Games Inbox: What’s the best open world game?
The Friday Inbox asks for recommendations of video games with grounded and realistic stories, as one reader dreams of a GoldenEye 007 remaster.
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I can see what the reader means when he points out that all of Ubisoft’s recent games were open world and probably very similar at a base level but I have to say I still enjoy the formula. I didn’t realise Ghost Of Tsushima was an open world game, not to the point that it could’ve been an Assassin’s Creed game, but to be honest that only makes me more keen on it.
There’s something very relaxing and addictive about exploring an open world and finding all the little secrets. I realise there’s not much thought or skill involved but not every game has to be Dark Souls, you know? And I say that as someone that likes Dark Souls.
These games are popular for a reason. People get home (or move to the living room, as happens nowadays!) and they just want to veg out with something enjoyable but not too taxing. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. So instead of dissing open world games I’ll ask a question: which is the best one?
For me it’s Red Dead Redemption 2, that’s a game so good that I would’ve been happy with it if it was just the open world and no missions. An amazing experience to just explore and do whatever you want, including nothing much at all.
I share GC’s obvious puzzlement of why Nintendo are making such a big deal out of the 35th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. That’s the sort of minor thing I’d expect to see maybe a tweet of acknowledgement for at most. But board games, a clothes line, and a major Lego deal? Just… why? What’s next? The 27th anniversary of Mario Paint? Mario Party is 14-and-a-half years old? And all this with Mario’s 40th due next year? What’s going on?
I suspect GC are right and Nintendo has nothing else going on this year and so have tried to pretend that the anniversary is a big deal. Unless 35th anniversaries are somehow considered majorly significant in Japan? I don’t think so, although it’s hard to check.
At the end of the day nobody’s going to complain about remakes for Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine but this is all really weird in a year that could probably do with taking a rest from the crazy juice as it is. Apart from anything the anniversary is this September, so we’re currently two months out and they still haven’t announced the remakes! Why? What on earth possible reason could there be for delaying the announcement?
If someone wanted to copy Super Mario Sunshine (their usual excuse for secrecy) they would’ve done it 18 years ago. This is all so Nintendo.
Echoing John’s question about livestreams, I‘ve noticed my youngest son can spend hours on YouTube Kids watching some rotten spoilt child playing with toys. This is even though he has the same toys.
Also, I’ve seen gamers demonstrating astonishing levels of proficiency playing Guitar Hero and other rhythm-based music games but it always gets me thinking that the time and dedication needed to be that good could have been better spent on learning how to play an actual guitar.
Streams and YouTube do have their benefits though. I have watched the odd video when I’ve been hopelessly stuck on a particularly annoying level or stage of a game.
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I’ve just purchased the all-time classic shmup game, Treasure’s very own Ikaruga for the Nintendo Switch. I even googled your review of it back in May 2018. I just can’t believe how on earth I missed this gem of a game first time round when I owned the Sega Dreamcast?
I know I’m very late to the party but all I can say is what a game this is I can see now why all the reviewers were very positive about it including yourself, guys!
GC: Ikaruga was only released in Japan on Dreamcast, although the GameCube version did make it here. If you’re now a fan, we’d recommend the Flip Grip accessory so you can play it vertically in handheld mode – it’s perfect for 2D shooter fans and not too expensive.
Unfortunately, I can’t answer Alek Kazam’s call for cheap wireless controller recommendations, to prevent the Switch getting pulled over, but the question reminded me of the original Xbox controller with its detachable cable thingy. I know wireless controllers are more versatile but that was a good innovation at the time. Do any wired controllers still use it?
As Obi-Wan Kenobi once said, ‘Now that’s a peripheral I’ve not thought about in a long time’.
FoximusPrime81 (gamertag/NN ID/Twitter)
James Bond will not return
This is absolutely my mind wandering but if Donkey Kong Country has now landed on Switch online which is coming up for its second birthday, could we possibly expect N64 games in September, including GoldenEye 007?
The answer is almost definitely no, not least due to the Bond license but it’s been a strange year so far so who knows.
GC: Yeah, there’s zero chance of GoldenEye, given Microsoft, Nintendo, and the 007 licence holders all have to be in agreement. But at the very least Super Mario 64 is rumoured to be getting a remaster or remake this year, as part of the Super Mario Bros. 35th anniversary celebrations.
