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In theory, open world games are amazing. Rather than giving us a rigid story and small viewpoint at an universe, it gives us the universe and says: “go play. There’s a whole world or city out there for you to enjoy. Oh yeah, we’ve included a few stories and missions if you want to follow them, but you can get to that at your own time.” For a gamer, it is great. I have already written an article about how San Andreas, my first open-world game experience, was amazingly innovative and how the small details an open world map offers can save a game.

Of course, San Andreas was a long time ago and since then, we have been treated to several open world games. In fact, I think this decade will be the time for open world games, as several more franchises are exploring the possibilities of this genre (see the new Tomb Raider game). However, while we might be blinded by this new realm in gaming, I would like to interject and be the usual cynic that I am. Feel free to argue in the comments below.

3 – GAME TIME IS SPENT TRAVELLING

The obvious flaw with giving us a world to play with is travelling across that world. One of the biggest flaws I had with Fallout 3 (and this is coming from someone who loves that game), was the fact that to progress through the game, there are several points, where you had to make long-winded treks through abandoned cities and lengthy subways that resemble mazes. Obviously, I am not the only one who has a problem with this flaw, as Fallout: New Vegas made their map a lot smaller, but just as enjoyable.

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

Sure, Skyrim has some beautiful landscapes to travel through, but I will call you a liar if you tell me that you haven’t groaned, as soon as you realised that you couldn’t fast-travel to where your mission asked you to go. Most of the missions in Grand Theft Auto involve driving long distances to introduce you to another part of the map. As I get older, I have far less time to spend on playing games and it is a depressing feeling when the only progress I have made in a session of gaming is getting a little closer to the next waypoint for my mission. I stopped playing Red Dead Redemption for that reason alone.

As much as I love open world games, I have a fear that game developers are trying to outdo each other, when it comes to size. They need to remember that size doesn’t matter, as long as the developers use what they have well (*reads that back to himself and groans, carries on regardless). Batman: Arkham City is a fairly small open world map, yet it has so much detail filled into every gap of the game that hours of fun can be had out of it, without travelling to a mission miles away. Just some food for thought, if any game developers are reading this.

2 – YOU WILL BECOME OCD

Open world games also tell me that there will be items to collect. Several items. I cannot stand watching my little brother play anything like Borderlands or Skyrim, because he spends hours rooting through crates and barrels, looking for any item that could come in handy later in the game. It’s almost as though the game is trying to get its fans to waste their time with this kind of behaviour. A feather is never going to be needed anywhere in the Skyrim game: why even give us the option to carry it around?

All that happens is that we get too sidetracked to focus on the real beauty of the game. Assassin’s Creed’s strong point is the unique story: why make the player go around buying real estate? Don’t get me wrong, as I said a few articles back with Bloodstone, a game can benefit from a few side quests to boost time spent on the game. However, trying to buy every tailor shop in Italy is not a good use of time. How long will it take a player to find every snow globe in Fallout? LA Noire actually wants you to run around Los Angeles and find 100 different cars. It is getting absurd.

1 – THEY ARE EVERYWHERE

But my biggest problem with them is the fact that they are everywhere now. It’s almost as though game producers think that to be classed as a good game, you have got to become an open world game. Every Rockstar game. Assassin’s Creed is slowly involving into a bigger open world game. Even the zombie genre has become an open world game with ‘Dead Island’. As fun as they are, I am getting sick of them.

Silly game designers. I don't care about the beautiful sunset. There's zombies to be killin'.

Silly game designers. I don’t care about the beautiful sunset. There’s zombies to be killin’.

Sometimes the open world theme doesn’t come up till midway through. I was happily playing Silent Hill, which as a horror game benefits from a linear storyline and as soon as I reached the actual village, I was bombarded with sub-objectives and bonus missions. I do not want that from the game. Even first person shooters decided to move away from the fast-paced action (you know, the thing we love most about first person shooters), and go open world, like Operation Flashpoint. And no one actually likes that game, do they?

Look, I love open world games. Fallout is one of my favourite gaming series. I am just worried that this craze will spread, until all of the petty problems I can ignore by playing Bulletstorm instead for a bit, will get everywhere. And then my entire gaming downtime will be spent collecting f***** Templar flags. WHY ARE YOU EVEN COLLECTING THEM, ALTAIR?! WHY?!!!

5 thoughts on “3 Flaws With Open-World Games

  1. I definitely felt that traveling grind with Skyrim. I actually stopped playing it last year because it was boring the hell out of me. And yeah, there’s basically TOO much stuff to collect. Same with Assassin’s Creed III. I finished that game without doing a lot of the courier, hunting, etc. missions because they were boring and really quite pointless. You barely need money in that game anyway.

  2. Pingback: Can games be too open world? | CheeeseToastieandVideoGames

  3. Pingback: Can games be too open world? | United We Game

  4. I love open world games, but what I don’t like about them is that you’re basically stuck with a set of missions and rules that you have to follow.

    For example, a truly open world game should let the player have total control over every aspect of the game and not worry about story plots and such that force you to watch mini-movies during the game and listen to pointless dialog. The open world game should be totally emersive and let you do whatever you want to do in whatever order you want to do it in as well as let you explore a sprawling matropolis, or countryside, or both.

