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I was thinking about this with GTA V coming out. I've always liked the GTA series, but I've always been more drawn to the open world than the actual gameplay. I'm a sucker for games with big areas to explore.
Especially when they feel real. Even in a fictional setting.
Undefeated lifetime. Currently playing: Tales of Xillia, White Knight Chronicles, Far Cry 3, Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, Ni no Kuni, Pandoras Tower
I love the exploring in open-world racing games. Crack a beer (not that I'd do this in real life, obviously), turn on some quality tunes, and just drive around wherever I feel like. Games like Fuel and Test Drive Unilimited 2 were a huge time sink for me. Now, I'm looking forward to doing this in GTA V! I've heard the driving is much improved over previous installments. Just a few more days...
"I don't hate you for having an opinion. It's just that your opinion is irrelevant to my enjoyment of the game."
Depends on the level of care the developer puts into making the world worth exploring. Bethesda games are pretty good for that sort of thing. GTA IV had the most detailed and interesting world to me. Just walking the streets, down alleyways, examining storefronts and billboards. Making the world interesting simply to exist in. That's, to me, where Rockstar is streets ahead of everyone else.
Red Dead Redemption i spent VASTLY more time just traveling around, exploring, making my own fun then i did on anything else(and i still loved everythihg else). Took me like 2 years to finally complete the games story cuz of this.
So it can range from one of my favorite aspects to something i don't care to do much at all.