Poll: Open world, Linear or Semi sandbox? which type of games you prefer?

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Hello,

So my friends, what kind of games you prefer out of 3?

theres fully open world games like GTA, just cause, far cry, assassins creed which you can roam freely everywhere and collect missions plus side quest.

then theres linear games which restrict player, then theres games like semi sandbox design games. games like Crysis 1, Hitman, early splinter cell, Deus Ex, System shock, Stalker and soon to be Metro Exodus will fall in this category. these games are not truly open world games but have larger sandbox map design to explore the environment.

and in my opinion games like these are the best. they took best of both linear and open world without tediousness of open world.

I like linear games too but most of them are just too scripted and restrict player of freedom. Max payne is best example of how to do linear action game. or in case of FPS its Metro games. but it will be now semi sandbox games.

Open world games? i just cant play more before i get bored. i couldnot play GTA, assassins creed or far cry without getting bored. these games are so boring and feel tedious at times.

so my friends, what approach of game design you prefer?

discuss

I like a bit of everything. I've played games of all three types I like, and ones I didn't like. Being linear is not inherently bad. Nor is being open world necessarily good. Same goes for anything in between. They each have their own strenghts and weaknesses, and a good developer can make any of them work. It's all in the execution.

UGH :P

I made a somewhat similar thread regarding this:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.1032969-Remember-the-days-when-gamers-were-complaining-that-games-had-no-replay-value

And I still amazed a bit of how times and opinions changed.

I can like each type if they're done well.

Linear needs a strong narrative and excellent core gameplay with great tech/art style/set pieces

Open World needs a good amount of fun places to explore with strong traversal mechanics and a good fast travel system

Semi Sandbox needs a good amount of fun gameplay tools to take advantage of your surroundings with when it comes to gameplay

But really, I'd go with a 4th option of:

Wide Linear, which highlights player freedom of movement with excellent level design in terms of gameplay and art/tech.

It depends how enjoyable the game is.

CaitSeith:
It depends how enjoyable the game is.

I'd say it more depends on the genre. Like Silent Hill wouldn't really lend itself to sandboxing. Its too story-focused and spooky, driving around town delivering pizzas and saving the puppy orphans from the siege of batchair monsters would just uncut the story and scares.

Whereas Batman Arkham Asylum or Shadow of Mordor lends itself to sandboxing way more, because its all about multiple fronts and juggling and keeping an eye on everything, rather than just trying to find the exit to a town.

I'd like more open worlds that still abide by some sense of level design.

The most prominent example I'd give would be Dark Souls (1 at least). That had an open world, but it was also tightly designed (outside of Lost Izalith being an unfinished mess) and had context and logic to its existence within the game. For the most part thats also been Zelda's deal, and also the general logic behind "Metrodivania" games.

The "Here's a giant map of some territory which you need a vehicle to traverse properly, and is 80%+ just some tool-generated terrain filler to give a feeling of size" school of open world I could do with less of us. It seems to come loaded with either hands off non-design or an over-restriction on what you can do anytime its relevant (think of all the fun games where you can't leave arbitrary mission circles despite being "open"). There's stuff like Survival games that could hypothetically do well with that sort of design, but I can't say I've stumbled across too many.

The semi-sandbox thing can work, but it can also seem weirdly forced, or like a symptom of budget or tech limitations. The trick there is just to present the restriction with some sort of sense. Hitman kind of wandered in and out of it, sometimes you'd be at an event or a base, other times you just couldn't go down that street because reasons.

Linear's quite obviously can work. The trick of course is presenting the situations well where it makes sense that you can't go one street over, or into the next room or whatever. Aside from the believability standpoint, there are just straight up some things I prefer to have a specifically designed nature to them, like racing games, where suddenly opening up extra random side bits will detract from the core design of the mission/race/whatever.

A good game, a game isn't inherently bad or worse just because it's linear or open-world.

I think I prefer the linear kind, but enjoy sandbox games when done well. Skyrim is a wonderfully immersive world, and while the game had its ups and downs, it's a very good sandbox. So too were The Saboteur, Mafia II, Fallout 3/NV and numerous others.

I don't care for the hybrid types in general, mostly because they're seldom good. Deus Ex games are probably the best examples of the overworld formula done right and I do like them. Wait...what kind of game would Baldur's Gate II be (particular around chapter 2-3 f.ex)?

