I like Partial Linear games like Deus Ex HR where the world is as organic as you find it and you feel like you're in that place while you play. Admittedly the game should have been 4 times longer with detroit, china, and 2 or 3 other places acting as hub worlds while you decided who to work for as your world collapses around you (like the first two games, the second one the world literally collapsed around you lol) but they ran out of cash. I think what they did was excellent either way.
Strongly depends on the game itself and the story and everything... Half Life, Bioshock are great examples of linear game and I think they would have lost something if you have the chance to go wherever and do whatever... Same with Skyrim. Can you imagine linear Skyrim? Or Fallout for that matter... Now, this "down the middle" thing is what I would say I dislike most. Either let me go wherever, or craft it linear. This middle road doesn't give me the freedom I love on the open world games, nor it gives me the well paced and well crafted experience, that the linear games are supposed to give me.
@psycho_666 Well then by your standards you shouldn't like bioshock. Its a partial linear game just like the Deus Ex series. If you're at Arcadia and want to go to the docks or medical ward for some arbitrary reason you can. Thats what is so cool about it.
At that Dark Souls is techincally Partial Linear by design. You can keep going straight or go to any of 4 places from blight town, Anor Londo, etc.
I like open world, but these days it seems like its used as padding or a feature that publishers have on a list. I miss a tight story driven games, having said that the witcher 3 has been great so far with its open world gameplay.
Oh no... What I played from Bioshock (the first one) the experience is purely linear. I respect the game, I just don't like it, hence I haven't played much of it... But from what I have played - purely linear... Dark Souls is basically open world... Yeah, you need to beat the Sans Funhouse to open up the path to Anor Londo, but otherwise it is essentially open world. You can make a huge exercise: Darkroot Basin, New Londo, Firelink, Bell Tower, Darkroot Garden... And all of this is interconnected. From the Tomb of Giants you see the Ash Lake on one side and Lost Izelith on the other... Dark Souls 2 on the other hand is purely linear with Mejulah being a central hub or something...
The "Essentially its" part makes it partial linear. Open world to me means Skyrim, Fallout, Border Lands. In a partially linear game every area is crafted to lead to everywhere else or be as interconnected as possible while still having linear gameplay. Hub world games such as Deus Ex and DS are partially linear. At that sly raccoon is as well. Gamse like Spyro, Crash Bandicoot, Mario 64, and Kirby, however, are tiered linear. You can go to a place repetitively and do the same thing for different outcomes and goals but by base you are doing the same thing. While they have hub worlds, they are not partial linear.
If you played Deus 1 and sided with the "Terrorists" in the game you'll have the entire world flip over on you just like you would in Dark Souls. That "Holy shit thats there?!?!" moment in partial linear games is what I LOVE about them. A game with a good story, limited play area, and things that you would not expect are what drive me to buy. That is my drive for PC gaming.
Edit: I guess this is a more "Which aspect of game design do you like more" post.
You can go anywhere from the transport pods and even some backways from place to place. Its a great partial linear example.