Have you played Watch Dogs yet? Before it came out, it felt like the most hyped of hyped games this year, the first “true” next-generation title!
Unfortunately, just like Godzilla, it’s been splitting reviewers’ opinions between "meh..." and "OMFG great!" But they all agree it has potential, many comparing it to the first Assassin’s Creed, which was a bit shitty, but gave birth to a truly entertaining franchise.
Is it the next great open world game? Maybe if it cribs some lessons from our Top 10 (not in any particular order) Open World Games of All Time!
1) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
2011 (PC, PS3, 360)
Recap: You are the legendary Dragonborn out to take down an evil actual dragon from destroying the titular land.
Why we love it: The endless lore. One favorite is (to quote the game’s loading screen), “When a dragon uses a breath attack like fire or frost, it is speaking in an ancient and powerful language. A battle between two dragons is actually a deadly verbal debate.” That’s easily one of the fun-est explanations for magic ever. FUS RO DAHHH!!!
Biggest contribution to the genre: It made the fantasy open world RPG casually acceptable. Everyone talked about it–our girlfriends spoke about it in the same hating breath as “2K” while some girls even actually played it. No longer was talking about your level 33 Elf ranger nerdy loser stuff–it was cool.
Obligatory preview video:
2) Grand Theft Auto III
2001 (PC, PS2, Xbox)
Recap: You are a nameless prison escapee. Live a life of crime as you rise from gang errand boy to king of Liberty City’s underworld.
Why we love it: You could totally ignore what you were supposed to do and just mess around all day. How many times have you booted up GTA3 just to launch some cars off some jumps? Not to mention all the Easter eggs and secrets Rockstar stuffed in to the game exactly for players like that.
Biggest contribution to the genre: It legitimized the concept of 3D open-world gaming for a generation (both in what was technically possible and gameplay-wise) and spawned endless “Grand Theft Auto-clones.” Only an elite group of games define genres like this.
Obligatory preview video:
3) Deus Ex
Recap: In a future where our wildest conspiracy theories all exist, you are UN Anti-Terrorist Coalition agent JC Denton. Using nanotech-enhanced abilities, you go up against shady organizations like ECHELON and the Illuminati.
Why we love it: The open-ended gameplay made playing it different every time. Fortified warehouse? You can go in stealth, guns blazing, or even hack your way in a la Watch Dogs. It also felt like being in Blade Runner, BTW.