New to the genre, is this a good open world game?

#1 Edited by Brighty (249 posts) -

After playing the Forza Horzion demo, I've decided to getting into the driving sim genre. The feeling of just driving around exploring the world while watching the sun rise was fucking awesome, I've always wanted to get in my car and travel but can't in my financial situation right now, so the concept of exploring a realized Colorado is great to me. It brought back old memories of driving across the country to Jersey Shore one summer with friends, and the awesome feeling of being on your own, exploring new places, and satisfying the wanderlust.

Are there any good open world driving games out there that capture this feeling of exploration and feeling of adventure (for lack of a better word) well? I know next to nothing about the genre, would I be better off picking up Forza Horizon when it comes out or is there a better game out there for this?

#2 Posted by DharmaBum (1049 posts) -

I'd recommend Midnight Club: LA, my favorite open-world driving game. It has a similar blend of arcade and sim with a city that feels very much alive, but it's definitely more about dense street racing than wide-open exploration like Horizon.

#3 Edited by _Zombie_ (1462 posts) -

If you have a gamecube (or PS2), get the old NFS: Most Wanted. I'd say get the new one, but I have absolutely no idea what it will be like, as I haven't really watched anything on it.

#4 Posted by Brighty (249 posts) -

@DharmaBum said:

I'd recommend Midnight Club: LA, my favorite open-world driving game. It has a similar blend of arcade and sim with a city that feels very much alive, but it's definitely more about dense street racing than wide-open exploration like Horizon.

Yeah, the wide-open exploration aspect is what really attracts me to Horizon. There were a few times I found myself just driving the speed limit in the demo and looking out the window at some of the scenery. Then again its just a demo so I can't tell if that's a big part of the game or not. Are there any other games like this or is Horizon a pretty solid bet?

#5 Posted by Vinny_Says (5721 posts) -

@zombiebigfoot said:

If you have a gamecube (or PS2), get the old NFS: Most Wanted. I'd say get the new one, but I have absolutely no idea what it will be like, as I haven't really watched anything on it.

Why not just get the 360 version since he already owns an xbox? Are the versions different?

#6 Posted by _Zombie_ (1462 posts) -

@Vinny_Says: I've absolutely no clue. Didn't play the 360 version.

#7 Posted by Demoskinos (15143 posts) -

@Brighty: I can't really think anything with the same sort of scenery as Horizon I'd say go for it. I know I'm getting it on tuesday. It will be supported by the developers and community for a long time and it should be fun to be there from the start and see what kind of insane stuff the community comes up with. Seriously, if you haven't seen some of the stuff people do with the forza paint tools it will blow your mind.

#8 Edited by DharmaBum (1049 posts) -

@Brighty: Horizon might be what you're looking for then. I don't think it's necessarily all about racing constantly; seems like you can just drive around at your own leisure and immerse yourself in the gorgeous world. Test Drive: Unlimited is the only other that comes to mind, but I have not played them and most of what I've heard is that they're great conceptually, but a few issues hold them back.

#9 Edited by HistoryInRust (6402 posts) -

@Vinny_Says said:

@zombiebigfoot said:

If you have a gamecube (or PS2), get the old NFS: Most Wanted. I'd say get the new one, but I have absolutely no idea what it will be like, as I haven't really watched anything on it.

Why not just get the 360 version since he already owns an xbox? Are the versions different?

No, not really. He should get the 360 version. It looks better.

@Brighty: In my mind there are two types of open-world racing game.

  • "Fast and Furious" Games -- These are open-world games predicated mostly on the competition of racing against others and/or the thrill of inciting and escaping from hot pursuit police chases. Games like Midnight Club and Need For Speed Most Wanted (and Hot Pursuit . . . and the other Most Wanted) fall into this category. Exploration isn't as important to the game, and therefore, isn't necessarily as rewarding for the player. The game's main focus is getting you into and out of races or chases, and that's where you'll find a bulk of the content.
  • "Top Gear" Games -- These are the games that respect the sheer novelty of driving in a supercar. Exploration is every bit as much a part of the experience as is racing. Oftentimes, these games don't have cop chases at all, in service of the quality of driving. Forza Horizon is here, and I'd lump something like Test Drive Unlimited or Test Drive Unlimited 2 along with it.

