: Ben's Week In Review: September 9

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Ben's Week In Review: September 9

I won't be talking about Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII beyond the news. I just can't handle it. On to other topics.

Can a game be too big?

Usually, most people go, "oh yeah, so big, so awesome!" But I'm starting to wonder if it's possible for a virtual game world to be too big. I know how great Skyrim was, but that was a whole lot of emptiness as far as I'm concerned, and something like Grand Theft Auto, while not as environmentally interactive, is a very different beast. And the rumor is that GTAV might be five times the size of GTAIV...? GTAIV wasn't overwhelmingly large; I could get accustomed to it and find my way around, often without the map. But five times? That's just...insane.

Firstly, I'm not sure that's even possible, not with the level of detail and clarity we're seeing in those screenshots. That would require next-gen hardware, which I still believe is coming; I'm betting GTAV gets announced for both current consoles and possibly both the PlayStation and Xbox, or at least one of them. But still, I'm not sure it should be that big. Honestly, i think it's possible for the size of a virtual world to become simply too large.

Remember Me could be intriguing

The concept behind Capcom's new IP, Remember Me, isn't wholly unique, but it's certainly intriguing. And after seeing that seven minutes of gameplay, I'm convinced the developers are on the right track. That Memory Remix section seemed almost too simplistic from a puzzle-solving standpoint, but the possibilities are almost endless. On top of which, I like the mix of different gameplay elements; stealth, platforming, action, etc. I'm not as impressed with the graphics as I was during that initial teaser trailer, but it still looks pretty damn good. Beyond that, it could be a really engrossing adventure.

I just hope Capcom doesn't trip themselves up by trying to implement too many different styles into one project. That can cause a little in the way of design confusion and can also adversely affect the game's balancing. But Darksiders II did it nicely enough, so...

Personal gaming update

I sort of have to tear myself away from the Ratchet & Clank Trilogy just because I don't have the time. Quite a few games are coming to review and I still haven't finished Sleeping Dogs just yet. Borderlands 2 should be coming soon, and I've got to take a look at Tekken Tag Tournament 2 this week. That Trilogy really is great, though, because those games are absolutely timeless and in truth, we really don't have experiences like that, anymore. That being said, I have to check out the Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault beta this week, too. :)

Oh, and if you haven't tried out Sound Shapes yet, you really should. It's one of the more original and addictive games available right now. Tokyo Game Show in a few weeks time, and I can't wait to see what Sony has prepared...any bets on a price drop for the PS3?

9/8/2012 Ben Dutka

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Comments (40 posts)

Lawless SXE
Saturday, September 08, 2012 @ 10:33:34 PM
Reply

Virtual worlds can absolutely be too big. I mean, scale works well for something as broad as Skyrim and Fallout where you make your own fun, adventures and stories, but for most games with a linear form of progression that size just becomes superfluous. If you're not taking advantage of massive spaces to tell your story, then why bother to include them; it only takes up space that could be put to better use. I mean, L.A. Noire didn't need to be as big as it did and nor did RDR, in my opinion. Hell, I think even Sleeping Dogs has a bit too much filler in terms of the world. It just depends on what the game needs. That being said, if GTAV is five times the size of the map of GTAIV (and I REALLY don't think it will be), it will be too big.

As for Remember Me, I've been interested in the concept since I first came across Adrift over two years ago. I haven't yet watched the gameplay footage that's been released, but apparently it is quite good from what I've read. I find myself wanting more narratively engaging games of late and if DONTNOD prove to be as good at that as their fellow French studio, Quantic Dream, I am massively up for it.

