Open world titles worth watching this year

Posted by kdow on Jan 15, 2017 1:39:57 PM


Over the last decade-or-so, the power of consoles & PC’s alike have helped developers build bigger & more realistic universes for us to explore. Most notably, Rockstar have developed their entire business around a series of open world titles; namely GTA. But others have made names for themselves in this realm, like Blizzard or Bethesda.

2017 will see a slew of open world titles, and I thought it’d be a bit of fun to jot them down. More will be announced, some will be delayed into 2018 but as it stands right now, these are my most exciting prospects in open world games for this year!

Days Gone

As much as open world titles are mostly played out, so are zombie games. But this looks more interesting. It has a twist on the “zombie” game plot. The plot revolves around feral humans, as opposed to full-on zombies. Yeah, sure, they’re taking some plot right out of the 28 days later playbook, but this looks interesting.

The game will do the usual trick of switching the story & environments up depending on how you play through. But here it looks like the developers are arming the players with the ability to use the environments in a constructive (or destructive) manner to thin out the hordes of feral humans!

Ghost Recon: Wildlands

I’ll be honest here, I don’t love Ghost Recon. Players who love it pretend it’s not COD with a lick of story. But this one looks interesting. It returns to modern warfare & ditches the futuristic bullshit. And it’s dipping it’s toes into something Far Cry esque.

This looks like a nice mix between Far Cry, in a purist sense, alongside some of what made Metal Gear good. We’ll see, though. It looks interesting but Ghost Recon has been a persistent disappointment to me as Ubisoft shoehorns gameplay from Assassins Creed (a series I loathe) into it.

Mass Effect: Andromeda

Exploration, discovery, confusion, plot & marvel. All of these would have been used to describe the first Mass Effect title, and it appears we’re going to get a solid attempt at revisiting that kind of emotional story telling coupled with open world exploration with the new iteration.

Nothing was more enthralling in Mass Effect than walking around, chatting to people, listening into conversations and just exploring. It broke up the potential monotony of shooting things in a duck-and-cover style. Let’s hope this lives up to the potential!

Horizon: Zero Dawn

Killzone was genuinely one of my favourite prior-generation FPS games. I thought it was buggy, flawed but it trounced all over Halo. Okay, the story needed some work but the basics were great. And the multiplayer was infinitely fun.

The same folks are bringing their technical mastery to an open world environment set in a universe that blends a bit of Killzone, a bit of Lost Planet and a bit of… well, any open world title with jungle bits.

It looks a treat, and I like the way Guerrilla Games are talking about this. Think less about how big the environment is, and focus on how dense it is.

Red Dead Redemption 2

I mentioned Rockstar above. And here we go. RDR was a beloved title. It never got the same acclaim as GTA because it’s not as shocking or headline grabbing, but it was arguably a better story told than a lot of what GTA offered in the last generation (I’m sort-of counting GTAV as this gen).

And so, the masters of open world are back with RDR2. There’s nothing I can really write here other than buy it. It doesn’t matter if you like Rockstar, GTA, RDR, open world or western style stories. This is going to be a seriously great title. There’s only one other open world game worth thinking about this year…

Zelda: Breath of the Wild

I’ve never been a huge Nintendo fan. Honestly. As a kid we were a Sega house that converted to PlayStation. My mate had the Nintendo lineup so I was exposed to those titles in his house, and vice-versa. But I liked Sonic more than Mario. We’ve all made mistakes!

With the introduction of the Switch console, Nintendo needs something big to introduce gamers to it’s hardware. Although this will be available to Wii U users, Zelda will be a big part of the sales pitch for the Switch. And it looks stunning.

I’ve only played two or three Zelda titles in the past, but friends who are Zelda fanatics reckon this will be a real return to form for the series. Innovative, open and characteristically Nintendo.