The Downsides of Playing Open World Games

Oct 9, 2019 | 1 Votes by Mikhail 10 rate Your vote
Open-world games have always provided us with a sense of wonder and have immersed us in their respective universes. However, playing them means we’ll be treated to a variety of real-life and in-game problems. WWGDB - The Downsides of Playing Open World Games

At some point in our lives, we’ve always imagined going to a different world and exploring it. After all, we were born in an era where it’s too late to explore uncharted lands and too early to explore the universe.

With that in mind, open-world games have given us that ability to a certain extent. Some of their worlds have left us in awe, leaving us to imagine what it would be like if we were dropped into it. Although some are more grounded in reality and history like Just Cause, GTA and Assassin’s Creed, there are fantasy worlds that blow us away, like Skyrim and Cyrodiil in The Elder Scrolls and The Continent in The Witcher.

Thing is, open-world games have their own fair share of problems which affect us in-game and to a certain extent, real-life. Let’s take a look at some of which:

Repetitiveness is a problem

You'll be treated to many beautiful worlds, but it gets old quickly in NMS

Personally, the first thing that worries me about open-world games are the chances that the locales will end up looking the same. If a game promises a huge world, there’s a big chance that certain places will just be rehashed and copy-pasted. Even those that offer variety through randomness by using procedural generation suffer from this.

A good example is No Man’s Sky. Although the game has improved with hard work and continuous updates, its release was hounded by countless problems with repetitiveness being one of them. Having pre-ordered the game, it was a regretful experience for me. It felt like you’ve seen what the game had to offer within two hours, and it was like a beta build. Fortunately, what it provides today is exponentially better, and exploring its universe today is extremely fun.

Too much content and sidequests

The Witcher III has an insane amount of quests

The two games that come to mind are Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon Wildlands and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and The Witcher III, titles I’ve recently dug into. There is just a mind-blowing amount of content, ranging from sidequests and random encounters with NPCs. You’ll also have to go through numerous cutscenes which is great, but is at the same time, time-consuming.

Although the staggering amount of content makes the world feel alive and gives you countless things to do, it can be extremely confusing. In The Witcher III, for example, there are hundreds of sidequests. These range from Witcher contracts ( bounties), investigation quests, and fetch quests. With that in mind, some of these quests fail if you take or accomplish certain main quests because they’re connected to the story which defeats the purpose of them being called side quests. Moreover, you’ll also spend countless hours playing the card game, Gwent.

The best examples of games that aren’t too overwhelming in terms of content and sidequests are Rockstar’s franchises. Red Dead Redemption 1 & 2, as well as GTA, have countless quests and a ton of content, but in a way, they don’t feel like they dump you with a full checklist.

They take countless hours to finish

Red Dead Redemption 2

Even if you spend dozens of hours playing games, there’s a huge chance you won’t be able to finish open-world ones in months. Although a long game is a great investment since they’re able to hold your attention for a while, some experiences get stale within 30 hours. In turn, you’ll end up dropping or putting them off, especially if there’s an upcoming release you’ve been anticipating for a while.

It might be open, but the world may seem dead

The post-apocalyptic world of Horizon Zero Dawn

Most open-world games pride themselves with immersive worlds and ones that feel alive. Red Dead Redemption 2 does this perfectly. You can interact with every NPC on the map, and the small towns and settlements feel true-to-life with real people going about their business. They react realistically to whatever the player does, may you be complimenting them, picking a fight, or shooting a warning shot.

Thing is, a lot of open-world games aren’t like RDR2. Sure, the worlds are bustling and are huge, but they may not exactly feel alive. Just Cause 3 suffers from this. Sure, you have countless places to explore considering that it has one of the largest game worlds around, but the cities feel barren and the NPCs, dead. Sure, they greet you and acknowledge their presence, but you can do nothing outside of blowing them up. On a positive note though, the game prides itself with its environmental destruction elements which are only second to its successor, Just Cause 4.

Bugs, glitches, and a plethora of other issues

Upon release, Skyrim had a lot of bugs

Finally, open-world games are glitchy and buggy experiences, especially upon release. Bethesda’s franchises, Fallout and The Elder Scrolls, suffer from this. Broken quests, janky animations, and going under the map are some of the usual things you’ll experience the first time you’ll end up playing their games. In a way, this is understandable because after all, open-world games are massive in size and scale. The developers may not encounter any of these issues during beta testing and may only be visible once players sink their teeth into it.

Despite its many downsides, we’ll never stop seeing - and playing - open-world games. Rockstar will always continue to churn out future versions of Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead, while most of Ubisoft’s best-selling IPs are open-world titles. In any case, we’ll still have loads of fun diving into the worlds and characters they’ve created.

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