When I played the demo for Red Faction: Guerrilla I was blown away. I absolutely loved everything about what they showed us in it. The destruction was on the top of my list as being one of the coolest things in a game ever and then there was the world. From the demo I thought Guerrilla was not so much an open world type game but something like the first Far Cry or Crysis. In those games it wasn't so much an open world as it was larger levels that gave you some amount of freedom to go through as you wished but still kept you contained. When I picked up Guerrilla and put it in the 360 I was completely shocked to see it was a sandbox open world game like the GTA series. In the end I thought it really hurt the game to have the open world aspect but that was one of a few flaws this game had.
Reading this past week that the follow up to Guerrilla, Red Faction: Armageddon will not be an open world game. This time around it will follow a linear path. There will still be destruction but this time the developers are going to try and guide you to it and with the enclosed environments they will be able to set up huge set piece demolition moments for us to hopefully enjoy.
Some people may not like the game going linear but for me it's a welcome improvement. I think the whole sandbox open world thing is kind of in a rut. Aside from the FPS games I think it's one of the most saturated genres in gaming right now. Everything needs to be open world! If it doesn't have 500 miles to explore it's crap! I really think the open world games need to be closed up some and the genre needs a retooling. After GTA4's ridiculous use of this mechanic it doesn't even look like Rockstar knows what to do with these anymore. I haven't played Red Dead Redemption yet and it has a ton of positive reviews and word of mouth but I don't know about it yet. Remember GTA4 was the second coming when it was released and about six months after that everyone started crapping on it for the crap game it was.
Though some games get the open world thing right and it's funny but they're mostly FPS games. Two that come to mind immediately are Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl and FarCry 2. Both of those games are fantastic examples or how to do open world right.
When Metro 2033 came out I know it received some crap for not being open world. I was so happy to play a new game that kept a linear path. It told a story and you had to follow it until the end. You could vary your path a little bit but for the most part you followed a path. And I hope we see more games like this that buck the trend and stay linear.
Open world games have a place in gaming and that genre has had some amazing games but it's becoming a little stale. Someone needs to come along and re-energize the world of well, open world.