It seems obvious to me that right now, linearity = bad in the eyes of way too many critics and gamers.

People can call it "outdated" all they want. It's simply a different – and for more effective – way of telling an interactive story; the idea that open-world is simply superior by default is beyond idiotic.

And yet, the consensus is clear. We're seeing it in most new games these days: Bigger and more freedom is better.

That's why The Order: 1886 took a ton of flak and why so many previously linear franchises are now going open-world; i.e., Metal Gear Solid , Final Fantasy , etc. And yet, one of the most anticipated games of 2015 will be largely linear and although it will have multiplayer, the campaign will undoubtedly be the focus (as it absolutely should be). We've heard Naughty Dog say Uncharted 4: A Thief's End will indeed be more open (the most open game they've made since Jak 3 , supposedly), but it certainly won't be like Grand Theft Auto and Assassin's Creed . We'll simply have a bit more room to maneuver in the levels.

But is that enough? I can almost guarantee you'll see people calling out Uncharted 4 for being "outdated" simply because it's "too linear" or some such nonsense. I'm just wondering if Naughty Dog is taking all this to heart, and when we see something like The Last Of Us 2 , we'll see even more freedom. Sadly, I'm not sure we're far from seeing just about every major blockbuster sport a sandbox structure.

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Temjin001
Temjin001
5 years ago

If Uncharted 4 doesn't feel more open then I think the chances are high unless they nail everything perfectly.

What I experienced with Order 1886 was certainly an eye opener. Enough so that had I played the game through before Ben's review I would've been paying my respects with the rest of them.

ProfPlayStation
ProfPlayStation
5 years ago

In two years "open world" will be a bad thing, and we'll have calls for better story focus. "Linear is bad" is the flavor of the month opinion to hold.

Godslim
Godslim
5 years ago

Its ok for games to feel linear as long as they are great. Not all games need to be open world. Last of us is a prime example. A good way to make games feel less linear is making several different ways to play a level. Hitman always did this pretty well.

Underdog15
Underdog15
5 years ago

I hope this generation doesn't become completely debated around segregated linear vs. non-linear games. The last thing we need is some reviewers rating games high or low based on whether or not they feel it should be one way or the other.

ProfPlayStation's last sentence worries me as a tad prophetic.

Jawknee
Jawknee
5 years ago

Probably. I started a new last of us playthrough and noticed similarities in design with the order. Like forced walking(no sprinting allowed) sections yet that game received accolades while people took a dump on the order for that same thing.

Temjin001
Temjin001
5 years ago

Yes. I noticed too that Order draws inspiration from TLOU. I think the difference being that TLoU gives players things to scavenge for while dialogue is exchanged. It's like this thing impulsive people can do to not feel bored during dialogue. That and Order is more strictly linear than TLoU. I'm also fairly certain many gamers just hate contextual cinematic button prompts altogether. For me I take them as synaptic responses by the player to feel more connected with the onscreen events. I really don't mind them and I think they usually work real well for games like the Order, GoW, and Heavy Rain.

Jawknee
Jawknee
5 years ago

Agreed.

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
5 years ago

It pisses me off that it's become the norm to expect everything from a single game. I don't expect a linear experience from a GTA title but I sure as hell do from a story driven TPS. I say let each genre play to their strengths. Otherwise we're just left with a whole lot of average.

Axe99
Axe99
5 years ago

Very well said :).

Underdog15
Underdog15
5 years ago

This is why I agreed to father your offspring.

Banky A
Banky A
5 years ago

Give Nathan a hoverboard easter egg unlock and the world… is ours.

Corvo
Corvo
5 years ago

Remember when COD was the top selling game, and everyone made linear FPS's? Now GTAV sold like 45m and suddenly everyone is making open world games.

Temjin001
Temjin001
5 years ago

The open world expansion has been an ongoing one for years now. It started on consoles with GTA3, then the Elder Scrolls etc. it's crept in from every angle over the years and critics and gamers love it. CoD btw exists for its competitive online play.

Rachet_JC_FTW
Rachet_JC_FTW
5 years ago

yeah good point man

matt99
matt99
5 years ago

I think it's also due to the new hardware being able to support larger worlds with tons of detail.

