Top 10 Best Open World Games for an out of This World Experience
When it comes to the creation of open-world gaming the first thing that comes to mind is, player choice. The best open world games give players the freedom to make their own decisions and choose their own path. As an avid gamer myself, I prefer a great open world game above all others. A game designed to allow the player the ability to experience the world the way they want. To allow the player to have full control to explore a nearly endless and unlimited sandbox of alternate reality. A world full of countless, intriguing experiences and surprises. The best open world games let the player do what they want, when they want; rewarding them for their self-guided adventures throughout their exciting journey.
What Is an Open World Game?
Unlike a linear game design, where the player is set on a straight, one path mission to follow, The best open world games give the player a wide range of choices to make along the way. Both linear and open world games help guild the player through the story that they are trying to tell. While linear games take the more direct approach; telling the player what to do. The best open world games are, well, more open to player choice.
The best open world games give more control to the player
Open world games allow the player the option to put the main story on hold whenever they want. By doing so, this sets the player loose to experience all the game has to offer; seeing everything at their own, desired pace. The player has full freedom of venturing off on their own. Thus giving them the opportunity to encounter and enjoy different side events as they discover more of the game world. Leaving them free to follow the main story-line whenever they choose.
Some of the Best Open World Games
Here is a list of our choices for the best open world games in no special order.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
No gamer will argue that The Elder Scrolls are the best open world games of all time. Skyrim, being the latest title in this franchise of games, is no exception. The player is thrust into a captivating frozen land in the middle of a revolt. You, a prisoner is sentenced to death. While awaiting your fate, something large and scaly appears in the sky; yes, that is a dragon! After the first dramatic introduction, your character escapes into the frozen mountainside alone. Everything else is up to you.
That is the true definition of how the best open world games are supposed to be. Where the player can create and customize nearly everything about their character — from appearance to class, to the race they choose, making a name for themselves from within the fantasy world. There is a decent crafting system to create rare armor and weapons that cannot be obtained otherwise. There is even a player housing system, allowing you to own and decorate a home in this world. That level of customization connects you more to the game and makes you feel truly involved in the story. This character is you, and this is your adventure.
You make your own adventure
Skyrim is truly breathtaking. The treacherous mountainside spreads out in every direction. Giving off the impression that there really is no limit to the land. With fascinating places to explore such as icy caverns, dense forests, and dark dungeons; each unique with their own collection of unexpected events and dangers. You can spend hours without ever feeling as if you are repeating the same thing. Skyrim took the title of ultimate game of the Year in 2012; winning a multitude of other game awards. It is still played and supported extensively, by a loyal community. There is no question why Skyrim is considered one of the best open world games of all time.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Set in a fictional version of the old west. Red Dead Redemption 2 is a prequel to the 2010 Red Dead Redemption. A western based, action adventure game. It takes place in the late 19th-century. That was the beginning of the end; the end of the wild west era as we know it. The last remaining outlaws are on the run, being hunted down by the lawmen of the land. You play the character of Arthur Morgan; Experiencing his day to day struggles of morality living in this time. While he and his family gang of outlaws attempt to overcome a number of impossible odds just to make ends meet.
This is easily one of the best open world games, played from a first or third-person perspective. The game draws you in from the very beginning. There is a surprise at virtually every turn! Making everything you experience world feel nothing short of being truly alive. That becomes very apparent from the countless interactions by the main characters to the dangerous bandits, occasional travelers, and realistic wildlife that will randomly cross your path along the way.
The end of a historic era
The open world will leave you speechless. From the moment you begin your adventure, you will become lost in the living, ever-changing weather effects, and environment. Whether being on foot or by horseback, you can easily spend hours of essentially creating your own adventures, while still enjoying the captivating and serious story that this game has to share. The game has plans of going online with fully customizable characters. That is exactly what a game needs to be as one of the best open world games. It should come as no surprise that Red Dead Redemption 2 won the award for the best open world game of 2018.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda has always been one of the most acclaimed video games of all time. Following the story through its many titles. Breath of the Wild begins at the end of the timeline. The player starts their journey when Link awakes within the shrine of resurrection. Although you may remember Link’s involvement in past games, he has lost his memory and everything is a blur to him. He has no recollection of what came before this very moment. He has no memory of what happened to the kingdom of Hyrule or its princess, Princess Zelda — both of which he is sworn to protect.
After picking up a few nearby tools, Link makes his way outside, revealing your first look at one of the best open world games of its time. Link is set on a mission to build up his strength; traveling, regaining allies and Divine Beasts to stop the evil force that rules over the land. Link must locate and free them of the darkness trapped within. You will engage in many events; face dangerous creatures; discover the truth of the past; uncover secrets and new abilities — regaining Link’s memories along the way.
A breathtaking experience
The amount of variety put into every portion of the world is truly impressive. What makes a game one of the best open world games is how alive it feels. And Breath of the Wild truly feels wild. The world becoming your biggest foe at times. Another aspect that sets this game above other best open world games is the fact that it rarely tells you exactly where to go. The game gives hints on what needs to be done, and it lets you figure out the rest. Breath of the Wild has received many awards, along with being awarded game of the year 2017.
Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto V is the latest title in one of the most successful video game franchises of all time. When it comes to the best of open world games, this game defiantly makes the cut. This action-adventure game follows the story of three individual characters, or should I say, criminals. As they commit daring heists and risky dealings in the city of Los Santos. Played from a third-person or first-person perspective, each character gets unique attention. All receive their own personal set of missions and special abilities suited to their skills.
One character we meet is Micheal. A retired ex-con who spends his days living under witness protection. Across town, we run into another man named Franklin who currently works for a shady car sells-man. And then there is Trevor — a murdering career criminal who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. These three characters create an arch to the game giving the story a much wider range of variety and personality. As one of the best open world games, the freedom this game provides is nearly limitless; giving the player access to all means of destruction at their fingertips.
Where you make your own rules
The world is made up of three large expanding cities, and is completely open to the player from the very start. This compliments the impression that it is a real place, with real people, and real events. I cannot come close to explaining all the possibilities this game has to offer. The player has all modes of transportation and arsenal at their disposal. Like all the best open world games on this list, Grand Theft Auto V received multiple nominations and awards. It continues to be one of the best open world games today with its online play, which added longevity to the title.
Grand Theft Auto V deals with mature subject matters. It is extremely violent, with course language and is not intended for younger children.
Assassin’s Creed: Origins
As the tenth installment of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, Origins succeeds it’s predecessor, being one of the best open world games of the year. The story is based on revenge while following a fictional history of real-world events. The player meets Bayek, a Medjay charged with protecting the Pharaoh. Beyek, and his son, Khemu, are abducted by a group of masked men and taken to a secret vault. They assume Beyek knows how to break the seal and attempt to force him by threatening his son’s life. Bayek and Khemu manage to escape but Khemu is killed during the struggle. One year later, Bayek returns, wanting nothing but to avenge the death of his son by tracking down the masked men.
This action-adventure makes good use of stealth tactics. Bayek can use a variety of tricks; giving you the ability to scout out an area from the sky on the wings of an eagle named Senu. The player can also tame several animal companions to assist them in combat. Being one of the best open world games, the system is designed to enable you to choose multiple forms of combat. You must learn the way a certain enemy fights and adapt their playing style to defeat them. You are also able to unlock unique equipment by competing in arena fights.
Full of adventure
The setting of Origins has us basking in the sun of the hot dunes of ancient Egypt. This expansive environment combines with dynamic windswept sandstorms and treacherous mountains, which does an impressive job at recreating ancient Egypt’s varied architecture. You are completely free to explore the ruins and structures, underwater exploration and raiding the looming dark and mysterious catacombs. What makes Origins stand out as one of the best open world games is that the entire region feels seamless; there is no time wasted while you explore this shimmering land. With this attention to detail, Origins won the best open world game award in 2017.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
With a unique magical flair, the story of The Witcher 3 is pretty straight forward. You main the character, Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter known as a witcher. The player goes on a multitude of quests and side stories through out the game. In the very beginning of the story, Geralt is in search of his lost lover, Yennefer. But his attention and mission soon take a turn into locating and saving his surrogate daughter, Ciri. He learns she has been on the run from an otherworldly force — currently tracking her down to capture her and use her magical abilities. He must find her before it is too late.
The main story-line is not all that engaging; at least it wasn’t for me. It is the player choice aspect of the game that really made it one of the best open world games. When interacting with the in-game characters, the player receives a number of narrative choices. Every decision you make is important and will impact the lives of the characters. That will ultimately change the fate of the world and lead up to 36 different possible endings. As with most games of this genre; the player can pick and choose which abilities and skills they want to focus on as they progress.
Full of magic and adventure
As one of the best open world games, the world should feel endless. The Witcher 3 does not disappoint and meets every expectation. It is difficult to explain just how large the world of this interesting game is. Not only is the game set in a multi-continent fantasy world, but also in different parallel dimensions full of magic and adventure. The player has the freedom to explore and choose what they want. Following the main story-line, going off on their own to hunt monsters, or discovering several other unique quests leading into more intriguing events. That is why The Witcher 3 won the award for game of the year in 2015.
Fallout 4 starts amidst the chaos of a post-apocalyptic world. Played in the first-person perspective, The player character starts at home with their spouse and infant son. I was surprised to see an interesting addition to player choice here; allowing the player to customize and play either the father or the mother. No matter what gender you choose, the plot still plays the same. You are admitted into a fallout shelter, by Vault-Tec. But you come to realize that things are not what they seem to be. Instead of living a sheltered life underground, you go into cryogenic storage.
Years later you wake only to find your spouse murdered inside their cryogenic tube and your son kidnapped. What begins as a simple plot-line to locate your missing son; turns into a struggle between groups fighting for control of the region. The best open world games are all about free choice. And Fallout 4 asks the player to make some tough ones. Such as deciding on which of the questionable ideals you should side with. It is very hard to choose one over the other, for each character is given a convincing reason for sympathy. The combat is also fully customizable with different options to enhance your character.
