Has the industry come a long way since last gen? For the most part all of these open world games play just like they did last gen, which is basically taking Ubisoft's FarCry template and pasting it into their own games with small tweaks here or there. The only developer to really move the wheel was Insomniac with traversal in Sunset Overdrive and Spider-Man. Outside of that all of these open world games are pretty much indistinguishable.
I mean right now I'm playing through Mad Max and it's a good game, but it easily could have come out last gen. I've gotten the platinum on Spider-Man and Horizon, nothing ground breaking in either of those. GTA V is literally a last gen game. FarCry 5 did nothing to reinvent the wheel. In fact it's biggest change was just getting rid of "Ubi towers". Maybe I should give Ubi more credit for Ass Creed though, I haven't played any this gen but I've heard the last two are very different.
Just Cause 3? Nothing radically different from 2. And 4 comes out shortly and doesn't look much different than 3. I'm pumped for Rage 2 but it looks less like Rage and more like a marriage between Just Cause and Mad Max, which makes sense since it's being made by the people who did Just Cause and Mad Max.
Point being if the foundation is good enough, there's nothing wrong with sticking to something that is good. Microsoft tried to mix it up with Crackdown 2 and introduce the current trends (like zombies) and the results were trash. Fans of the original are perfectly happy with a new campaign and city to run around in and max out levels in so they can fly around it like a super hero, and the MP is where the real change is supposed to come.
You share pretty much my exact feelings. I mean we could argue gameplay mechanics have become more refined, but are modern open world games really doing things that were impossible on last? Outside of visual fidelity, I'm leaning on no for the most part.
I completed AC:Orgins and I played some of Odyssey. They aren't really that different, the biggest change is the combat. Its little more hack n' slash, more special abilities and less focused on countering. Outside of that, its not a big change.
Dead Rising 3 is actually a game I can point to that last gen would struggle to handle. Not just for visuals, but because it has huge crowds of enemies you can plow through. Frankly, the X1 struggled to handle it but we can also blame that on abysmal optimization.
I feel Crackdown 2 was underwhelming for numerous reasons, but it was still pretty good. It was an excuse to play more Crackdown is you enjoyed that style of game.
You're correct about the Crackdown 3's MP, that's what they hyped because it requires so much CPU power for the physics. I admit the campaign graphics basically look like last gen assets. But when it comes to actual gameplay, 8th gen for the most part is more refined 7th gen gaming.
Crackdown 3 for X1S/X1X (4/5) - Infinity Blade III - for iPad 4 (3/5) - Infinity Blade II - for iPad 4 (4/5) - Infinity Blade - for iPad 4 (4/5) - Wolfenstein: The Old Blood for X1 (3/5) - Assassin's Creed: Origins for X1 (3/5) - Uncharted: Lost Legacy for PS4 (4/5) - EA UFC 3 for X1 (4/5) - Doom for X1 (4/5) - Titanfall 2 for X1 (4/5) - Super Mario 3D World for Wii U (4/5) - South Park: The Stick of Truth for X1 BC (4/5) - Call of Duty: WWII for X1 (4/5) -Wolfenstein II for X1 - (4/5) - Dead or Alive: Dimensions for 3DS (4/5) - Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite for X1 (3/5) - Halo Wars 2 for X1/PC (4/5) - Halo Wars: DE for X1 (4/5) - Tekken 7 for X1 (4/5) - Injustice 2 for X1 (4/5) - Yakuza 5 for PS3 (3/5) - Battlefield 1 (Campaign) for X1 (3/5) - Assassin's Creed: Syndicate for X1 (4/5) - Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare for X1 (4/5) - Call of Duty: MW Remastered for X1 (4/5) - Donkey Kong Country Returns for 3DS (4/5) - Forza Horizon 3 for X1 (5/5)