Far Cry is a series still struggling with that balance, between offering you the freedom to do what you want while enforcing the limitations to make what you want meaningful. I think it's also only a game away from needing a gritty, Bond-style reboot back to its Far Cry 2 roots.
The structure of the game helps, but GTAV's singleplayer is not simply a case of making the best of a bad situation. I've been surprised over the past week how much I've enjoyed revisiting these storylines and missions, after first playing them on XBox 360 at release.
Witnessing Advanced Warfare in its gamesuit made from chopped-up pieces of better games, it's easy to picture the series as a Pinocchio aching to be a real boy, but the sympathy you feel in light of its efforts does little to quell your instinct to escape.
You're not going to love Styx. It's not the kind of game you're going to be itching for a sequel to. It seems kind of unfortunate that it was released within a week of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Alien: Isolation. But sometime five or ten years from now you'll be talking about stealth games with a friend and you'll go, "Oh, hey, remember Styx? That was pretty good."
Then I remembered. Those things aren't a game. The game is sloppy controls which cause you to constantly do the wrong thing accidentally with disastrous consequences; is inconsistently interactive world design; is a cover system whereby you get stuck on scenery or it guesses incorrectly where you want to move. The game is insta-fail stealth missions, wave-defense missions, escort missions, missions where what the characters say and what the objective is don't match up. The game is five crashes to desktop, including two which required me to reboot my machine before it would reload. The game is restrictive objectives which don't make use of the possibilities provided by the open city or the hacking mechanics, and checkpoint positions that force you to re-watch short cutscenes or re-perform rote actions after every death.
Towerfall is a traditional pleasure, and it's easy to see why it's fun with friends or against the computer, because we've all played games like it before and can remember that they were fun. But there's an extra level of beauty and elegance in Towerfall's animations and mechanics, and it's those that make Towerfall special.
You should always judge a game by what it is and not by what it's not, but there's a gulf between the way in which I want to interact with mulitplayer first-person shooters and the manner in which Titanfall has been provided. It won't stop me playing, but it might stop me playing for as long. That's a shame.
It's just that it's really a game about the levels, about solving them as puzzles. They were good enough that I enjoyed the night I spent completing it, but I don't think they're good enough – in variety, in opportunity for personal expression – for me to want to go back and perfect all of them.