Monday, May 4, 2015

8 Recent Open World Video Games III

It's been a while since I played these, but since my computer died I would have to re-dowload them all to refresh my memory about them and I don't have the energy right now.  So take my comments as what stuck in the mind of a casual player.

The Forest
The forest is a survival horror crafting game, which seems an odd mix of genres to begin with.  I'm not experienced with survival horror at all, but I thought the point was to always feel out of your depth, uneasy, unsafe.  While crafting games tend to be about mastery and slowly gaining control over an area.

The island you are on isn't infinite and the world is not a voxel world.  You can build structures and permanently chop down trees.  Food and water is a concern and tribes of hostiles.

There was a moment when a band of these cannibalistic weirdoids found me, were walking up slowly and checking me out, that I felt some real fear.  That was cool.  But being killed by them, didn't kill me, it put me in some cave of theirs that I had to escape.  So the second time it happened it felt more like an annoyance.

So, you are trapped between what seemed to be several bands of these hostiles and you are meant to build a little settlement with racks to organize your sticks and gardens to grow vegetables?  Didn't feel right.

A small annoyance was that, while there are plenty of alcohol bottles to drink from and craft Molotov cocktails from, you can't store water in them.  Which means you have to walk and immerse yourself in a pool to drink.  And thirst was off in that if I remember you could start taking damage after one day of not drinking water.

This is the game from this list that I played least.  But if you are a fan of survival horror, maybe it will be more interesting to you.

Savage Lands
This is intended to be a metal, hardcore, barbarian vision of survival where you have to worry about starving, freezing, and getting killed by wolves and monsters at every turn.  The monsters aren't quite as thick as the zombies of 7 Days to Die, but you'll have to fight them over and over to get needed crafting resources.

This is not an infinite world, in fact it is actually a set island map which appears to grow in difficulty as you travel inward.  You can build structures, but not change the landscape otherwise.  You use up ores you mine from rocks, I don't know if they eventually respawn.

One of the ways the game makes things difficult is to strictly limit your inventory.  Everything you build needs sticks and rocks and logs and you can barely carry anything. 

Another common way to increase difficulty in a crafting game is to add wear to items.  Which is fine, unless you get the balance off.  I made a pair of leather boots in this game that wore out before I could get the required materials to make another pair.

A third, obvious, way to increase difficulty is to increase the amount of items a crafting recipe requires or the difficulty of acquiring the items.  Probably the moment I lost interest was when I saw the crafting recipe for all the clothing required logs!  So, they want you to feel a sense of accomplishment when you have finally managed to craft enough bags and backpacks that would allow you to even carry the ingredients to make your leather armor, but requiring 25 logs to make a set of clothes seemed so absurd it threw me right out of the game.

I've always been more of an explorer, interested in seeing not only what's in the world but what's possible in that world, so survival games that are more about balancing on a knife edge of luck and anxious, perfect strategy lose my interest pretty quickly.  If you are the kind of player that loves the Dark Souls games you might like Savage Lands.


  1. hey, this is an interesting post for me to read. I am very interested in your reaction to the different kinds of open world games because my current video game that I am designing is like a Star Fox inspired 3D shooter except not on rails because it is open world with exploration.

    To solve some of the riddles in the spaces we call "Energy Chambers" you will need special "tools" that you must discover through your exploration. Also, the game is like Savage Lands because the game will increase in difficulty as you advance.

    Thanks for your input!

  2. Awesome! I'm pretty critical in these, but I do feel like we're in a golden age of games right now.