Personal Update:
Now halfway through Paradise Lost. I really love it how things start to make sense when you really concentrate on them, rather than only being able to give them half of your attention and that's basically what's happened during my reading of it. Amazing literature no matter how you choose to look at it.
I think I'm drawing close to the completion of Sleeping Dogs; I've done all of the police missions, found most of the collectibles, maxed out the Face and Police XP bars and done a ton of other stuff. I'll finish it off soon enough.
And I think I'll be picking up The Testament of Sherlock Holmes at the end of the month. It may be a lower grade title, but it's the kind of thing that I find myself wanting at this juncture.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, September 08, 2012 @ 10:56:31 PM

It would be awesome to see Paradise Lost get the video game treatment like Dante's Inferno did. I don't think anyone has let us play as Satan before.

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Lawless SXE
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 6:31:01 AM

Interesting concept. Would be rife with amazing imagery but one question: RPG, action/adventure or some other genre. And while we're at it, how much would it mutilate the source material to make a fun gameplay experience?

Also, finished the campaign of Sleeping Dogs not long ago. A thoroughly enjoyable game that becomes a bit too gun-heavy towards the end. I really like the story though, in spite of it feeling a bit cliched. Not sure if I want United Front/Square Enix to do a sequel, but I reckon the game could be as good a foundation as Assassin's Creed was at the beginning of the generation if they do choose to expand it.

Last edited by Lawless SXE on 9/9/2012 6:37:32 AM

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Yukian
Saturday, September 08, 2012 @ 10:57:46 PM
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I don't like expansive worlds 'cause I tend to get sidetracked trying to do everything (and ironically failing)... but they can use a whole continent if they want, they just got to inject life to it so it doesn't become a chore to travel.

Um, Ben, not to bug you or anything, but is there a reason why some articles or reviews don't show up on the mobile page? And why do comments are disabled too? :/

Now that I'm on that track, an Android App of PSXExtreme that alerted us when an update is up wouldn't be a bad idea... although most people know more or less when the updates are up, so...

Last edited by Yukian on 9/8/2012 11:05:19 PM

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Temjin001
Saturday, September 08, 2012 @ 10:58:30 PM
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I look forward to seeing FFXIII-3 game play. I'm curious how it performs in motion.

I don't know how I feel on the virtual world thing. I suppose if the whole thing is top notch stuff and the game is real long, it would make sense to do. I don't feel strong about it either way.

Remember Me looks interesting. I'd like to see more of it; though, I don't know how I feel about staging a murder at the expense of another. At least that's what I could gather from loosely watching a game play vid.

PGU: I finished Crysis on PC and I'm real far in the PS3 version. I have to say this game really drives the point home about what can be accomplished with refined software engineering. To think 4 years ago Crysis required mammoth hardware to run respectably at respectable detail settings; yet, here 6 year old "cheaper" console hardware can recreate an experience that'd I'd imagine even a 8800GTS would struggle to achieve when Crysis was still new for PC. We're talking a graphics chip more than double the horsepower of the PS3's RSX at the time. So while console Crysis is ultimately sub-720 HD and no more than 30fps, often times dipping below that, it's a modern marvel of engineering to bring the PC experience to the living room, and with some more dynamic lighting, and more or less a match for graphics detail, save it be for less all around foliage volume, the game astounds me because of what was accomplished by simply refining a game engine. I really wish Crytek would re-release the CryEngine 3 version of Crysis for PC. PC gamers everywhere would get a massive boost in performance I'm sure.

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Temjin001
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 12:37:00 AM

umm, wait. I think the console Crysis just skipped the whole jet plane level. THE JET PLANE level! Argh. I recant everything I posted above =p

(it's not that bad of a bummer. sorta lame though. I liked jet plane action)

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sawao_yamanaka
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 5:27:21 PM

Actually it is not the limitation of the hardware. Ascension was removed from the game because the developers said that people disliked that level.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, September 08, 2012 @ 11:04:22 PM
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Definitely can be too big. You have to do something with all that space ya know? RDR and New Vegas had you just wandering deserts a lot and that was uncool. GTAIV had a living, vibrant city but since they ditched all the fun stuff the series was known for it all became a pretty pointless backdrop to assassination missions. inFamous and inFamous 2 at least had you using all those areas the way a superhero ought to, as a playground for ass-kicking.

