I’ve been a fan of open world games since Claude first rampaged through the streets of Liberty City. In those halcyon days of the PlayStation 2, being able to go where I want to go and do what I want to do marked a striking change from the generations before that forced me to follow a straight line from beginning to end. Grand Theft Auto III hooked me, as it did millions of others, to this genre and I spent much of the aughts chasing down any and every open-world title I could find.
From True Crime: Streets of New York to The Godfather: Blackhand Edition, I devoured these games. But around the time I consider investing days of my life into Watch Dogs, I could feel my lust for the genre starting to wane. The awe of having a massive world to play in had worn off and it became less about what I could do and more about what I couldn’t. I couldn’t go into this building. I couldn’t climb this mountain. I couldn’t drive through this tunnel. And perhaps most pressing for me, I couldn’t finish the game unless I kept going through its story and completing its quests.
Then The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild hit and, like a fairy from a bottle, replenished my love for open world games.