#1 Posted by Metalhead980 (12 posts) -

I'm a big fan of open-ended games. Something that drops me into a world and lets me play around. I do enjoy more structured, linear game play experiences but I find the games that I put the most time into are titles like Oblivion, X3 Albion Prelude, Terraria or even something like GTA where I can roam around at my leisure.

So what do you prefer? A more linear, focused experience or something Open-ended & sandboxy?

#2 Posted by doobie (605 posts) -

as long as the game is good i don't really care.

i understand some games have to be linear and some open world. i think having a mix and different types of games to play is always a bonus and id never just stick toone type of game.

#3 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4893 posts) -

best game of 2009* was open world-ish. Best game of 2010* was open world-ish. Best game of 2011* was definitely a traditional open world game. I'm noticing a trend here.

*2009 - Arkham Asylum
*2010 - Mass Effect 2
*2011 - Saints Row: The Third
#4 Posted by mandude (2666 posts) -

I would have said open world about 5 years ago, but since then, I feel that it's being shoehorned into nearly every game, so for now linearity.

#5 Posted by Pinworm45 (4088 posts) -

Depends on the game and context. I don't like open world for the sake of open world

#6 Posted by MEATBALL (3494 posts) -

I can't really say I have a specific preference for either. Last gen I would have told you that more focused, linear games were my preference, but that was because it seemed most of what you did in open world games at the time was just really clunky and unenjoyable. Open world games this gen typically play just as well as other games. So really, I just like good games, and I don't think a game has to be one or the other to be good.

#7 Posted by DeF (4979 posts) -

@Oldirtybearon said:

best game of 2009* was open world-ish. Best game of 2010* was open world-ish. Best game of 2011* was definitely a traditional open world game. I'm noticing a trend here.

*2009 - Arkham Asylum
*2010 - Mass Effect 2
*2011 - Saints Row: The Third

only one of those games is open world. ME2 doesn't have an open world at all but offers non-linearity in the side/loyalty mission-selection and while AA merely allows free exploration of the island but I'm having a hard time considering it open world.

#8 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4893 posts) -

@DeF said:

@Oldirtybearon said:

best game of 2009* was open world-ish. Best game of 2010* was open world-ish. Best game of 2011* was definitely a traditional open world game. I'm noticing a trend here.

*2009 - Arkham Asylum
*2010 - Mass Effect 2
*2011 - Saints Row: The Third

only one of those games is open world. ME2 doesn't have an open world at all but offers non-linearity in the side/loyalty mission-selection and while AA merely allows free exploration of the island but I'm having a hard time considering it open world.

All depends on your definition. Classic example would be the GTA-inspired "go anywhere" philosophy, but since the OP described it as a binary linear/non-linear, I went with that.

#9 Posted by Akeldama (4257 posts) -

This isn't the way to look at it. A game with open world mechanics is not inherently superior to a linear focused game and the same is true of the opposite.

#10 Posted by StriderNo9 (1149 posts) -

In general I like a more focused, more directed experience. But I enjoy open world games also.

#11 Posted by AlexW00d (6446 posts) -

It really does depend, but I guess I favour non-linearity.

#12 Posted by Brodehouse (10130 posts) -

I like good games.

#13 Posted by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

Open ended or GTFO. All my favourite games are open world. Skyrim, GTA, RDR, Burnout Paradise and Batman Arkham City.

#14 Posted by Ares42 (2797 posts) -

While there certainly are linear games I love, I remember putting together a personal top 10 list last year and realizing that almost all of the games were open-world or open-ended games.

#15 Posted by DeF (4979 posts) -

@Oldirtybearon said:

@DeF said:

@Oldirtybearon said:

best game of 2009* was open world-ish. Best game of 2010* was open world-ish. Best game of 2011* was definitely a traditional open world game. I'm noticing a trend here.

*2009 - Arkham Asylum
*2010 - Mass Effect 2
*2011 - Saints Row: The Third

only one of those games is open world. ME2 doesn't have an open world at all but offers non-linearity in the side/loyalty mission-selection and while AA merely allows free exploration of the island but I'm having a hard time considering it open world.

All depends on your definition. Classic example would be the GTA-inspired "go anywhere" philosophy, but since the OP described it as a binary linear/non-linear, I went with that.

