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One open world that I sometimes think I should revisit is Bully's Bullworth Academy and the surrounding city. I liked the game when I played it (back on the PS2, I think), but it didn't leave that much of an impression; however, I've since heard it mentioned as a great smaller but more densely packed open world, and I'm wondering if I gave it short shrift at the time. I did try to play it on PC once, but since I got a weird texture or shader bug that I couldn't immediately fix, I moved on to other games.
Depends on whether you can relate to the setting, I think. The school and surrounding area were definitely fun to pedal/skate around in and explore like you would have if you were a kid, and I have fond memories of waking up in a lighthouse by the beach after slapping some punks around then passing out because I'd stayed up too late.
10 or 20 years earlier I'd probably say something like Morrowind, but today I think none. Traveling through virtual worlds in an empty experience for me now. Games like AssCreed made it empty and trivial, but also my habits and priorities have changed throughout the years. I prefer games to be like books or movies now, not exactly in the aesthetic sense, but, to some extent, in length (well, not literally 1,5 h) and content. I like focused mission- or chapter-based titles, locations with distinct character and gameplay that feels worthwhile. That is not to say I hate games like Dear Esther, Gone Home or Firewatch, their length is proper for what they're trying to do. All in all, in place I am now, open worlds and sprawling hubs are a yawn and a big no-no. Maybe that will change at some point, hard to say
Bully's another good one, definitely. It was particularly good at making you feel like you were going truant (<- is that even a phrase?) once you left the school grounds.
Yeah, while I didn't list Bethesda's games myself, for me they do excel at certain things. I don't think I've liked the wilderness as much in any other company's games; traversing a mountain at sunrise or emerging from a forest during a thunderstorm, these are done exceedingly well even in Oblivion and definitely in Skyrim. By comparison, The Witcher 3's natural surroundings are painterly and gorgeous to look at, but for reasons I only half-understand the game never gives me this "being there" feeling. (Not a criticism, by the way; TW3 simply pushes other buttons for me, and it pushes those brilliantly.)
As far as online open worlds go, would HAVE to be World of Warcraft at first place. So many unscripted adventures.
Playstation Home was a unique experience which I really enjoyed. Was great checking in every week or so to check for a new exhibit / game booth by a games company. The "Resistance 2", "Assassin's Creed 2" and Star Wars Cantina rooms would be the all time standouts of the bunch for me.
Bipolar Game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/463450/
To demonstrate what a sucker I am for open world exploration, around 2004 somebody posted essentially a demo of an fp-walkable bare terrain of a mountainous island several square miles with a few structures and the one comment that somewhere on the island was a Lara Croft model. I recall a rough map and a road sign too.
Naturally I hiked up and down that island until I found that model. I think it was the first time I'd seen anything like that. I hadn't played Morrowind yet, and even that didn't have the vast open vistas it had.
I'm in love with Bethesda open world games while I'm playing them, but they're too hideously broken and reliant on an increasingly creaky engine to ever be my favourite worlds.
The biggest criticism for me is that interiors and exteriors require loads. That's been hilariously outdated for years now, but they still keep pushing the same old crap tech out the door.
Another game I really liked the open world of, but is impossible to get working on PC these days, was Mercenaries 2. That had a lot of destructible scenery, a good sense of humour and massive explosions, on top of pretty robust systems. Kind of a proto Just Cause 2, but with more character.
JC2 is absolutely gorgeous and an incredible technical achievement considering when it was released, but the activities they filled the world with got repetitive incredibly quickly.
And again, I'll argue that while on the surface, Rock Star's open worlds seem to have a lot going on, the depth of the various simulations is too shallow to be engaging for long. Interacting with NPCs in MGS V's less populated world is much more interesting and layered.
But I'm a bit obsessed with convincing simulated systems in games being a veteran Dwarf Fortress player.
Far Cry 3 would be my choice. But then again, I don't think I'm cut out for open world gaming. The only open world games I enjoyed for any length of time were Morrowind and Far Cry 3, and neither of them are among my favorite games.
The closest I ever got to feeling lost in a believable alternate reality were MUDs and later in their graphical incarnation, WoW. But I must say MUDs slightly get the edge due to their text based nature, which somehow worked subtlety on the imagination better than graphics could muster.
MUDs are impossible for me to play now, but I remember having vivid dreams about the adventures I had, cities I visited, people I met, and wilderness explored and almost nothing left a stronger impact since. It was much like reading fantasy novels as a teenager to an extent that these felt like real places, except suddenly a dimension was added and rather than a mere observer, the reader was an actual character free to interact and explore with the world as desired. While that concept is pretty familiar and mundane now, it cannot be overstated how mind blowing was as a teenager reading LotR, Wheel of Time, Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, etc. at the time.
That said the gameplay was pretty primative and grindy, driven more by social competitiveness and novelty than the inherit fun of their systems. Thus when the playerbases moved on to their graphically evolved successors, the worlds and their ecosystems pretty much dried up.
7,630 posts for me. Well, 7,631 with this guy. I somehow felt it would be less...
Whelp, being here since the Eldar Days, I guess that's not so bad.
Now, for open worlds....too many to mention, and today I get my copy of Horizon: Zero Dawn, so that should be fun!
With this post I'm jumping from 289th to 288th place in the all-time list. Progress is great!
As to the open worlds, I gotta say, man you all play a lot of games. I've played Morrowind quite a bit, and while I liked the scenery and the changes from day to night and back again, I could never completely shut down that voice in the back of my head that said, "now why would I even care about going to place x, killing y, and stealing z?". And I frequently encounterd situations where I thought, "oh, so this is the place where I could finally find a use for that thingamajig, which I once carried with me, but had to dump because I literally couldn't fucking move anymore due to all the stuff I was carrying, so all I have to do now is to go back and fetch it, which should take me about half an hour assuming I really left it where I think I did, but probably didn't", which honestly isn't my idea of fun gameplay. Imho, there is such a thing as a too open world. Yes, there's tons and tons of stuff to do, but do I really want to?
I found The Witcher much more fun because a) fighting wasn't only about button-mashing, and b) the world was constructed such that you went to one area, cleaned up the place, and when you were finished, you were really done with it and moved on, never to return. One of the most tedious aspects of open-world games is having to travel over the same paths again and again.
In short, I guess what I'm saying is that I value games that give me a sense of progress over games that give me absolute freedom to roam, but no real motivation to do it.
The reason I like just cause 2 so much is you dont have to involve yourself in combat, just cruise the world and enjoy the scenery. Its almost a zen/hpynotic like thing. Also Iforgot to mention Dayz Mod, as in the original, not the standalone. Traversing the wonder that is Cherneraus and trying to survive was amazing.
I've been known to just fly around Chernarus in a Littlebird. It's very relaxing and beautiful - those gorgeous wooded hills...
i dont know if you ever played the original dayz mod, but something about it just hit this sweet spot of open world, emergent multiplayer gameplay, there has never been anything like it since. It was hard and unforgiving, you had to learn the map, plan accordingly.
Yeah, I played the original mod. It's testament to the mod that revisiting Chernarus in our ARMA 2 sessions, I know exactly where I am.
I remember cradling a dying Duck in a tent as some unseen dude outside popped the occasional round my way. I killed him with a randomly aimed 3-round burst from the AK I'd just found. Couldn't see him through the tent, just fired where I heard the gunfire coming from.
yes! and the thing is, thats nothing compared to what came after you guys played.
Mercenary: Escape from Targ
Mercenary III: The Dion Crisis