Up For Debate - Todays Open World Gaming Does Not Deliver

Written by Stuart Thomas on Sun, Jul 19, 2015 2:00 PM

It wasn't so long ago that the idea of a truly open world, where you can just go anywhere and do anything, was the fevered dream of a crazed gaming madman. But these days, everyone and their dog is chucking huge worlds at us, populated with believable characters who live their lives irrespective of the actions of the player.

But are these really the grand answer to all of our gaming woes? Do these open worlds truly live up to their promises? It's hard to tell a story if the player keeps wandering off. It's tough to create any kind of feeling of tension if the hero can just ignore the captured princess while he builds a house and enters a series of horse races before bothering to rescue her. We have covered this in the past but our gaming views can shift, so a revisit to this topical point is definitely overdue.

If a game world is just lackadaisically scattered with identical fetch-quests and short scripted battles with shrugging randomised loot drops, would we not be happier back 'on the rails', playing something where the designers have used a tight perspective to create drama, tension and action in a carefully scripted and directed way?

The direction of a game can be diluted in an open-world game. But the procedurally-generated stories that can arise and the unexpected results of a player’s tinkering can create stories that outshine those plotted out in more traditional games. Because they’re yours, and nobody else will have experienced them in the same way. Open world games lend themselves far more to the wondrous rabbit hole that is the world of modding, and with enough add-ons, two distinct players might not even appear to be playing the same games.

But Half Life! Alien Isolation! Dishonored! For every incredible, seemingly endless GTA 5 or Arkham City or Skyrim there’s an intense, story-heavy traditional game that simply couldn’t have worked as well if the blinkers had been removed. Or is that the similarly-blinkered opinion of a dim-minded games-buffoon?

Only you can answer that! So what’ll it be? Open Worlds Forever, or Tales from the Rails?

Dont forget to share below which open world games you are currently enjoying or tell us about open world games you were sorely disappointed in.

Is open world gaming today delivering the experience we all want

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03:27 Jul-23-2015

I personally am getting disillusioned with modern open world games. Enough with the meaningless collectibles and repetitive fetch quests already. If a dev must include these things, at least make it worth the effort. Did Far Cry 3 absolutely need to have so many damn relics?

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23:10 Jul-21-2015

Open world games need more urgency, personally, I'd like to see timed quests/ missions, i.e rescue the princess, if you go off, she dies, big impact on who can/ can't deliver quests, but at times that would be tedious and so long as they don't do a fable 3, run back and forth every 5 fxcking minutes...

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17:28 Jul-20-2015

Everyone has got different tastes in case of open world games. Nowaday's games like GTA V and Witcher 3 are kind of GOOD, but still not the "BEST". Cuz, as i said earlier, when it comes to Open World there are no fix rules and limts. Personally, i like Open World Games RPG style like SKYRIM.

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17:37 Jul-20-2015

Witcher 3 is a very good game, i enjoyed it very much. But what i don't like about it, is that, being an open world RPG it does'nt give the player a very wide option for weapon customization. For Instance i would like to play as an ARCHER in witcher 3. But, to each game, it's own limitation.

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17:40 Jul-20-2015

Skyrim is also good, but not a very strong storyline. In all the open world games i played, i was never satisfied, except for the graphics. Every games always lacked something. Now i am just waiting for GHOST RECON WILDLANDS, hope it will be awesome.

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12:58 Jul-20-2015

Hmmm... the problem of open world games are that they let you do whatever you want without forcing you to continue, you have too much freedom, and I'm not saying that they should restrict where you are going or restrict certain areas of the map, they should just make you want to play the missions, main story and side quests. And IMO that should be available on the go instead of going to a certain place to get a quest, you can call an AI companion and he will give you the quest or missions. Then they should make more types of quests, which require more game mechanics, so the game should have a lot of gameplay and mechanics, you can't have anything more than fetch quests if all you can do is

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13:03 Jul-20-2015

...if all you can do is hack and slash... and mini games are out of the question, each quest should make you feel that you have achieved something and there are two ways of doing this, either make enemies with a wide variety of attacks and bosses have multiple stages with different things to do and different attacks and patterns every stage or just vamp the AI difficulty, or the best would be both.


Most games today do NOT give any satisfaction of defeating bad guys, because the AI is too easy, the main character is usually overpowered and the enemy has 1-2 attacks per type, or if a shooter even worse.

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13:04 Jul-20-2015

Also they should give the player a vast amount of abilities, attacks, combos, movements, skills, skill points(depending on the game) and a lot of gameplay and mechanics in general, not make you feel limited by the gameplay and mechanics.

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17:24 Jul-22-2015

Absolutely agree with you.

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09:51 Jul-20-2015

With gta5 and the witcher 3 coming in the same year I don't think we have much to complaint on the open world front. However I would have liked a bit more skyrim-ish freedom on the witcher 3 :P. Like if I don't like a character I want to be able to slay his ass even if it destroys the quest. Not a main story character but you get it.

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01:08 Jul-20-2015

I myself love open world games. To me there is nothing better because of all the freedom we have in those worlds. If I want to go with the main quest I can, & if I want to put that on hold & explore I can. What is so great about being forced to follow a set path in other games? The Witcher 3 is proof that the open world doesn't always kill a good & interesting story. Now give me Fallout 4!

