A Recipe for the Perfect Open-World Game

Grand Theft Auto V

I’ve been playing Watch Dogs lately, and it’s pretty entertaining so far. I love open world sandbox games, and this one is no slouch. There are a few quirks – like the fact that I rarely see many cars aside from that taco truck — but I’ve still been enjoying my time with it.

Mostly though, I’ve been thinking about the new features that the game brings to the genre, like controlling the environment with your phone and causing havoc from a distance or while on the move.

Watch Dogs

That got me thinking about my favorite features of other open-world titles, and how if you managed to combine them with solid gameplay and a killer story, you’d have a recipe for perfection.

Here are a few features that could help make the perfect open world game:

  • The Speed Limit ButtonMafia series

Being able to tap a button and not have to worry about going over the speed limit is a great feature, especially in a game that monitors your speed. It also makes it easier to cruise leisurely through town without causing thousands of dollars of property damage.

Which brings me to my next point:

  •  Cruise ControlSaints Row series

How annoying is it having to steer and aim while tooling around involved in a roving gunfight? I will tell you: Its super annoying. Cruise control is a must-have feature for any game that has you blasting on fools while also trying to navigate rush-hour traffic.

  • Taking a Taxi/Public TransportationGrand Theft Auto series

Public transit is truly one of the best no-brainer additions to the open-world genre. I rode in cabs all the time in GTA IV just to enjoy the scenery and music. It was the perfect way to let the game continue while taking a food break.

Add to that the ability to hop a subway and ride the rails, and you’ve added a whole new level of immersion and realism. Now if only you could take a frickin’ bus.

  • Pedestrian AmbianceSaints RowGTA series

This one is hard to attribute to one series or game, because the greats have always done a smashing job at this. Saints Row 2 — with its inclusion of meter maids, rollerbladers, and people just sitting on benches — stands out as the first game to pay that extra bit of attention to pedestrians. Until then, it was always just the same six or so people milling around.

GTA would later pick up this thread and deliver a wallop of simulated life with the pedestrians of GTA IV.

This of course leads to my next point:

  • Radio Stations/Musical Ambiance; GTA series

Again, the top dog comes out on top. A few other games and series in the open-world genre nail this aspect so admirably well, including Saints Row and Sleeping Dogs, but GTA was the O.G. Plus, it’s only gotten better over the years.

It isn’t just about song selection, but the sheer variety of realistic stations. The talk radio alone is something to behold. Bastion’s Buddies could stand alongside anything currently on right-wing radio.

And there you have it. Toss all of these things into an open-world pot, and baby, you’d have a stew going!

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