Anyone else feel burned out on open-world games?

Posted by BigBob (52 posts) -

Since Christmastime, I've had the chance to catch up on some of the big games from last year.  Of course, there's Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, an open-world game set in Rome.  Time to time I also played Just Cause 2, an open-world game set in Southeast Asia in the present day.  And finally I finished with Red Dead Redemption, an open-world game set in the wild west. 
 
It's hard to criticize these games for "ripping off" one another (or at least ripping off of what Grand Theft Auto III did a decade ago), since despite their open-world-ness, they're all actually quite different.  Assassin's Creed is all about city building and stealth, RDR is about exploring vast deserts of the southern US, and in Just Cause, you blow things up.  Yet despite the drastic difference in gameplay styles, art styles, and general design, I still felt a constant feeling of deja vu going through each of these games one after the other.  Go to the dot on the map, talk to the guy.  Go somewhere else.  Kill somebody.  Repeat.   But they're all well-designed games with various objectives, great sense of progress and motivation for the player, and intriguing stories (Just Cause has a stupid story, that doesn't make it any less fun). 
 
So why am I so bothered by this?  It would be so much less fulfilling to play a bland shooter where you constantly run down hallways shooting guys, following a linear path until you get to the ending, with nothing else to find except to do it all again on a harder difficulty.  Open-world games tend to offer a great world to explore, more of a playground than a strict "game".  But it's weird to complain about a dearth of this kind of game, because it's hardly the kind of thing a small developer would be able to crank out to capitalize on a fad.  Big game worlds are hard to make, and even reusing art assets from Assassin's Creed II, or running the game off of GTAIV's engine is still troublesome.  Then again, it's much easier to make the game a second time around.  Fallout: New Vegas also falls into the category, and it's superficially identical to Fallout 3. 
 
It's less that I want open-world games to stop, and more that they should be spaced out a bit.  Everyone wants to make that next big hit video game, and an impressive looking world is a great way to get a bunch of Game of the Year nominations.  But even though Red Dead Redemption looked beautiful, had a great storyline, and is the first wild west game to impress people, it still just felt like I was playing Grand Theft Horse.  I found myself a lot more impressed with Super Meat Boy, or even Heavy Rain, as flawed as it was.  They gave me experiences I didn't know I wanted from games, while RDR just made me feel dull at times.  
 
In summary, smaller = better.  Find a way to innovate other than sticking GTA in the future.  Or the caveman age.  Though I might change my mind for an open-world Pokemon game...

#1 Posted by BigBob (52 posts) -

Since Christmastime, I've had the chance to catch up on some of the big games from last year.  Of course, there's Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, an open-world game set in Rome.  Time to time I also played Just Cause 2, an open-world game set in Southeast Asia in the present day.  And finally I finished with Red Dead Redemption, an open-world game set in the wild west. 
 
It's hard to criticize these games for "ripping off" one another (or at least ripping off of what Grand Theft Auto III did a decade ago), since despite their open-world-ness, they're all actually quite different.  Assassin's Creed is all about city building and stealth, RDR is about exploring vast deserts of the southern US, and in Just Cause, you blow things up.  Yet despite the drastic difference in gameplay styles, art styles, and general design, I still felt a constant feeling of deja vu going through each of these games one after the other.  Go to the dot on the map, talk to the guy.  Go somewhere else.  Kill somebody.  Repeat.   But they're all well-designed games with various objectives, great sense of progress and motivation for the player, and intriguing stories (Just Cause has a stupid story, that doesn't make it any less fun). 
 
So why am I so bothered by this?  It would be so much less fulfilling to play a bland shooter where you constantly run down hallways shooting guys, following a linear path until you get to the ending, with nothing else to find except to do it all again on a harder difficulty.  Open-world games tend to offer a great world to explore, more of a playground than a strict "game".  But it's weird to complain about a dearth of this kind of game, because it's hardly the kind of thing a small developer would be able to crank out to capitalize on a fad.  Big game worlds are hard to make, and even reusing art assets from Assassin's Creed II, or running the game off of GTAIV's engine is still troublesome.  Then again, it's much easier to make the game a second time around.  Fallout: New Vegas also falls into the category, and it's superficially identical to Fallout 3. 
 
