Don’t get me wrong, I hate the whole open world sandbox framework more than most, but the two games that you’ve singled out (HFW and Ghost of Tsushima) at least try to mix things up a little.I simply dont like this kind of modern formula concept where they make the world look like
it will have so much variety in content because its so big
but then you notice that you already saw 99% of the different types of content
in the very first region (of 4, 8, 16 whatever regions in total)
Its exactly the same thing with games like Assassins Creed Odyssey.
You are playing for lets say 4, 5, 6 hours and it looks like
it will offer endless content and you didnt see anything yet.
But its not true at all, you pretty much already saw everything,
you are going to do the exact same things in all of the other regions.
Bandit hideouts, hidden caves, some kind of get me that thing mission,
some kind of kill that thing mission, some tower or whatever to uncover parts of the map ...
you know, these typical 3-5 type of missions and its just the same task again and again and again
just in different regions of the map. There are no surprises, you know what you will get.
Even the cities all have the same layout with the same merchants and so on.
Theres nothing really unique. It all just looks different on the surface.
Its such a waste of potential. I remember how i imagined Ghost of Tsushima
with whole unique villages in some mountain area and some unique fisherman villages down by the river ...
all with different shops and flags and colors and so on ...
turns out all of the villages have the exact same type of house model which they simply mirrored or rotated,
same for the things inside the houses. Even the loot inside is always in the same two spots
and the layout for merchants is always the same too.
I dont like that about modern open world games.
Rather than just loading the game with collectibles that players need to find and pick up, Horizon has players solve puzzles (ornaments and vista points) and practice their climbing (Tallnecks, Signal Lenses, and Survey Drones). Most of the collectible sets have ten items or fewer, and players don’t even need to find all of them to “complete” the game. Likewise, the Haikus, Hotsprings, Shrines, and Wood Chopping in GoT made for a nice change from the standard “go to spot A and press button B to pick up item” formula that seems to be common place in most modern sandbox games. The fox shrines, not so much.
I agree that these games could have done more to set themselves apart and add a bit more internal variety, but compared to most other modern games, they’re far from the worst offenders. In fact, I think I’d go as far as saying they’re among the genre’s best examples. I’d certainly take either over Far Cry or Assassin’s Creed any day of the week!