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Author Topic: Is anyone else tired of open world games?  (Read 1192 times)
Memory
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« on: July 31, 2022 @912.71 »

I'm sure this is an unpopular opinion, but I'm sick of every game series going "open world" lately. It's to the point where announcing a new game is open world will actually kill any interest I have in it.

I understand the notion that a large sandbox can give you more to do, encourages emergent gameplay and therefore increases the amount of time and (supposedly) value you get out of a game. But more often than not the extra stuff to do is just copy/pasted objectives and missions scattered around the map, and I always get bored of playing around with the game mechanics and physics before I even finish the main story. It's directionless, with too many distractions and not enough pushing you forward.

Game series that I used to love, like Metal Gear Solid and Zelda, were way better in my opinion before they went open world. It's not like Zelda was ever linear to begin with, but the open areas like Hyrule Field and the Great Sea were the spaces between more traditionally designed levels. Those sort of classic overworlds helped make the game's world feel bigger and more real, but most of the actual gameplay took place in heavily choreographed locations that felt unique and hand-crafted. BotW did have more traditional dungeons as well, but the architecture of all of them looked exactly the same other than being arranged in a different configuration for whatever puzzle you had to solve.

I really like Elden Ring and have managed to complete the story four times, but I think it's great in spite of being open world rather than because of it. I know that if it were designed more linearly like Dark Souls I would have enjoyed it even more. There is just so much space that is totally pointless. In Dark Souls, if there's a path you can take you're almost guaranteed to be rewarded for your exploration with an item, but in Elden Ring there's usually nothing. It's bigger, but why?

I can't think of a single example of an open world game where all of that space was actually utilized in an interesting way. It's always filled with repeating assets with nothing to do but move through it to the next objective and maybe fight a respawning mob of enemies that you could just as easily rush past. And when you reach your destination, it's almost always an outpost that looks just like every other outpost, complete with the same objectives.

I like to compare this to metroidvania games, because they also have large worlds with multiple paths to take, but each path is more narrow and purposefully designed. If there are enemies in the area, they're typically placed in a way that takes advantage of the terrain, which makes the level design even more meaningful. It's a part of the gameplay rather than just a space for the gameplay to take place in.

Another good contrast would be the original Resident Evil. The gameplay area is small, but the world feels fully realized despite getting such a small glimpse into it. There's nothing in the mansion that looks like it's there just to fill up space and you form an attachment to the setting because the game is designed around revisiting rooms and finding something new each time while the story gradually pushes you deeper into new, unexplored locations.

So that's my rant. I don't expect people to feel the same way, but hopefully I articulated myself in a way that you can at least sympathize with.
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wris
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« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2022 @920.94 »

I don’t feel as strongly about it as you, but I do largely agree. These days I tend to prioritise gaming less, so I definitely prefer a shorter but expertly crafted experience over an open world game that’s been padded out with copy/paste content and fetch quests.

The main recent offender that springs to mind is FFXV. The FF series has always had the world map, but it felt like this time they really tried to go too big without enough content to really justify it. And now SqEnix seem to be going all-in on NFT stuff, so… not thrilled.

I just want a game that respects my time.
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Memory
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« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2022 @0.02 »

I think there is room for both open world and linear games.
I enjoy open world games for role-playing and creating my own fun in them, especially for immersing myself, and linear games for the potential it has for genuinely game-changing plot twists and variety in gameplay, setting and style.

Open world games tend to be very limiting ironically at the same time when you have a clear objective, with the open world then only being a boring hurdle to overcome. But if you have a game in which immersion is the main draw, an open world is almost a must.
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Memory
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« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2022 @46.50 »

I think there is room for both open world and linear games.

For sure. Don't get me wrong. It's not like I hate open world games entirely. I just don't want every series I enjoy to become one. Publishers seem to look at it as a selling feature so more and more games are being altered into open world experiences even if it adds nothing or drags down the design.

