Search This Blog

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Will the best open world "sandbox" game please stand up!

One the great innovations in this generation of video game consoles are the constantly evolving open world type game. For those living on the moon OW games, as I like to call them, are video games that allow the player to freely roam a virtual world and interact with the environment.

This game isn’t new. Many open world games have been around since the early eighties, and yes PC games have been perfecting the open world game for years. In fact the most popular open world game World of Warcraft has taken open world to a whole new level. Bringing people together in a virtual middle aged reality with wizards, knights etc, WOW has gone beyond the realm of mere game and is almost become rightly or wrongly a new reality.

But I’m not talking about that. I’m only talking about the consoles, because of the mainstream ramifications. While it is true computer games are popular, they still haven’t hit the general populous the way consoles have.

The reason for the popularity of the open world games, or “sandbox” games is quite simple. Like no other game they allow the gamers to feel freedom and to immerse themselves in different times and places and the freedom to do things within these places that they could never have dreamed.

Now I have compiled a list of my favorite open world console games that I feel are the best examples of what I believe the future of video games should emulate. The ratings are based on many factors.

-Graphics: The graphics should be good enough that it’s is able to actually pull the gamer from their reality to the game’s.

-Fun: The fun factor of course has to be there. The game must compel the player to keep on playing by introducing unique, and challenging experiences yet not so complicated that the player loses interest.

-Openness: The freer the game is the more open it feels. This is rated on how real and how many free decisions are allowed to take place which impact the outcome of the storyline.

-Atmosphere: This applies to how well the game immerses the player within the created world. Basically things like sounds, historical accuracy, music, images, storyline and acting.

-Replay-ability: This means how compelled the gamer is to replay the game once the game has been passed. Basically things like fun add on’s or the how open ended it is, or just plain fun.

So here is my list in no real order: (Make note, I’m judging the entire series of games, not individual games. For example Fable implies I, II and III.)

-       Assassin’s Creed
-       Fable 
-       Fallout
-       Grand Theft Auto
-       L.A. Noire
-       Mafia
-       Mass Effect
-       Oblivion
-       Red Dead Redemption
-       Spider-man

Arguments: Pros and con’s.  

Assassin’s Creed:

For me this series took games to a higher level, in terms of sheer work involved. Ubisoft really went balls to the wall for this series. Painstakingly recreating many interactive and vibrantly live ancient cities such as Jerusalem, Damascus, Venice, Florence, and Rome, is no small feat.
They brought these cities back from the past with perfect precision and attention to detail, including the sounds, even the way the crowd interacts with you. 
The graphics, the climbing and fighting engines are really fun and cool.
I also enjoy games that allow you to use a vehicle, and in this case horses.  

The storylines are extremely well thought out and thought provoking.

The missions in the first were rather redundant, and tedious at times. I felt that the characters were never really a part of the reality sort of above it in a supernatural way. No real choices could be made that alter the outcomes. The acting was pretty bad at points, which also broke character. With no real companionship sometimes you did feel lonely. I also wish they allowed you to keep a horse, as opposed to getting a new one all the time.


This Series began in the last generation of consoles and carried over.
Fable went more mystical and kiddy with their game play, which I enjoy. I like the way the main character is completely customizable. The character is both part of the story and unique to the player. I love the way Lionhead Studios decided not to take the game too seriously and allowed for joking and playful banter. The character interaction had a Sim’s like quality to it in which I appreciate. The graphics are okay, nothing special but are good enough to keep you immersed in the period. This game is about choices, my biggest disappointment about some open world games, is the lack of real game altering decisions. This game is about decisions, every decision you do impacts the character from his appearance to his social life.

I like the action, not as much as some of the others, but it’s still pretty fun.
I like the number of powers you can wield, and I like the fact that you can bring help with you.

No horse! That bugs me. I don’t even understand why you don’t get a horse.
The fighting engine is also kind of hack and slash, with magic infused no real skill involved.
Did I mention no horse! Yeah it bugs me that much.



Bethesda seems to be king when it comes to creating enormous open worlds that seem to never end… in a good way.
Fallout is extremely open in the sense that it gives you a lot of freedom. Almost everything in the world is interactive. This series does extremely well at generating the desired atmosphere, which is an alternate reality post apocalyptic nineteen fifties U.S.A. The atmosphere is too good in fact that I tend to even get a little depressed if I play it too much. Which is why I think they gave you a pet in the sequel.

The action is unique and I enjoy the customization. The graphics are pretty good and I really enjoy the use of the radio to further immerse you into this reality.
I also like games that allow you to save anywhere.

No horse! Actually, no vehicles at all. Oh sure they tease you with cars and motorcycles everywhere but can you use them? No. Which would come in handy due to the enormity of the world.
I find the movement very bad. It kind of takes you out of the world because it’s just so unreal. But to their credit they do give you the option to go first person.
The game for me has no real relationship other than the dog, but even that sort of sucks. You tend to get lonely playing it.

I know this is getting really long but I truly want to do this justice so…
To be continued…

No comments:

Post a Comment