    As far as destructiveness goes, things in these games should act like they would in real life. So for example, if you throw a rock at a window, the glass should break, and you should be able to go inside the building and explore it. If things are blown up, they should blow up with precision and accuracy.

    Then after the destruction is done, and you go somewhere else in the game and then return to where the things were destroyed, they should remain destroyed in the same fassion as you have left them.

    True open world games should not have any plots or rules to follow, and you shouldn’t have to spend much of your time setting them up just to play them either. I hate games with story plots and mini-movies in them because I just want to wonder through the world, explore it and do whatever I want in it, and I do mean anything such as being able to break into buildings and explore them, storm a business meeting full of corporate executaives and kill them all because I am mad at my boss and much more.

    Truly open world games should be as true to life as possible, but yet, let you do whatever you want to do in them without any consequences of any kind.

    I have always wanted to just walk through a huge open world environment and just do whatever I wanted to do in it without being bothered with some story line, or plot with mini-movies built into the game. I love driving games, but even those have missions and such. I want something that is truly open and will let you do whatever you want.

    Imagine being able to just walk through a shopping mall in a game and take whatever you want, and even take things out of customer’s hands and such? Hey, you could even steel a woman’s purse right off her sholder and then take off running with the mall police chasing you from behind, and then turn around and blow them away with your pistol or machine gun. Just have at it in the mall by shooting everybody there and watching them fall to the ground, and watching things break such as glass and such. Just think, you could smash display cases and take jewlry from jewlry stores, go into Sears and JC Penny and steel as much clothing off the racks as you want without paying for it and more, then go out of the mall, put those items in your car and reak terror in the virtual city if you wanted to.

    Of course, if you’re not the destructive type, then you can just walk around, or drive around the city and look around, go into buildings without destroying anything and have fun doing that too. If you are mad at your boss, then storm a corporate executive meeting and crash it by knocking equipment over and breaking it, shoot the executives, or knock them out of their chairs, break things, throw things and do as much damage as possible until you’re completely satisfied.

    Now that would be truly open world!

    Always wanted to know what a home invasion would be like? You could do that too in the game without really hurting anybody, accept for those in the game, but the point is; is that you’re doing it through a game rather than in real life. That would be a great stress reducer don’t you think?

    How many times have you wanted to just go out and start destroying things? We all have at one point or another just to let off steam, but you could do that in a virtual world type game where the exploration is massive and the things that you can do in that world would be unlimited.

    It is not that I am promoting violance and such, but in order for us to releave stress, sometimes we need to act violently. Well doing it in an open world game would do the trick because no real people or objects would be broken or hurt.

    Too many game developers spend much of their time crafting some sort of fancy story or mission that you have to complete which involves a lot of setup time before the game can actually be played, and sometimes even during the game, you have to navigate through menu after menu just to select things and so on. All of that takes away from the real play of the game, and that also diminishes the open world aspect of the game because even though you have large areas in which to explore and such, the things that you’re able to actually do in the game are limited to the story plots and such. And if that’s not all, then the playing of the games are interrupted with those mini-movies that break up the game play and such.

    Then when it comes to destructive behavior in an open world game, things don’t really act like they would do in the real world. So even that is taken away from the open world experience. There aren’t too many open world games where you’re able to go inside buildings at will, and I don’t mean just any buildings either because many open world games that do let you into buildings only let you inside a select few buildings that are key to the mission. The other buildings are just there for esthetics and nothing more.

    What if you ram your car into buildings? Well in most games today, ramming your car into the building would only result in a thunk sound and the car bouncing off the building. However, what if you rammed your xcar into the building and you crashed through the wall and destroyed things inside the building as you would do in real life if that were to happen? Now that would be really cool to see because the damage physics in the game would be as realistic as possible.

    Open world games need to be redefined because wile today we define open world as a virtual sprawling environment, what is really needed to produce a truly open world experience is to add in some of the things that I have mentioned so far such as being able to venture inside any building at will, being able to ram your car into a building and penetrate it as far as you want, being able to destroy things inside buildings and do whatever else you want in the world that is true to actual physics and such. And if you want to blow things up and watch them burn to the ground, then so be it. that should happen in a real open world game.

    So open world to me not only means sprawling arreas to explore, but also being able to go littterally anywhere you want and be able to do whatever you want in that world. Let the player have total and full control without missions, mini-movies throughout the game. Just have a huge open world to explore and whatever you want to do in it.

    That to me is a real open world. When you go into buildings and such in this open world, there will be other people inside them and you can do whatever you want to do to them to cause destruction and chaos. Watch people panic and run when you whip out your machine gun and let the bullets rip through the room. Shoot out windows, shoot holes in the walls and ceilings, knock over furnature such as desks, display cases, hear all kinds of glass break, kick your way through walls and doors, and so much more. A true open world game should be like this, but not let the violence be the main feature of the game. The main feature of the game should be total exploration and being able to do whatever you want to do. So if you just want to walk or drive around without being destructive, then you can do that, but if you want to cause total destruction in the game, then you can do that at will if you wish without consequences. That’s how I would view a real open world environment, not just sprawling areas to explore, but the ability to express total freedom in the game without rules, guidelines and mini-movies and countless dialog. Now that would be a really cool open worled environment to explore and do with whatever you wanted to do with it because you’re in control and you own that world.

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