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Open Country (PS4) – Byte Size Review

The “SIM” game genre has exploded in recent years. There are Simulation titles for every interest out there. Be it farming, train driving, hunting, car servicing or even PC building!? There is a SIM for all shapes, sizes and passions. Well, Open Country slots into this SIM genre as an “Openworld, Hunting and Survival SIM” and has a lot of different aspects to it. Unfortunately, it does none of them well.

Open Country

Seize the day, and other motivational thoughts.

After a short cut-scene of a “Regular Joe” in a dead-end office job in the city. Monologuing about getting outdoors to find some meaning in his life. I was unceremoniously dropped into a beautiful mountainous area of rural USA, with a campervan and a rifle. Some radio chatter walked me through a tutorial on resource gathering and making a campsite, then I was away. Time to hunt and gather!

There is no story to speak of, just a few quest givers like the local Park Ranger or local Bar Owner, “Gary” who asked me to go collect 3 of this or find 5 of that. I completed these tasks with Gun in hand, hunting critters and using my Quad bike to blast around the rolling hills. It all sounds idyllic and a nice change from the city rat-race, right!?

Open Country

Sure, the inspiration for this simulator is admirable, merging ideas from some of the greats of the SIM genre. Combining Cabellas Hunting, Valheim and Outward, to make the ultimate outdoorsman game. The various survival elements for living in the great outdoors of Open Country have to be planned for and managed. Tasks such as tracking quarry, gathering food and not starving from dehydration. But they, like much of the game, have all been implemented poorly, literally all of them.

If I was to continue here and list what is bad in this game, I would be needing many, many more paragraphs! (sigh)

An example of Ambition vs Ability

Open Country was a too widely scoped title to have a go at making. With what was clearly a very limited development budget. Everything, and I mean everything in the game is just so unpolished, unrefined and janky. The frame rate is lucky to hit 30fps, the voice acting from quest givers is laughably bad, the animations are stiff and the gameplay mechanics just feel super rough. That all said, it didn’t crash and it has pretty good in-game menus, so that’s something though.

I hate ripping on a game in a review, as I certainly appreciate how hard the devs must have worked and how many hours have been sunk into this title. But, I honestly cannot recommend this game to anyone, even at a $25 price point. There are just far, far better games out there which are actually deserving your time.