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Second Take: Ubisoft's Open Worlds

AuthorMessage
kintaris
257,346
kintaris
Posted on 05 March 17 at 17:44
A lot of people are looking at Breath of the Wild and seeing some game changing open world. So far I've seen fast-travel towers, hunting and crafting and a whole lot of space between A and B. It's a cel shaded Far Cry Primal with some Nintendo puzzle platforming thrown in.

Don't get me wrong - it's beautiful and I'm enjoying it so far. But it hasn't somehow transformed the open world experience. The open world is as arbitrary as any other.

The problem with Ubisoft's games isn't the open world concept. I think it's their stale franchises that switch off people's imaginations and make them start picking at the detail. I spend a lot of time not especially absorbed in the story or gameplay in recent Ubi games. So my mind isn't engaged and I start picking at irritating details.

Watch Dogs 2 was an improvement on the open world formula for sure but I still didn't give a c*ap about it after the main story was finished. The characters were bland stereotypes and the infiltration elements of the gameplay were dumb and repetitive. Without engaging gameplay or a good story, why would I bother wandering around more than I have to? The only noteworthy element was the online multiplayer, which felt fresh but was still ultimately too insubstantial to hold my attention.

If Ubisoft can come out this year and say, here's an entirely new IP, yes it's open world but it's got a completely new twist on the gameplay and a cracking idea for a story, I'll jump right in there. I don't think they will though.
FightingMegaFoo
Posted on 05 March 17 at 18:14
Skyrim isn't empty. I've played many Ubisoft open world games, and to me Skyrim has the most content of any game that has ever been produced. It probably has to do with my play style. I love exploring and am always encountering enemies and wildlife. I fight everything and anything. Bring it on!

That being said, I love Ubisoft open world games too, including the towers in all the games that have them. But I've never spent as much time playing any Ubisoft game as I have playing an Elder Scrolls game.
WeariedMacaque
Posted on 05 March 17 at 18:25
For those saying that Ubisoft should give up on the formula, maybe you should give up playing the games? For many, myself included, the collecting of the chests, side quests, etc is what makes the games. Sometimes a gritty story that you'd get in the likes of Skyrim or Mass Effect are too much for people with little time or attention. Stop treating the games industry and public opinion like your interests are the only ones which matter and start accepting games for what other people may want.
BreakBacon
35,387
BreakBacon
Posted on 05 March 17 at 18:33
what a great concept, really looking forward to the future
Legohead 1977
839,980
Legohead 1977
Posted on 05 March 17 at 18:52, Edited on 05 March 17 at 18:53 by Legohead 1977
I thought the towers in the first AC were great as an idea, but I have only played AC2 and the rockstar games so not in much of a place to comment further.

I agree that Ocarina is a great game...but the Telltale thing is not even close to mirroring my opinion! Each to their own though!
Legohead 1977
UnInfamousGhost
Posted on 05 March 17 at 19:08
I hate to say this, but I'd like to see Splinter Cell come back into an open world.
-Completionist
Darth Knight
403,356
Darth Knight
Posted on 05 March 17 at 19:09
Ubisofts worlds are frigging empty as hell. Free roaming in Far Cry is not particularly good. The side quests you get are not fun bar a few. Play Far Cry 3 after completion and tell me you're having fun.

If you head in to a Skyrim dungeon you'll find puzzles and interesting lore aswell as alot of monsters. XP doesn't matter when you're playing on easy. I never felt that the world was empty.
Beep Boop
Eurydace
484,489
Eurydace
Posted on 05 March 17 at 19:22
Darth Knight said:
Ubisofts worlds are frigging empty as hell. Free roaming in Far Cry is not particularly good. The side quests you get are not fun bar a few. Play Far Cry 3 after completion and tell me you're having fun.

If you head in to a Skyrim dungeon you'll find puzzles and interesting lore aswell as alot of monsters. XP doesn't matter when you're playing on easy. I never felt that the world was empty.
I did play Far Cry 3 to 100%. And Far Cry 4. And Far Cry Primal. I will play Far Cry 5.

As for Skyrim, the dungeons are not in the open world. We're talking about the open world here!
blueracer442
475,950
blueracer442
Posted on 05 March 17 at 20:00
I agree with this for the most part. Ubisoft has definitely improved their open worlds since AC 1. I'm playing through the Ezio collection and realize how few side quests there are. It's either main story or collectables that's it whereas the newer ones have actual side missions to distract you if you don't feel like doing main story.
N0T PENNYS B0AT
Posted on 05 March 17 at 20:10
I'll keep my initial thoughts brief as I'm on mobile about to go see Logan, but I came upon the best way to describe Ubi games as I see them. I like close to everything they do, but I love none of it. Does anyone else feel this way? I think the last game of theirs I really loved was original Xbox era Splinter Cell. ACII was another I was very fond of, but in both cases I don't think I love them anymore.

