Sandbox Gaming: Too much of something can be a bad thing

“We made a massive map full of interesting things and cool sites to see, how will we get our player to explore?”
“Make them collect 5 of something, over and over again”

This idea was once kept to the boundaries of your typical MMO. Go out see the world and kill x of every animal or being you can find until, eventually the killing for experience stop and the grind for gear began.

Unfortunately the more sandbox games get released the more of a cross over we begin to see.

Its been quite refreshing playing Uncharted 2 over the last month, a game thats driven by story content and the occasional killing spree in an ancient temple. I managed to sink about 8 to 10 hours into the game which for me is a good amount of time. The problem I find with open world games is you never know when to stop the fucking around collecting werewolf dicks and actually put sometime in the story.

Final Fantasy 15 has an interesting approach to the sandbox vs liner gameplay. They essentially split the game up into both categories. The first part of the game sees your driving around with your j-pop boyband – killing the odd monster, collecting the occasion special weapon and upgrading your car. From what I can see none of this seems to be getting your kingdom back its just helping you prepare for the final story.

However even Final Fantasy cannot escape the MMO trope and you soon find yourself killing monsters over and over again for loot and exp, and of course lets not forget collecting things. Earlier Final Fantasies like 7 and 9 had an open world feel to them but managed to avoid the unnecessary repetitive quest approach which seems to be plaguing new sandbox games. Even FF10 which was a much more linear game felt open enough to give you a sense of freedom.

I must admit i managed to spent at least 75 hours in Skyrim and again maybe about 50 hours in fallout 4. A game that in my opinion was incredibly weak. I also managed to spend the equivalent on Witcher 3, again a game i felt was weaker than it previous games simply because it was a sandbox game.

Too much of something can be a bad thing

In all these games i mainly focused on the main story quest and any secondary quest which i can find meaning in, like a little side story. In some cases i get bored of the game long before i even complete it. Too much of something can be a bad thing and this is probably my main issue with sandbox games.

After sinking 45 hours into Final Fantasy XV i managed to make it to chapter 13. At this point i was pretty bored with the game but having read that chapter 13 was just bad, i dragged myself through. Now i’m on the final 3 bosses and to be honest i really don’t give a fuck any more.

Uncharted left me wanting more, so once i completed 2 i moved on to 4 (i’ll go back to 3), however when i complete a sandbox game… well you can’t really, you just get fed up and do the last mission so you can say you sort of finished it.

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Don’t worry PC gamers its not all that bad

Remember when you were ‘abandoned’ and the end was neigh and everything was awful, and console players started throwing rocks at you in the school playground, and then your wife left you because your controller game wasn’t ‘on-point’.

Well heres a few things to be happy about, after all just because every games company thinks of you as pirating scum and feeds you ‘Console ports’ – shudder – doesn’t mean you should strip out your PC and turn it into a fish tank…. maybe.

Building a PC can be expensive – recently I shoved a GTX 970 in to my machine, which at the point of writing this is about £250, and a PS4 is about £300. You can see the issue. However my machine is now capable of playing all modern games on ultra which as we know is twice as ‘eye sex’ as the graphics you get on your console peasant machine. Along with a  few other parts and piece you would be looking at a £600 rig. All these figures might be off the top of my head.

So despite the fact we had to take a second mortgage out to pay for our new box. Then we have to worry about putting it together (“it’s really easy to build a computer” – fuck off) and hoping we don’t super fuck the processor because the stupid arrow isn’t clear (google it). So what do we get which a Playstation or an Xbox just can’t.

Well if we start off with the money side – games are cheaper on a PC. On a console your average game is now up near the £50 mark. However on the PC we can get a game for about £20 cheaper if we look in the right places. We also have the love of Steam which bless us with the all glorious Steam sale allowing access to allot of A-list games for literally the price of a coffee.

Modding and generally fucking around with game content is also a big thing, meaning we get some interesting things coming out of youtube. From the dooms day Thomas the Tank engine Skyrim mod, to the meme worth Leeroy Jenkins. Allot of games content comes from the PC gamer.

We have access to more MMO’s than console players, admittedly this is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on your view. On the whole we have a larger array of MMO’s with large communities, which are mostly full of lovely people. We also have access to MOBA games which have a much shitter community, so…..

Although in recent years people have become better with controllers you still can’t beat a keyboard and mouse. Modern games seem to have an issue with the mouse and keyboard and  have no idea that Quake gave you more control over the key layout than MGSV or Fallout 4. But even this doesn’t hinder the fact that aiming and playing video games is just better with a keyboard and mouse.

Overall despite the lack of care put in these days by triple A companies on PC games, we have it pretty good.

(I do sometimes miss the days of just turning on a console, picking up a controller and chilling on the sofa. Lets hope the Steam Link can bring me back to the sofa.)

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