On Exploration

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That's what I liked about Operation Flashpoint. You have a map and opjectives, but also end up using your compass a lot, and always referring to spotted enemies using the clock hours to point out direction. It really felt like orienteering with guns, which naturally makes orienteering actually fun for a change.

Running the risk of sounding like a broken record, I would like to recomend Gothic 1 & 2, as well as Risen, to Yahtzee and anyone else who likes exploring a beliavable world. The feeling of "being there" I got from SotC was very much like the one I got from those games.

I'm also a big fan of exploration in games, which is why I really hate the random encounters in Bethesda's Elder Scrolls games and in Fallout 3. The landscape is FULL of interesting things to find and look at and I really don't need yet another pointless giant scorpion every 15 feet to keep me occupied. REALLY.

As someone who does exploration for a living (i am a field geologist) i found shadow of the colossus's gameplay to be a double sided gold fucking coin, and one of the only games that not only made me want to explore and see what was around the next corner but also made it rewarding to do so by putting pure beautiful landscapes and vistas around those corners for me to find gleefully.
Also it is one of the only games to have a world with convincing geologic traits

The only thing I disliked about Shadow of the Colossus (apart from frame rates which will hopefully be fixed in the PS3 release) was the setting. How damn barren and empty the place is. It just feels like... something needs to be there. I'm not talking about stuff to fight or little treasure chests to find, mind you. More greenery, more wildlife perhaps? Just to make the place feel less like a wasteland.

Of course, this is entirely subjective, since a lot of people think that the emptiness adds to the game. And it's also likely my love of scenery porn, which any game that has it keeps me hooked. (I spend hours in a lot of games just admiring the landscapes... often getting attacked by stuff in the process)

Was looking to recover the spirit of exploration and found this thread.
Does anyone remember Outcast from 1999? That game demanded every minute of my time until it was finished. It was the closest to a living breathing world I have seen. Alien people running errands. I followed NPC's around (or used the x-ray viewer) to see what they would do. Sure it was usually just walk in a circuit, but you never knew. New language, new animals, new world.
There were items scattered all over, but mostly I just wandered to satisfy my curiosity. Weird experimental voxel graphics with a max of 512 x ?, strange inside jokes from Belgium, and totally amazing.
Wish I could play it again. Have to dig up the disks.

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