I want to explore - what game that doesn’t hold your hand have I missed?

Bjones

Member
Oct 30, 2017
4,904
it’s not specifically about having a large world to explore, its about the game making it interesting to follow the quests. Making discovering the story and quests part of the gameplay, rather than just offering places to go.

you can find a cave in AC:O and pick up a quest item but you won’t know what it belongs to unless you go and talk to a person with an icon on them. Compare to a game like gothic where you talk to a random person and they mention a cave in the woods where bandits have been rumored to be. It rewards talking to people and then going exploring in an area.
you are going to have to go back to the 90s for those types of games.
Year one ever quest , any pc rpgs.
 

monmagman

Member
Dec 6, 2018
2,636
England,UK
I know it's been mentioned and wasn't what you were looking for.....but the best sense of exploration in any games I've played has come from Dark Souls/Bloodborne,there is nothing that can match going through a new area for the first time in those games even though they aren't open world.
 

RedSwirl

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,360
The problem the OP is describing is basically this:



But there is so much more than just going point to point.
it’s not specifically about having a large world to explore, its about the game making it interesting to follow the quests. Making discovering the story and quests part of the gameplay, rather than just offering places to go.

you can find a cave in AC:O and pick up a quest item but you won’t know what it belongs to unless you go and talk to a person with an icon on them. Compare to a game like gothic where you talk to a random person and they mention a cave in the woods where bandits have been rumored to be. It rewards talking to people and then going exploring in an area.
Odyssey tries to do the thing where the quest givers will describe the location to you, but then once you get close enough it just gives you a waypoint. From what I've seen it's impossible to play the game without relying on them in some capacity. The game doesn't really want you to actually look at your environment, just look at the HUD and maybe listen to some of the dialogue.

I still haven't played Gothic.
 

TAH3145

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,006
AC odyssey does a good job of this if you turn off the hand holding. It will give you hints about where to go and you need to look at each hint and think about them.
 

1upsuper

Member
Jan 30, 2018
4,333
The original Yume Nikki is probably my favorite open world game, though it's rather unorthodox. There's no hand holding. Just wander around dreamscapes and see what weird things you can find.
 

D-Volt

Member
Jan 31, 2018
71
Buy either Way of the Samurai 3 or 4 and go into it completely blind. You will come out the other side either annoyed and confused or intrigued and addicted. Either way you will have experienced life as a true samurai.
 
OP
OP
Teggy

Teggy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
14,447
Perhaps not what you are looking for, but did you play the Shenmue games?
I have them from humble but have been hesitant to actually give them a spin based on the “you had to be there” kind of way that people talk about them.

Buy either Way of the Samurai 3 or 4 and go into it completely blind. You will come out the other side either annoyed and confused or intrigued and addicted. Either way you will have experienced life as a true samurai.
I...um...hm
 

VaporSnake

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,718
Buy either Way of the Samurai 3 or 4 and go into it completely blind. You will come out the other side either annoyed and confused or intrigued and addicted. Either way you will have experienced life as a true samurai.
First time I ever played WOTS4 towards the end my character got
Boiled alive by the villain in an hilariously anti-climactic swerve of a "you fucked up" ending

I can see people getting super mad at such an abrupt ending but I laughed my ass off and loved that the game had the balls to allow such an ending where you fail so spectacularly. Played it again like 4 times afterwards
 

Sir Chimpanzi

Member
Nov 1, 2017
11
Kingdom Come: Deliverance? I have not tried it yet, but it is currently free for PC at Epic Games Store and from what I have heard about the game, it should be pretty immersive.
 

CortexVortex

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,419
Breath of the Wild is one of the very few games that actually feel like a real adventure. It’s exactly the game you want, especially if you turn off the HUD.
 

matrix-cat

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,322
Disclaimer: I have not played this game yet, but I've always found the idea interesting. Maybe someone else can chime in to say if the game is good or not.

There's this PC game called Miasmata, where you have a map, but in order to reveal more of the map you have to triangulate your position and track landmarks. This video shows how this is done quite nicely.




