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GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 73: The Walking Dead, Episode 1 and The State of Open World Games

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In this episode we feature a full blown discussion of The Walking Dead, Episode 1, and Richard drinks the most Richard-like thing that he could possibly drink. Not enough, you say? We also look at the good, the bad and the ugly of open world games. Stop what you're doing right now...unless it is downloading this PODCAST! With Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, Richard "I'm not wasting a bullet" Naik and Dylan Collins.

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Category Tags
Platform(s): Xbox 360   PS3   PC   iPad  
Series: The Walking Dead  
Genre(s): Horror   Open World  
Articles: Podcasts  

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sound cutting out?

anyone notice that some voices are cutting in and out? its minor but noticeable.

I think an example of true emergent gameplay is in the game M.U.l.E. (particularly the free online remake called planet mule). It's a competitive economics game where players pick land and mine for resources, play it with the A.I. and you'll get a general idea of how to play it but play it online and you'll see a ton of crazy things that you never thought possible with the limited options as players buy resources to mine just to get rid of them from the market, or gain the system by making one resource rare by buying a lot of it. it's more of a virtual board game than an open world game but it creates sort of mini narratives that open world games claim to do a lot better by players taking advantage of the game systems.

@Da_Beerman We were having


We were having problems with Skype that night. When it chooses to act up there's really nothing we can do about it :/

Consider this solution

I produce a podcast of my own and what we do to improve the sound quality is that each of us records his own side of the conversation and then I sync them in Audacity. While a bit more complicated that just recording from skype, it has de huge advantage of letting you edit each channel separately. So if Chi's son would suddenly throw something and make a big noise, Dylan could just mute Chi's track. Also you get the much better sound quality of a direct recording and no problem with connection stuff.

I enjoyed the discussion

I enjoyed the discussion open world games overall, despite my teeth clenching over the dismissal of some of my favorite titles. (I will stand up and proud and declare that I LOVE the Mexico gameplay in RDR.)

One aspect of this topic that's never brought up in these discussions that always irks me, is that open world games are a genre, that have their own unique elements and gameplay, and like any other genre they're not going to be for everybody. But the people who don't appreciate the genre are always trying to fix them -- you've got to add more narrative! Less side missions! Deep, interesting characters!

Stop trying to fix what isn't broken.

For me, the holy trinity of open world games are: Crackdown, Far Cry 2, and Red Faction:Guerrilla. All three have clear objectives that you can approach in any way you choose, and all have a bare bones (or near nonexistent) narrative. The lack of story isn't a weakness, it's the very thing allows the player complete freedom. Do I need a narrative motivation to blow shit up, jump over buildings, gun down soldiers and blow up caravan's with well-placed IED's? No! This stuff is inherently awesome as it is.

The reason Crackdown 2 and Red Faction:Armageddon were worse than their previous installments was they deviated from the original open world formula, and the games suffered for it. And I'm not feeling good about Far Cry 3 for the same reason.

(Also, any spoilery game talk should really be put at the end of the podcast. Pretty irritating to continually bounce ahead a few minutes at a time trying to find the point where the Walking Dead talk ended.)


Good discussion of open world games.

There is no limit to what any developer wants in their open world games. Cut scene narratives, environmental stories, sand-box combat, variety in gameplay etc.

Choice of missions/quests and a large geography to explore at my own timing, seem to be some of the most important for open world games.

p.s. Dylan is fitting in quite nicely at the podcast. I'm enjoying his humor, and chiming in with his own opinions is always welcome.

I'd be interested to see an

I'd be interested to see an open world game have a main story, or certain (maybe even random) events, that progressed regardless of what the player did. You could intervene if you chose, but if you went off and did other things, the story would continue without you.

I think the problem for me with these kinds of games (which I generally really enjoy) is less that what I do feels like it has no impact, but that nothing would happen if I didn't do it - it's a bit too safe. I'd like the world to be a bit more of a character in its own right.

It's the Faux-urgency that bugs me the most - where, for example, someone rushes of to meet you for some important event, but it doesn't really matter if you don't turn up for a week. I usually try to play as though it is urgent, but I know in my heart I could be spending the time collecting bandits' pants in a dungeon somewhere.

Mount & Blade is a game

Mount & Blade is a game which I think covers the term open world very well. It's very open and doesn't even have a specific goal for the player or ancient evil to save the world from. Instead it's one big continent to explore, visit towns and villages, hunt bandits, take (unfortunately very generic) quests and raise an army. It's possible to become vassal of one of the 5 kingdoms, or seize a castle or town and declare oneself king or queen. Or forget this whole nobility-nonsense and just become an honest trader. What is important is that the world reacts to the player. Prices for goods change if one trade route is exploited too much as supply and demand shift. Players who act 'honorable' will notice npc reacting to that. If a player chooses to raid caravans and villages the npc's will also react accordingly, start with manhunts and nobles defending their fiefs.

Two things first off I want

Two things first off I want to bump that guy's comment about recording everything on separate tracks and then putting it together. Secondly I think Dylan's doing a really good job once he gets the ball rolling but getting off the ground in the beginning of the show is a little rough and the introduction comes off as forced at times. It seems to me that opening the show in a more natural manner (much in the same way he does the rest of the podcast) would help a great deal with this. I don't want to compare Dylan to Tim because Dylan isn't Tim (nor should he try to be) but what I noticed about Tim's introductions was that even though they were over the top that was how he naturally talked on the podcast and so it translated well. I would imagine that if Dylan spoke more similarly in the introduction to how he speaks in the rest of the podcast it would make the opening sound much more natural and allow a smoother segue into the show. I want to reiterate however that Dylan is doing a very good job overall and that each podcast is getting better and better.

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