Who makes the best open world games...?

  • EAST

    Votes: 3 50.0%
  • WEST

    Votes: 1 16.7%
  • DRAW

    Votes: 2 33.3%

  • Total voters


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Sup guys.... In the best intrests of curing my boredom I decided to start a new series that analizes what people prefer in terms of western developed games vs. eastern developed games in each genre and why....

I thought a good starting off point would be OPEN WORLD GAMES seeing as there are quite a few great titles coming from both eastern and western devs these days....

For me, I still think western devs make the best open world games....

GTAV pretty much solidifies what an open world game means to me....

But these past few years have seen some awesome Japanese developed open world games that seem to be closing the gap between the east and the west in terms of developing high quality open worlds for us to live and play in....

From RPG's to Action to Startegy, there have been a lot of great open world games these past few years....

So what say you...? Who do you think makes the best open world games right now...?

I give it to the west atm, but with games like Xenoblade X and MGSV already out, and then games like FFXV on the horizon, I see Japan almost surpassing the west in certain areas of this genre very soon....

Your turn....
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I can't say much in terms of Japanese made open world games as of late, but I can pitch in on western ones.

For me at least, Open World use to mean something, but it seems now "open world" is just another buzzword. Ubisoft has a lot of open world games, but they're all the same. Climb radio towers, see dozens of icons on the world map, go there to collect them. Sure I enjoy Assassin's Creed Black Flag and Rogue, but there are standard and paint by numbers. I can't imagine how tired I would be if I also played Far Cry, Watch Dogs, etc. Now Ghost Recon is going open world, who knows how that'll turn out.

Other companies are doing this, I hear Mad Max is as standard as standard gets.

I never played a GTA game since Liberty City Stories, besides just trying out 5 at a friend's. Dark Souls was a good open world that I enjoyed.

I'm excited to see how Final Fantasy 15 is going to turn out. There hasn't really been a FF game with an overworld map since 9 (or so I hear, I stopped at 10), so I am interested to see how Square handles it.

I'm just tired at how standard games can become. A few years back, companies were stamping out third/first person shooters, not much heart were going into them and a lot of forgettable yet playable games were coming out. Now it seems Assassin Creed style toy boxes are coming out. Although I admit, this problem isn't new, how many hip mascot platformers came out in the 90's to compete with Mario or Sonic?

When Open World is done right, I love it. Can I consider Majora's Mask open world? I'm not sure, but I love how detailed and varied the side quests and exploring is. I don't have to climb owl statues to see pointless ruppee chests all over Termina, I explore at my own pace and stumble across stuff. Fallout 3 was also a masterful example of how it's down. Interesting story driven side quests. Those are the stories we'll be talking about, not "so yeah I found another chest with 90 gold in it just like every other chest". I'll never forget stumbling around the Wasteland in Fallout, discover a little town that has a battle between robots and ants, then I use my charisma to make the leaders of each army feel like shit. It was great.

That said, I still do want to try out Watch Dogs, I hear the stealth is pretty fun.


All mods go to heaven.
This is a great topic. Actually, this should turn out to be a great series, period.

Like CoV, I think western open-world games have quite some variety. I don't think we can really talk about open-world games and exclude RPGs, which had huge worlds with interactive NPCs and a wide variety of locations and quests. I never really played them, but I'm thinking of games like Baldur's Gate, Fallout, and the Elder Scrolls series (I only played Skyrim). But then GTA came out, and it was a monster of a game, and it only got crazier with GTA3. And there were also space-sim games, that allowed the player to do whatever they wanted in a large world. So these things were called "RPG", "sandbox games", and "space-sims" back then, but today they would easily carry the open-world label, I think.

On the Japanese front, there was a very different thing going on with their RPGs, which were usually much more linear, and only opened up as the game progressed. Final Fantasy 6, for example, is notorious for opening up the world to the player in that way, closing it back up, and then opening it once again later. Then there were games like Zelda, of which the first one was the quintessential open-world game. But outside of RPGs, I can't recall Japan doing much in the way of open-world games, certainly not sandbox games like GTA.

Like LSB and CoV said, this generation has seen a huge increase in open-world games from all over, particularly in the "radio tower" style. There's been some mixing of styles there, as even RPGs like Xenoblade Chronicles X now has its own form of radio towers and specific things to do in each section of the map. But in my opinion this is still done in a way that feels different from Assassin's Creed, so I'm happy with it. On the other hand, I love S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (ukrainian devs, technically western) and the X series of space sims, so I can't ignore those.

I don't know, this is really hard. I have to side with Japanese open world games. I grew up with Zelda, and the SNES and PS1 Final Fantasy games, along with other JRPGs, were among my favorite games during my puberty. Plus, Super Metroid and all the Metroidvanias gotta count, right?
I thought about it more, and it really does seem that publishers look at "open world" as this easy buzz generator. How much hype did the phrase "Metal Gear Solid goes open world" alone generate?

Another example is the Batman games. Arkham Asylum is one of my favorite PS3 games. Bought it one Sunday afternoon, and by Monday night I had 100% on it. Loved it. It was structured so that the main story was linear, but you could always go off exploring. Fast forward to Arkham City, and it's now open world and some of the magic was lost to me. The actual levels were small, it seems like all the effort was put into the city.

