.

GMBigKev
Guest
This seems like developers taking the absolutely wrong lesson from the pushback against linear games and games with a short campaign length. There’s something to be said for quality for our money, and developers have taken that to mean if they stuff a giant open world with tons of faff to collect and repetitive, copy-paste side missions, we’ll be happy. I can be happy with a short game as long as it’s fun to play through – I loved Sonic Generations and that game only had 20ish levels, but I enjoyed every single second of it.* *Let’s see if what… Read more »
Trav
Guest
Trav
It’s interesting that now is the time that Jim has chosen to air the popular view that open worlds are too big and uninteresting, and that Ubisoft is the worst offender among the current crop of AAA publishers. Jim recently gave Watch Dogs 2 a 9/10 (a score I’d agree with, I think it’s great), yet in many ways, this video contradicts much of what he liked about the game. It is after all this year’s Assassins Creed, a big open world full of icons and repetitive activities, it’s just that it’s one of the better ones, where the core… Read more »
MJC
Guest
MJC

What part of Watch Dogs 2 was varied? I played a game where all you do is sneak into compounds, find the key that opens the otherwise unhackable doors, and then go through the unhackable door to the objective. It was so repetitive and boring, I couldn’t stand that game.

Tobasco da Gama
Guest

I don’t think it’s contradictory at all. That good open-world games exist does not in any way negate the trend of bad, lazy ones.

GrumpyMishka
Guest
GrumpyMishka
Stories, stories, blah, blah, blah. I’d prefer Elite Dangerous or Dragon’s Dogma to Last of Us and whatever Telltale released lately any day of the week. Overall, if it plays well, if it’s a genre I enjoy and it has something fresh, dare I say, original, to offer – well great, I’m in. Mirror’s Edge was fine by the way, I’ve enjoyed looking at it and I’ve enjoyed playing it, you know, pressing buttons and seeing the game reacts to it on the screen. Do I get it wrong? Because I used to think this is the important part about… Read more »
Watchmedance
Guest
Watchmedance

That’s good for you. Some people however, myself included, actually enjoy narrative experiences. To me, gameplay can only carry a game so far. Just look at Mad Max.

Michael Prymula
Member

I thought Mad Max was an amazing game, easily in my top 5 of 2015.

Watchmedance
Guest
Watchmedance

It just felt so dull and empty to me. I played about as far as advancing to the third area before I got bored with the prospect of filling the checkboxes on my car so I could complete more filler content.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s a technical and graphical masterpiece, but it felt as bland as rice pudding to me.

Michael Prymula
Member

Didn’t feel bland to me in the least, Far Cry Primal on the other….

Andrzej Sugier
Guest
Andrzej Sugier

Gotta agree with you on that, for me that games’ polish and obvious love the developers had put into it made it much more enjoyable than most open world games. Could’ve use some more variety, but it’s far from the worst off offender in my oppinion

Jack Philipson
Member
Elite Dangerous works because it manages to correctly transplant it’s modest ambitions into an outsize game world. This is largely because it’s content is not front loaded. There’s a natural sense of progression from being a small time junk hauler to a legendary explorer, a powerful mercenary, or a merchant extraordinaire. While none of these things are written into the game as plot, the way it pans out makes it feel like your own personal story slowly evolving, as opposed to you just filling out a checklist of tasks, or doing a linear series of missions in an open hub… Read more »
GrumpyMishka
Guest
GrumpyMishka
Elite Dangerous works because of many things. Even the basics, it manages to make you feel like you travel through enormous distances by lots of tiny and large details in gameplay mechanics, sound and visual design, interface, music score etc. Of course you need a sense of you moving somewhere, I mean, the acquiring better ships and picking different roles part, which is true to many other games. But nothing of that would matter if these small and large details that make it fun and immersive to play weren’t there, don’t you agree? And all these things that took a… Read more »
Jack Philipson
Member

A traditional narrative isn’t a necessity, but every task given should feel like it properly fits into the game world, and have a discernible point. There’s a lot of games where you do random bullshit because there’s an icon on the map.