It's less that I want open-world games to stop, and more that they should be spaced out a bit.  Everyone wants to make that next big hit video game, and an impressive looking world is a great way to get a bunch of Game of the Year nominations.  But even though Red Dead Redemption looked beautiful, had a great storyline, and is the first wild west game to impress people, it still just felt like I was playing Grand Theft Horse.  I found myself a lot more impressed with Super Meat Boy, or even Heavy Rain, as flawed as it was.  They gave me experiences I didn't know I wanted from games, while RDR just made me feel dull at times.  
 
In summary, smaller = better.  Find a way to innovate other than sticking GTA in the future.  Or the caveman age.  Though I might change my mind for an open-world Pokemon game...

#2 Edited by cnlmullen (900 posts) -

I can understand this being a problem for people who play a lot of games like game critics, but it isn't a problem for me because I personally only play a tiny minority of the open world games that come out (as do, I'd guess, the vast majority of people). 
 
I have played through Arkham Asylum, Bully, GTA IV, Oblivion and Mafia II over the past year or so (that's all that spring to mind) but I thought all those games were pretty enjoyable, and I wouldn't mind seeing more games like them come out. 

#3 Posted by Origina1Penguin (3500 posts) -

It's my favorite type of game. Despite similarities in mechanics, almost every open world game is unique. It's the "world" itself that is different. Unless the same world is repeated over and over again, I will not grow tired of open world games.

#4 Posted by Jimbo (9775 posts) -

No.

#5 Posted by GODOFWARFANATIC (8 posts) -

dude i have the same problem when i play Assassins Creed i always play it for like three hours then i dont play for months

#6 Posted by Mikemcn (6958 posts) -

 
@GODOFWARFANATIC said:

"

dude i have the same problem when i play Assassins Creed i always play it for like three hours then i dont play for months

"
Assassins creed is an open world game where the only fun thing to do is run up to a dude, let him give you a mission and then go kill the people he told you to kill. The atmosphere isn't there because your basically a time traveller who sees crazy symbols everywhere and has gun/blade wrists. The cities are made up of the same elements over and over and the people don't interact with you. I had trouble playing it too, it just didn't suck me in, the world in all those games just doesn't grab me.  

In RDR, Just Cause 2 or Fallout, its all about feeling like the cowboy/action hero/wastelander, and seeing/doing things crazy things in the world around you,without you having to trigger a mission set piece. But if you want that extra excitement you can go do those things.
#7 Posted by Dangazzm (31 posts) -

Personally, so this may not be fact, I think of Open world as being a vague description just as saying something is a game. Then I say Open World Game, difference being that just game implies to me that it is a cattle prod adventure which is fine but... my money is on the open world adventures were everyones experience can differ like I can find something you didn't and they can hide a lot of secrets for you to comb the entire map looking for. Theres a lot more possibilities rather than the old style missions progressing the story rather than the player, not to say one is better but yea. 

#8 Posted by keyhunter (3207 posts) -

Burned out on games. Yes.

#9 Posted by Toms115 (2316 posts) -

i haven't played a ton of open world games but the reason i get turned off by a few is that running around doing whatever crazy shit it is that i want to do is often times much more compelling than charging through the main missions. i'm sure there's a bunch of well designed open world games that i've missed, but a lot of times there's this persona of "hey, you can do what you want except now that you're restricted to our rules during this mission." etc.

#10 Posted by DonPixel (2585 posts) -

perhaps you should play less

#11 Posted by 02sfraser (847 posts) -

I agree in the sense that adding a open world map to a game doesn't make it better. Look at Test Drive Unlimited 2. It's open world was horrible. I like games that utilize is well and that's why I cannot wait for the release of Skyrim. Going to be so much to explore!

#12 Posted by tuksu (66 posts) -

Well no, cause there haven't been so many good open-world games! Just Cause 2 is great as is Red Dead Redemption, that's just my opinion. And if you are getting bored by these games don't play the shitty ones.

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