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Thursday, 28 July 2011

Best open world game ever! And the winner is.... part II

Continued from last blog.

Grand Theft Auto:

The infamous GTA is credited as one of the pioneers of the genre. I do believe while some disagree, it is true. GTA III did get inspiration from different areas; it was the first to successfully merge open world with shooter, and driving game in one.
But what really separated GTA and others, was the sheer freedom to do whatever you wanted. When I first played it, I barely ever played missions. I just enjoyed causing mayhem until my wanted stars reached full and then see if I could outrun the cops. Never could.
The radio stations were a great touch really put you in the world. As well as the ability to own garages and keep the cars you collected.
GTA had a lot of things to do, and you could even make up your own, like my friends and I used to. GTA allows the player to be anything, a hit man, delivery boy, vigilantly or taxi driver, and still play missions.

I’ve always found the characters in GTA too seedy and un-relatable. A bit too cliché. The graphics are okay but not great. And the fighting action was always second to the driving and never really felt as good as it could be. Not too much in the way of customization either, which is something I wish they would add for future GTA’s.

L.A. Noire:

I give this game a lot of credit because it took a big chance in trying a brand new facial capturing technology, as well as rebuilding world war two Los Angeles with historical accuracy. This game tried really hard to be different and still implement successful elements of GTA.
The acting was very well done, and they really did something unique by giving the player the option to play it in black and white for a more authentic film noire look. The action was also fun and easy to understand. The crime solving was very different in this genre and like I said, I give Rockstar a lot of credit for trying to be unique.

While I do give Rockstar credit for the attempt, overall the game has to be considered a fail.
The open world while vast was boring. Nothing to do except look for hidden cars and they wouldn’t even allow you to keep them. No customization other than to change a few cheesy unlock-able suits. The crime solving which seemed cool in the beginning because you thought you were really free to make mistakes ended up being extremely lame. No real point-full outcome because no matter how well or how poorly you did, the outcome was always the same which left you feeling sort of, ripped off.
The graphics were only okay, and the music was hard to hear and not too selective. The character you play is hard to like and your companions are even harder, which left me feeling alone.
While the attempt to create a new type of OW game was commendable the execution left a lot to be desired. Too many big ideas, which is why I believe it failed. Sometimes less is more.

Mafia II:

Another nineteen forties through fifties America game that I thought was underrated.
You start off as a soldier in Italy, before coming to America as an immigrant. Cool and different concept. I like how the game really tried to make you feel what it was like to struggle for money in that time, by forcing you to toil in a pointless and low paying job that would never allow you to afford the rent. It gives you a sense of why a person would choose to join the Mafia in the first place. The acting was really well done, a bit cliché, but I believe they were going for a Soprano’s feel. Another thing I liked about the atmosphere was the seasonal changes, not many games do winter though summer. The action was good, and the missions were fun and challenging. It had elements of GTA and L.A. Noire. The graphics were pretty good too.
I also liked how they gave you a garage and allowed you to keep the cars you obtained, as well as customize them. You also had a your best friend with you the whole time and the lonely factor was not there.

The open world wasn’t as open as some of the others, not too much to do other than the missions. Some of the music was not historically accurate of the time. And the game ends with no real replay ability. There are add on’s but not too good. However the game was fun enough that I would play through the story again. The saves were kind of irritating, especially during a mission, too long in between for my liking. 

Mass Effect:

While maybe not technically considered a true “sandbox” or open world, Mass Effect to me is more like an open universe RPG. This Bio Ware game to me is like no other when it comes to graphics, choices, friendships, and customization. The atmosphere is pretty engaging and the acting well done. The freedom this game gives you to fly and land pretty much anywhere in the galaxy is unmatched. The grandness of the whole universe from the depth of each world and alien to your own reputation is completely without equal in console gaming.
The fighting action as a second person shooter is well done. The ability to forge relationships and customize hardware, uniform, and ship ability is also done well. I still don’t understand how Bio ware is able to give so much and still keep the game fun and without glitches.

The missions while fun were redundant. Mostly shoot your way in and shoot your way out. Not too much in the way of problem solving although there are elements of that.
Also while there were many worlds, there was not much depth to any of them. Especially in part two. Maybe they could have had one home world at least with a lot to do. Also there wasn’t much in the environments that you could interact with. No vehicles in part two, and I hated the vehicles in part one. Hope they perfect the vehicles in part three.


Never in my life have I been in a virtual world as vast and engaging as the ones in Oblivion. This game is as close to WOW as you’re going to get in an open world platform game. Except without the online, that is.
Playing this game became an obsession at times. Bethesda allowed you to literally be anyone, any race, and any sex. You could choose any path from good to bad. You could buy property in any town. You could get lost searching for hidden animals for days or just complete side missions. The game is almost endless. Oh and yes they let you ride a freaking horse!

