I was recently playing Dark souls II, and I had just arrived in a little town. Leading off the town were several paths, some blocked and some not. It took me a couple of minutes to realise that I was in a hub world, but when I did, I kid you not, my heart leapt for joy. I do not know why exactly but I have always loved hub worlds, and so my question to all ya'll is as such:
What purpose do hub worlds serve, both commonly and unusually? Can you think of any particularly well/poorly done hub worlds, and for what reason they were good or bad? What are your thoughts on hub worlds in general?
The two prime examples I can think of, one being well done and one being poorly done, are, Turok: dinosaur hunter and Quake.
Turok: dinosaur hunter:
in this example, the hub level was, IMHO, well done. The hub world had a small storage of health items and ammo that was helpful if your were having difficulty with a particular level. Every level had three keys, two for one level, and one for another, so beating level one and two opened simultaneously level three and four, which opened five and six, etc., which meant you could always choose between two different levels to beat first. This leant a non-linear feel to the game, and allowed a small amount of strategic decision making as to which levels to beat first to acquire certain weapons to defeat certain bosses.
Conversely, Quake's hub world was pretty much pointless. There were four worlds, entering one world meant you had to go through all of its levels before returning to the hub, the worlds were unlocked linearly, and there was no reason to return to previously completed worlds.
Thank you all for reading, and I eagerly await your thoughts.