#10: Gears of War (X360)
Gears of War has been described as more of an "Interactive Movie" than a game, and it is. Boasting the best graphics of any game to date and showing how fun to use weapons have improved gameplay, this game nearly has it all. In fact, it does. And I'm not even talking about the gameplay, because in my opinion, the only thing that Gears of War lacks are the epic, large scale battles. What puts Gears of War onto this list are the entire environments. Take a look outside the level, and you will see the signs of a once brilliant civilization in ruin. Wait for the cutscenes, notably the one near the end of Act 1. Take a look at some of the cinematography in that scene. A helicopter banking into a building, showering debris onto the street below. The views of the street expanded for dramatic effect. One of the things which sets this game apart from others is its ability to place you right in the middle of the action. That's why this game makes it onto my list, despite the low ranking.
This game was the one that changed it all. The Resident Evil game where it stopped becoming about conserving ammo and changed to massive battles. The zombies are gone, and replaced with "Los Ganados". You can aim in more than three places in this game. The camera featured intense changes which improved gameplay incredibly. Oh yeah, and the cutscenes... awesome. Excellent cinematics, with great visuals.
Ah, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas... is there anything this game hasn't done? Well, the land to explore is very large on its own, although failing in comparison to games like #1 and 5 on my list. There are about 17 square miles of San Andreas to run around in, (Oblivion has only 16). This is four times as large as Vice City and five times as large as Liberty City. But that's not all, the game's area focuses upon several different areas. There are massive dams, secret military installations, a microwave dish, and that's just a few of the visitable places. What else is there to do? Well, you can climb the 800 meter mountain, then parachute off of it. Or, there's always that mod that gets so much attentio
Shadow of the Colossus. Hell, just look at the name. What is this game about? Well, there are only sixteen enemies in the entire game. Now you may be saying "but elsquanto, that's not epic/big/awesome...you suck!". Well, you haven't seen the size of the enemies. These bosses are the colossi, and they are bloody huge. There is no other way to describe it. They would fit in nicely with the number one on my list. Seriously though, I can't stress the size of these guys compared to your character. Flying serpants, armored hulking bipeds... the game reeks epicness from every pore.
While in previous games, you played the role as Mayor, in this game, you can be mayor of plenty of different cities. In essence - You terraform, name, and build a city upon an entire region larger than pretty much any modern day city. The amount of options you have are astounding. Monorails, Subways, Ground Highways, Elevated Highways, Elevated Railway, Parking Garages... and that's just for transportation. There are huge landmarks to purchase, everything from the Empire State Building to Alcatraz. Not to mention ordinances and mods to make your little patch the city of your dreams.
#5: Freelancer (PC)
Another free roam game, this one is all about how you relate to different factions. The game contains a huge array of star systems, as well as planets to dock and trade at. There are the standard hospitable, safe trade lanes, but upon venturing into hidden dust clouds and hostile radioactive environments, you'll find secret bases, enemies and jump gates. But the true testament to the size of this game is the faction system. There are over thirty factions in the game, ranging from terrorists and pirates to security and corporations. Every decision you make will affect your relationship to the rest. For example, you may choose to destroy a Liberty Navy ship. Obviously, you would get bad rep from the Liberty and they may become hostile with you, but you would also become rivaled by the Kusari Navy, and all of Liberty's allies. However, you would become more liked by terrorist groups like Corsairs and Red Hessians. And there are plenty of factions, ships, guns, and places to see... better start.
Every piece of the world. Four conquer the world campaigns correct right down to the most minute historical details. You can win the Cold War, be Alexander the Great, conquer Europe as Napoleon, or build your colonial dominance in the new world. Every one of these campaigns are true down to the last geographical detail. 24 different nations to play as, all with their own unique units. There are about 200 different units in the entire game, ranging from Hoplites to Stealth Bombers... and the best part is, you can make the latter fight the former. Even just looking at the things you can research, will daunt you with the attention to detail. In the Industrial Age, you may be researching Penecillin, but back in the Gunpowder age, it may be Cell theory. Simply an immense game with so much attention to detail, the classic RTS that every game should strive to be like.
Arcanum is not just a game with a really long name. It's a very deep and customizable RPG, made by the creators of Fallout. The game is huge, open-ended, and very free. You can ignore the fact that there are no female Ogre's, Dwarves, or Gnomes. Yes there are gnomes, playing as the travelocity guy has gotta be fun. As for how open ended it is? You know when there are reviews on the game's page saying "Too big to be fun". Basically, it drops you in the world and you can go do what you want. When Devs were interviewed, they claimed it would take 35 hours to traverse the continent on foot without stopping in any cities or dungeons. That's good, but it pales in comparison to the #1 and 2 games on this list.
#2: Elite (C64)
Elite is well... elite. The game is a simulator, and the explorable land is huge. Bloody huge. Immensely huge. Huge beyond all reason. Bigger than most of the other games on this list combined. And it's fully shocking too. 8 different galaxies to explore, each with 256 planets to explore, generated by a single seed number. The game is remarkably similar to Freelancer, except about 64 times the size. Even more astounding was that the game was created by only two people who had not yet graduated college. Want to know even more? The game was originally supposed to have 282,000,000,000,000 galaxies to explore. (That's trillions there folks), with 256 planets in each one, that would total up to 72,192,000,000,000,000. They wisely decided that that would be too much. Pfft, Mass Effect is trying to impress us with just a few dozen.
I'm just going to throw a few facts about this game out here, and let them speak for themselves. The playable area of this game is 161,000 square miles - That's about twice the size of Great Britain... by comparison, ESIV: Oblivion has about 16 square miles, without the expansion. Daggerfall has 750,000+ NPC's to speak to. Oblivion? Just 1,000. This isn't even talking about dungeons, the keynote of the Elder Scrolls series. In Daggerfall, all of the dungeons are winding, complex, and near impossible to navigate, and you will get lost easily if not for a Mark or Recall spell. To put it in perspective, there are over 15,000 unique settlements, cities and places in Daggerfall. The game has six different endings! Every city and province has its own culture. It is estimated that it would take two weeks in real world time for an average player to cross the entire game world. Easily wins top spot.
So.... still think you were doing anything when you explored every bit of Oblivion? Still think that finding a secret treasure in the sea is something to feel good about. Well, even if you have played any of these games, I doubt you've played all of them. I bet you may have had a few "holy crap" moments while reading this, and I'll give you a moment to relax and sit stunned, staring at your computer game in awe. Do you know what would be even better than reading about the "bigness" of these games? Going out and playing them. Most of the PC games can be picked up in a bargain bin, or even downloaded for free off of the company's website. A few, you may have to dish out big bucks for, but if the size and scale of some of these doesn't impress you, I don't think anything will.
List by elsquanto (04/30/2007)
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