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Aaron Waite Aaron Waite
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It's A Not-So-Small World

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5 fantastic open-world games

I'm a sucker for three things in particular in gaming: Metroidvanias, action RPGs and open-world games. Open-world games have a sense of lawlessness and a personality brought on more by how the player interacts with the world around them rather than the other way around. Driven by my desire to completely dissect a game and see what makes it tick, I find that the opportunities afforded by miles of map to explore makes open-world games a proper canvas for my adventures. Here's a few of my favorites:

5. 'Crysis'

The original 'test your rig and see if it turns into molten computer parts' game, 'Crysis' still stands as a testament to building missions within a sandbox. Superhuman abilities that worked in tandem with fantastic destruction physics, the amount of freedom you had in approaching your objectives was staggering. Stealth or guns blazing, either option felt viable and extremely satisfying with the amount of room you had to play with.

4. 'Mercenaries 2'

I'm going to lay this out on the table: this game is a piece of crap. It's garbage. It's unfinished, unpolished, and ... and I love it. A lot. The fact that I could summon a helicopter, fly it up to its peak altitude, explode it with C4 and drop down thousands of feet to the ground and hop back onto my feet like I'd tripped over the sidewalk just appeals to the '80s action fan in me. I don't even know if the effect was intentional, but it's glorious in motion. The fact that you had miles upon miles to try even more ridiculous stunts just added to the circus that was 'Mercenaries 2.'

3. 'Skyrim'

I remember the weekend I got 'Skyrim.' I was working overnights as chat support agent, my life was slowly spiraling down the drain and I just felt completely spent and disconnected from the world. That weekend, though, I stepped into the latest 'Elder Scrolls' title with a measured gusto, just allowing myself to absorb the incredibly vibrant world that Bethesda had created. I didn't use any fast travel methods, I just walked everywhere. The dragons that would roar down without warning, the northern lights, the unexplored caves - it was just the escape I needed for that moment in time. After a year or so, I came back and started playing it on PC, and found the modding community is incredibly dedicated and added hundreds of hours of content into an already sprawling and massive world.

2. 'Far Cry 3'

The amount of time I've spent simply hunting wild game throughout the islands that make up 'Far Cry 3' is a testament to how living and breathing Crytek has made this world. The tropics echo their earlier work in 'Crysis,' but with even more freedom to explore than their original graphics-card-melting title. Propagating fire, active wildlife and an 'Assassin's Creed'-esque exploration system make this a world worth checking out. Oh, and wrestling with sharks. And bears. And tigers.

1. 'Morrowind.'

'Morrowind' stands in a league of its own. Populated by giant ants, transportational fleas and the occasional person falling out of the sky, the province of Vvardenfell has a draw that surpasses both of its successors. Time and time again, fans return to the incredibly detailed and nuanced world hiding a deep and epic tale that digs deep in to Elder Scrolls lore. The subtle music, not bombastic like the scores in later games in the serious, underwrites your wanderings through these strange, alien lands and satisfies that urge for adventure, lands both familiar and foreign, no matter how many times you step off that boat in Seyda Neen.

'Well, not even last night's storm could wake you. I heard them say we've reached Morrowind'

Aaron Waite reminds you that Tunnel Snakes rule.

Last modified on Tuesday, 29 April 2014 23:11


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