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Open world/Sandbox games September 18, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Okay, got to the end, almost of GTA V. I have to admit I loved GTA V. It’s problematic as all hell, unable to decide where the line between parody, caricature and celebratory is, the lack of a playable female character is irritating – as is the depiction of women in the game, and it leans in to the nihilism and so on. But, the overall effect – granted, accentuated by lockdowns and the pandemic, was oddly liberating. Los Santos is an interesting space to explore, and it’s an odd game where just driving around it taking in the sights is as enjoyable as the story or the gameplay. Or where you can go off and play golf if you see fit.

Speaking of which I am unconvinced that that GTA V was quite as good as GTA: San Andreas. Yes, it smoothly pulls you into the story action, but there’s a certain linear quality to those aspects that sits oddly with the rest of the game – although in fairness having three playable characters and being able to switch between them does give a broader perspective. But that’s in a sense a minor quibble when engaging with a created space, a city and county simulation, that is so brilliantly rendered down to the finest details (well, almost, should you wander out to Hookie’s restaurant and bar on the Great Ocean Highway in North Chumash you’ll see some of the rendering on that building a little less impressive than elsewhere). And there’s an oddity about how carefully real, to a point, the narrative action is, as against using the sandbox elements.

I kind of understand why GTA V Online has stayed largely within in the confines of Los Santos, there’s a lot of real estate there the game never got around to exploring or expanding upon. In game Los Santos is not necessarily an island – though in game simultaneously it is surrounded by water and the only way away is by aircraft.

I’m looking forward to the next in the series, said to be arriving in a couple of years, though an updated version is promised for the PS5 release – not quite sure is that the online components or the whole thing. I’ve also got Mafia III and Red Dead Redemption lined up. But, without question the open world aspect is what I like best of all. So, with that in mind, any recommendations beyond those three?

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1. EWI - September 18, 2021

Not quite the same genre, but similar enough – got back into the Total War series to help get through the pandemic. Ended up getting quite depressed by the bloodthirsty mechanics of these supposed sims (no means for getting surrenders or taking prisoners, no accounting for civilian casualties in battle or campaign, relentless AI push towards constant warfare).

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2. Gearóid Clár - September 18, 2021

I bought an Xbox360 in 2019 for about £30, the Xbox One was already out a few years so it was dirt cheap. I hadn’t played a console since 2010, so the graphics and such are still great to my eyes. I might buy the newest Xbox console in another five years when they become affordable.

I am starting to discover that open world games are not perfect, but they are still so far and above the limitations of late 90s/early 00s games that I get a big kick out of them. I dip into GTA V and I’ve played most of Red Dead Redemption (part one) as well as Skyrim and Oblivion. The thing I find with open world games is that they are so vast and the storylines are so big. I rarely complete them, but just keep moving between them. Very much a casual gamer, playing 0-4 hours per week. The one I did complete was Far Cry 3, but only the storyline. There are still a lot of quests and bonuses I could have gotten.

For recommedations, if you are into fantasy, Skyrim is beautiful. Oblivion has some more fun gameplay (and a better world) but some niggly annoyances with leveling up. Otherwise, I highly recommend Far Cry 3 and 4, some of the best games I’ve ever played. To say they are first-person shooters is far too reductive. I’d suggest checking out the review of Far Cry 3 by worthabuy. He’s a grumpy game reviewer (getting more irate than grumpy of late), but couldn’t get away from the greatness of Far Cry 3.

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WorldbyStorm - September 18, 2021

I have wondered about Far Cry, that seemed in a sense closest in spirit to some aspects of GTA V – will definitely check that out. Oblivion I had, and it was okay but not as compelling as GTA. But it was definitely playable. I’d be like yourself, in or around 0-6 hours a week.

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3. yourcousin - September 18, 2021

To jump on the bandwagon. Even by 2010 my video gaming was getting restricted by life, so I became more selective about my intake of video games. The Witcher 3 would be a great title if you enjoy the fantasy side of things. I was a huge Bethesda fan for a long time. Part of what keeps them fresh is potential for modding which can give you double the game play with certain mods. That being said, Fallout 4 is always a good one, especially with some of the DLC like Far Harbor or Nuka World. But Red Dead 2 is high on my list for replay if only to do more exploring and side quests.

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WorldbyStorm - September 18, 2021

Really looking forward to RDR2! Played a little but it is such a weird change of pace after GTAV.

But I’m not madly into post apocalyptic stuff – in games at least – I enjoy post apocalyptic fiction tho. I think it’s that games are more immersive in certain ways whereas a book you can put down.

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yourcousin - September 19, 2021

Its funny you point that out about the post apocalyptic games. I tend to find my self in agreement these days. It hit me when I was playing The Last of Us, years ago now. Another extremely well written story which was very engaging from one of my favorite studios (Naughty Dog Studios). I’ve bought The Last of Us 2, but find myself unwilling/able to start it. Maybe getting a game about a pandemic inspired apocalypse cut a little too close to the bone for the year that it has been. The one game series I did replay this year while stuck on night shift for a month was Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.

Another game that I just thought of that is sand box inspired is Cyberpunk 2077 which is a techno futuristic game, but not *necessarily* a post apocalyptic one. Though the future is certainly not all sunshine and roses.

You are right about the pacing difference between GTA V and RDR2. But I love the difference in the environment between the two in favor of RDR2. That being said, Saint Denis has a distinctly urban feel to it.

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Dekkard - September 19, 2021

Fully agree on Uncharted. The whole series is so good.

The Last of Us 2 is unrelentingly grim at times. It’s a great game but very dark. There was times I considered just stopping playing.

Like RDR2 the writing is outstanding especially the way the story is constructed. The ICU/basement level is nerve-wracking, better than the vast majority of zombie TV shows/movies.

Will be interesting what the TV adaption will be like

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4. Dekkard - September 19, 2021

RDR2 is fantastically well written and has a story that is diametrically opposite to the nihilism of GTA V.

Played RDR2 through twice. It is such a good game

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WorldbyStorm - September 20, 2021

Yeah the nihilism is so overdone as to become idiotic. All human interactions are negative in the game. It’s sort of as if it’s a world where empathy, solidarity even just basic courtesy are missing from humanity. I tend to ignore that as much as possible but I was thinking any future iteration will they amend that or soften it a bit.

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