GrumpyMishka
Guest
GrumpyMishka
My point is it doesn’t matter if there is a random bullshit to do on a minimap or not and how well the script is written if the game isn’t good and fresh enough. If you’ve played your Assassins Creeds and FarCries enough you don’t enjoy doing what these games offers as their main thing, why are you still buying and playing them? They used to be fun to play and explore and to do the random stuff, at least for me. A few years ago I’ve enjoyed playing FarCry 3 and Assassin’s Creed 4, in later I’ve tried to… Read more »
Andrzej Sugier
Guest
Andrzej Sugier

I had a very simillar feelings after finally playing Bully for the first time. The game world is comparatively smaller, but because its’ design is much more delibarete, it’s almost instantly more memorable. And I find myself loving it more than most other sandboxes in the last few years, even thought I liked quite a few of them despite their flaws.

MJC
Guest
MJC

You know what’s great? When the developers craft their own unique world instead of just going “LOL LET’S TAKE THIS REAL LIFE CITY AND SCALE IT DOWN A BIT. CLONING A REAL CITY IS COOL!”

No. It’s not. It used to be impressive, but now the honeymoon is over and now all we see are big empty boring nothings. Stop being lazy, dare to craft your own cities instead of just copying from Google Maps.

Andrzej Sugier
Guest
Andrzej Sugier

TBH, I believe it’s simply a way to cut on development time sold as a feature. Most cities grow organicly with no real design put into it, and definately no game design – and any level designer worth their money knows that – but designing such a huge area WELL would take a lot of time – which those companies dont want to invest.

Charlie Koszulinski
Guest
Charlie Koszulinski
All I can say is that I’m ready for some smaller, more linear games. Maybe a hub world instead of a big, empty landscape. Or at least make it a seamless open world like Dark Souls or Dead Rising, where the areas vary dramatically and yet stay in the same world all while reaching them through multiple paths instead of making a B-line in a car for a few minutes. Nothing’s worse than trekking across an uneventful world in something as standard as a car. I don’t really care for Final Fantasy, but I’ll give them credit for giving you… Read more »
MJC
Guest
MJC
Weird that you mention inFamous considering it was used in the video as an example of an offending title. And for good reason, that world is boring and traversing it is also a chore. inFamous is probably the only open world I can think of where you can’t drive a car, but being able to drive one would have been an IMPROVEMENT. I wouldn’t say that about Prototype, or Sunset Overdrive, or even inFamous Second Son, but inFamous 1? Fuck, give me a car, it would be better and faster than the slow climbing mechanics. (Yeah, once you get to… Read more »
Charlie Koszulinski
Guest
Charlie Koszulinski
Who needs a car when you an grind on power lines and rail roads Sonic style. It was fast enough to get you where you need to be, the map wasn’t that large. I’ll admit, climbing was a bit clunky, but you can grind and glide, which is more than enough. Also, what kinda lazy thinking would it be to have a super hero game where you have to drive a car? C’mon, you’re a super hero, have some creativity. As far as collectibles go, at least they had a purpose. And they were pretty easy to find. And you… Read more »
Andrzej Sugier
Guest
Andrzej Sugier

Prototype is still one of my favorite literal “sandboxes” ever – the gameplay was so fun and varied that I’ve spend hours just running around playing with my powers, not minding any structured content. Shame that the side stuff WAS repetetive and uninspired, with no connentinon to the story

Stormbringer
Guest

More PSBs please! So much better than VGs.

Red the Fister
Guest
Red the Fister

Happy Birthday, ya fat brittish bastard boglin!

Will113
Member

Jim how dare you criticize Supermarionation, mankind’s single greatest artistic achievement.

Jack Philipson
Member

“Can’t afford live action? No problem, we’ll film it with puppets in a shed!”

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