Considering that the first-ever computer games usually revolved around two long lines batting a square around a screen in some archaic form of tennis, it’s safe to say that we’ve come a long way. So far, that there’s no way that sort of guff would fly today because as gamers, we’ve become quite spoiled.
At the head of this revolution is open-world games. Ever since GTA III transformed the genre in 2001, yes it really has been that long, this form of entertainment has gone from strength to strength and even though not every single release has been a home run, looking at you Driv3r, there has been more than enough top-quality releases to keep even the most ardent explorer occupied for weeks/months on end. This though, leads to its own problem. With so many need you to invest so much time in them, which ones should you look into playing?
What follows is, the definitive list to the 10 Best Open-World Games that you could, no, that you should play at least once in your lifetime.
The 10 Best Open-World Games
I’ve already ranted on this site about how Sleeping Dogs is the greatest game you’ve never played, and there is nothing that you, or anybody else, can say to me that will ever change my mind. If you have any love for Kung-Fu movies, even if that means you’ve only watched Enter The Dragon a few times, then you need Sleeping Dogs in your life. It’s perfectly realized version on Hong Kong is littered with bad guys for you to chop-socky the hell out of, with a fighting system that is part Batman and all Jackie Chan, and its story of an undercover cop walking the fine line between law and crime is full of twists and turns that will on the edge of your seat as you play along. There’s so much to do, so much to see, and so many people to beat unconscious with your bare hands Sleeping Dogs should be on everyone’s bargain buy list. Especially as you can get both the DLC’s along with the main game for next to nothing.
The Witcher 3
I am not a fan of The Witcher 3. I don’t know what it was, but when I sat down to play through the game, I couldn’t connect with it in the same way that I did with the other games on this list, but even though I’m not a fan, I’m also not an idiot. People went rabid for The Witcher 3 on release, and it helped propel CD Projekt into the stratosphere, so if you’re a fan of slapping monsters upside the head with a big sword and a load of magic, then you might find the connection to this game that I couldn’t.
The Outer Worlds
The Outer Worlds looks as if it’s going to be one of the biggest and most beloved open-world games ever to get released, and considering it’s only been out for three days at the time of writing this, that’s saying something. In fact, it’s already got a lot of people at Gamepur Towers purring over just how brilliant, and addictive it is and even though I’ve not yet had the time to explore it as deeply as I’d like, thanks to another game that we’ll get to in a while, I can fully understand all the hype. To call it Fallout in space might be a tad glib, but if you’re a fan of Obsidian Entertainment, then you know what to expect from this adventure.
Where Arkham Asylum was a solid introduction and Arkham Night was a bloated, disappointing end, Arkham City was bang on the money and is easiest the greatest Batman game we’ve ever had, to date. The idea to wall of a huge section of Gotham and allow you to explore it as the Caped Crusader gives the whole experience a unique feel among other open-world games. Never has it been so much fun to pull on the cowl as it is in Arkham City and whether you’re swooping down on villains before dispensing vigilante justice or gliding across the skyline as you hunt down Victor Zsasz’s latest call, you’ll never feel more like Batman than you do in this game.
Fallout New Vegas
It would’ve been easy to slip Fallout 4 in this spot and move on. After all, it’s a vast, massive place for you to play around in, but it’s also broken and has a lot less depth to it after you’ve scratched the surface than other games in the franchise. So if you want the ultimate Fallout experience, then need to jump into Fallout New Vegas. Take on the role of The Courier and play every faction against each other as you try to unravel the reason you ended up in a shallow grave with a bullet in your skull. New Vegas is a giant place, and you’ll need all your cunning and guile to survive. As well as a couple of huge guns.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
This place could easily have gone to two other games in the series in Assassin’s Creed II and Assassin’s Creed Origins. After all, Assassin’s Creed II was the game that put Assassin’s Creed on the map and Assassin’s Creed Origins save the franchise from, what had been, a prolonged and drawn-out death but Assassin’s Creed Odyssey took everything that made the reboot so good and expanded on it, ten-fold. Stealth your way through the Greek War, choose from three different skill trees, head into epic battles, and explore the Aegean Seas in this masterpiece from Ubisoft.
As a lifelong comic book fan, it’s always bugged me that there haven’t been that many excellent video game adaptations of my favorite super-heroes. If we’re honest here, outside of a few notable exceptions there really haven’t been many good ones either but in Marvel’s Spider-Man, Insomniac Games have given us the first brick in what looks like it’s going to become an MGU (Marvel Gaming Universe) and what a solid foundation it proved to be. New York is a beautifully rendered city and is alive in a way that a lot of open-world games don’t seem to be able to replicate, and as you web-sling from building to the building, you genuinely feel like Old Web-Head himself.
I doubt there’s anyone here who’s played Skyrim that doesn’t remember that opening sequence. What seems like it’s going to be the usual boring character creation/tutorial is soon cranked up to “Holy CRAP!!!” territory with the arrival of the first dragon. From there, it’s a mad dash to safety and into a world at war. Make your choices, pick your side, prefect your dragon born skills, but most of all, explore, explore, explore. There’s so much to do and so many places to find in Skyrim that the main story should always take a back-seat to you roaming the wilds and poking around in caves and the like. You never know just what you’ll stumble upon if you do.
If you know anything about me, it should be that I’m a dye in the wool, Rockstar fan-boy, so it will come as no surprise that the top two spots on this list are taken up by their games. The only problem I had was deciding which way round I’d include them, but after a lot of thought, I’ve decided that GTA V is the second-best open-world game of all time. Los Santos was, at the time, the largest open-world map ever, and it was filled to the brim with stuff for you to do. You could get so lost in skydiving, mountain biking, or any of the pastimes that were available to you that you’d forget about the story and spend hour upon hour just improving your stats or messing about in boats. The fact that all this is also part of GTA Online as well means that you’ll never get bored when you visit Los Santos.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a true masterpiece. It’s Rockstar’s Mona Lisa. It’s their Sistine Chapel. It is, quite frankly, flawless. The largest map ever contains all the Wild West you could ever want and more as well as the usual brilliantly written story you always get with Rockstar games. It’s graphically stunning and now has an online component that matches the main game. It’s also why I’ve hardly spent any time with any other game since it released just over a year ago. Red Dead Redemption 2 almost, almost, makes every other game obsolete.