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00:28 Jul-20-2015

Dwarf fortress where every story is random generated without limit of epicness:
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A demon trick a town in belief he is a god and you find it reading a book.

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17:23 Jul-20-2015

Problem with DF is that 99,9% of players who played all this games like skyrim and batman would cry after playing 5 minutes of DF
Its too much hardcore (which I like) and with inhuman controls (which is just horrible)

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23:24 Jul-19-2015

The Witcher 3. The bar has been lifted.

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22:33 Jul-19-2015

Guess its all about personal preference. Personally I don't think there's anything better than a true open world where you can choose to do whatever quests you want and build whatever character with whatever story you want.
Played Skyrim for more than 1300 hours and I've only completed the main story 2 times ;)

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21:05 Jul-19-2015

A combination of on rail sequences (key story moments and ending) and (partially) open world design is maybe the best, like in many games (Skyrim, Deus Ex).One of my personal favourite is Stalker Shadow of Chernobyl.Playing it with mods (like Autumn Aurora) makes it one of the best atmospheric FPS of all time,try it :)

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20:04 Jul-19-2015

One word - Morrowind

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21:25 Jul-19-2015

Morrowind is very close and dear to my heart, but it does follow the mentioned sins of effective player time control--not as much as some games, like, say Skyrim for instance.

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21:39 Jul-19-2015

I dont know... If you look on Skyrim its same thing where player is only one who actually do something only with difference that NPCs are not just standing and moving around but have some day cycles (which are only decorations)

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01:11 Jul-20-2015

Morrowind is still my favorite Elder Scrolls game. Especially with the MGSO overhaul mod. That thing is great! :D

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22:30 Jul-20-2015

Or Morrowind rebirth

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19:41 Jul-19-2015

Today? No.
I stil lthink GTA San Andreas is the very best sandbox.

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19:56 Jul-19-2015

gta sa is still my fav gta kinda think iv n v were a step backwards in playability huge leaps in graphics but u dont feel as free playing them to me as u did in sa

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15:17 Jul-20-2015

I agree. Many gameplay features were substracted and that is just sad. Was cool gaining strength at the gym or pimping my car right before I got an Afro hairstyle..

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19:34 Jul-19-2015

witcher 3,gta V,skyrim these are great open world games and there is AC unity....except the graphics that game is a complete broken ass game

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19:07 Jul-19-2015

skyrim on pc is still my fav but fallout 4 is looking amazing, gta v had to many issues to me like ud kill someone the paramedics would come be like yea there dead n drive off leaving the body total lols but seriously O.o tbh id rather smaller more indepth worlds than having massive cities full of dead buildings u cant

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19:09 Jul-19-2015

. . . even enter or thousands of npcs u cant even really interact with. some worlds are big yea but if they feel dead whats the point

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19:25 Jul-19-2015

Thats what happened with Unity. Being used to Skyrim, I thought: Damn, Paris is small. But then I thought: Oh, you must be able to enter every building then! That's not too bad then! Whoa, was I wrong there

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19:31 Jul-19-2015

lol i thought that to, it was a step in the rite direction opening them up abit but they should have ran with it more and the npcs in unity dont do anything which always felt odd to me. Makes the game seem pretty lifeless tbh

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18:51 Jul-19-2015

Oblivion, Skyrim, Witcher 3, Shadow of Mordor, Dying Light, Fallout 3, Far Cry 3 & 4. The list goes on. I'm pretty confident that Open World games are the best genre out there. "AS OF THIS MOMENT!!" They can only get better as well!! :D

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19:01 Jul-19-2015

I am confident fallout 4 would deliver too!

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21:44 Jul-19-2015

Shadow of mordor is more of a massive sandbox arena than an openworld game.

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01:13 Jul-20-2015

Why did you leave Morrowind out? It is better than both Oblivion & Skyrim.

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08:57 Jul-20-2015

That's your opinion. This is mine :) I still think Oblivion is the best in the Elder Scrolls :P

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00:32 Jul-22-2015

Don't take me wrong. I have liked them all. It just seems like there was a lot more to Morrowind than the games that followed it.

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18:09 Jul-19-2015

Well yeah I would agree with this, It sort of delivers, so far....

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17:49 Jul-19-2015

only elder scrolls series, skyrim the best!!

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17:23 Jul-19-2015

Witcher 3, shadow of mordor, dying light, gta 5... these games delivered for me.

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17:23 Jul-19-2015

I think Dragon Age Inquisition did not deliver, man.
I was disappointed in that game, I thought it would be as good as the first Dragon Age

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16:30 Jul-19-2015

Make fast travel pricy, like it was in Morrowind, and gamers will feel an incentive to roam around and explore.

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17:38 Jul-19-2015

I see your point, but it sounds like it would be more annoying if you have a long distance quest

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18:22 Jul-19-2015

i agree, like far cry 2

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19:17 Jul-19-2015

I don't agree with all of that. It would certainly help to ..liven things up a bit if there was only limited/restricted fast travel available. But more importantly the created world should be crafted in a way that the player would not want to use fast travel excessively, but instead explore, encounter.

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