Pacing yourself in open world games (Far Cry 5)

I tuned into one of these “Show of the Week” features that gaming YouTube channels like to do, and one of the hosts was talking about Far Cry 5. He wasn’t finding it very fun. He said he felt like he had a good handle on the game as he’d been playing for 5 or 6 hours and had cleared the first area.

I’ve been playing Far Cry 5 as well, and I’m having a lot of fun. I have also cleared the first area. The difference is, I’ve put 25 hours into the game so far. Clearly this YouTuber and I approach the game in very different ways, which got me thinking.

When I play an open world game, I just kind of let events sweep me along. I tend to avoid shortcuts like fast travel and so as often as not when I’m heading from point A to point B to do a quest, I’ll get distracted four or five times along the way. To me, that’s where the fun in these games lies. This is probably also why I’m not too fussed about if the story is any good. I know the micro-stories that come with side missions have made me laugh out loud at times, and moved me at others. But the ‘big story’ is almost incidental to me.

Other times I’ll jump in a car to go somewhere and a good song will be playing on the car’s radio so I’ll just joyride around for a while, listening to the music and watching the world whiz by.

I’m not claiming to be playing these games the “right” way and accusing this YouTuber of playing them wrong. I’m just playing them my way. I almost always ‘roleplay’ to some extent when I’m gaming. I just like to imagine I’m in some real world as much as possible.

So while I was pondering all this, my mind went back to my MMO days. I remember having heated discussions about fast travel in MMOs. I was against it, most people were for it. Most people felt like fast travel was a real convenience and not having it was disrespectful of a player’s time. I thought that forcing players to travel through the world was a good way to keep them immersed in the world, as well as keeping the scale of the world large.

History has shown that my opinion was the less popular one but deep down inside I still think I was right and one of the reasons MMOs don’t seem to be as ‘sticky’ any more is that they have so many convenience features that they no longer feel like virtual worlds. That said, as I’ve more or less abandoned MMOs I no longer care very much. These big open worlds that the game press loves to hate on are my bread and butter these days and have replaced MMOs for me.

Anyway, I feel bad for this YouTube fellow who is apparently plowing through Far Cry 5 as quickly as he can. I think he is missing out. For me, all the best times I’ve had have come from side quests, exploring and random encounters and for him to have taken down the first lieutenant inside of 5 or 6 hours, he must be ignoring all that good stuff. I dunno, maybe he has a review due. Nothing can ruin a game more than playing it with a deadline looming over your head.

5 thoughts on “Pacing yourself in open world games (Far Cry 5)

  1. This is a really tough one. While I tend to agree with you intellectually, a couple of decades of practical experience of playing MMOs suggests that, as with most things, what I think I enjoy is very different from what I actually enjoy.

    It’s been particularly instructive recently to be in a position to compare a number of MMOs with differing levels of convenience and handholding. My established position has long been that doing things the slow way, immersing myself in the world and living my character’s life is the way to get the most out of an MMO. That was true fifteen years ago. It was probably still true ten years ago. It’s not true now.

    Y’know what? I can feel this comment stretching out. I think I’m going to turn it into a post of my own.

  2. FWIW, Glo and I are having a great time. Our play style very much matches what you describe, we’re constantly getting caught up in some minor side something (ooh! shiny!) and have gone all day with one quest up in the tracker and still 1000m away.

    That said, we took vacation this week intentionally knowing we’d want to play and now have 2 regions liberated. I don’t know who is complaining about the story, but we are sucked in and find some aspects deeply disturbing. If that isn’t good story telling, I don’t know what is. Minor spoiler – please do not ever invite me to a Testy Festy. 😛

    1. I just liberated my 2nd region last night, in fact. Though still a lot to do in it.. I haven’t even hit all the ‘major spots’ in it.

      I am also enjoying the story. Maybe people just struggle with the fact that it is serious one moment, and the next you’re helping put together the Testy Festy, I dunno.

      Have you come across the phone recording of the guy who is running for mayor on an anti-Canada platform? It’s really funny. Basically flips Trump’s anti-Mexican thing around and the dude is spewing about ketchup chips and building a wall along the northern border. I found it hilarious.

      My favorite side-story so far has been the pilot and his pregnant wife. They remind me so much of some couples I knew ‘back home’ where the guy is a good ‘ol boy from the country and he meets some woman from the city and somehow the chemistry works. He’s got all the practical know-how but is otherwise a bit dim, she’s got the smarts and is basically running the operation. I just found their interactions to be rather endearing and at one point she ~almost~ breaks the 4th wall with some remarks about how bizarre the obstacles they are facing are.

      But then on the other hand there is Faith and she is deep into the Kool-Aid (ok, the Bliss) but every so often she says something that makes you suddenly feel very, very bad for her. You know what I’m talking about if hers was one of the regions you liberated. At the end of the ‘boss fight’ with her she says some stuff that just made me feel sorry for her.

      I dunno, haters gonna hate. I’m loving both the gameplay and the story so far. Or maybe the ending sucks and that’s what folks are complaining about?

  3. Yeah, we enjoyed the pregnant couple, too. Her labor chase was intense, but so are all the driving challenges for us, LOL. I felt sorry for sadistic John, too. Disturbed, but sorry. So far anyway, these are damaged kids that don’t know how to be anything but damaged adults. Which doesn’t make it right, still had no moral problem seeing Faith and John punished for their bad choices, but do feel bad for their rocky starts that couldn’t lead many other places. We are taking on Jacob next.

    There are a few other characters we really enjoy, like helping Sparky at the trailer park. He cracks us up, as well as the drug guy that wants to get your dosage right.

    My only complaint, and complaint is a strong word, are the prepper stashes. I find those a little tedious, or maybe just the large quantity of them. Being a completionist, we go do them, but they’re starting to feel like a chore. You know what I mean.

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