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This isn’t some marketing survey or whatever. It’s an emotional investment in you. Yes, we’re interesting in knowing you, Kotaku reader person. You probably know enough about us — more than you even want to, we’re sure. But, hey, we’d like to know about you, too.

Anyway, here’s today’s question...

It seems everyone's playing Red Dead Redemption and loving the vast, sprawling wilderness Rockstar created. But what are your favourite open world games? What do you most like about open world gaming?

Me? If it wasn't already obvious, I adore open world gaming. From the early days of Ultima, Elite, Mercenary and Hunter, through to more contemporary titles such as the Elder Scrolls series, Fallout, GTA, Far Cry 2 and Assassin's Creed 2, many of my most treasured gaming experiences occurred while exploring an open world. It's partly the pacing: that ability to set about the task I've chosen at my own pace, rather than one mandated by the game's designer. It's also the coherence: that sensation that you're traversing a real place rather than a series of levels.

I like the downtime in an open world. I like the moments when you're just travelling somewhere. I like the unexpected and mundane encounters. They make the action all the more satisfying.


Comments

    That's easy, My fave open world game would have to be X3-Reunion.

    AFAIK it is the only game of it's kind for this generation.

    Exploration without boundaries is what i like most about these titles.

    All time favorite goes to Fallout 1+2 - hands down no other game has come close to the enjoyment i got out of those two games

    Next up would be the Elder Scrolls games - specifically Arena which was my first forray into open worlds. Also morrowind just blew my mind with it's beauty and scale.

    My favorite open world game would have to be Assassins Creed 2. The reason being I played it over the Summer holidays. I wasn't getting the pressure from my girl about spending time gaming because hey, I was on holidays. My standards weren't too high either as I had previously poo poo'd the first installment based on the repetitive nature of it's missions.

    Anyway, because of this freedom I had being on holidays, I could get up in the morning... grab a cup of coffee and play games in my undies and feel like the biggest lazy sod. Haha.

    This luxury of time also meant I could spend it fully immersing myself in to the story line and exploring the highly detailed cities that I have been to in real life. I have rattled on previously about how the story left me gobsmacked at the end.

    So yeah... Assassins Creed 2 is up there.

      Hmm. May consider AC2 then. It's $50 for the white edition at ebgames atm.

      And would you consider arkham asylum as open world? Normally I'm not terribly interested in open world games as I can get bored, but Arkham asylum was done so well, not to mention that i felt compelled to go and solve all the riddlers secrets. The only thing stoppng me from going platinum is the one batarang in the fight modes, i can't get electric shock extreme!

        Arkham Asylum is an awesome game, but it is most definately not open-world.

    I think it's the fact that you can do what you want, rather than what you're forced to do appeals to me. Even if the game designer is still gradually guiding you along the storyline, it's still the way that you don't feel like you're progressing strictly in a linear A->B->C way which almost feels like a load's off your shoulders. You can stop along the way, smell the roses, and appreciate it for what it is.

    Obviously, I'm loving RDR at the moment, and while it's early (12-14 hours, 27%) days yet, I'm enjoying this in an open-world sandbox kinda way moreso than previous GTAs (San Andreas which would probably held my previous open-world crown).

    The same thing holds true for racing games too; the number of hours I've burnt on games like Driver (old I know) and more recently Burnout Paradise show that it's possible to combine the open-world-liness across genres.

    My mates are having discussions about how they like to shoot horses in the face in Red Dead Redemption just to get the reaction from their girlfriends.
    Honestly, one of my favourite all time experiences was wayyy back with carmageddon, it felt open world, you got money for pretty much doing anything you liked, so always felt like you were progressing no matter where you went or what you did, you never felt punished for not playing the game the right way. I think Carrier Command was the first game that gave me a hint of how much I would come to enjoy open world scenarios. I used to love sending up a manta with a long range pod to chase the other carrier while I had invaded the island I was heading to.
    Later on I became a huge fan of GTA on the xbox, I liked the first (3D) title the best, didn't like san andreas, it felt like less freedom even though the playscape was bigger. I like just hanging out and exploring and doing dumb things like trying to get a dumpster out into the middle of a freeway to see what will happen. I've enjoyed wasting many hours just dicking about in those games.

    Being a lover of maps the outdoors and landmarks any game that uses these well is my version of gaming nirvana. I have loved the treasure hunting in Red Dead. The combination of having to pay attention to your surroundings and piece together the puzzle from limited clues is a fantastic and rewarding experience. I dislike the hand holding that often goes on in these types of tasks which is often an insult to the inteligence of many gamers.

      Agreed on the treasure hunting in Red Dead. It's the best implementation of such collectibles I've seen in an open world game.

      I am hoping to get stuck in to this game over the weekend. I have put about 6 hours in to the game, of that... only about an hour in to the story and the rest exploring the surroundings.

      I dare say that this game will be up there with the best sandboxes I have played. I just didn't want to mention it as I haven't had too much play time with it.

    I for one love open world games for all the same reasons and more like the progression of my character and collections and of items and weapons and armor and just the general feel of the games (if done right i.e. Elder Scrolls Series).

    But don't get me wrong I love the linear games as well like MW2 just for the fast paced action and adrenaline rush you can get from them, the only issue is the longevity of them and that is their main draw back unless they can provide a compelling online component (COD or BF series)

    But all said and done as ling as the game is designed and built right then it will always be a winner in my books but I will always go back to my open world games in the end because they just provide that little something that most games seem to lack........entrance into another world with immersion, atmosphere, action, story generally) and a reason to do what you are doing.

    just my thoughts on the matter and if you want to add me on XBLA or PSN my ID are below but at the moment I am mostly replaying the PC stalker series anew with the latest complete mods.