From Software has already gone down that path with Elden Ring, and Nintendo with Breath of the Wild, and Microsoft with Halo Infinite. I'm worried we're going to lose out on a lot of experiences because everyone is chasing the same trend.
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manpaint
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« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2022 @890.59 »

Game series that I used to love, like Metal Gear Solid and Zelda, were way better in my opinion before they went open world. It's not like Zelda was ever linear to begin with, but the open areas like Hyrule Field and the Great Sea were the spaces between more traditionally designed levels. Those sort of classic overworlds helped make the game's world feel bigger and more real, but most of the actual gameplay took place in heavily choreographed locations that felt unique and hand-crafted. BotW did have more traditional dungeons as well, but the architecture of all of them looked exactly the same other than being arranged in a different configuration for whatever puzzle you had to solve.

Yeah, I felt the same thing when I played BOTW. At first the open-world is nice but the novelty quickly disappeared. Most of the dungeons of the game are completelty soulless, the only notable exception to this was Hyrule Castle.

What they should have done IMO, is something more close to the world of Twilight Princess. I think some kind of lobby (i.e Hyrule Field) allowing you to tackle several linear and hand-crafted regions in the order you want would have worked better.

That being said, the ability to be able to wear and equip pretty much anything was nice. Sadly the durability system siphoned most of the fun of that feature.
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Memory
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« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2022 @179.27 »

Sadly the durability system siphoned most of the fun of that feature.

This is my biggest complaint of BotW. The weapon/shield durability really killed the game for me, and I'm certain that it's a direct result of the game being open world. They couldn't fill a game that size with interesting, unique items, so they "reward" your exploration with yet another weapon that'll break in ten swings. It's kind of like how they changed it from four heart pieces to five in Twilight Princess to fill more treasure chests, but that still felt more rewarding.
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Memory
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« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2022 @541.82 »

I really enjoy open world games for immersive and/or sandbox games. Games like GTA, Watch Dogs, Minecraft, Just Cause, Red Faction, various MMOs, Red Dead Redemption, Mafia, Elder Scrolls, EVE Online, and many more, really profit from the open world, because it feels more like a portal into another world that you can do whatever you want in than a train ride in a theme park. In Watch Dogs and GTA titles, I spent days just walking around the world taking in the culture and the little NPC interactions, pretending to drive like a civilian, making up my own stories in my head. For me, it was a portal into a city I was never in.

But at the same time, some worlds just don't inspire getting immersed in them, and some games do not have gameplay loops that particularly support open worlds. I don't feel like a Mass Effect game needs to be open world, for example, unless they turn it into a different genre. I don't think a Myst game needs to be open world, or a Soulslike game, a Mario game or a Zelda game. Sure, these worlds and universes would be cool in an open-world game, but a game is more than a setting, and many times they just translate the same gameplay haphazardly into an open world, which just doesn't work.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was, in my opinion, a game that profited a lot from the open world, but its main issue was that the open world was just so visually boring. I would have loved to immerse myself in it, but I felt like it consisted mainly of endless low-poly stretches of completely empty grassland, and the bit of variety in biomes and structures came too late in the game and too little. It all felt very... tech-demo-y. It did not blow me away at all.

The bottom line is: We need more spin-offs that differ in gameplay significantly. I think a huge portion why people love certain franchises is the setting and theme, and the visions developers and some fans have is basically like "wow, imagine being able to explore the world of <insert franchise> on your own terms", but fail to consider the gameplay implications. More spinoffs could satisfy that: having a Watch Dogs themed linear puzzle game would excite me as a Watch Dogs fan, and having a Soulslike cards game would be awesome, too. That way, there could be big open world spinoffs that are DESIGNED gameplay-wise for the open world, which avoids the pitfalls many games have nowadays trying to cram their linear gameplay into an open world for the novelty.
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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2022 @700.08 »

I really enjoy open world games for immersive and/or sandbox games. Games like GTA, Watch Dogs, Minecraft, Just Cause, Red Faction, various MMOs, Red Dead Redemption, Mafia, Elder Scrolls, EVE Online, and many more, really profit from the open world, because it feels more like a portal into another world that you can do whatever you want in than a train ride in a theme park. In Watch Dogs and GTA titles, I spent days just walking around the world taking in the culture and the little NPC interactions, pretending to drive like a civilian, making up my own stories in my head. For me, it was a portal into a city I was never in.

