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City Open Worlds: Cyberpunk vs Watch Dogs & Yakuza

Just discovered the Yakuza games! I’m starting in order with 0. I’m barely a couple of hours into the main story and I’ve done nothing but mini games for hours on end. It’s addictive as hell and the city is quite immersive. I loved Watch Dogs 2 for its immersive city open world too but this is a bit of a different take (I have bought but yet to play WD3 so can’t comment – waiting for the Bloodlines DLC to drop). Great characterisation so far. Wacky and wonderful.

However, I’ll probably not plat this as my reaction timing is so bad that I can barely score a couple of points in the batting cages even using the bat watching technique. I platted WD1 and the drinking games through sheer stubbornness, WD2 plat was easy in comparison to that.

It seems the best way to pull off an immersive city open world is through good npc AI, great sub-stories and mini-games, interesting main characters, and nice visuals. I’ll be trying Cyberpunk whenever I get a PS5 but from what I’ve seen their AI isn’t near as compelling as either WD2 or even Yakuza in making the city feel alive through movement and interaction.

I liked Thief (2014)s city scape too but that doesn’t have a lively city open world in the same way as these games, it’s a bit more linear with mostly enemies (more like Dishonoured). I haven’t played GTAV but it doesn’t appeal to me like Watch Dogs and Yakuza do, in large part due to the characters. Driv3r I played on PS2 but I don’t remember it having anything in the way of mini-games even if the city was fun to explore. I even took a gander at Red Dead Online and it felt barren and lacking life (likely in part due to heavy monetisation blockades). Assassin’s Creed 2 and 3 I played years ago but I remember the city scapes and AI being pretty lively (I have AC4 but yet to play it). I loved 2 but got bored with 3 due to the repetitive nature of it, and probably my lack of interest in the time period setting. I played Final Fantasy XII on PS2 and while the settings felt pretty, I didn’t feel invested as much in the characters or cityscapes and didn’t complete it due to boredom from grind. Persona 3 I don’t remember well but it had a great story and I felt invested in the setting due to the roleplay element but it wasn’t on the same scale or type as true open worlds I think.

Read more:  At the very end of last year I bought a PS4 to finally play the exclusive titles that I have missed and was curious about in the last few years and this few weeks have been the best period of my gaming 'career'.

What’s everyone else’s take on, specifically, city open worlds? Not just open worlds in general. I prefer modern cities and that seems to work better for mini-games. What are your favourites and what is appealing about them? Anyone able to comment on ones I haven’t gotten around to playing quite yet like Witcher, Skyrim, Mafia, Final Fantasy, and other AC games?

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