The key difference, really, is how much "action" you're looking for, and how self-serious the game is. Games in the Top Gear category tend to take themselves more seriously. The physics try to keep some semblance of realism and the world is typically a little more expansive (although this can come at the expense of world density). Games in the Fast and Furious category don't give you a lot of downtime. That's not to say you can't explore in them, but the games themselves aren't especially concerned with the act of exploration itself.

---

I think you should just buy Forza Horizon. Test Drive Unlimited is just about the closest thing to what you're asking for, but the driving physics can be wonky at best and it isn't anywhere near as pretty.

#10 Posted by procrasturbate (277 posts) -

Yo, midnight Club is difficult as F**K!

#11 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4488 posts) -

Reviews say yes.

#12 Posted by Chaser324 (6744 posts) -

I don't know that any other game really does exactly what Horizon does. There's a lot more variety in the environment than I expected from the demo and previews, and it's all pretty gorgeous to drive through.

Of course, I also have to recommend Burnout Paradise. Probably my favorite driving game of all time, and now it is cheap as hell.

Moderator
#13 Posted by Lozz (311 posts) -

@procrasturbate said:

Yo, midnight Club is difficult as F**K!

I agree man. The AI is absolutely ruthless which is a shame cos the game and the city is really well though out. I would definitely recommend it as a open world driving game. It's hard, but if your willing to spend some time learning the city and short cuts, it is a great game. Also Midnight Club LA is part of the best of Rockstar games thing, with Red Dead and Episodes from Liberty City. That's a reason to pick it up if anything.

#14 Posted by Winsord (1301 posts) -

I think it kind of depends on what you're looking on getting out of the game. I'd say the original Test Drive Unlimited is king if you just want a ridiculous amount of road to explore; it has its quirks with the physics system, but just getting to explore a very well realized Oahu in some really great cars is a ton of fun. While Forza Horizon is more polished in a lot of ways and has substantially better physics, I've already managed to find all of the collectibles and driven on every road with only 10 hours clocked in the game, whereas with TDU I put in a good 150 and have still only driven on about 80% of the roads.

I'd say go with the first Test Drive Unlimited if you just want to explore, but if your key interest is more in the feel of the cars and how fun the racing is, then pick up Horizon. TDU is a pretty small risk at this point though, since you can pick up a copy for $10-$15.

#15 Posted by Dr_Acula (27 posts) -

I am not sure if Need For Speed Most Wanted (the old one) counts but that was what I got the most play out of. I know the graphics don't hold up but the racing and police escapes felt perfect.

#16 Posted by subyman (668 posts) -

If you are in to exploration, you need to pick up a copy of TDU2. If you have a decent PC, get it for PC. With the free DLC, there are tons and tons of things to see and find. You also get two huge maps, both Hawaii and Ibiza. There are tons of offroad trails, back streets, mountain roads, and flat highways. The steering wheel support is pretty good too, I used a G27 on PC.

Forza Horizon is awesome as well, but it isn't as large and there isn't as much to see. Forza is a more polished game though. You should definitely play both eventually, but I would recommend picking up TDU2 because its cheap.

#17 Posted by JasonR86 (9726 posts) -

I'm fucking loving this game. It has the really good driving model of Forza 4 except the cars oversteer a little more now but threw in a really cool environment and a fun atmosphere. It is just simply a fun game. I'm having more fun with this game then I've had with any pure arcade or simulation game in a long time.

#18 Posted by Doomed (207 posts) -

I think it'd be hard to go from Horizon back to Burnout Paradise. Better to go the other way around unless you want to get the "full" multiplayer experience. BP is very cheap right now while Forza is still a little expensive if you missed the Black Friday deals.

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