The best open world games are a brilliant investment for gaming fans.
While a linear story has its appeal for those who enjoy structure and simplicity, open-world gaming opens the door to potentially limitless opportunities. With an open world game, there’s not just one central storyline to follow, but countless potential paths to explore.
Open world games have become some of the most popular options in the world in recent years, as people have invested more in consoles with mind-bending graphics and realism. A truly phenomenal open-world title can give you limitless opportunities to lose yourself in an entirely different environment and play however you choose.
Today, we will be looking at some of the most amazing open-world games around.
Probably not the first title you think of when you imagine open-world gaming, Minecraft is an excellent insight into how much freedom the right title can give you. Technically, Minecraft is a “sandbox” game, but this still falls under the “open world” category. You’re free to explore wherever your map will take you, and play the game however you choose.
You can punch trees, mine for resources, explore dungeons, and fight enemies. Alternatively, you can simply relax and unwind, building your own ideal home from blueprints you’ve found online. Communities of Minecraft fans have already built some phenomenal places to explore if you’re tuning in over the web. Minecraft has a host of add-ons and mod packs available, so you can customize the experience even further.
2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Few games have quite the same acclaim as Skyrim. This is a title you can spend months exploring, and still only end up completing a fraction of the story. One of the best open-world games ever created, this title gives you limitless places to explore and tasks to complete. Sure, you can follow the main storyline and continue your quest as the Dragonborn, but you can also spend hours discovering mysteries, and finding hidden challenges behind dungeon doors.
Even if you were to avoid every single major settlement or town in Skyrim, you’d still be able to complete around 30% of the title’s quests in the wilderness alone. Plus, the map is filled with other non-quest things to do, like stealing from NPCs, tracking down treasure, or simply fighting dragons.
3. Genshin Impact
Wildly regarded as one of the best mobile games of all time, Genshin Impact is a lot more than just a mobile title. You can tackle this game on a range of consoles, as well as your PC if you want to see all the beautiful graphics in their full glory. Genshin Impact takes elements of games like “Breath of the Wild” and combines them with titles like “Final Fantasy”.
In this truly phenomenal world, you’ll be able to climb mountains, swim through lakes, interact with NPCs and take on countless quests. Plus, the game benefits from constant improvements, with new characters and quests being added all the time. As an added bonus, it’s totally free to download and play this title as much as you like.
4. Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
Most of the games in the Assassin’s Creed franchise have had some exceptional open world elements to them. The “Valhalla” title, released in 2020, is one of the highest-rated releases from the series, and with good reasons. The game is one of the top titles on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, with phenomenal graphics to explore.
Assassin’s Creed will throw you head-first into the dark ages, where you’ll travel across England as a Viking, to find a new home where your clan can thrive. You’ll not only battle enemies and complete quests, but you’ll also have a chance to meet new people, form allies, and even build your own settlement. The landscape is wonderful to explore, and brimming with surprises hidden around every corner. It’s a game you can easily lose yourself in.
5. Elden Ring
Easily one of the hottest games in the world right now, Elden Ring is shaping up to be one of the best open-world titles ever developed. The game comes from the artistic mind of George R. R. Martin, and the phenomenal Hidetaka Miyazaki, so you know you’re in for a treat. In this game, you’ll be taking on the role of a “Tarnished” warrior, travelling the “Lands Between” to search for demigods.
The storyline is phenomenal, and the dense open world is absolutely packed with secrets to discover. Every door and location are as much of a thrill ride as the last. However, it’s worth remembering that this title is really built to challenge you. It’s one of the tougher games to complete out there, so you may not enjoy it if you found yourself getting frustrated by titles like “Dark Souls”.
6. Grand Theft Auto 5
We can’t have a list of the best open world games without mentioning everyone’s favorite crime-rich series. While Grand Theft Auto might be a lot older than some of the other titles on this list, it still holds up well and remains a fan favorite among countless gamers. It’s among the most successful games of all time, allowing you to build your world however you see fit.
You can drive through the winding streets of your bustling city, track down serial killers, run from police, or try your hand at a little shark wrestling. There are missions to hunt down, and new community missions being uploaded to the web all the time. While this title might have you questioning your ethics from time to time, it’s still well worth an investment.
7. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Easily among the most popular open world games ever created, the Witcher 3 was thrilling enough to inspire its own Netflix series with Henry Cavill! This phenomenal open-world title is packed full of things to discover, from unique side quests and monsters to romantic entanglements. The game features one of the largest maps ever created for a video game, so you can expect hours of fun.
In this game, you’ll have the chance to play as Geralt, roaming the country and looking for people with monster problems to solve. Every task you complete will earn you money and rewards, as well as give you the opportunity to meet interesting new people. This game is particularly well acclaimed because of its smooth and streamlined fight sequences, which you’re sure to fall in love with.
8. Red Dead Redemption 2
Another highly acclaimed and extremely popular title on our list of the best open world games, Red Dead Redemption 2 is just rippling with amazing storylines and discoveries. Inspired by western stories and literature, this is a game that will help you discover your inner cowboy in no time. The main story of the game tells the story of “Dutch”, and his efforts to keep his gang afloat in a multitude of different ways. The great thing about this game is you can play it however you choose.
You can decide to help out other people in the map to earn a little money, or you could just rob them blind. In the process, you’ll be able to explore countless new beautiful regions, each with their fair share of wildlife to hunt and kill. The narrative is amazing, the combat is surprisingly realistic, and there’s so much to do can play for months without getting bored. It’s a total winner.
9. Far Cry 6
Pretty much any game in the Far Cry series will give you a phenomenal open-world experience. But for the purpose of this list, we’re going to look at the most recent addition to the franchise. Far Cry 6 is a first-person shooter set in the fast-paced and fictional region of Yara, somewhere in Southern America. Here, you’ll be training as a guerilla fighter, all while you plan to topple the dictatorship created by the Castillo family.
Far Cry 6 comes with an impressive open world experience, similar to its predecessors, so you can expect plenty of side missions and areas to discover. There are mysteries to solve hidden across the map, races to complete, and even companions to find along the way. Plus, if you feel like being a hero for a while, you can help out some local citizens.
10. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Looking for an open world with a little less realism, and a little more magic? Breath of the Wild has you covered. A fan-favorite among Nintendo fans, this title will place you once again in the shoes of Link – the explorer from the Hyrule region. This title gives you the chance to discover Hyrule like never before. In fact, discovering your own routes is highly encouraged by the map.
There are trees and mountains to climb, missions to complete, treasures to discover, and even recipes to learn if you feel like upgrading your cooking knowledge. The main storyline is fantastic too, with just the right amount of learning curve to tackle as you develop your skills. This is a game that you can, and should, devote plenty of hours to if you already love the Zelda franchise.
Spider Man is a game that’s a true delight to play – not just if you’re a Marvel fan. Unfortunately, the title was released as a PlayStation exclusive, so if you’re an Xbox gamer or a computer fan, you may not have experienced the 2018 installation yet. As you might expect, the latest Spider-Man game gives you the opportunity to step into the red and blue suit of Peter Parker, fighting crimes as they occur throughout New York.
The main story is rich and well-written, but you’re not limited to following the central narrative alone. There are plenty of collectibles to find hidden throughout the city, and side quests that allow you to level up your gear. There is also an extensive selection of suits to discover, which are sure to appeal to any comic book nerd out there.
12. Horizon Forbidden West
One of the highest-rated games to emerge in 2022, Horizon Forbidden West has more than lived up to the preceding games in the series. This phenomenal game allows you to explore truly beautiful and unique lands, encounter new tribes, and fight bigger, more deadly machines than the previous title. You’ll be thrown into the guise of Aloy, a warrior trying to discover the reasons why her land is dying, and save her people.
The story is phenomenal, just like the previous game; however, there are tons of side quests to uncover too. The open world is larger and much richer than you might have seen in previous Horizon games. However, you will have a chance to reunite with some old friends along the way. The rich environment is particularly impressive when partnered with the impressive hardware of the PS5.
Discover a New Open World
There are plenty of amazing open world games to discover in the gaming landscape today. Some of the best titles out there are still the traditional favorites, like Skyrim, and Grand Theft Auto. However, newer options like Horizon Forbidden West and Elden Ring are beginning to take the world by storm too, particularly thanks to the arrival of new consoles and graphics.
Have we missed your favorite open world game? Share your thoughts on the best titles in the comments below.
If you are a mobile game fan, don't forget to have a look at our best Android games and best iOS games!