10 Video Games That Punish You For Exploring

These games all bit back at curious players.

Metro Exodus
4A Games

One of the greatest things about video games is the freedom they grant you over other visual media, to let the story play out however you want, and to explore gorgeous, teeming worlds lovingly brought to life by a committed team of artists.

The very best open-world games, for instance, make it easy to lose yourself and perhaps even forget about the critical path for hours at a time.

Generally speaking developers want to keep you playing their game as long as possible, so incentivising exploration is key, often by way of side content and collectibles for enthusiastic players to seek out.

But not all games quite follow the same objectives where world design is concerned, and whether intended or not, some end up punishing the more curious gamers among us.

In these 10 games, exploration was less a fun exercise in discovery than it was a chore, a frustration, and even an active detriment to the central gameplay loop.

Though these games all offered players plenty of latitude to go off the beaten path, in each case exploration was ultimately heavily discouraged for one reason or another...

10. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Metro Exodus
Respawn Entertainment

Given that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order offered up eight gorgeously rendered worlds for players to visit, it was a fair assumption that the game would incentivise exploration and discovery in a major way.

The gameplay is heavily Metroidvania-inspired, what with players being encouraged to revisit planets once they've acquired more Force powers, in turn allowing them to reach new areas.

As awesome as that sounds, Jedi Fallen Order is a mess of contradictions, seeming to encourage players going off-piste but presenting itself in such frustrating and confusing fashion as to actually discourage it.

For starters, the horrible holographic maps are difficult to make sense of, which given the oft-labyrinthine nature of the game's worlds makes even basic navigation a real headache.

Then there's the game's irksome checkpoint system, whereby resting at a meditation point to restore your health will also cause every enemy in the level to respawn, meaning it's often impossible to quickly run to a path you wanted to check out.

The lack of fast travel makes exploration a chore, as there's no way to bypass the mundanity and just get to where you want to go without a bunch of hassle.

Anyone hoping to hoover up the game's many collectibles is in especially dire straits, unaided by the fact that when you die - which you will, often - you have to sit through some disappointingly long loading times, even on newer hardware.

All in all it adds up to a game that just doesn't respect the player's time and in turn makes the prospect of exploration bafflingly unappealing.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.