I know this is just my opinion, but my point is, not all games need to be open world. I know there's a certain group of people who won't buy games unless they have X amount of content/time, so I guess the easy way to do it is make it open world and fill it with mostly pointless shit. How much shit did The Order 1886 get for being 5 hours? Sure that game may have it's own issues, but if it was open world where you could spend 10 hours collecting werewolf piss samples or collect 100 of something related to Nikola, I wonder if it would have sold better. Maybe, maybe not.

Big open worlds are best in role playing games in my opinion. RPG's yeah, but even adventure games like Zelda. I guess it just depends on what the point of the game is. Bioshock features open ended levels, but if Bioshock 4 announced it was open world, it would lose some of the structure and fun of what made those games fun in the first place unless they did it in a good way that fits Bioshock.

I don't know, I'm just ranting and trailing on all over the place. Interesting what Jueg said though, Japanese usually reserves open worlds for games that make sense like RPG's and such. I respect that. Western publishers seem to follow trends more often, what's popular now? Assassin's Creed? Radio Towers for everyone!

"People watch Mad Max for the thrilling car action? Pfft, the kids want radio towers and Batman combat". It just feels unnecessary sometimes.
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Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
For me at least, Open World use to mean something, but it seems now "open world" is just another buzzword.
'Cause it is. The original LoZ had an "open world," but no one called it that; it was just an action/adventure. Which leads into:
...But then GTA came out, and it was a monster of a game, and it only got crazier with GTA3.
The first time I heard "open world" as a buzz word, it was with GTA III. And it made perfect sense, because it was a world in which you could pretty much do what you wanted. Yeah, the islands had to be unlocked (and were hidden behind loads), but you had a big world to play in. It was open. The structure of your missions were open ended. "Sandbox" was a related term, but "open world" made more sense. You can go play in a sandbox in ALttP or OoT and do side activities and collecting, but your progression isn't as open (take this mission, don't take that mission, etc.). GTA felt open. You didn't even have to play the plot; you could have plenty of fun just doing odd jobs.

But now everything with an interconnected world is called "open world." Is Yokai-Watch "open world" because you can walk around the neighborhood? If Wind Waker were released for the first time this year, it'd be called an open-world game. Hell, if zone loading was OK for GTA III, you could say the same for Twilight Princess. Or Metroid Prime. Which leads into:
Plus, Super Metroid and all the Metroidvanias gotta count, right?
Depends. I mean, Zebes opens up and you can eventually go where you want to, ignore progressing, and look for missile expansions. But Super has a hard linear streak (you ain't openin' those green doors until the game wants you to) before it uncuffs you and lets you explore non-linearly. And the scope of how open the world's activities are is...well, it is pretty well limited to "murder fauna" and "find upgrades."

So I dunno. I don't know what it even means to be an "open-world game" anymore, really. Having an open map has been incorporated all over gaming, from racing to shooters. It's kind of like RPGs - if everything has RPG leveling and unlocks, then what becomes the defining feature of a dedicated RPG?

The last game I thought was "open world" that I really liked was Chinatown Wars. Monolith's games are admirable but ultimately mediocre, in my book. So I guess I'll go with Western open world for now? Unless we decide exactly what constitutes an open-world game with a list of contenders for the purposes of this discussion.
Good point. Genres are so mixed and matched these days, it's sorta hard to nail down what is and isn't apart of genre X.

Metroid Prime is a game in which you shoot things from first person, but don't call it a first person shooter or the fanboys attack :p


Your Resident Beardy Bear
Before I give my thoughts on east vs. west open world games, I'm going to go back to some of my favorite games of all time.

Now, as you know, Skies of Arcadia is my all-time favorite video game, and while it is a JRPG, it is also an open-world game as well. I don't know if I consider Xenoblade Chronicles a true open-world like we think simply because the world is split up into different areas. Now contrast this to XCX, and the game is entirely seamless, which is how we consider open-world games to be these days.

#3 on my list is the original Half-Life, which while isn't technically open-world, it does have seamless progression in the story and how the game plays. The same can be said for the original Deus Ex (my #4). Like Half-Life or a game such as the original Halo, the levels are not really levels as more areas of the game you explore. I consider games like Half-Life and Deus Ex to be semi-open world since there are limitations to where you can actually go as you progress (i.e. cannot backtrack to certain areas after you've completed them, and etc).

Now #5 is interesting because it's Metroid Prime. We have a 1st-person Adventure game which has many open-world elements in them like the 2D Metroid games have, while not being totally seamless.

In respect, all five of those games are open-world (or semi-open-world), three of which are Western games, while two of them are Eastern.

Just based on my list, I cannot come to an actual conclusion because my top 2 games are Eastern open-world, while the next three are all Western open-world titles. Right now, I have to call it a draw.


Lamer Gamers Podcast Co-Host
Added DRAW to the votes because of this post....
I'm glad you did because I'm going to agree with Shoulder. I love me some Bethesda goodness. I think they have pretty much kept me in RPG gaming to some extent. However, with recent titles such as Xenoblade knocking the free world aspect out of the park I just can't be sure who is winning. I'm honestly leaning more towards more Americanized gaming but it's too close to call for a while.