- Peripheral activities in sandbox action games are often derived from missions that I find frustrating. Example: Racing in the Grand Theft Auto franchise. The floaty car physics and my aggressive (read: inept) driving style lead me to make a few errors too many in what are usually, fiercely competitive and dirty contests.
- Peripheral activities in sandbox action games often focus on morally objectionable activities which may come into conflict with the beliefs and actions of a game's protagonist, or that are just plain repugnant. Example: Snatch and Escort missions in Saint's Row. Please keep in mind the following video is NSFW and contains violence, strong language and sexual references.
Now let's assume you reject my arguments against open-world sidequesting, any new copy of Mafia II on the PS3 comes with the free downloadable content pack: The Betrayal of Jimmy. I played through this pack yesterday and can advise that it is about 6 hours worth of pointless murder and theft with the barest of plots tying all the action together. On its own it's not much, and definitely not worth the $12.95 2K are charging gamers who buy a second-hand copy. Combined with the retail product however, The Betrayal of Jimmy adds the secondary activities that gaming critics appear to sorely need.
For anyone who is on the fence, grab the game new and enjoy the best of both worlds. The main story arc is so compelling that Carly had banned me from playing it until she completed an assignment (thankfully, it was submitted today). The Betrayal of Jimmy did enough to keep me loving Empire Bay, the soundtrack, the difficult combat sequences and the city's moronic police force.
In other news, I've recently ordered Yakuza 3, Halo: Reach and Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days. Yakuza 3 arrived this afternoon, so I'm looking forward to seeing how organised crime works in the East. Otherwise, next week I will get to enjoy (probably) the most anticipated release on Microsoft's console and a shooter with a distinct visual style. Good times!
What are you all playing this weekend?