Open world games suck at telling a story, here's why

A great map, a slew of activities, and unlimited freedom usually come at the price of a forgettable, anything-but-compelling storyline. But does it always have to be like that?

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NewMonday94d ago

Horizon Zero Dawn did great IMOO

nodim93d ago

Interesting setting, pretty horrid story.

AspiringProGenji93d ago (Edited 93d ago )

I strongly disagree! The story was great because it was about the mystery of the machines, something for you to discover on your own , an adventure with a great payoff

mkis00793d ago

Story was amazing, what even did you people play?

rainslacker93d ago

Topic is if the open world genre can relay a good story. Not the subjectivity of if that story is any good or not. The two things aren't intrinsically linked.

There are open world games which have a great story, but its told poorly.

However, in the case of open world games, I feel that many times, its not so much that the story is told poorly, its that its too easy to get distracted away from the story, which tends to have an effect on how people feel the story is told. If you play some games story straight through, the story is more focused and can be good. But when you start doing things not particularly relevant to the story, or side arcs to that story, it's easy to forget that a story is happening.

Its always my biggest criticism of the genre, and the problem is more about the person playing just allowing themselves to be distracted.

Skull52193d ago

I play games for the gameplay. A good story is cool too but not an important factor in making the game good or not.

No Way93d ago

Skull - are you the type of person that skips all the cutscenes and dialogues?

Skull52193d ago

In some games sure, but I tend to watch most of them. All I know is PUBG has zero story and it's one of the most fun games of the last few years, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. I think Halo: CE and maybe BioShock are the only games who stand out to me as having a great story, most everything else is forgettable, but I sure as hell remember how great the gameplay was in dozens and dozens of games.

UCForce93d ago (Edited 93d ago )

I disagree. @Skull521 You can make great open world with great gameplay and great story. Horizon Zero Dawn did just that.

Takwin92d ago

I loved the story. Absolutely loved it. The sci-fi explanation side was 11/10 and the tribal stuff was 7/10. But even 7/10 is pretty good, especially for the open world genre. And, to me, the sci-fi part carried the water.

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LeeFender93d ago

Horizons world was interesting but the main character and her ugly looks ruined everything. Boring as shit protagonist.

Movefasta199393d ago

I don't know why they decided to make her head bigger than everybody else's.

AspiringProGenji93d ago (Edited 93d ago )

To me she wasn’t ugly, then again her looks was the least on my concern in a world that was about survival and humanity going back to being primitives pretty much. Also “ruined everything” really? Are some people still bashing the character for not looking like Lara Croft?

EazyC93d ago

I don't think she's ugly but I actually kinda get that point because I dislike GTA IV's Niko because he is an ugly man, it's hard to explain

Goldenarmz93d ago

The fact you mentioned her looks, shows whats wrong with the gaming community.

Casepb93d ago

She wasn't great looking I will give you that, but it didn't bother me much. What really bothered me was the awful facial animations especially the lip sync.

gobluesamg93d ago

I bet this Lee Fender guy is a real male model. She was a normal looking person you incredible idiot.

UCForce93d ago

Does Aloy need to be look pretty like others ? She looks fine by my look. Aloy was great character with great personality and way better than Lara Croft ( the reboot one ) in my opinion. PS community consider Aloy to be PS iconic. Besides, Horizon Zero Dawn is now PS flagship.

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doggo8493d ago

Horizon zero dawn is a masterpiece . Can't wait for the sequel.

cartoonx193d ago

first rdr was really great at story, horizon is great game but the story was just ok i think.

joab77793d ago

So did TW3 and so will RDR2. And many are loving AC Odyssey’s who knows.

Hardiman93d ago

One of the best! It's rare I read every log but I scoured every nook and cranny for data logs to get as much of the back story as I could. I imagine if it was multi platform more would've found its yarn more interesting. HZD, The Witcher 3 and AC Origins have been my favorite open world games so far this gen!

CorndogBurglar93d ago (Edited 93d ago )

Open World games suck at telling a story because the pacing is awful and the story goes on tangents based on what you are doing.

For the most part, when you start open world games you get the beginning of the story, but when you get set loose in the world it is up to the player to keep the story moving. But most people stop and start exploring or doing side missions and could end up going days without touching any main story content.

So yeah, they suck at telling a story in the sense that if a movie did this, it would be considered a terrible movie because there would be a main story that went off into totally unrelated other side stories and the pacing would be horrendous.

But this is a different medium. You can't judge video game story telling the same way you judge movie story telling. At least not open world games.

rainslacker93d ago

I think pacing of a story is important, regardless of medium.