Dangers around every corner
Fallout 4 had a lot to live up to; going against its predecessor of Fallout 3. I had a difficult time here. Having to choose over which of the two would make the best open world games list. After looking at them again, I finally settled on Fallout 4 based on the world alone. The open world is made up of a post-apocalyptic Boston. With dead forests, desolate urban areas and looming radioactive remains; enticing you to explore. The side quests you run into are even more gripping than the main story-line. There is much to discover within the crumbling ruins of buildings throughout the world.
Batman: Arkham City
The story of Arkham City picks up one year after the events of the previous game, Arkham Asylum. Bruce Wayne is holding a press conference to petition the shutting down the super-prison that is Arkham City. The conference is interrupted when he is arrested. Bruce is taken and released into the prison where he is attacked. He manages to escape onto the rooftops but not before he overhears something about protocol 10. After he obtains his equipment via airdrop he sets out to learn the truth behind protocol 10.
I was skeptical. I never thought I would compliment a Batman game for being one of the best open world games. The franchise is great; I never expected it to be more than a linear story. But Arkham City nailed it! It managed to take what makes the best open world games fun and throw it all into Batman. Playing as the Dark Knight has never been so engaging.
Never a dull moment
The player has free roam of this intoxicating city. With all of Batman’s wonderful toys at their disposable. From chasing crime down in the bat-mobile to grapnel hooks. To zip-lining your way up to the highest building; jumping across moonlit rooftops and swooping through the dark sky. There is never a dull moment as the Batman! Navigating amidst this cesspool of the city’s worst criminals; where everyone is your enemy. All make up an immensely entertaining combat system. The world is littered with hidden rewards and side quests at every turn, making Arkham City one of the best open world games.
The expansive aquatic setting of Subnautica is both beautiful and terrifying! Making it one of the best open world games of the genre. From the first moments of game-play, you can already anticipate the dangers that await you in this massive and mysterious world. The player will begin their unique adventure after being ejected from a descending star-ship only to find themselves stranded. Stranded all alone on an unknown oceanic alien planet. You must leave the safety of your life-pod and venture out into the great unknown; completely void of land, as far as you know.
This not only fits the description of the open world game design, it’s right on edge in definition of one of the best open world games. Discover nearly everything on your own with little direction. The crafting system is strong and straight forward. Players gather resources they find within the environment to build an array of useful tools and items. Your very survival depends on it! You build custom modular sea bases to sustain your character; learning how to create unique transportation to scale the ocean floor.
Both beautiful and terrifying
Subnautica is set aside from the rest by its vast aquatic setting. The suspense never ends as you continue to explore deeper and further into this ocean world. The most unique thing about Subnautica, in comparison to other best open world games, is that it is terrifying! There is a true sense of dread as you drift out in the middle of the ocean. Before you know, you find yourself lost, running out of oxygen, knowing that there are titanic predatory alien creatures lurking just below the waves. Although Subnautica did not make the award for best open world games, it did win the best survival game of 2018.
Minecraft is one of the best open world games, based on the fact that it is a world built by the player. The world of Minecraft is what you make it. There is no predetermined story with quests to follow. There are no set characters. This is a world completely controlled by no one but you. Minecraft is an open sandbox, free for us to build and play in. It offers everything that the best open world games should — complete control. The only limit you must overcome within this game is your imagination.
The entire world of Minecraft renders in an infinite number of interact-able cubes. All can be picked up and destroyed by you. The cubes can be stored within your inventory or used to create your own magical kingdom. The choice is yours. This world does come with its share of random dangerous encounters though. When the blocky sun descends from the sky, you must stay aware of the creatures in the night; spiders, zombies, and skeletons. As well as the strange “endermen” and infamous “creepers.”
The world is what you make it
The world features vast landscapes to explore and build on; feeling infinite as you carry on with your journey. Herds of blocky animals will prove to be a useful resource. There are a number of countless mods that allow you to add custom game-play mechanics, items, and textures. As the best open world games go, Minecraft is a true wonder to experience. Considered to be the second best-selling video game of all time and the one game that you, as the player, is truly free to build anything that you could ever dream.
The Demand for Player Choice in Video Games Is Strong
We are in an era of video games with impressive realism and freedom; where player choice rules above all else! From the realms of fantasy to the streets of a modern city, to the depths of the ocean. When it comes to the best open world games, the selection and variety are massive. It is far beyond what any one list could ever dream to account for. The games listed here are based on popular demand and a countless number of reviews. If one of your best open world games is not on this list; it does not mean that the game wasn’t good enough.
There are a number of games that I feel could make it to the best open world games list. Three of my own favorite open world games did not make the cut. That doesn’t mean that the game is bad. There are just too many great games out there to list them all. The sheer number of games constantly increases. We are truly lucky to get this experience; to enjoy and witness these amazing worlds come to life before our very eyes.