There's something to be said for a studio that puts out a lot of goodness but arguably not a lot of greatness. I wonder if they'd be comfortable with that assessment. They certainly provide dozens of hours annually into my playing time, but I come away from all of it rarely moved in any special way.
kintaris
257,346
kintaris
Posted on 05 March 17 at 21:20
N0T PENNYS B0AT said:
I'll keep my initial thoughts brief as I'm on mobile about to go see Logan, but I came upon the best way to describe Ubi games as I see them. I like close to everything they do, but I love none of it. Does anyone else feel this way? I think the last game of theirs I really loved was original Xbox era Splinter Cell. ACII was another I was very fond of, but in both cases I don't think I love them anymore.

There's something to be said for a studio that puts out a lot of goodness but arguably not a lot of greatness. I wonder if they'd be comfortable with that assessment. They certainly provide dozens of hours annually into my playing time, but I come away from all of it rarely moved in any special way.
Yeah, I feel that. Maybe because they're the most prolific open world merchants with a competent system, there's not a lot of pressure to push for greatness. They have a solid product that sells so why push the boat out too far?
Harbringernight
Posted on 05 March 17 at 21:25, Edited on 05 March 17 at 21:26 by Harbringernight
MattiasAnderson said:
I Think the first 3 Zelda games were better than Ocarina of time.
Some people have no account for taste or quality. You are still forgiven my child.
Eurydace
484,489
Eurydace
Posted on 05 March 17 at 22:58
N0T PENNYS B0AT said:
I'll keep my initial thoughts brief as I'm on mobile about to go see Logan, but I came upon the best way to describe Ubi games as I see them. I like close to everything they do, but I love none of it. Does anyone else feel this way? I think the last game of theirs I really loved was original Xbox era Splinter Cell. ACII was another I was very fond of, but in both cases I don't think I love them anymore.

There's something to be said for a studio that puts out a lot of goodness but arguably not a lot of greatness. I wonder if they'd be comfortable with that assessment. They certainly provide dozens of hours annually into my playing time, but I come away from all of it rarely moved in any special way.
I think it comes down to the sheer number of people working on the games. Everyone does what they do well but it's not connected.
Ereaser NL
318,764
Ereaser NL
Posted on 06 March 17 at 00:37
N0T PENNYS B0AT said:
I'll keep my initial thoughts brief as I'm on mobile about to go see Logan, but I came upon the best way to describe Ubi games as I see them. I like close to everything they do, but I love none of it. Does anyone else feel this way? I think the last game of theirs I really loved was original Xbox era Splinter Cell. ACII was another I was very fond of, but in both cases I don't think I love them anymore.

There's something to be said for a studio that puts out a lot of goodness but arguably not a lot of greatness. I wonder if they'd be comfortable with that assessment. They certainly provide dozens of hours annually into my playing time, but I come away from all of it rarely moved in any special way.
I'm with you on that. Even though I loved AC1 and 2 the others were alright to me but never had me excited the whole time I was playing the game.

And the whole towers concept works great for Assassin's Creed imo. It just makes sense that you survey the area and unlock a part of the map, because you're synching up with the memory of your ancestor.

Far Cry and other games really don't need it and it doesn't always fit in with the game, but it doesn't bother me either.
MustangNights
332,732
MustangNights
Posted on 06 March 17 at 01:05
I believe ubisoft games have both improved and became worse depending on the series.

While I started out a great fan of the AC series, after brotherhood I thought most of the series became worse save Black Flag, which at times also lost some interest in completing, but did grind it out.

The Tom Clancy series I was always for the R6 games, but not really a fan of the others in the series. However the beta of Wildlands actually has me interested in Ghost Recon. While Siege was an R6 game, I waited until it was $20 price range to pick up even after playing the beta simply because while I enjoyed the beta, it seemed very limited and I was disappointed that it did not have a campaign as I would expect, however it is one of my favorite games. The division I played the beta of as well and while I was looking forward to the idea of the game, the beta let me down. I ended up getting the game as a b-day present when it was around the $40 price range. I was still disappointed.

The far cry series was a new series to me and I started with Primal. I enjoyed Primal, but was a little bored at times. I've started FC 4 and honestly other than a few commentaries, bored with it.

