Open World games that capture the sense of emptiness



  • I'm going to throw out a very odd choice, the Myst games. Hear me out. You can tackle the ages in any order, freely explore (more so in the later titles that allow free roaming) and encapsulate this barren nothingness of civilizations long past.

    Ian Hinck talks up Myst Online URU Live and that is an amazing example. The world has depth and lore that is Tolkien in scale and is an absolutely blast to play, explore and just relax. Nothing can compare for me in the world of barren mystery!



  • @bard91 The sidequests are a bit of a grab bag. Some are great and others are trash. As for the world, there's great stuff there, you just gotta stick with it. I imagine you got tired of interior areas probably.



  • @Mbun nope exterior as well, as I mentioned it was cool for the first few hours, and then it was just a whole lot of nothing



  • @bard91 There's lots of little secret out of the way paths to find that usually lead to cool vistas, but you really gotta poke around for them.



  • @BogusMeatFactory said in Open World games that capture the sense of emptiness:

    I'm going to throw out a very odd choice, the Myst games. Hear me out. You can tackle the ages in any order, freely explore (more so in the later titles that allow free roaming) and encapsulate this barren nothingness of civilizations long past.

    Ian Hinck talks up Myst Online URU Live and that is an amazing example. The world has depth and lore that is Tolkien in scale and is an absolutely blast to play, explore and just relax. Nothing can compare for me in the world of barren mystery!

    Good choice.



  • Breath of the Wild, that's my favorite for sure. I like how it's open vertically too, climb the highest mountain and paraglide down to some new unexplored territory. And while it definitely have lots of open world emptiness it still have stuff you can find in the weirdest places of nowhere because of the korok seeds.

    No Man's Sky is another one. I know it's not the most popular game but I've played it for almost 300 hours so far. Love it! The freedom, the farming, the impossibly huge size. I've been playing it since the launch and the hunt for that optimal home planet to build the perfect base on may not ever end for me, whenever I start to lose the interest they patch in some new stuff or my kids point on the galaxy map and say "Lets go to that place dad!" or wants to name some animals etc. I might never put it down.



  • @Haru17 said in Open World games that capture the sense of emptiness:

    Ocarina of Time had a sense of space and didn't force players to trudge across an unreasonable amount of empty fields or ocean. In fact the 3D Zelda game with the least distinct sense of where different locations are in 3D space is The Wind Waker because all of the geography between locations was featureless, flat ocean and all of the islands were so incredibly far off and distant for the sake of loading them in.

    Of course it's still a 10/10 game like the other 3D Zeldas IMO because it had enough metroidvanian Zelda stuff buried away on those islands. But that doesn't change the fact that denser games waste your time less and TWW literally, inarguably had nothing to do while crossing the ocean and none of the few random events were procing. You couldn't even look at your map while the boat was still moving.

    That's why I love OOT above any other Zelda title. It didn't really feel like a chore to get from A. to B. The game's only problem is that it was too short! :) I wanted more of OOT, than the evolutions that Zelda seem to get. I liked Wind Waker, but it felt like a chore to get from A. to B. I loved the sense of exploration in Waker, but at the same time, it was a chore. The boat section was nice, but it was also a chore. I liked that you battled a few monsters in the boat, that sense of adventure. But it required soo many tasks to get to B. I got stuck in the game because of that chore, I just gave up. I love zelda, but my patience wears thin when it's tested.



  • No mention of NieR: Automata? I thought that game did a good job of presenting a dead, lifeless world. Just very empty and lonely, but strangely beautiful as well. I loved sprinting through the sand and kicking up all the particles.



  • im not the biggest fan of open world games as their great for the first 25 hours or so but after a while becasue of their design i just get burnt out and bored. The only open wor;d game that hasnt made me feel this way was witcher 3 because instead of a random NPC giving me a quest to go kill/loot/grind for a item that said npc and his quest had a story Arc and it was enough to keep me engaged in that world and i think its the first open world game i completed the main story of.



  • @Winter-sMirage I totally get your argument. An empty environment can absolutely set the right tone for a game if it is used well. But there are a lot of ways that you can evoke feelings of isolation, loneliness, or desolation without resorting to wide empty spaces. Silent Hill 2 managed to make me feel alone and lost without having a huge game map. It just takes some creativity and time to think of other ways that you can establish the same vibe. Additionally, the large game maps that people complain about are the ones in Mafia 2, Burnout: Paradise, or Shadow of the Colossus. They are the Ubisoft titles that fill their maps with countless fetch quests and collect-a-thon trinkets so that their maps don't look as empty as they actually are.

    But at the end of the day, I don't think the main problem is actually with the games themselves but rather how their size is advertised and marketed. I can't even count how many press releases I've read where publishers or developers brag about how much bigger their game world is but fail to mention what we can actually do in that world. Every once in a while we'll get a Witcher 3 that uses their open worlds wisely, but most of the time the space they create is just for the sake of having a large space. I feel like we're back in the "Bit Wars" all over again were people care more about numbers than content.