Whenever I tackle an open world game, I find myself doing two things.
First, I want to explore the world and soak up its atmosphere.
Second, I want to clear areas of their side missions and any collectibles.
Both activities mean I find myself ignoring the primary quest or missions, and thus the storyline, until I'm several hours into the game. Playing through my review copy of inFamous has seen this scenario repeated once more.
The play area of inFamous is split into three islands, each one unlocked in turn. Each island is divided into a number of districts - fifteen on the first island. Each district contains at least two side mission, one for Good and one for Evil. Completing one of these clears the district of all enemies, making it a safe haven for exploration, and locks you out of the remaining mission. Choose the Good route and you can no longer select that district's Evil option.
There are also collectibles in the form of shards, typically found attached to the sides of tall buildings and other slightly out of the way places, which serve to increase your life meter.
So I've been methodically working my way across the first island, finishing all the Good missions, grabbing all the shards and mopping up the scum from the streets. Occasionally I've had to take on a primary story mission to unlock more of the secondary tasks, but for the most part I've been content with just levelling up Cole's powers.
All of which is making my life much easier when I eventually tackle the primary objectives. I dread to think how difficult it might be to simply follow the main path and ignore all the extra stuff. Upgrading Cole's "Reduce Damage" ability first comes thoroughly recommended, as even the lowliest enemies you encounter on the first island can cut you down in no time at all with their machine guns.
I'm curious to hear how you approach an open world game. Some gamers love the freedom to go anywhere, while I know others can find that same freedom somewhat intimidating. Do you follow my example and veer off the beaten path? Or do you prefer to tick all the main objective boxes and then being to explore?