I think Remember Me looks great and has huge potential. I imagine that simplistic memory remix was the way it was because it was a tutorial mission. You can see lots of influences coming together in that game.

Haven't been playing much lately, been busy and working on retro stuff. Selling some PS3 games I'll never play again on ebay. Downloaded Borderlands for free so maybe some day I'll try it again.

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bigrailer19
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 12:41:56 AM

I liked that wandering in RDR. It was actually fun to wander in that game. Aside from that you simply gotta figure the time period, very good job developing that game in my opinion. They took everything into consideration.

Last edited by bigrailer19 on 9/9/2012 12:42:38 AM

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Beamboom
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 6:16:44 AM

Ah so there you are, World! :) Listen, are you up for a new bet?

As you know we got a bet running on whether or not the PS4 will launch in 2013. That's going to be real exciting, I am not too sure I will win that one. Not sure at all!

But how about a new bet on if the next Xbox will contain a blu-ray drive or not? You say it will not, I say it will.
And here's the interesting part of it: What if we in the pot this time place the first full PS4 game that drops into the Amazon bargain bin at less than a given sum (< 20 USD?)?
It could be an awesome game, could also be crap, and either way it will not cost much for the loser?


Last edited by Beamboom on 9/9/2012 6:27:33 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 10:29:20 AM

Eh, I think I'll stick with one bet at a time. I'm not as confident in my assessment on this one.

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Beamboom
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 10:57:20 AM

Alright. :)

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Killa Tequilla
Saturday, September 08, 2012 @ 11:16:02 PM
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Rockstar knows what theyre doing. Theyre the masters, no matter what, if you play the game for what it is, its top notch.

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bigrailer19
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 12:40:01 AM
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Skyrim wasn't empty really. It depends on what your doing and how you look at it. For one thing I'm over 100 hours into it and have yet to find all the locations. Secondly it doesn't take much wondering around before you come across something, wether it's a creature, an enemy, a side quest, a cave, a dragon, a wonderor, a tavern, a town, well you get the point. If your running from one destination to the next sure it can feel empty, but it's not because there is nothing there it's because you would be simply passing it by, sometimes unknowingly. The game is huge, and there is plenty to occupy that map.

GTA really isn't a huge game, the open world is actually rather confined for my liking. So 5 times the size, I figure they probably mean a little bigger than RDR.

PGU: trying to finish up AC: Revelations. Also been getting this feeling of wanting to give fallout: New Vegas another try. Need to finish up Skyrim though.

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Beamboom
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 2:10:01 AM

I fully agree that Skyrim were not empty. It was however large enough for it not to have to be cramped. There is space.

But if you truly enjoy exploring a fantasy world Skyrim is not empty at all, unless you expect to find a new side quest every square meter. There is something to be found around practically every corner!


Last edited by Beamboom on 9/9/2012 2:12:23 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 8:09:55 AM

Sorry Beamboom, but that's junk. There is not "something to be found around every corner" in Skyrim. I'm the one who gave it a 9.7 (before learning about the game-ending PS3 glitch) and I still know that isn't true. The only thing around every corner might be a deer.

No, there was a ridiculous amount of empty natural space between towns and even little villages or inns along the road, and almost none of it mattered except to give the illusion of size and scope, which it did quite well. I'm a completionist when it comes to RPGs; I try to see and do everything and I'm sorry, but Skyrim has a whole lot of nothing. The game could've fit easily into a map half that size.

In terms of actual liveliness of open environments, I really can't think of anything outside of maybe Fallout 3 that is MORE empty.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 9/9/2012 8:10:59 AM

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xenris
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 8:57:11 AM

I would say that after completing the game, Darksiders 2 was a little empty in some of the bigger zones. It didn't bother me, but they could have put in like, elite monsters that spawned randomly or other mini game type stuff like horse races etc.

But DS2 wasn't meant to be an open world game, it was more of a Zelda/diablo/dungeon crawl with a sprawling overworld so I wasn't really too disappointed.