Linear games tho, can tell the best stories. There's no way to keep up tension and pressure and a sense of urgency or drama when there's no real threat. In Skyrim, you have Alduin appear at the start, tear a town to pieces and by all accounts, he'll go about raising ancient dragons from the dead and set about devouring the world....that is unless you leave the main quest for later and go help settle the love triangle in Riverwood. The nature of a go anywhere, do anything game like Skyrim has the effect of being unable to challenge. Consider this...since lockpicking in Skyrim is an optional skill, the devs *by design* cannot put anything mission critical inside a locked container without a key nearby. They cannot require the player to cast a high level spell, cannot block progress behind successfully sneaking through a dungeon and so on. Consider how BioShock requires the player to have the electric plasmid to progress...

Sandboxes can be fun and immersive, and The Witcher III certainly showed what they can do when fleshed out and given so much depth. But they cannot tell the best stories nor offer the best challenges because their very natures precludes being able to predict when any player could attempt any challenge. Oblivion was an example of this gone mad....Arena champion at lvl 2 or 3, bandits in daedric armour, so many absurdities (still good tho!).

BabyfartsMcgeezaks:
A good game, a game isn't inherently bad or worse just because it's linear or open-world.

but game design make it. for example if linear game is too scripted or cinematic it end up being bad. or if open world is full of boring quests, it become bad.

i just cant think of any fully open world game that is not boring. may be just cause? but its average at best.

KingsGambit:

I don't care for the hybrid types in general, mostly because they're seldom good. Deus Ex games are probably the best examples of the overworld formula done right and I do like them. Wait...what kind of game would Baldur's Gate II be (particular around chapter 2-3 f.ex)?

The BGs are basically open world, for their time. Same as the older Zeldas. Its tech that forced stuff into separate screens but the core design is open world.

Though there's obviously a specifically linear plot, but lots of open worlds have those. Its a fairly recent tend (even in the Ubisoft formula) to actually have go do whatever order stuff as the "plot".

I knew this was a B-Cell thread when I looked at the title.

Anyway, linear is better almost every time.

B-Cell:

BabyfartsMcgeezaks:
A good game, a game isn't inherently bad or worse just because it's linear or open-world.

but game design make it. for example if linear game is too scripted or cinematic it end up being bad. or if open world is full of boring quests, it become bad.

A game isn't bad just because it's linear, a game isn't bad because it's open world. I don't prefer any, my favorite games are a pretty even mix of open (GTA IV), linear (The Last of Us) and ''semi-sandbox'' (Halo 3) games.

I can't wait till E3 my friend. Metro Exodus is going to be game of show. It take best part of open world and linear game and put them twogether. It my game of years...if Doom 2 is not anounce too.

Game like first metro too linear like Calls of Duty game. Too casual and have regen helth and quick times. Made for casuals. Doom also have quick time kill for health. very casual desine. Hopefully next one more hards core.

Discuss.

Linear 100%

I would much prefer a tightly scripted, focused story over an open world game any day.

Now granted, that doesn't mean that open world and semi-open world games CAN'T be good but I am going to gravitate to the linear games much more than the open games. Most open world games, even the best of them like Witcher 3 or GTA 5 involve a lot of just kind of time wasting as I have to go from point A to point B to point C where a linear game has all of that scripted and setup for me.

Give me a tightly scripted Last of Us or Uncharted any day of the week.

Depends on what we're talking about here. Linear games are easily some of the best games I've ever played, The Tales Series, Kingdom Hearts, Legend of Heroes especially the more recent ones... it comes down to the story and characters in particular. If the story and the characters are well written Linear games work extremely well. On the other hand, if the plot basically boils down to giving you a weapon and sending you off to run through are functionally corridors to kill a bunch a guys so you can progress to more corridors killing a bunch more guys until one reaches the ending that's a terrible Linear game.

Open World though? Their stories are more iffy, the more freedom one gives the player the less coherent the story has to be by necessity. One can't give the player the ability to do pretty much anything at any time and expect a story to work that well, it has to really come down to an excuse plot that's just "there" to give the player a reason to exist in the world. The reason why the stories of Bethesda games are often really simple and often contradict each other while not taking into account the player's current state is because they're designed to allow the player to be able to do all of them or not do them at all. Bethesda's open world games are designed to allow the player to create a story for themselves rather than be beholden to a story that the writer made, which prevents the story from being able to be more than decent at best.

