The Biggest Sins of Open-World Games
Before I start my little tirade about the things that bother me most in open-world games, let me be the first to say that they are awesome.
The freedom and sheer possibilities of what can happen at any given time are unlike any other genre.
Open-World games allow you to become all-powerful,do the impossible and express yourself inside the game world through other means than simple shooting and killing.
Not that we've never had our fun in starting rampages and seeing how long the AI will take your shit.
But pobody is nerfect and it's more fun to read criticism. So here are my biggest sins of open-world games in no particular order.
Movement ain't fun
Movement is an essential part of any open-world game, and with the amount of terrain you'll be covering -- be it horizontal or vertical-- anything that screws up movement is instantly noticeable. A character moves like a tank or is unresponsive to your commands may not kill the fun of the game, but it will always be there nagging you until one day it screws you over and you get angry at the game. Case and point GTA 4 (plus DLC), the shooting itself is rather good but moving your character is an exercise in frustration. He's slow, runs out of breath, the animations get in the way and don't get me started on the camera in the indoor sections
(MAY THE PROGRAMMER BE FOREVER LOCKED IN WITH THE TITANS).
But since I like constructive criticism I'll give an example of a game that nails movement, Just Cause 2. Rico moves and reacts to your input quickly and without giving priority to cumbersome animations, and then there is the grappling hook of course, the best example that one gimmick can make for some fun movement.
Biggest Sinner: GTA 4
Movement ain't fun in Vehicles
Ok I know that this is kind of cheating but it's equally important and probably the reason I wrote this. As I mentioned previously movement is important and in most open-world games you won't simply be travelling per pedes. A lot of things from the previous segment apply but something I've noticed to be more important than you might think is the friction between the vehicle and the ground. I've been playing Red Faction: Guerilla and the driving is infuriating. The way the vehicles handle feels like someone covered Mars in fucking butter, it's hard to drive in a straight line without sliding out of control or over steering and crashing in to a wall. I honestly can't comprehend how Volition let this slide by and how the QA team didn't try to rip their own teeth out and jam them into the screen.
Biggest Sinner: Red fucking Faction: Guerilla
Never-ending swarms of enemies
It seems that more and more open-world game developers are starting to totally ignore AI. The outcome of that are enemies that swarm in onto you like flies to a particularly fascinating piece of shit, and they keep on fucking coming.
It makes games like Just Cause 2 needlessly frustrating on anything above normal difficulty and it feels very cheap when--in a game that essentially turns you into a superhero--you die not because of the enemies skill or your failure to keep the situation under control, but because the game doesn't stop pumping out enemies.
Biggest Sinners: Just Cause 2, Red Faction: Guerilla
Pedestrians getting in the way
Pedestrians and Civilians in open-world games have pretty much become a parody. Most of them are paper cut-outs with wafer-thin personalities that exist solely for you to torture in whatever mundane or sadistic way you choose. Well at least that's what they should be, however quite frequently I find my enjoyment ruined by these dumb shits. They'll jump in the way of your car, stand idly around exploding buildings and are more often than not forced onto the player as a partner.
Yeah thanks game, I'm really grateful you partnered me up with a dumb shit that kicked me out of my own car.
Biggest Sinners: Red Faction: Guerilla, GTA 4, Assassin's Creed and pretty much every game with civilians
That's it folks, I'm all out of rage for now, but please feel free to comment on both the subject and the quality of the article (constructive criticism please).
About Fantasticmooseone of us since 2:45 PM on 07.13.2011