I kind of agree with ben, I think that a lot of the elder scrolls games are big but kind of empty, at least in what the overworld has to offer. It is nice to have the illusion of a huge world, but I think it is better to have a smaller more dense world than a big one just for the sake of illusion. I only played the demo but Kingdoms of Amalur seemed to get the size and density right.



Last edited by xenris on 9/9/2012 8:57:53 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 10:35:50 AM

For me Fallout 3 was perfectly spaced and was never empty. You were always within reasonable distance of another great and fascinating location to sniff out, many which rewarded you with side missions just for finding that locale. There was a ton to look at and investigate all over the place.

I had no problem with the size of Skyrim but I would have filled that land with interesting stuff in-between the large cities because there wasn't much aside from some caves and such.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 10:48:07 AM

DSII felt a little empty in places but it wasn't big enough to really matter. Besides, there was always something to do (and fight). :)

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Beamboom
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 12:36:48 PM

I guess it depends on how you define "empty", what you expect from the playfield.
I don't find Fallout 3 to be empty either. Wherever you are you can bet there is *something* nearby worth checking out. Sometimes it's just a shack with some crafting components you needed, maybe a blueprint of something you can make, other times it might be a dungeon with the entrance hidden in a crack somewhere, it might be a strafing group of mobs, the start of a sidequest or simply an interesting view. But *something* is usually there.

And I experienced that I've found something small, big, important or insignificant around most corners (figuratively speaking) also in Skyrim. Camps, dungeons, a lone trader, wildlife, amazing views, abandoned shacks, strange formations, caves...

But again - it depends on how you define empty. If you only focus on mission objectives and main story events, then I agree that there is a lot of nothing.

Last edited by Beamboom on 9/9/2012 2:18:00 PM

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xenris
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 1:40:10 PM

Yeah thats what I mean Ben, there was always something to kill, it was only after putting 40 hours into it I realized they could have maybe done more with the space but none the less I was really impressed with what they did. Plus it wasn't that big your right.

I felt fallout 3 was alright in terms of emptiness, I mean I think it as supposed to feel empty, it is the apocalypse right? But I did enjoy just exploring old schools and stuff, super creepy and cool. There were long stretches of absolutely nothing in that game though. Still one of my favourite games this gen, I just loved something about it.

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MrAnonymity
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 2:01:47 AM
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As far as game worlds are concerned, they can be however big provided the space is being effectively used. For me, I enjoy throwing hours into a single game - largely due to the fact that I am an incredibly picky gamer. Honestly about the only time I can accept something linear, or non-linear with a limited game world, would be certain RPGs (encompassing the entire genre, mind you). Other than RPGs, I pretty much have no interest in the game unless it has a wealth of stuff for me to do - both in story and in static random tasks. Yes, I am aware of the fact that I am missing out on a plethora of amazing titles, but... they just don't appeal to me. A great example is the Jak and Daxter series (not the greatest games, but hey). I couldn't have cared less for the first one, but I kinda got into the Jak II what with the new mission structure on top of an open-world hub.

Another exception I can make is for the MGS games... oh, how I adore me some stealth espionage action...

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Beamboom
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 2:14:41 AM

Did you play Deus Ex: Human Revolution? I think that was a nice blend of openness and linearity.

(I can't stand too linear games either)

Last edited by Beamboom on 9/9/2012 2:14:52 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 10:37:57 AM

Deus Ex was a good blend though it felt a little cramped to me as far as immediate options on where to go.

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xenris
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 8:57:59 AM
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PGU- Playing the crap out of Guild Wars 2 on the PC right now. I haven't been puled into an MMO in about 8 years but man this game is doing things right. The gameplay is more action based and does a lot to make you feel like your not just facerolling hotkeys. The world is a great example of something huge that is also dense and littered with things to do. I mean I found a secret area where I find a tunnel that was blocked by bushes and it led me up to this talking skull shaped hole in the wall I jumped in its mouth and encountered a full on platforming dungeon where there were no enemies I just had to platform and follow the pirates voice. The reward was only a treasure chest but the journey was so darn cool. This game is full of things like this, stuff that is in the game just for the sake of being fun.