On the other hand we've got "open worlds" like most of the Legend of Zelda games where you're supposedly able to go anywhere and do anything in any order, but there's an both an overarching plot tying everything together, an expected order you're supposed to do everything, and realistically (exploiting glitches and oversights aside) you need to do things in a particular order to be able to do everything and reach the ending, like needing to go to dungeon 1 to get the hammer to hammer down the posts in the way of dungeon 2 so you can get the hookshot to cross the chasm to reach dungeon 3, and so forth. There's occasionally a dungeon 5 and 6 you'd be able to complete without going through dungeons 1-4 first, but they're rare and balanced under the assumption that you have done 1-4 first, so it's more practical to do it that way anyway. That's really just a Linear game that tries to make itself look like it's an open world game, which is fine, but simply not what it appears to be and thus can have a better plot.

Whatever Nier: Automata was.

Breath of the Wild has the best open-world design.

The Witcher 3 has the best narrative told in an open-world scenario.

ZombieProof:
I can't wait till E3 my friend. Metro Exodus is going to be game of show. It take best part of open world and linear game and put them twogether. It my game of years...if Doom 2 is not anounce too.

Game like first metro too linear like Calls of Duty game. Too casual and have regen helth and quick times. Made for casuals. Doom also have quick time kill for health. very casual desine. Hopefully next one more hards core.

Discuss.

Metro exodus will also have weapon jamming inspired by Stalker and far cry 2. plus far cry 2 map on hand instead of big arrow show where to go.

if anything its going to be most immersive game of this generation.

Seth Carter:

KingsGambit:

I don't care for the hybrid types in general, mostly because they're seldom good. Deus Ex games are probably the best examples of the overworld formula done right and I do like them. Wait...what kind of game would Baldur's Gate II be (particular around chapter 2-3 f.ex)?

The BGs are basically open world, for their time. Same as the older Zeldas. Its tech that forced stuff into separate screens but the core design is open world.

Though there's obviously a specifically linear plot, but lots of open worlds have those. Its a fairly recent tend (even in the Ubisoft formula) to actually have go do whatever order stuff as the "plot".

I think you're right. But interestingly, in Shadows of Amn, it's only for Chapters 2-3. Chapter 1 and 4 onwards are much more linear (with a brief return IIRC). Perhaps that's one of the reasons the game is so good. You come out into Amn, shit goes down and you need to raise 20k gold, but the game leaves *how* you do that and when you pay up to you. How you do it will vary depending on alignment, party, class and there is so much to do. After dozens of hours of adventuring, the story picks back up again and takes you to new places, challenges and enemies.

Pre-EA BW kinda kept that formula to a degree. A linear first act, then it opens up, the player can tackle content in the order and manner they choose, then back to linear for the third act. I think that's actually a good formula and DA:O and ME1 certainly were both better for it.

I gotta agree with those who say it doesn't matter at all, good even great games can exist in any of those formats. Writing, gameplay, gameplay testing (something that no one does anymore,) Mob design, balance, in-game travel... those are important factors. Setting is important, in regards to geography and history adding to and affecting story. But setting as far as game mechanic... naa, it doesn't matter. I could list several great games from each of those categories, and several more that fit none of those descriptions.

in a way, open world tends to have elements of all these, so it would be the logical choice if one were desiring to not only have their cake, but eat it, digest it and defecate it delicately into a finely tailored poop bowl as they leave a detailed review of each process on the customer feedback form

Depends really on the game itself, some are great open worlds while others are just horrible. Same with linear,its all up to the game mechanics/polish and my enjoyment so its hard for me to say.

Humans really are a fickle bunch. Last gen "everything" was too linear and scripted. Now "everything" is too open and boring. But...now and then a decent balance is struck, and it can be a pretty beautiful thing.

I've had great experiences in all of those game types.

But my favourite games are semi-sandboxes.

I generally enjoy linear games more than the other types, simply because I'm big on storytelling in games, and linear games tend to put more effort into that element.

Any and all of them are great if done well. I suppose if I had to choose I'd probably go semi-sandbox, even though most of my top ten are full-sandbox.

