Tag Archives: open world games

Death Stranding’s Subtle-But-Significant Achievements

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My overall takeaway from Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding is that it’s a very good open-world game based around a unique gameplay concept. It generally maintains and builds on the parts of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain I liked so much. In particular though I wanna talk about a couple things that set Death Stranding apart from most other open-world games, and I think they apply to Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild too. Continue reading

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Metro Exodus Is Just Like Other Open-World Games, So Why Do I Like It So Much?

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When I saw gameplay videos of Metro Exodus at E3 last year (I think it was E3), I started having concerns it was turning into every other big-budget open-world game I’ve grown tired of. I finally got to play through the game through that Xbox Game Pass deal (on PC), and while that description is technically valid I still ended up having a great time with Exodus, and I think it was for a few specific reasons. Continue reading

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The Gears 5 Campaign Added Just The Right Amount Of RPG Elements

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I only fully understood the details of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate $2-for-2-months deal and took advantage of the subscription a couple days before the deal ended, so I only just used it to play through the campaign in Gears 5 a couple weeks ago. Overall Gears 5 has a much more exciting campaign than the good-but-relatively-safe freshman attempt from developer The Coalition in Gears of War 4. The two central new ideas in Gears 5 — the open-world portions and your robot companion, in my opinion make it feel a little more like an RPG, but not in the way so many other blockbuster action games have. Continue reading

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Arma 3 Contact Refines Bohemia’s Campaign Design

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Over the last week or so I finally got to the new Arma 3 “Contact” expansion pack. From what I can tell it hasn’t garnered a lot of buzz outside of people already playing Arma 3. Maybe it wasn’t most Arma fans were expecting, but I rather liked the mini story campaign that came with Contact.

You may have heard that Contact is an expansion that adds a “what if” alien first contact scenario to Arma 3’s hardcore military simulator. Let me get this out of the way first: you don’t actually shoot at aliens or get shot at by aliens. It’s closer to that movie Arrival where you see the conflicts between different groups of people dealing with first contact while trying to figure out how to communicate with the aliens.

I think it resulted in an interesting mix of new gameplay mechanics in service to a story that’s downright odd for this kind of game. Following up a previous DLC pack about land mines and the different humanitarian angles of war, Contact makes me feel like developer Bohemia Interactive is really trying to branch out. For years modders themselves have used Arma as a base to build games in completely different genres — among them the mod that literally invented Battle Royale games, so it makes sense Bohemia would experiment more. But Contact also feels a bit more refined compared to previous Arma 3 official campaign stuff. Continue reading

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Ongoing Hopes For No Man’s Sky

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The latest “Beyond” update for No Man’s Sky is a monumental achievement considering the game’s circumstances. Even though it has made huge strides since it launched in 2016, there are still little and big things I’ve sort of hoped to see in the game.

Last year’s “NEXT” update, as significant as it was, honestly pushed NMS in a direction that wasn’t my ideal, but I can’t deny it made for a much better game for a lot of people, as it at least felt more balanced and well-thought-out. At this point it’s impossible to know how long Hello Games plans to keep working on NMS — the updates it has done so far are honestly well above and beyond what anyone expected. If they do keep going though, this is sort of my personal wishlist for new features. Continue reading

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Days Gone: Open-World Games Need Interface Customization

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I decided to try out the early sections of Sony’s latest big PlayStation 4 exclusive Days Gone, and it generally seems okay. The graphics look great (it’s probably the best looking Unreal Engine 4 game I’ve seen yet), riding a motorcycle through the wilderness seems cool, it does all the other Open World Game stuff about as well as an Assassin’s Creed or a Horizon Zero Dawn. What really irks me though is its total lack of user interface options, and I’m starting to realize how important those are to me in games like this. Continue reading

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Why I’m Still Playing Generation Zero

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A few weeks ago I reviewed Generation Zero for Indie Game Website, and while everybody has mostly written it off as a disappointment, I’m actually coming up on hour-60 as I write this. While the game definitely feels like it needed more time, the handful of things it does very well are enough to appeal to me personally. Continue reading

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20 Years After Dreamcast’s Japanese Launch, Where Are the Its Best Games?

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I wanted to wait until next year — the 20th anniversary of the Dreamcast’s North American launch, to say anything. I know the 20th anniversary of the Japanese launch this week is technically the “true” anniversary, but I think it’s pretty widely accepted the North American launch is the one everybody really remembers. It’s still one of the highest-quality launch lineups ever, partly because SEGA waited a whole additional year for the games to be ready. In any case, I already did my personal “story” about my experience with the Dreamcast a long time ago — 10 years ago in fact. Just read that if you want a general “my feelings about this anniversary” story.

What I am writing about though is how I auspiciously started the Shenmue remaster this week and how we’ve reached a significant point when it comes to the availability of the best Dreamcast games and the console’s viability today. Continue reading

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Zelda Ocarina of Time At 20: A Legacy of Open-World Games

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Like I said in my January post about gaming anniversaries for 2018, 1998 was 20 years ago, and it bore witness to an unusual number of landmark releases. Probably the most critically acclaimed one of all turns 20 this week — The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. By many accounts it’s still the best-reviewed video game ever, and a lot of what’s in modern 3D action adventure games owes something to it.

One game from this year I can’t help but compare Ocarina to is actually Red Dead Redemption II. I see a lot in common between them in terms of both the public perception and the actual characteristics of each game. Continue reading

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Rockstar Makes Amazing Worlds, But Do The Games Inside Live Up To Them? (Late to the Party: Grand Theft Auto V)

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As of this writing my save file says I’m maybe halfway through the main story in Grand Theft Auto V but I’ve decided to go ahead and make this week’s post about it and my other recent experiences with Rockstar games since Red Dead Redemption 2 is about to drop. From those experiences and the reviews of RDR2 going out right now I’ve figured out that Rockstar’s main strong suit has been its lovingly-crafted virtual landscapes, I just don’t know about everything else in these games.

I only owned a GameCube when Grand Theft Auto IIIGrand Theft Auto Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto San Andreas came out so I was pretty late to the franchise and Rockstar games in general. I understood they popularized sandbox games but that was about all I understood of their appeal. When I finally tried San Andreas around 2006 or something I marveled at the setting and characters but found the controls unbearable, as  I wrote when I came back to finish the game last year. I’m having a much easier time enjoying GTAV because its controls are more serviceable, but I can’t help but compare its mission design to other similar games. Continue reading

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