Places to go, nothing to see.
A.K.A. BIGGER ISN’T NECESSARILY BETTER
Games with big world maps seem to be all the rage these days. More commonly the games known as wide open sandboxes, so named because the player is usually free to go wherever and do whatever they want with little or no restrictions. If you want to take the analogy one step further you could say the various gameplay elements and fun things to do are toys sitting in the sand box, just waiting for someone to play with them.
Unlike a lot of things I find baffling about modern gamers, the appeal of wide open sandboxes is pretty obvious. It’s exciting to think there’s a whole big virtual playground just waiting for you to discover all the fun goodies that are hidden out there. It’s a good concept and it’s inviting for potential customers because they see it as getting more for their money when they buy a game with a huge world that takes a lot of time to finish.
But from my perspective, a lot of modern wide open sandbox games just seem to be exploiting the basic formula without much of an understanding of what made it fun in the first place. Even worse, I think game companies know that and are banking on gamers’ compulsive tendencies to fill in for the lack of quality in a lot of modern sand box games. That or I’m really old and hard to please, so nothing anyone does can satisfy me anymore. It’s probably one of those two.
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