I’ve probably touched on this once or twice before, but Open World games are one of my favorite types of games.
The ability to explore where I want, maybe with minor boundaries dismissed with a “nothing for miles this way”. It’s a joy, it gives you freedom in a seemingly endless slog of linear stories, funneled into one straight path, unable to get closer to the beautiful sunset in the distance. It gives me the adventure/journey I always wished I could have without all the real danger. I mean, have you fell down a cliff while trying to climb up a path you know you shouldn’t take, breaking all the bones in one, if not both of your legs only to get back up, and move on as if nothing happened?
No? I didn’t think so. I mean, I already have leg problems, I don’t need a miracle surgeon trying to save my now jelly leg.
Before we move on, I do want to apologize for my absence. I recently left my old job due to complications with management and staffing choices. In order to keep the money flowing in, I took back my job at the airport, which the locale itself is kind of like an adventure, and I work mostly long, loooooong nights. I’m reworking my writing schedule, as well as sacking back some cash to start with some, well, other works that will someday tie into these articles. So again, I am sorry, hang in there, I will get back to a standard schedule. Now, back to the reason you’re here.
Yet Another Top Blank List
I recently started playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, I’ve been dying to sink my teeth into this game for a long while, the problem with the wait and play situation for me is that all the hype around games like Witcher 3 lead me to believe it will be way better than it truly is. So when my friend gave me the basic copy of the game after he bought the Game of the Year edition and I held onto it for a little a while before I finally popped it in.
I have to say, I.. have been kinda bored I spent most the time so far exploring the ? areas, rolling the dice on if the unexplored area holds an enemy too strong for ol’ Geralt to handle, or a simple hidden treasure that doesn’t even compare to my current gear. I’d say I’m probably at the mid point of the game, maybe close enough, but I’ve just been so… bored even with the main story going on. Maybe I’m lost since I have no idea what 90% what people are talking about and I’m certainly not reading shit tons of information just so I guess I’m just going to fiddle around in the dark and hope I can grasp on some kind of story thread I’ll eventually understand.
That being said, and now that probably half the internet is racing towards my home with pitchforks for my unpopular opinion on the beloved Witcher 3, I found myself dissecting why I loved Open World games and why I also could hate them if done improperly. To sum it up, making this a quick post, I’m doing a List of Pros and Cons, alternating between the two instead of a Top Five Likes and Top 5 Dislikes, because, everyone and their grandma has done that. I know… I’ve seen her at Starbucks, safe to assume she has more views than I have.
- Pro: As I mentioned before, the adventure aspect is a definite plus. I don’t get to get out much, besides work and family time, I am mostly locked in my room while I either play games, write, or sleep. In games like this, getting to sprint across fields of grass, littered with random people or enemies, a sword on your back and the sun setting in front of you. It makes you feel like more of a badass than you truly are. I need that feeling every once in a while.
- Con: Giant gaps between actual events, buildings, or people may be super realistic in a time frame like Medieval times, there was a lot of barren lands that knights and people had to trek across, but in games like Fallout 4, where you do find buildings on a more consitent basis but can’t go into them, can’t explore. Sure, I get they boarded up their homes when the bombs dropped, but come on, I should be able to walk into at least ONE of them in a big collection of houses.
- Pro: Being open, truly open, grants you the choice between going straight to the main story to the end, or just wander around and find side quests that grants you some humanized look at the world around you. You know you’re going to be a super badass “chosen one” with the main story, but with some of the side quests can make you feel like a basic man, showing up, and lending a helping hand, at least to the people asking for help. You get a tiny story told to you, you get to feel “normal” but at the same time you feel “the hero” and not just because Mission 3 said you were of the main story.
- Con: The repetitive character models kill so much immersion. Like, I mean… Old man one tells you in a raspy voice with a funky beard tells you George McSameAsMe has need of someone of your skills. Travel across these random hills, and to the house in the woods to find George looking just like Mr Raspy Voice, beard and All, it gets worse when the voice is the same, maybe with slightly less rasp. This pulls me out, this makes me feel like George was just pulling my leg and wanted to see me run all the way to his house, but from a distance the whole time.
- Pro: With all the side quests, the random treasure chests and whatnot, you typically level way ahead of where you’re supposed to be. Get weapons that make you way over powered, that makes the main story, when you finally get back to it, so much easier. Maybe it shows you the proper way of becoming a powerful being that the prophecies say that you are supposed to be. I mean if you went for it from the start, you’d have so much trouble come boss 5 or something like that you would have to go out and level up anyway.
- Con: So many things, skills, weapons, are locked away until you finish a certain mission. I mean, once I finally got to the main story, after searching high and low for secrets or quests, which I ran out of, so finally finished a few missions that were tagged as main story, and suddenly an area I went to earlier was filled with 2 extra missions. People who I don’t remember being their before were suddenly there and I just have to know, where they on vacation? Did they just feel the need to abandon their home for what could be tracked with in game time as months, only to return and complain they don’t have the coin to help you but really need the help. Did they spend it all on vacation souvenirs? I’m sorry, it just seems gigantically unrealistic seeing as how cause and effect timelines don’t sync up at all! I met up with an old friend in a village where they were hiding, after they come out of hiding for a moment for a mission with you, suddenly these people show up at said previously abandoned house. Did they know the friend, and were kept in hiding them as well, and did my friend coming outside just once meant they could confidently show up as well. How on earth does this correlate? If I explored everything, and I mean everything, then a mission allowed me to save a captured by bandits, once the town is saved and then a small house just barely, outside this village, someone shows up where they weren’t before? That makes sense! Not some random cottage maybe 185 miles away (in game) from where a mission takes place in and doesn’t make a massive change to the world! I just… *breathes in* It doesn’t work like that!
- Con: Level upscalling is bullshit. I get it, let’s keep the challenge for those, like me, who run and do side quests like you’re so over leveled that the main game is a breeze. The main bosses may or may not scale with your level, but the side bosses and quests scale no matter what, is just… well… bullshit. I mean, why on earth do I want the side quests I’m using to level to then become one step stronger than I will ever be. Tell me why, when I’m level 50, would I want what could have been a level 51 or 52, but since I’m level 50 it needs to be 10 plus levels above me, and the boss at the end of the line is nearly triple the strength with cheap tactics of a boss skin over used and over done. It makes things 10 times more frustrating, taking away from the open world feel, limiting what I can end up doing in the end. I like challenges, but making shit harder than it needs to is completely pointless. It creates frustration and takes away joy.
- Pro: Enjoying the scenery, getting to sit down and enjoy a sunset with rustling leaves, caught in the middle of a color change, while the wind makes your character’s face. You get to enjoy a world of wonder that maybe you could never get to explore around you. Maybe light pollution took away the view of most stars where you live, yet the game your wandering in has a beautiful skyline every night. As long you don’t have to worry about you being attacked by monsters at night. Regardless, you get to enjoy the majesty of the enormous world developers put together, the beauty of life, of art, you can sit down and just enjoy it if you wanted to. It’s freedom of choice of how you play, or hell even if you play or just world watch.
I know the list is a bit odd and uneven but if I had all the time in the world, it would never end. Or it would but it would still be uneven and leave you still confused as to if I truly love or hate open world games. Either way, this was definetly a breath of fresh air I needed to do after being stagnate with my loss of direction with my work. I will try to write something on Sunday, my next day off. For now, you may or may not lynch me in the comments because of my thoughts on Witcher 3.