This article was inspired by reading a post from The Well-Red Mage. You started my brain thinking again. It’s all your fault. But seriously, if you haven’t read the post yet, it has some really great suggestions for open world games for every gaming taste. Check it out!
I fondly remember the hours upon hours that both my wife and I would play Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion back when it first came out. I realize it was not the first open world game, but at least for us, it was the first you could really get lost in and play, or dare I say, virtually live in for countless hours. I remember putting my time into Grand Theft Auto III/Vice City/San Andreas and can speak of how those games set industry standard levels of both fun, AND quality. These were a virtual playground where I could be the little hoodlum my parents always thought I would end up being 😈. I would say the Elder Scrolls series made things feel more like it was MY adventure, and I was writing the tale, which added to the immersion for me, but there was no denying, back in those mid 2000’s that open world games were here to stay and would be a genre I would both love…. and hate these many years later.
Things I love about open world games:
I’m a fantasy nerd at heart. Give me dragons, swords and magic, and allow me to carve my own path in the world, and I’m beside myself with glee. The joy of exploration and discovery, mixed with the freedom to put as much, or as little time as possible into each play session or full campaign, makes open world games so incredibly enticing to me. Oh, and there’s nothing wrong with Sci Fi, or post apocalyptic open worlds either. I’m just a sucker for some dungeons and dragons action whenever possible.
- Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion
- Elder Scrolls V Skyrim
- Fallout 3
- Fallout 4
- Infamous 2
- Infamous Second Sun
- Grand Theft Auto III
- Grand Theft Auto Vice City
- Grand Theft Auto San Andreas
- Assassin’s Creed II
- Dragon’s Dogma
- FarCry 3
So much to do…
The beauty of open world games is that, as long as it caters to your interest, a good game will feel like it has an endless supply of quests and places to explore. Everywhere you turn, there’s another exciting adventure to have, another crime spree, or another fetch quest to keep the locals happy or win favor.
I’m not as in love with hidden collectables, but I have completionist friends who love scouring every square inch of the map, looking for one more feather/shard/tape/nirnroot. It pads out the playtime for a trophy/achievement, but really doesn’t add any substance to the game or plot in any way.
So little time…
I guess if I have to complain about anything with open world games as of late, it’s that with some of them, there is simply too much to do. I haven’t beaten the three most recent games listed in my faves above. Throw the excellent, but highly distracting Horizon Zero Dawn and even Shadows of Mordor into the mix and I may never have to buy another game for a decade or so…
I remember playing Elder Scrolls III Morrowind and walking for what seemed like hours in that HUGE map and never really seeing a thing to do. Now the maps are arguably smaller, but FAR more compact with things to do around every corner. I could spend a week’s worth of play sessions just hunting for crafting ingredients in Horizon, or the same amount of time just hunting down the warchiefs in Mordor.
I’m not sure if this is a complaint about the games being far too distracting, or that I just don’t have enough time to play as I used to, but I will say that I think that the complaint first popped up when I realized that another Assassin’s Creed was coming out, and I wasn’t even at 50% complete on this year’s model.
Maybe I have to balance my desire to see all the story, with my desire to be level 6000 before I leave the first area.
Good times…. Mostly.
I’m going to keep buying them, playing them, exploring them, and hating myself for (probably) not finishing them even though I’ll be loving every minute of it.
Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to check The Well-Red Mage’s article as well. What are your thoughts on open world games? What’s your favorite?