In reply to StevenskiChan, does your TV have an optical out? Having a hi-fi stereo amp I can’t pass HDMI through it, but it does have an optical in.
I connect my devices to my 4K TV (Samsung, not sure what model) and then take sound out of the TV by optical to my amp. Could be a solution for you if the next gen consoles don’t have their own optical port.
Mr Brutus (gamertag)
Currently ‘playing’ Packedge at my kitchen table (it’s a work thing), otherwise playing Sea Of Thieves, Divinity: Original Sin 2, and The Witcher 3.
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
Interesting to hear talk about Twitch in the last Inbox.
I must confess I hadn’t given Twitch much of a look until lockdown began back in March and like many others I started to go a bit stir crazy. It began well, a violinist played the theme from Lord of the Rings for me!
Unfortunately I was soon bombarded with recommendations to subscribe to streamers of a more lewd nature. One streamer literally makes money as deluded men watch her sleep or dance. It was all a bit depressing.
Anyway, I noticed during the week The Last Of Us Part 2 released it had over 440K viewers.
I can understand people watching streamers play Fornite or speed-runners, but to watch a person play a heavily story-driven game just felt foreign to me, like watching someone watch a movie. I understand many of the viewers probably wouldn’t have bought the game anyway but isn’t the defining aspect video games had over traditional media like TV and films is that they were ‘interactive’, not passive?
What intrigued me more is the people who played the game in real-life felt more empathy for the ‘controversial’ character in the game, whereas I noticed a trend that a number of people who simply watched their favourite streamer play the game hated the controversial character and couldn’t empathise with her at all. Empathy through interaction, which I guess is what Neil Druckmann was trying to show.
I know Twitch and online streamers are here to stay and I’m sure many people will enjoy watching streams of Ghost Of Tsushima and Cyberpunk 2077 in the months to come. My issue isn’t really with them or their communities but with people not experiencing the game the way the creators intended and therefore misreading characters/stories because they are merely watching it rather than taking part.
As for my thoughts on The Last Of Us Part 2, I thought it was a great game and very bold of Naughty Dog to take it in that direction. I liked the new characters a lot and felt a lot of empathy for all of them.
A solid 8.5 from me. Better then the first game in my eyes but perhaps a bit too derivative of TV shows – I actually found a lot of the plot twists quite predictable but the quality on display was undeniable. (Maybe it was just me but I was getting strong Mad Men vibes from the ending.)
Probably the part I liked best about The Last Of Us series is the way it is grounded in reality, well except for the flesh-eating zombies, but otherwise the rest of the game is fairly believable. I can’t think of any other recent game (except for Heavy Rain) that feels ‘real’, most games seem to have some sci-fi/fantasy/magic aspect to them.
Can anyone recommend any other modern games like The Last Of Us and Heavy Rain which are also realistic and don’t include fantasy?
PS: By the way, for anyone wanting to watch a really good speed-runner on Twitch, I can highly recommend Anthony Caliber who does The Last Of Us speed runs. He has the world record for Part 1 and is now working on Part 2. He has a very welcoming community. Keep up the great work GC!
GC: We’re not fans of Heavy Rain or David Cage, so that makes any recommendations tricky (also, Heavy Rain does have sci-fi elements with the detective character). You make some good points about interactivity breeding empathy though.
I’m sure there must be some people that have fond memories of it but Croc: Legend Of The Gobbos? That game was terrible even at the time!
Unless Tom Holland is going to pop in a time machine and come back in 20 years’ time he’s absolutely terrible for the role as Nathan Drake in the Uncharted movie. And to be honest Marky Mark is just as bad as Sully. You know how the Marvel films always seem to be so perfectly cast? This is the opposite.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Ollie who simply asks what 2020 game are you most looking forward to in the second half of the year?
The year’s over half done now, so what games are you planning to get from now until Christmas? Do you already have a plan (and a budget) or does it all depend on the next generation console announcements? How many more games do you expect to buy this year, in total?
Our release schedule lists the confirmed dates of most major titles but there’s also others without a date yet, such as Call Of Duty 2020, Halo Infinite, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Deathloop, and the rumoured Super Mario remasters (which we’ll treat as real for the purposes of this Hot Topic).
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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.
You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.
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