The GTA5 world is amazingly realised, but it is exactly as you say. I’m not going to get a fundamentally changed playing experience if I do a second run there.
Yeah, like GTA 5 is essentially a corridor platformer but because the corridor is massive and you’re using 3 characters you think it’s a more meaningful experience than it really is.
I’m in the minority in being a big fan of what they seemed to be aiming for in IV, but they walked that back and went bigger and zanier in V, which irked me no end. Which was shit because no one makes a city quite like Rockstar - they just seem to have run out of ideas of what to do in one. I’m hoping the Witcher 3’s approach to storytelling (as outlined above) and plot strands rubs off on them if nothing else.
I know I’m a Witcher fanboi but seriously, the moment I did the Crone’s storyline, seeing what are implied to be the orphan’s legs hanging out of one of the witch’s apron pockets and realising my choice had killed that little kid, even though I saved the village, made my jaw drop in appreciation. I was like, wow, this game isn’t fucking around, these choices have “real” consequences, I actually altered the world.
Similarly, I saved an elf from being killed in her hut by racists on my first playthrough but on my New Game+ I saw it happening at a distance and thought, I’ll head to the hut and trigger that mission another time, I need to do this and that first. Went back and the hut was a smouldering rubble, bloodstains everywhere. Only then realised these random encounters happen just by you witnessing them and not by you crossing some invisible checkpoint a la GTA. Felt ridiculously guilty but also, admiration again. Like, I’d prioritized “myself” over helping somebody and it cost them big time. Phenomenal stuff.
You know what I think would be cool, but Rockstar would obviously never do it, is if they designed these massive worlds and then leased them out for indie developers to fill with their own stories, gameplay and characters. Sort of like a set design company might lease a boat or a living room for a movie or a play.
This does not happen but whatever, you get me.
I had hoped that The Lost and the Damned/Ballad of Gay Tony were tentative steps in that direction. But instead they had the shit edgelord guy from GTAV literally stamp Johnny from LOTD’s face into pulp to show just how cool and badass he was, thus taking a big ol’ shit on any notion that Rockstar might still be interested in trying to tell interesting stories.
…sorry, may be griding a different axe entirely there.
If I were in charge of an open world game, I’d make every developer play the Crones, the Baron and Tenpenny Tower as an induction. Then I’d make them carry a weight-limit’s worth of weaponry (you know, like 10 axes, 15 assault rifles, a fat boy) and contemplate how that arbitrary amount might be the difference between running and being physically unable to move. Finally, after they’ve been physically crushed and badly injured by that carry load, I’d feed them a chicken leg and some fruit so they can see it if will magically restore their health. At all points, I’d ask them if they want to do the mandatory task and allow them to respond happily or snootily.
Love what a dark and sadistic turn this gradually took.
In fairness I’d quite like to keep magic healing items. If every time I got shot in a game I had to wander off to A&E, undergo surgery and then stay in the hospital for a few days to recover the novelty is gonna wear off pretty quick. I’m happy to believe a box with a red cross on it can cure several gunshots to the face instantly instead.
Magic healing items are fine by me. Or ‘tech’ items like Stimpaks in Fallout. Just have vivid memories of fighting a giant toad in Witcher DLC while noshing down on masses of dried fish and thinking it was really immersion-breaking.
Forgot to add that I’d make them craft their company rucksack out of the skin of a badger.
When you run out of food and get down to beer and wine and end up getting pissed while fighting a werewolf.
Gonna have to pick my New Game+ up again at some point, can’t remember where I got to but I was aiming for 100%.
Ended up getting pissed loads of times in the original Deus Ex after running out of medkits and having to drink all the forties and liquor in my inventory.
Again, one of those things Fallout did better than most. Sure, you can munch on this radscorpion steak, but it is going to give you radiation poisoning. Also, the fact that most Fallout players have had to make their avatar drink dirty water from a broken toilet is a delightfully suversive implementation of the weird healing mechanic.
Reminds me of this CHOON.
One of my favourite memories from Fallout 3 came from finding myself stuck in a building full of supermutants with a broken leg, a broken head(?!) and no stimpaks. I was holed up in a bathroom for hours, my vision fading in and out due to my busted up head, stuck in a cycle of creeping out to sneak up on and kill a mutant and then dragging myself back to the bathroom to drink enough dirty toilet water to keep me alive.
Idk about Tenpenny Tower (assuming you’re talking about the ghouls vs. snobs thing rather than blowing up Megaton). It’s an interesting inversion of expectations, but cannot fail to leave a sour taste in the mouth of the player, particularly as the game offers no way of making amends aside from killing all the ghouls, of course. And the game browbeats you about doing that! This problem is made worse by the fact that every other good/bad choice in the game is pretty much black and white. It’s not like in W3 where you go into every mission not knowing how it’s going to turn out, and that’s made clear right from the dwarf’s burnt down forge in White Orchard.
I’d pick out dealing with the Boomers and the White Glove Society in NV as really good missions that allow the PC a huge amount of agency in terms of how you approach them.
Yeah, this is my other go-to in terms of player agency.
Au contraire, it’s one of my favourite moments in a video game! It’s a cruel world in the wasteland - you have full agency in the quest but that doesn’t mean the other folks in the world aren’t going to fuck everything up anyway once you’ve left them to it. It makes the world feel alive (ironically) that shit like that can happen rather than you being some Deus Ex Machina figure. Of course, if all the quests were like it, then you would lose that sense of agency - as it is, it’s a perfect subversion (IMO).