Not only that every level is fun and has stuff to do, you never feel like you need to be a higher level to be having fun its amazing. Also the attention to detail is fantastic, running in a lush field and seeing a pack of chocobo like creatures running in a heard when all of the sudden a pack of wargs comes over a hill and starts killing them is just another way this world feels alive.

Its also the first MMO where you want to help random strangers. Everyone gets full exp even if they arent in a party, everyone gets their own separate loot and money too.

Its just one of the best crafted games I have played in a while, MMO or otherwise. Other than that I'm not really playing much more, but will definitely be giving Borderlands 2 a go when that release in a week.

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Beamboom
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 12:52:04 PM

Wow Xenris, thanks for that GW2 writeup. This looks real interesting! Been missing MMORPGs like crazy these years with only a PS3.

Is this game released on Steam? What engine does it use? I am seriously considering getting me a gaming PC once Steam is on Linux.

Last edited by Beamboom on 9/9/2012 12:57:40 PM

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xenris
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 1:46:06 PM

It is not on steam yet, however most stuff seems to get over there eventually these days.

It seriously is a step forward for MMOs. I haven't felt this way for one in a long time, and had sworn off of them as they all were following the WoW formula which I didn't really like.

It runs on my old computer from 2004 but really poorly and looks well not that bad actually but still. It seems really well optimized for high and low end systems. If you get a gaming rig now it would be no problem to run it. It has an incredible water colour style too it too, which I really like.

It runs off of a modified GW1 engine I believe which I think was a propitiatory engine but I'm not sure. As for linux I long for the day when games are built for linux, I am fed up with microsoft and really gaming is the only reason I haven't switched yet. But yeah, you could duel boot on your PC my friend does that and it works fine for him.

Also NO MONTHLY FEES for an MMO this is huge, plus you can trade gold you earn in game for Gems which are purchased with money. There is a built in trade feature in the market. I haven't spent a dime but have 12 dollars worth of Gems from just selling loot and trading :D

Its really a great game I can't speak highly enough about it.

I know this is a PS3 site, but I do know some of you guys have PCs so yeah. The cool thing is, GW2 could easily work on a console and a controller EASILY. Its much more action oriented in combat, also the stories are really good too. For a game not focused on storytelling the story chains are actually better than Star wars the old republics were O_o

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Beamboom
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 2:08:51 PM

Steam is on the way to Linux as we speak, you know that? It's just a few months away as far as I understand. They've already ported the Source engine, and they've got Left 4 Dead 2 running natively on Linux - with a better framecount than the Windows version.

If this truly is the next step in MMO gaming then I just gotta see it. And I would not mind paying a monthly fee either - the ones I've played so far has totally been worth it.

I'll go check out some reviews.

EDIT: 94% meta rating? Omg...

Last edited by Beamboom on 9/9/2012 2:10:49 PM

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xenris
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 4:17:38 PM

Hahaha, it seriously is a breath of fresh air in the MMO scene 94% wow I didn't know it was doing that well, but honestly it really deserves it.

Yeah I heard all that stuff about source running better on linux lol. I really hope other engines get ported to linux easily because I want to get more from my PC :P

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Neo_Aeon666
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 10:20:18 AM
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San Andreas was ginormous and I had no problem with it. Especially if now we can use planes. I am not even sure 5 times GTAIV = as big as San Andreas.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 11:44:44 AM

Since they hadn't yet developed turn by turn GPS I was lost ALL the time. Just going in the direction of the mission indicator could actually take you further from it.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 11:47:00 AM
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I think the Dishonored map will be juuuuust right.

http://www.gameinformer.com/p/dishonored_world_map.aspx

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 9/9/2012 11:47:14 AM

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Beamboom
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 12:49:10 PM

That month feature looks cool! Man this will be great.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 3:38:30 PM

I'm sure hoping so!