This whole linear/non-linear/open world thing is weird anyway. I'm always put-off when critics say game X is linear as if that's automatically a bad thing. A game's main quest/narrative is pretty much always "linear" 'cause it's not like we can play the end first and then go back to the beginning (unless a game is specifically structured around that but that is hardly ever the case and then probably only applies to the narrative style).

It shows how immature the medium itself and the discussion surrounding it still is that we keep throwing around these vague nonsense terms that create the semantic arguments over and over again (another prime example is the completely misguided "core/casual" discussion). There are branching stories (The Witcher 2) or sandbox games without narrative that rely on emergent gameplay and player-created stories (Minecraft) or sandbox games with a linear narrative with possibly branching story paths while also relying on emergent gameplay (Far Cry 2) games with set in an open world that has sandbox elements (GTA) or hub-based games with non-linear side-missions (Mass Effect) or what we call a Metroidvania game (which I'd argue applies to Resident Evil 1 to CV and Arkham Asylum) and variations of those mixed with other elements. The OP called the alternative to linear games not even open world but open-ended games. That is a whole 'nother distinction in itself. The only true open-ended games I can think of are stuff like Minecraft where you can keep building shit forever or Skyrim where you can keep exploring and find infinite randomly generated mini-quests. You might even consider high-score games like Tetris open-ended since it technically never ends.

I think a more appropriate distinction would be games that allow the player a certain freedom and games that function basically on rails, like a roller coaster ride without any player freedom at all. Though I think that is still way too imprecise.

Now I wrote myself into a corner and I have to pick up a friend to get his car from the shop. Which is quite a linear mission set in an open world. lol

#16 Edited by HoM3R (208 posts) -

Definitely linear because with non linear I want to see everything and do everything.

With non linear games that means playing for 5 hours and having fun but then getting bored with the game, when I saw around 20% of the game.

With linear it means playing for 5 hours on the edge of my seat and finishing it or playing a couple of hours more because the story got me hooked.

#17 Posted by BaneFireLord (2957 posts) -

Open ended, for sure. I love exploration.

#18 Posted by Euphorio (76 posts) -

To make a rather dated reference, I always think about the first 2 major Kingdom Hearts games.

In Kingdom Hearts 1, though not really an open world experience, you could travel anywhere and there were plenty of side activities with a ton of rewards for exploration and such. It was a lot of fun and was very rewarding to me.

Kingdom hearts 2 was much more linear. All of the "collecting" was done through the main story line, there was no incentive to retrace your steps or explore. The actual game play was just too focused and it took away from the fun of the first game.

That said, I think theres a good balance that needs to be found between open world and linear play. If there isn't some guidance, that open world can really bite you in the ass. For example, Morrowind was arguably too open world. People got dropped by the now-infamous mud crab more than they should because there was no guidance. On the contrary, people tend to get dreadfully bored when the game holds your hand through the entire experience.

Long Story short: there's a balance that I enjoy. It isn't a black-and-white idea

#19 Posted by DoctorDanger99 (687 posts) -

i love open world but only if the world is worth it. mafia 2 could have been a great game. if it wasnt open world. i hate that alot of devs spend so much time making a open world only for it to be bland and life less. the gold standard is gta of course.

#20 Posted by EquitasInvictus (2030 posts) -

I feel like the bane of my existence are open world Bethesda games because I've sank so much time into those games that I no longer feel productive as a human being.

I love their brand of open world games, however. Between the Elder Scrolls and their direction on the Fallout sequels, I wouldn't trade them away for all the best possible linear games.

#21 Posted by jewunit (1064 posts) -

I don't want to be put on a conveyor belt, but I do appreciate a certain degree of linearity to the games I play. This proclivity has become worse over time as I can't seem to invest time into larger games like RPGs. I like having clear objectives, but I also want to discover things along the way and have freedom to chose certain paths. I have found that Batman: Arkham Asylum and Tomba! have both struck that balance pretty well. I guess I am looking for more Metroidvanias in my life.

#22 Posted by IBurningStar (2190 posts) -

I don't favor one over the other really. I love a well paced, tightly focused linear game equally as much as I love a well made gloriously expansive, free roaming open world game. The important part to me is if it is well made. I really hate it when a game presents me with a massive world to explore, but there is nothing fun to do in that world. It is just dull. I also hate being rushed down super restrictive paths, while being forced to fight the same boring groups of enemies in super tedious combat scenarios. If the experience isn't engaging then your tightly focused game is nothing more than concentrated boredom.