Second this. It's one of my favorite games. I even did a write up some time ago about it.
I came in to post this, so consider this a second for Miasmata. It's a really interesting idea for a game, and once I got over the hump of understanding the controls and the general idea of the gameplay I had a really enjoyable few hours with it. You won't realise how much you rely on minimaps and waypoints in games until you play this one. It's all about being lost in a jungle with nothing but a map and compass, and it forces you to pay attention to your surroundings in a way I've never experienced anywhere else. With no HUD element to tell you where you are in the world, navigation becomes a matter of finding high ground to get a clear sight line, identifying visual landmarks, manually finding those same landmarks on a physical map, then triangulating your own location using a compass. It's really cool.

Beware that it is also pretty janky, though, or at least it was back when I played it (which, admittedly, might be a decade ago at this point. For all I know they could have patched it ages ago). I ended up getting stuck due to a weird quirk where I couldn't navigate at night because the game wouldn't let me use a torch and see my map and compass at the same time. You hit the button to switch to map and compass and your torch just disappears into some nether realm, and night is 100% pitch black so you can't see anything, and then eventually my torch went out entirely and I couldn't relight it, so... that was it. But, hey, I still had plenty of fun along the way.
 
Oct 31, 2017
3,303
I’m actually playing RDR2 now. I think the problem would be there’s no way to find what you’re looking for. Like a guy wants you to collect a debt but there aren’t clues to get to the person. No one to ask where a particular farm is or whatever.
Yeah, that's the real issue with a lot of those dumb "It's just an option" arguments about excessive hand-holding, isn't it?
You either design your game to work without an overly patronizing UI or you don't.
Just "turning it off from the options" doesn't replace the missing information with anything usable in practical terms.
 

Ghidorah

Member
Nov 17, 2017
127
+1 for Outward. You have a map, but it doesn’t show your location on it, so you have to navigate by landmarks. There are no quest markers or fast travel either.

At the start there is a real feeling of danger traveling to another city and lots of way to die and the need to do a corpse run if you do.

it is janky though, so don’t expect too much polish.
 
Nov 12, 2019
386
I have them from humble but have been hesitant to actually give them a spin based on the “you had to be there” kind of way that people talk about them.



I...um...hm
I definitely agree that the games were best played on release, but for what it’s worth, I played the first two games last year (remastered version on PS4) and I just finished Shenmue 3 (PS4 as well); easily one of my favourite series of all time. But yeah, you do need to kind of set your mindset back about 20 years.
 
Oct 27, 2017
3,800
Florida
I see OP you like to be frustrated. I have up on Bards Tale 4 for a while because I'm in this area with constellation stones all over this fucking little maze and I have no idea what the game wants from me. Got every riddle up to this point, even optional stuff, but this one is annoying and not fun enough to keep trying to figure out.
 

Fredrik

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,947
Have you played The Witness? One of the best games of the generation.

Minecraft is nice too, craft a few empty maps and go adventuring.

No Man’s Sky can have you exploring for an eternity, the search for the perfect home planet never ends.

Skyrim is fun too if you ignore the main quests and just go role playing.
 

Bardoon

Member
May 27, 2018
974
England
Dishonored series is great for exploration - just remember to turn off the objective markers in the settings. It feels really rewarding to discover side objectives and alternative paths.
 

Firebrand

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,312
It's not open world or non-linear or anything, but Vagrant Story is good for a sense of exploring alone like in Dark Souls.
 

THE_W1TCHER

Member
Oct 28, 2017
47
Disco elysium: it is not an open world game per se, but you get many tasks that you can follow however you want. Hints are vague and in dialogue options, combined with a great story it is just an incredible game that you should play.

Kingdom come deliverance: an open world rpg. Not all quests but some of them you should realy use your head and explore to find what you need, it is about a peasant that becames a kind of investigator for a local lord and you must solve different problems for the townfolks and lords.