While almost perfect this game did have some flaws. The graphics were okay but not great and the movement was pretty stiff and unreal, however that’s to be expected with such a huge game. The fighting was all hack and slash no real skill needed. And while the world was massive there was no sense of companionship, which left me feeling alone a lot.

Red Dead Redemption:

I’ve been waiting all my life for a true open world western game. And Rockstar didn’t disappoint. I love this period I used to dress as The Lone Ranger for Halloween when I was a kid. So when the game came out I was all a twitter.
RDR is a vast world, spanning two countries Mexico and the U.S. The games captured the western feeling so well that I was having spontaneous past life regression moments were I could have sworn I was a cowboy. There were so many things to do aside from the missions, which were awesome. Things like poker, dice, black jack, treasure hunting, horse hunting, random side missions, bounties or just being bad. Like GTA I would play this game for hours without even touching a mission.
The horse back riding is fluid cool and unmatched in game play. The deadeye shooting is really well done and fun, as are the random duels.
Also the add-ons especially the Undead Nightmare title was almost like adding a whole new game that was unique and almost as cool.
The sounds, graphics, and overall feeling of this game really put you in the world.

While this was open world, there wasn’t any real decision making at all that would alter any outcome. There was practically no companionship; nor was there any customization. I would have also like to have seen more options such as the option to become a sheriff, or the option to get a wife, or make a life as a gambler instead of a gun fighter. Also I don’t know why the character wasn’t allowed to swim or at least why they would kill the character for jumping in the water, a bit silly if you ask me.
The action was all story based and I feel had they gone a little more Oblivion with it, the game would have been almost perfect. But that would be just nitpicking.


I bet you’re wondering why Spider-man is included in this review of open world games. Well it’s simple, Spider-man by Activision was the first successful open world superhero game which helped spawn such games as the infamous series, DC Universe, The Hulk and others.

Spider-man was one of the first console games to recreate Manhattan, in full detail.
The swinging to almost anywhere and the climbing of almost anything is also an unmatched experience. I would sometimes swing all day saving random strangers, never touching a mission.
The atmosphere is to feel what it would be like to really be Spidey, and for the most part this was successfully done. While these titles usually followed the story of the movies, along with the a few side missions, the game could be enjoyed for just the random experience of helping citizens or upgrading your powers and abilities through side races and such.
The latest version Web of Shadows took the story in a whole new direction one that I truly enjoyed, allowing Spider-man to partner up with some of his other Marvel buddies.

While Spider-man is an open world, it however wasn’t as deep a game as I would have liked. Not enough Peter Parker, in which would have introduced a new and interesting twist. It would have felt more real if Spider-man had to make a living while balancing his relationships, at the same time as playing the hero role.
Also because of the cool swinging there tended to be a lot of glitches, so the graphics could have been better. I also feel there should have been more of his sinister six villains as random battles as opposed to the sometimes tediousness of save a falling person from a building. Due to the fact that it was a Marvel based title, it is always hard to customize or ever personalize the experience.

So there you have it my review of all my favorite open world title.
Now for the moment you’ve been waiting for… which of these is the best?
Which of these games will take home the Games Guy14 award for being the best of the best.
Without further ado, here at last is the list from worst to best.

My top ten are:

10-L.A. Noire
Ranking poorly in openness and replay ability, but good in atmosphere. Not good enough I’m afraid.

A grand old title to be sure, but needs a little tune up, as it now ranks mediocre in most aspects.

While fun and okay in most respects, however not a standout in anything in particular.

It’s great at certain things and awful at others. 

 6-Mafia II
It had a great atmosphere and was fun. Just not as open as it should have been.

It is fun and exciting to play and roam but the graphics and reality of it could be done better.

4-Assassin’s Creed
Cool game play, awesome atmosphere and attention to detail. However you never feel part of the world, as well as a bit redundant at times. 

3-Mass Effect
It is extremely deep, in world, customization, atmosphere, relationships and fun. The game play is a bit redundant though.

2-Red Dead Redemption
It is a fun and awesome experience, with a captivating scenery and atmosphere. Good story and a lot of unique things to do. Just not as customizable or as deep as it could have been. 

And the number one all time best of the best open world game according top Games guy14…

It is crazily deep, and completely engaging. Nonstop things to do and almost everything is touchable is this world. The fighting and movements were its only drawbacks.

Thanks for reading. If you have your own list that differs from mine I’d love to read it. 

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