That and the obsession with giving players "total freedom".

Temjin001
Temjin001
5 years ago

Yes Matt. I agree to that too. The hardware makes those things inviting. While I don't disagree that the market favors openness right now I do think a portion of this openness comes from the developer's basic desire to make those kind of games because they simply want to, which is encouraged by the fact that the hardware has made that task easier than ever. Previously, heavy memory and processing constraints made that avenue a more precarious one. These days developers have essentially all the processing and memory they need to make rich dynamic worlds that appear to rival Hollywood in realism.


Last edited by Temjin001 on 3/7/2015 12:45:07 PM

Rachet_JC_FTW
Rachet_JC_FTW
5 years ago

i think that open world will become just as stale as the FPS genre its it takes hold completely. you need variety other wise things get boring thats why i have lost of different games. and so with that said i like linear story driven games i always have thats been the sort of game i have gone to by default and my favareite games(and game series's) are linear story driven games namely jak, rachet,crash and of more recently games i have enjoyed alot tomb radier, GoW and unchartered. so i have a big problem with this linearity = bad or outdated oh and did i mention pokemon has that ever been criticed for be linear and story driven just saying. i just find this idea and trend really frustating, how about you guys what do u think

happy gaming

Oxvial
Oxvial
5 years ago

LOL No Uncharted series are always praised, dunno why Ben you are putting so much thought on The Order situation, it was obvious the game was hated since day one and that would be reflected on the reviews.

matt99
matt99
5 years ago

I don't think UC4 has to worry, it's not a new IP and so people know what to expect from the game.

GMRX
GMRX
5 years ago

There's a difference between Linear and repetitive and linear and exciting.

Uncharted 3's flaw was that it was all bombastic with very little focus or aim. It wasn't what I'd call corridor linear despite how linear it was. It had open areas to take on situations sneakily or gun ho and then more narrow areas, then it would have this awesome bombastic action sequence with everything going to hell. Much like TLoU which is why it's linearity wasn't an issue, more to do with its plot and gameplay. People forget that Halo and Modern Warfare are also Linear, they just open up at points, change gameplay up a little to keep things exciting and stack the odds up against you with some crazy good action sequences.

Games like Ryse are extremely linear and extremely repetitive. If you are doing the exact same thing in the last part of the game as you were doing at the beginning, you slowly start to wonder if the game has really progressed at all as it's gone along. Ryse was a borefest, after the first 20 mins, everything else was the same. Same enemies, same monotonous tasks, same boring plot, same boring protagonist.

People say God of War is the same, no it's not, God of war had me facing warriors one minute, a Minotaur the next minute and a frigging massive titan at the end, then it went from there to a fight with Cerberus dogs, to Hades in the underworld, then back out to murder Hercules. It was crazy, it was action packed, it was fun. It was also a button masher and QTE filled game, but you know what you are getting with GoW, it hasn't changed and it shouldn't need to, these are the gameplay elements that made it popular to begin with. Don't like it? Don't buy it.

trumpetmon65
trumpetmon65
5 years ago

I dont' remember seeing too much about it being too linear, but I did see it get docked for having a story with too many unresolved plot points as well as not having to come back to.

Bio
Bio
5 years ago

You have a weird obsession with 'linearity' Ben.

If the game is good, it's good. "Lineartiy" is neither a pro or a con.

PC_Max
PC_Max
5 years ago

Well, not sure in ND has said or not, but if they continue to incorporate multi-player aspects to the series, I think that will appease critics.

Although they might say that its not innovative or refreshing even with MP. Probably the critics will be the same people who love CoD and we all know how innovative and refreshing thats been of late.

I think now that the loudest of the gaming community has spoken harshly about The Order, the pressure might be for all linear-style games to have long… and I mean lonnnnnnggger story lines.

I wish them luck.

Keep playing!

karneli lll
karneli lll
5 years ago

Comparing those two games is like comparing King Lear with Keeping up with the kardashians. The Order's story, i felt, was hopeless;bland characters, predictable twists,cliches… Uncharted on the other hand handles its stories well.

Lawyer edit: The order was beautiful and sounded great but the story/plot points were handled horribly


Last edited by karneli lll on 3/8/2015 5:32:23 PM