Divinity original sin 1 and 2, as mentioned by others great games with minimum hand holding and many options.
 

empo

Member
Jan 27, 2018
592
Return of the Obra Dinn is very exploratory although in a smaller space.

Mark Brown made a video with that exact TW3 quest haha. There's also the RDR2 nakeyjakey video where he tries to park a horse wagon in a "secluded spot in the woods" but it's actually impossible without the minimap indicator. I don't hate these games but turning off the HUD is simply not an option if you want to finish them.
 

Acinixys

Member
Nov 15, 2017
734
STALKER Call of Pripyat

Its not 100% open world, more like 5 or 6 massive areas

But you're free to go anywhere

Enjoy getting blasted by bandits/monolith/bloodsuckers at level 1 when you only have a pistol and a rain coat
 
Jul 8, 2018
84
You might want to look into the original Thief trilogy (+ hundreds of fan missions for T1/T2 and The Dark Mod). Thief 2 especially is my go to game for this type of exploration.
 

Radium217

Member
Oct 31, 2019
166
Fuel is really underrated in terms of just exploring. I've spent hours just driving and listening to music. If you like driving games I'd check it out.

Risen 2 is pretty cool to explore as well. Basically all FromSoft games on this and last gen.
 
OP
OP
Teggy

Teggy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
14,447
Mark Brown made a video with that exact TW3 quest haha. There's also the RDR2 nakeyjakey video where he tries to park a horse wagon in a "secluded spot in the woods" but it's actually impossible without the minimap indicator. I don't hate these games but turning off the HUD is simply not an option if you want to finish them.
Yes! Wow, this is pretty much my thread in video form.
 

jimboton

Member
Oct 27, 2017
762
I feel you OP. I too miss large world games without some form of quest compass. Most of the games I can think of have already been mentioned or are pretty old by now.

Its a more organic approach where the game presents most quests as a problem to be solved by laying out the high level task and giving one or two hints as to how to approach it and then the onus is on the player on how to follow it up wherein there are always multiple routes that can be discovered in solving said problem only by exploring and social interaction that are never explicitly pointed out and are usually a case of examining the journal entries and the quest dialogs and other supplementary knowledge as maps, point of interest, knowledge players accumulate organically the more they explore.

The game only marks objectives that you have been explicitly told and usually has a narrative hook as to not break its immersion such as the npc stating that they are marking something on the map.

It also sometimes takes things too far on the other end though with quests having very esoteric instructions which make it difficult to discern the core objectives and can often result in fail states.
Yeah, Divinity 2 is cool but it's hardly an example of what OP says. In D2 there's quest markers for basically everything, it's just a bit more elegant than most in how they're shoved in your minimap. 95% of the time the quest giver will end up saying something along the lines of 'here, let me mark the spot for you' so you'll know exactly where to go. The first Original Sin was a lot better in that regard.
 

D-Volt

Member
Jan 31, 2018
71
First time I ever played WOTS4 towards the end my character got
Boiled alive by the villain in an hilariously anti-climactic swerve of a "you fucked up" ending

I can see people getting super mad at such an abrupt ending but I laughed my ass off and loved that the game had the balls to allow such an ending where you fail so spectacularly. Played it again like 4 times afterwards
Yeah, the same thing happened to me. I was annoyed because I should have seen it coming, but I was determined not to let it happen the next time, which got me hooked. Not to mention it's just a hilarious way to abruptly end your first playthrough.

When I played the first Way of the Samurai I got a similar ending.

I lost the very first fight to Tsubohachi trying to be a brave samurai and save a woman he was kidnapping. I got tied up on a railroad track. When I was given the chance to be saved by the Akadama Clan and serve them, I refused. Then a train hit me.

It taught me early that if you're going to stick your nose in someone's business in Way of the Samurai, you'd better be prepared to die.
 
Oct 28, 2017
848
Firewatch. It's short and pretty linear for an open world game, but the exploration is still fun.
You can turn off the HUD and navigate just with map and compass (that your character holds as objects in his hands like in Gothic) and that way it's really immersive. The world is quite beautiful, too.