As for Watchdogs, the first one I had to drag myself through it to complete it. It was not interesting and honestly most of the controls felt bag. I will try WD2 to see if it's any better since it was a $20 pick up.
N0T PENNYS B0AT
Posted on 06 March 17 at 02:49
Eurydace said:
N0T PENNYS B0AT said:
I'll keep my initial thoughts brief as I'm on mobile about to go see Logan, but I came upon the best way to describe Ubi games as I see them. I like close to everything they do, but I love none of it. Does anyone else feel this way? I think the last game of theirs I really loved was original Xbox era Splinter Cell. ACII was another I was very fond of, but in both cases I don't think I love them anymore.

There's something to be said for a studio that puts out a lot of goodness but arguably not a lot of greatness. I wonder if they'd be comfortable with that assessment. They certainly provide dozens of hours annually into my playing time, but I come away from all of it rarely moved in any special way.
I think it comes down to the sheer number of people working on the games. Everyone does what they do well but it's not connected.
Yeah that's how it feels. Like a bunch of components that don't always combine for a finished product that feels really memorable. Their stories never quite deliver for me. For example, Watch Dogs 2 could've been an interesting take of the data collection age and privacy rights -- all the stuff it deals with, yet it does it all by just scratching the surface. This is maybe a unique instance because the tone of that game is so clearly a reaction to the original Watch Dogs' reception as too broody and moody, but for the subject matter to preach seriousness, yet the characters were akin to a Cartoon Network cast, that was just weird, and then it pivots again by giving you, the alleged jokey good guy, the ability to massacre people like Trevor in GTA.

That's why I played that game non-lethally, but for them to even allow it seems like an appeal to the masses. And that's sort of how you can best describe all their games. They're summer blockbusters. Flashy and interesting, but forgotten by the time you get home from the theater.
Daelus1
362,832
Daelus1
Posted on 06 March 17 at 11:04
lol....Kevin, I understand the reason you like to take an opposing view, but here you mix a reasonable argument, with a ridiculous contention. If you don't like RPG's, I get why Skyrim would feel empty to you and you should just acknowledge that and move on. Skyrim is certainly not my favorite game as there are multiple narratives instead of 1 seamless experience; that said, I have played no open world (and I think I have played almost all of them depending on your definition) that is remotely as dynamic as the world of Skyrim....NPCs don't interact with you? What!!!!! It is a means to an end!!! What? Some of the most fun of Skyrim is exploring the world, finding all the unique places and people and interacting with them....the stories, the lore...that is the strength of Skyrim....agreed there is no drinking game in some local bar or a zip lining challenge to complete...different strokes for realism and all that.

As to Ubi in particular, the issue, from my perspective, is not their content, it is their narrative. If you buy into the narrative, the open world is another way to further enjoy that; if you do not, the open world just adds to your frustration in getting to the end. This is why I am not a fan of Watch Dogs 2....just didn't like any of the characters or the story...so that tiny little world with the underwhelming types of "fun" were just rubbish for me.

Far Cry - open worlds are amazing as I love the narratives/ context.

AC - love the gameplay and many of the stories are great, but those are worlds that are devoid of personality.

Best open-world, imo, is Inquisition. One can take issue with the political direction Bioware has chosen and believe it killed the social aspect of Inquisition, and I am definitely in that camp (especially when compared with a game that stuck with its strength in Witcher), but there was a reason to undertake those fetch quests....you needed to build power and goodwill in order to build your Inquisition to advance the story...completing fetch quests went hand-in-glove with the story; which is in stark contrast to a game like Witcher, where the fetch quests go directly against the narrative....mad rush to save the life of your daughter, but let's play Gwent in every tavern we come across, hold down your Eagle VIsion, I mean Witcher powers, and follow the smell to catch a pie thief, follow the footsteps to find another meaningless montster, find the door to find the chest, or find the suet on the frying pan to help that old woman......perspective and all that :)
ScubaSte3ve
512,917
ScubaSte3ve
Posted on 06 March 17 at 11:28
great read, interesting stuff toast
GheeButt3rSnaps
BudgetBallin360
Posted on 06 March 17 at 14:41
here's a link for the trophy/achievement list

https://www.exophase.com/game/tom-clancys-ghost-recon-wildla...
SuperTigerWoods
Posted on 06 March 17 at 16:59
Finally, someone who speaks my language! I've been touting the quality of Ubisoft worlds, as cookie-cutter as they may be, to everyone I know dance

"Black Flag: the best open world pirate game ever made."

^This. Absolutely loved this game
#AncoraUnPezzoDiMerda
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