But I also think that open world games, by their very design, have people going off and doing other things when they become available to do. That's what a lot of people are looking for. Keeping an engaged story in those circumstances, whether paced or not, is exceptionally hard to do...if not impossible. It'd be like Saving Private Ryan stopping halfway through to show a different battle, with only one character related to the original story being in the new part.

Some games handle this better than others, but open world games tend to be based on exploration, and side stuff. That side stuff can get distracting, although it can also be used to enhance the story if it fits naturally into the narrative.

Most of this isn't the writers or developers's just that people go off track on their own, because its what they do in those kinds of games. For many open world games, if you just push through the story, then it can be pretty good, like a linear game.

No Way93d ago

So, open world games dont really "suck" at telling a story.. it's just players are to short-sighted and get distracted by the rest of the game?

3-4-593d ago (Edited 93d ago )

Open world games are good for piecing the story together in parts slowly over time. Some people want a 2 hour movie's worth of story to hit them right away and keep going and it's a 50-100 hour game, so there are going to be some breaks in between.

Open world games and story telling are fine....not as good as more focused but they can be good.

Semi-Open World like Dragon Quest XI is probably the best middle ground.

ChasingTheSun93d ago

Dont bother, its always the same jealous xboxone owners hating on every playstation exclusive out of envy, why dont they just go to phil or major nelson and ask them why xboxone has no exclusives besides the yearly tired forza franchise?

We will see a 1000 different forza 4 articles telling us how great it is for the next 6 months while sony will keep releasing a variety of different exclusives.

MoshA93d ago

Horizon's story was laughable for anyone with standards

gobluesamg93d ago

Please enlighten all of us simpletons who enjoyed the story. Tell us of the open world games with stories that meet your standards. Just kidding I don't give a sh!t

Dark_Knightmare293d ago

Yeah you’re right I guess all the critics and gamers were wrong right and that you could do better than John Gonzalez of Fallout New Vegas fame lol gtho

UCForce93d ago

You are wrong. Thank to Fallout New Vegas writer, Horizon Zero Dawn story and it was a big improvement for GG.

UCForce93d ago

Well, that would be Destiny, Division and BO4 story. Not HZD.

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AK9193d ago

Agreed Horizon was a treat from start to finish. GaaS games like Destiny 2 and Division were atrocious story wise though.

93d ago Replies(3)
Ivar_Ragnarsson93d ago

I loved Horizon's Story, the mystery really kept me going to discover more

Euphemism92d ago

Especially that moment, when Aloy got captured by the henchmen and thrown in "jail" floating in the center of an empty coliseum ... something something happened, the cage with her falls down, suddenly the coliseum is full of folks watching how Aloy getsup/jumps thru a fog of dust, to appear on the other side fully clothed with her gear.

Haven't played the game. I'm done with open world games. I ain't gonna play rdr2 either .. I've watched someone playing thru hzd and the protagonist, the side character are shallow, flat and clichee driven ... everything is too stereotypical. Even the plot twist was easy to figure out.

Sorry, the story delivery wasn't good. That's not guerilla's forte. I've heard and read that the sidequests where better?

Anyway once my passion for open world games is back, I will be playing thru hzd.

I'm weirdly enough done with this generation of consoles. Death Stranding being the only remaining game im gonna playthrough (I know it's hypocritical of me, being an open world game) and Deep Down of course. That's no WILD guess of mine ...

frostypants92d ago (Edited 92d ago )

Largely because HZD did a really good job placing plenty of interesting and relevant side quests on the map in such a way that it encouraged the player to take a path that kept them on the main storyline without getting too aimless in the world, along with a couple of well placed barriers you had to open via progression (few enough that it wasn't at all annoying). It's pretty obvious that they put a ton of thought into it.

Whether or not everyone likes the plot itself, it's undeniable that they did a really great job keeping players on the right path.

Gahl1k92d ago (Edited 92d ago )

I totally agree. The only open world game's story that interested me. I think it worked for me because side missions were a part of the big picture, not distractors (unlike the other gazillion open world games I have played before). And I would add The Witcher 3, especially the DLCs.

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ninsigma93d ago

Not always. HZD had a fantastic story while also following the usual open world tropes.

Cmv3893d ago

First red dead had a great story, so did gta 3 and 5. Fallout 4 and 3, etc. People may feel different, but I thought they were great stories.

affrogamer93d ago

Let's start putting out click-baity negative articles on open world games since the biggest open world game of this gen comes out in a week. SMFH