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shadowpal2
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 12:04:20 PM
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http://unrealitymag.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/large-video-game-worlds2.jpg

...what I love about the GTA franchise is that the missions/story always have a way of leading you through every part of the map. It's beautiful in that sense, so really the map can't be/feel too big once you get to see all of it and just get to play around there for a bit. I really do think that San Andreas is the perfect size though.


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CrusaderForever
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 12:23:36 PM
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I believe a game cannot be to big. Maybe to big for one play through in that one game. In this case you can take a break and come back to it. But when it comes to playing through a game it cannot be to big. The more the better. If you have a stinker of course a game can be to big. But for the truly epic games we always want more.

Remember Me looks special period. Cannot wait to learn more about Capcom's latest hit. Capcom is doing well and I would really love to put them on the premiere dev list again if they aren't already. Dragon's Dogma is still on my must have list too.

PGU:
Been having a great time with Uncharted Golden Abyss again. Trying to get the Platinum. Also been playing Uncharted 3 MP COOP Adventure! So fun but very difficult. Persona 3 Portable is still impressing. I am in the 70s for Tartarus and the story is excellent! I have also been playing a lot of Zen Pinball 2 on the Vita! What a great pinball game. Strategy in a pinball game who knew! :)

FGU:
Cannot wait for Borderlands 2!! Gearbox just released an app that allows you to setup the skills for the character you are interested in!! I am going to give this a shot or maybe I won't. Not sure I want to spoil it. Cannot decided to get it at Amazon for the $10 and Premier Club or get it at Gamestop with the Premiere Club and the Creature Slaughter Dome. I am probably going to get Amazon's deal because I had a $10 credit to get B2 for $49.99 and then get another $10 credit I can use for ACIII. Come 9/18/12 all other games will gather dust for a long time including my Vita.

Last edited by CrusaderForever on 9/9/2012 12:26:50 PM

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Snaaaake
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 1:40:31 PM
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Being too big isn't a problem unless travelling around is a hassle.
Or just separate them like how Ubi does with AC.
Keeping my fingers crossed for Remember Me but it does look interesting.

PGU:
80 hours into Disgaea 4 and already recruited all the extra characters and not even halfway done.
But I'm very upset that many other characters have become DLCs, SCREW THAT WHEN THEY CAN EASILY BE PUT INTO THE GAME!!!!

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Rogueagent01
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 3:50:50 PM
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I am the type of player that believes a games world could never be too big. It could be mismanaged, but that is about it. As long as there are ways of fast travel, or a means to get around be it a car, horse, helicopter, teleporter, so on and so on, I don't think a game will ever be too big in my eyes. I actually hope that game worlds jump greatly in size with the next genereation. The larger the world the more options a dev has to implement DLC that can co-exist within it, rather then a seperate world.

To anyone that thinks Fallout 3 was empty, you are insane. You were never more then 2 to 5 minutes away from a location and every location offered something. The only part of the game that could even be considered empty would have been the northern most part of the map, yet that is where some of the best things were hidden. I guess a better way to put it, is if you thought that Fallout 3 was empty then you are not a fan of open world games, simple as that.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, September 09, 2012 @ 4:16:23 PM

Basically, post-apocalyptic environments are ugly and bore me to tears. So I guess when I say empty, I mean empty in terms of nothing of even the remotest interest to me.

The Elder Scrolls, on the other hand, really IS very empty. For anyone.

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Rogueagent01
Monday, September 10, 2012 @ 5:49:04 PM

Using that explanation of empty I can understand where you're coming from. I have always enjoyed post-apocalytptic settings, though I agree they can be ugly, I have never found myself bored with them. I actually have felt the same with some games. Mercenaries 2 was one for me, I loved the first one and never got bored, but the second one was really boring in comparison, again just to me.

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