#23 Edited by Chop (1998 posts) -

Open ended.

I don't care if the game is a sandbox or not though. I just want the freedom to be creative and solve problems in my own way. That's actually why I don't care so much for Bethesda games. Despite being massive open worlds with complete freedom to explore, the actual mission structure is completely rigid and linear.

#24 Posted by Twiggy199 (509 posts) -

A mixtue of Both, like Dark souls, you can go anywhere you where you want, but when you get deeper it becomes more linear.

#25 Edited by MikkaQ (10344 posts) -

I prefer open games with a lot of freedom with how you tackle missions and objectives. Like all the action takes place within the open world, and you can break the game and solve missions multiple ways.

I don't like an open world where I have to drive to a mission that loads a separate level, just give me a level select if that's what you want to do.

@Akeldama said:

This isn't the way to look at it. A game with open world mechanics is not inherently superior to a linear focused game and the same is true of the opposite.

That's true, but people have preferences towards one or the other, and there is merit in discussing them. And there is such a thing as too much of either. Some games are too linear when they would benefit from some more open design, and other games have no reason at all to have an open world. Like Mafia 2. Fuck that game.

#26 Posted by M_Shini (551 posts) -

Both, not every game lends itself well to linear or open ended, i wouldn't only want to mostly play one or the other even if i do spend more time overall on one of them, the change of pace helps.

#27 Posted by believer258 (12205 posts) -

Whichever one serves the gameplay better, though I'd rather have a game that allowed me to approach something my own way instead of making me do it the game's way. This can happen with linear games, see: Deus Ex, Crysis. It just doesn't happen as often as it should.

#28 Posted by LikeaSsur (1592 posts) -

I prefer linear, actually. In my experience, open world = random pointless collectibles tied to an achievement/trophy, which, as an achievement whore, I simply loathe.

#29 Posted by stryker1121 (1586 posts) -

Depends on the game.. most of my favorite titles this gen trend toward exploration and tackling objectives at your leisure. However, I tend to slow-burn open world games, which can lead to boredom, so I also like a good, fast-paced linear game that I don't have to play for 4 months to finish.

#30 Posted by probablytuna (3829 posts) -

I don't necessarily have a preference of either linear or open ended, it really depends on what type of game the developers are trying to make. For example, it would be excessive to make an open-world Uncharted game and it would seem ridiculous to make an Elder Scrolls game where the game funnels you through levels without any real exploration.

#31 Posted by sickVisionz (1268 posts) -

It totally depends on the game. Bayonetta would be a lot worse if I had to trek halfway across the game world to do every part of mission like Skyrim and Skyrim would be pretty bad if it was as linear as Bayonetta. I'm against the concept that one is always superior to the other and the recent reviewer trend that makes linear synonymous with bad.

#32 Posted by usgrovers (166 posts) -

I prefer open world games but I don't like sandbox games. I appreciate the humor and absurdity of Saints Row the Third, for example, but the city itself isn't interesting. GTA IV, on the other hand, nails the "lived in" feel, and is more interesting. Games like Assassins' Creed, L.A. Noire, and Fallout New Vegas are open world games, but it feels like you can "live" there and your actions have weight and matter.

For action games, I like a more linear experience like Uncharted or Mass Effect.

#33 Posted by Nightriff (5362 posts) -

Depends on my mood really so both. Sometimes I just want to explore and do whatever I feel like (Skyrim) and sometimes I just want to enjoy a story and have more of a linear experience. Lately I have been playing more linear games like a Darksiders and Prototype which isn't a linear game but I treated it as such in only doing the main missions. Maybe once Dishonored hits I'll hit the open ended game play bug again.

#34 Posted by NTM (7546 posts) -

It doesn't matter as long as it's a good one.

#35 Posted by PrivateIronTFU (3874 posts) -

Whatever works.

#36 Posted by gamefreak9 (2419 posts) -

That's kind of misleading. All else equal obviously everyone prefers open world, but open world is generally associated with inferior gameplay, inferior story and poor characters. Skyrim is cool but the story was terrible, the gameplay is bearable only because of the "epicness" and more or less no character is that memorable.

#37 Posted by Still_I_Cry (2494 posts) -

Open Ended.