I like a smallish sandbox that has a metroidvania approach to traversal: Subnautica, for instance, isn't a massive area, but because it exists in a three dimensional space you have depth and radiation limitations guiding progression. Arkham Asylum (the first) also does this right. Linear but large levels also achieve a similar effect, like in Thief 2. Vastness to me is never much of a selling point because it just means more boring traversal and more fast travelling.

Linear all the way. Ironically, for me at least, linear games have the most replayability, because the content is usually higher quality with less filler, and the games are simply shorter, so you're not already sick of the game after a single, slogging playthrough.

I'm glad to see that the bigger is always better fallacy seems to be finally losing steam, at least among a significant percentage of gamers on message boards. It wasn't long ago that the word "linear" was considered one of the worst adjectives that could be used to describe a game. People seem to be coming back to their senses. It gives me hope that maybe one day devs will follow suit and go back to making more linear, high quality, story-driven games again.

I generally prefer linear just because they tend to be tighter, better paced experiences. Not to mention when you don't have to worry about a huge area you can focus on the areas you do have.

Now of course, there are exceptions. Witcher 3 did open world right and I've heard the same about Horizon Zero Dawn. I'm playing Nier Automata right now which I guess is some semi-sandbox and works very well for that purpose. I also like what Dark Souls/Bloodborne did with a vast interconnected world/Metriodvania that is fun to explore but not so big that you spend a lot of time traveling to the interesting bits.

I'm not too fussed either way, but I want it to be organic.

What I dislike about many 'open world' games like GTA, Ubisoft whatever is that while you are free to roam and generally piss about - that's only where you have your freedom. When you are either just dicking about or in transit between missions or story.

Once you actually start a mission or story - you lose all your freedom. You literally have to abort the mission in a menu to get out of it. These missions tend to force you down incredibly linear paths - resulting in a failure if you deviate. Such as car chases, stalking people, whatever. Also QTE sequences galore.

I find that annoying as hell.

I much prefer that something gets added to my list of things to do when I accept a mission. Or if the story needs me somewhere. Then I be free to enter and leave it as I bloody well please, with restrictions to that kept to a minimum.

Thus I prefer the Bethesda brand of open world over that of GTA/Ubi types.

My favourite game is Skyrim, but very few games manage to do what it does. For all it's flaw, it's a world so absorbing that not even seing dragon skeletons fly across the map because you nudged it with your left toe or characters that dissapear through the floor as you talk to them can break the immersion. The avarage sandbox is large and brimming with quests and collectibles but devoid of personality, spontanaety or roleplay, and the sandbox structure makes it hard to tell a well paced and fullfilling story. Some sandboxes get around this, but personally i think good level design is most important. I think the Deus Ex style of game is best, a linear narrative with levels that allow for multiple approaches and exploration.

hanselthecaretaker:
Humans really are a fickle bunch. Last gen ?everything? was too linear and scripted. Now ?everything? is too open and boring. But...now and then a decent balance is struck, and it can be a pretty beautiful thing.

That was more so the "games journalists" making those complaints than the average gamer, and advocating more open-world games. Now gamers did complain about games being like or pandering to the Call of Duty crowd, while most professional did not or praised it.

I prefer linear games, but do not mind semi-open world. That said, it depends on who does what well. And even if it's the best open world game ever made, I long stopped caring games that tried the GTA or Ubisoft formula as it got old and boring real fast. I will get Red Dead II as it is something my brother and I are both going to enjoy.

Kerg3927:
Linear all the way. Ironically, for me at least, linear games have the most replayability, because the content is usually higher quality with less filler, and the games are simply shorter, so you're not already sick of the game after a single, slogging playthrough.

I'm glad to see that the bigger is always better fallacy seems to be finally losing steam, at least among a significant percentage of gamers on message boards. It wasn't long ago that the word "linear" was considered one of the worst adjectives that could be used to describe a game. People seem to be coming back to their senses. It gives me hope that maybe one day devs will follow suit and go back to making more linear, high quality, story-driven games again.

^^All this.

Open world because I can play the content I enjoy until it stops being fun. To be honest, I dont finish like 70% of my games, because the endings are so bland/unsatisfying in so many games, so I stop just before anyway.

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