But at the same time, some worlds just don't inspire getting immersed in them, and some games do not have gameplay loops that particularly support open worlds. I don't feel like a Mass Effect game needs to be open world, for example, unless they turn it into a different genre. I don't think a Myst game needs to be open world, or a Soulslike game, a Mario game or a Zelda game. Sure, these worlds and universes would be cool in an open-world game, but a game is more than a setting, and many times they just translate the same gameplay haphazardly into an open world, which just doesn't work.

You've put it really well here. Some types of games definitely need to be open world. I loved Red Dead Online and don't think it could have worked without being open world. You need it to evoke the feeling of being on the frontier. But slapping the Zelda or Souls formula on an open world left BotW and Elden Ring feeling hollow and stretched thin.
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Memory
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« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2022 @495.03 »

You've put it really well here. Some types of games definitely need to be open world. I loved Red Dead Online and don't think it could have worked without being open world. You need it to evoke the feeling of being on the frontier. But slapping the Zelda or Souls formula on an open world left BotW and Elden Ring feeling hollow and stretched thin.

Yeah, exactly.

Open world games also allow you to explore a culture or a world freely; in the same way that all of us have probably daydreamt about after reading, watching or playing something in a fascinating setting. People who tend to be into genres and worlds rather than characters exemplify this: they are fascinated by the implications and atmosphere of this or that specific setting or genre, not just a specific plot or narrative, and they draw, write and otherwise create in that fictional world to immerse themselves. Just look at science fiction/starship design fans.

I think that is why open world games are so appealing to us in the first place: they allow us to live out that fantasy, to take in a plausible world in a fantastical setting to a degree. That is why people were so disappointed with Cyberpunk 2077: it wasn't particularly the bugs, or the lackluster story, it was that they expected a game where they could finally immerse in a cyberpunk world, with flying cars, backstreet gangs, taking a train at night as the neon reflects in the raindrops on the windows, getting a shitty apartment and drive a cyber-Volvo. Perhaps sit down in a cyberpunk café and drink an artificial decaf as they look at people walk by. And when it came out and delivered a decently linear story with some gameplay-oriented side content, and no immersive content at all, they were disappointed.

It's also the same reason some people like Star Citizen despite it not being a particularly good game: it allows you to live in such a world it represents, and live out the fantasy of owning a corporation, starship, and interact with other players as that character, in a science fiction immersive world. They don't care that the gameplay doesn't hold a candle to gameplay-oriented games, because they are in it for the daydreaming.

But some games just do not have worlds that lend themselves well to this kind of immersive fascination. I never wanted to live in the universe of Zelda games, because I think they are decent fantasy worlds only rarely very unique or fascinating (other people might disagree, but these people tend to like BOTW more than me, anecdotally). I don't think Mario needs an open world platforming game, if at all, it should be of another genre if open world. I never wanted to live in the world of Metal Gear, or Hotline Miami, or XCOM, so they work linearly.

I think plot and character oriented games are good when linear, and appeal-of-the-atmosphere oriented games are good when open.

It is what makes Mafia I and Mafia II so frustrating, because they are worlds that lend themselves extremely well to an open-world game, but they are staunchly linear, while giving the illusion of being open.
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NacreousDreams
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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2023 @173.77 »

I was playing this game, Immortals: Fenyx Rising, and I was originally interested because it was an open-world game inspired by Greek mythology. Then I started playing, and the story was kinda annoying, with the narrators just telling jokes and undercutting whatever cool things the narrative was doing. The gameplay was kinda dull and repetitive. The world didn't look that great- passable, but not inspired. I didn't play for very long because it just wasn't a great introduction, and this game's expecting me to play for looooong periods of time? Nah, I'm good.

I actually loved Breath of the Wild! Up there with Wind Waker and Majora's Mask as my favorites, for the sense of exploration it provided. Even with reused assets, you could tell the dev team did everything in their power to minimize reuse while providing a fully featured game in a tight deadline.

I understand why the more linear approach started to gain favor, but one of the biggest draws to Zelda has always been its exploration. Even when the 3D games railroaded you through the plot, they gave the impression of exploration through presentation and ample side-quests. BotW's open-world is specifically tied to making player exploration feel real. Given Nintendo's approach to making game concepts, it was most likely designed that way for the gameplay experience it could provide, with little to do with how innately interesting the Zelda world is.
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