    Gamertage: sykoticus

    PSN ID: driftking600

    Favourite open world game has to be Morrowind. Sunk so many hours into that game (Xbox version, never have been much of a PC gamer). Can't really explain why it resonated with me so much.
    Oblivion was such a letdown for me.

    I think what I liked about it so much was the feel of the world. The thunderstorms as you strolled along the banks of a river, the drizzling rain in the swaps, the sand storms in the wastelands. This was the first game to make me feel like I was there. I felt warmer after walking into a store out of the rain; I felt like shaking sand off myself while sheltering from a sand storm, in my head I was actually camping when I told my character to rest in the wilderness. I was able to over look the simple combat and confusing journal system and really enjoy the entire game. Don’t think there was a moment I didn’t like.

    Plus the Xbox version had pixel shading for the water effect, which at the time was amazing.

    Damn, now I feel like playing it again.
    I wonder how that Oblivion Morrowind mod is progressing?

    I like being rewarded for my time investment in some manner.
    If I go hiking over yonder hills, I'd like something interesting to be waiting for me, be it a new quest, an interesting character, etc. Nothing feels worse than roaming around these game worlds and coming away after half an hour or more with a feeling that your time has been wasted.

    One of my favourite RPGs of all time, Morrowind, was remarkably open-world. I loved being able to ignore hte (extremely good) main quest line to pursue other matters, such as the different Guild quests. Exploring often lead to hidden locations containing enemies and possibly some sort of treasure. Or a giant crab that would purchase your items o.O

    Freedom is an essential component to the open-world game, and it empowers the player.

    GTA IV - my favourte game of all time...

    I loved Fallout 3 as just before playing it I had gone to DC on holidays - walking around a city you are familiar with is even better than a fictional place. For this reason I am really looking forward to New Vegas as well.

    One of the things I am enjoying about RDR is how you can spend an hour playing the game, achieve absolutely nothing in that time, but have great fun doing it.

    I love open world games for exactly the reasons you state. The key phrase is "at your own pace" - the game world is there for you to explore, play and chill in. Yes there are missions to complete, but when I choose to do them. In the meantime there are a myriad of other activities I can while away my time doing. RDR is just great - spent last night hunting boar just because one killed my horse! That'll teach 'em!

    Crackdown was another game I liked, for the same reasons, so I'm looking forward to #2. I remember the day I was finally able to climb to the top of the HQ and then leap into the water below! Jumping up and across buildings, hurling cars at criminals, racing round the streets - brilliant fun!

    Dare I admit to putting 140+ hours into Oblivion?!

    Well by all means Red Dead's open world is the most surpreme of all the open world games, filling that missing gap of giving the open world a "soul" and that the player isn't a seperate entity in the world thanks to the random events.

    Elder Scrolls is my second favourite open world game. Then followed by GTA: Vice City.

    What's not to love about open world games. Here's a big massive world filled with walking targets and sights...GO NUTS!!! *Pushes you*
    That's why I love open world games...also because the squirrels tell me to love them...yes...my squirrel lords

    Fallout 3 was a life stealer for me.

    Does Mass Effect count?

    I think the stroy needs to grab you straight away with an open world game. If it doesn't I really lose interest in the game.

    RDR has a good story, and whilst playing it I'll get distracted with other things... in GTA I couldn't get into the story... so I had no interest in the rest of the game. Saints Row 2 however, was the opposite.

    RDR is newly rated as one of my favourites, largely because of the manner everything just seems to happen, like it isn't scripted.

    AC2 was epic in that sense as well, i couldn't get over getting to all the viewpoints before doing anything else.

    GTA is a hit-miss for me, I recently picked up GTA4 and i don't feel any appeal towards it; although i've finished every GTA before (3, san andreas, vice city, etc. etc) i just can't put my finger on why =[

    Does Burnout:Paradise count as open world? If so, then that! Otherwise, Daggerfall or maybe Saints Row 2.

    I love Burnout Paradise. It's like a giant playground, for cars!

    I would have to say that RDR is my all time fav at the moment. Perhaps I have a bit of cowboy in me, but unlike the other GTA games I've played I have yet to grow tired of all the little side encounters eg. The various people who push you off your horse and steal it, the satisfaction I get from shooting that person in the face...well it's good! Even when you run into those various people that race you to collect plants, I eat it up! And all those challenges (tresure, hunting etc) I love it...

    Prior to RDR I would have to say Fallout 3 stole 140+ hours of my life.

      Oh and I forgot Far Cry 2...loved that game also, so many hours.

    The amount of detail in Fallout 3's world was simply amazing. Despite being a bunch of ruins, the world was as rich as they come.

    Going back a bit I'd also like to throw in the Escape Velocity Series by Ambrosia Software. Especially from numbers 2 onwards, this top down space sim was addictive. Nothing like running out og fuel in the middle of a hostile empire or being chased by bounty hunters across multiple solar systems.

    I would love to say the X universe games but I've never been able to get into them enough to enjoy. The complex control layout and painfully slow progression make me lose interest. I keep thinking I'm doing something wrong but after trolling through the web apparently I'm not...

    Gotta say Red Dead is getting a lot of love, and it'll get more from me. Adoring it, and I truly feel free in in. While GTA IV was amazing, there was always the limits of not exploring everything because there were closed doors. There's the occasional closed door here and there in RDR, but generally there's another way in.

    Assassin's Creed 2 was also another game where I felt pretty "free"; I had endless fun with Ezio's exuberant parkour. It's something I could never physically do in real life, and it was like living a fantasy.

    inFamous for me, for some reason I just loved that game, the movement was more involved than Assassins Creed and come on you could ride powerlines!

    So it seems R* and Bethesda are the kings of open-world game development - R* on the sandbox front, and Bethesda for the RPGs.

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