Why Linear Games Are Better Than Open World Video Games

Over the past couple of years, modern gaming has taken a turn from linear gameplay to open world, which many fans prefer. Open world gameplay allows more freedom than linear gameplay in regards to where the player would like to go next in the game. Many say that open world games are better because it allows the player to explore, choose what they would like to do next, and fool around a bit if they want to. I think a great game needs to have a balance of both – not straight linear and not whole open world. If I had to choose however, I’m all for linear gameplay.

One thing open world gameplay sometimes does is it totally butchers the story of a video game. For example, I thought Xenoblade Chronicles X was a phenomenal game, but for some reason the story just really didn’t click with me. I feel like it should’ve been good and it should’ve really caught my attention, but I just really couldn’t get into the story of this game. I blame the open world gameplay because I feel like due to the open world aspect of this game, the story was really spread out. All I wanted to do was explore the gorgeous landscape in this game and when it was finally time to move onto something else, I was so uninterested in the dialogue and I just wanted to skip over it so I could do more exploring. I know not all games need a great story, but I feel like a game like this should really grab my attention with its story and it just didn’t. The easiest part for a linear game is to make a great story. In linear gameplay, the producers have easy control over what the player will experience next and how it will affect the story.

A lot of open world games aren’t even really “open world.” Some games make you do all this traveling in a vast overworld, but it falls right into linearity! Skyrim is sometimes guilty of this. While it has some great sidequests, a lot of the time in this game I just move around the massive world trying to figure out what I have to do next, and then spend the same amount of time doing the next thing, and so on. Even some of the sidequests in this game can be extremely annoying with such a massive world. Example – travel to one place to get one easy thing, then the next task is to travel on the other side of the world to do another easy thing, and it just goes on. Things like this really bored me in the game, and linear gameplay is more straight and to the point with things like this.

I think the biggest problem I have with open world games is… I just like having an objective to always be working towards. Like many people, if I don’t have an objective I’m kind of just like, “what’s the point?” Then, I get bored really quickly and I have to put the game down. Linear games I can play for hours and hours on end, but open world games I find myself constantly picking them up, doing one small thing that takes me forever to do, then I put it down for the day. In games like Skyrim I just always felt so lost and not knowing what to do next and I find myself doing some pointless sidequest that doesn’t really do anything for me, but I do it because it gives me something to work towards.

Overall, I personally favor linear gameplay over open world. I know not all open world games are as I described them, but a lot of these open world games have the same problems. It’s not so much the fact that the games are open world, it’s how the producers work with an open world system. There needs to be a balance of open world and linear gameplay in order to make a great game, and sometimes too much freedom isn’t a good thing and you just find yourself bored or lost. What’s your preference? Do you like linear or open world gameplay? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. It doesn’t seem to work as well in 3D, but in 2D games I liked when levels had a strict design to them and you were kind of navigating all the obstacles and memorizing the patterns to progress. 3D gaming got away from that, naturally, since 3D opens up more possibilities with movement, but you lost the precision of where to jump, how to avoid enemy attacks, and all that.

  2. Exactly. Open world games bore me in a day. Tomb raider, elder scrolls, mass effect, just cause, far cry, GTA, prototype, watch dogs, I can go on forever. And they are usually more expensive too. After years of disappointing experience with open world games, “open world” is now a red flag for me.

  3. I disagree.. Linear sucks.. I love freedom.. Xenogears was open and had a fabulous story..

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