Not every open-world game can be a Fallout or Grand Theft Auto. After all, these games capture the general interest in ways that few other games can, selling several million copies apiece. But the immense popularity of these two gaming juggernauts does not mean they are the only examples of open-world games to exist. Indeed, many games have tried their hands at succeeding in the genre and more and more traditionally linear games have begun adopting the open-world model into their designs (see our review of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain). In light of this recent trend toward and immense growth of the open-world game, let us look back at four forgotten open-world games of the last generation.
First released for Microsoft Windows, the Xbox 360, and Wii in June 2008, Alone in the Dark is the fifth installment of Atari’s survival horror game series of the same name. It follows paranormal investigator Edward Carnby as demonic forces begin tearing New York City apart in search of a mysterious and very powerful magic stone. Very early on in the game, Edward meets an art dealer by the name of Sarah Flores and the two seek refuge in New York’s Central Park as they move to determine the origins of the stone and prevent the apocalypse it has triggered. A PlayStation3 rerelease titled Alone in the Dark: Inferno was released later in 2008, containing several enhancements from the previous versions, including such things as better camera controls and a refined inventory system.Why should it be remembered?
It was an episodic, open-world survival horror game set in the entirely unique environment of Central Park. Although to clarify, it was not episodic in the way most gamers who are now familiar with such games as Telltale’s The Walking Dead series might imagine an episodic game to be. The entire game shipped all at once and on a single disc—what made it episodic was the manner in which it presented itself, which is to say the game was divided up into television-style “episodes” that could played in any order. A “previously on…” segment recollects the events of the previous chapters and is used to bridge each “episode.” With regards to its setting, Central Park not only provided players an expansive playspace to explore but it also worked to enhance the game’s horror elements by subtly twisting a very well-known location, thereby heightening player unease. Parks are after all most associated with recreation and being together with friends and family—corrupting one into something sinister is very powerful psychologically, at least in theory.Why is it best left forgotten?