From the start of gaming to today, the format has changed; and over that time we’ve been introduced to the wonder of Open World video games. These massive wonders allow us gamers to explore the expansive worlds while forgetting entirely about life outside. For this installment, we’re going to dive into the best worlds that have taken countless hours of our lives with the Top 10 Open World Games.
When one thinks open world these days, one of the first games they may jump to is Mojang’s Minecraft. This simplistically designed game sports one of the largest maps ever in gaming, a completely customizable world ripe for exploration. Whether you play Minecraft for the survival mode or just to create some expansive masterpiece begging to be blown up, you’re going to see and easily fall in love with the blocky world. On top of being able to build just about any structure you can imagine, Minecraft also pits you against deadly monsters, like Creepers and Endermen, who stalk the night seeking out their next prey. The level of depth to each new Minecraft experience is sure to surprise and delight gamers for years to come, especially if they’re all about building their own expansive world.
Grand Theft Auto V Online
Of course Grand Theft Auto was going to make it onto this list at some point, and due to the diversity in the open world, the fifth installment wound up being the series’ representation of the best open world Rockstar has dished out so far. From the busy streets and slums of Los Santos to the north badlands of Blaine County, Rockstar created a world that is leagues bigger than the already impressive Liberty City in Grand Theft Auto V. Grand Theft Auto V’s world is rife with wildlife, pockets of open exploration, an expanse of blue to swim around in, and scattered Easter eggs that gamer’s with a lot of time on their hands would eventually find. Whether via motorbike, sail boat, helpicopter or plane, exploring Grand Theft Auto V’s online expansive world is no easy feat.
There isnt' a thing that’s visually appealing about Fallout 3. The radiated areas of former Washington D.C., Maryland, and northern Virginia are an arid wasteland, trickled with deadly bandits, murderous mutants, and a sea of other hazards. Despite being quite ugly, Fallout 3’s open world is still quite the joy to traverse, as you never quite know what you’re going to stumble across next. Will it be a town surrounded by a Megaton nuclear warhead or a tiny outpost of struggling survivors? Can you make it through an abandoned town without being ambushed by bandits or even just walk the destroyed lands without a massive mutant barreling down on you? Though Bethesda really gives us nothing beautiful to be in awe over, it ensures the world is alive enough to capture and keep our interest.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
It may have been the anti-Assasin’s Creed game by being the first to not put the assassin’s acrobatics at the focus, but Black Flag did come with an amazing world to explore. A heavy focus on naval exploration added plenty to the game in terms of places to go and things to see. As the series latest Assassin, pirate Edward Kenway, gamers can take to the high seas, engaging in epic sea battles or even a whaling or shark hunting minigame. The landscape of Black Flag was quite attractive, combining coastal villages of the Caribbean with large forts and slightly larger cities. The level of diversity Black Flag’s open world gave is why it beat out it’s higher quality brethren Assassin’s Creed 2 and 3.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The world’s of Elder Scrolls just get bigger and prettier, and one of the better experiences comes with the fifth iteration, Skyrim. It helps that the game introduced some new monsters such as flying dragons, towering giants, wooly mammoths, and other large creatures to add some scale to the experience and fill in gaps of nothingness. When it comes to visuals, Skyrim is one of the prettiest worlds we’ve ever had the pleasure of traversing, with changing landscapes, impressive draw distances, and incredible detail. While some could argue that the actual game itself is bland and overrated, it’s difficult to deny how that Skyrim is one of gaming’s best open worlds.
If Cast Away told us anything, it’s that being stranded can be somewhat of a good time, right? In Peter Schaub’s Stranded 2, players are, of course, stranded on a deserted island with no means of escape. While survival remains a key goal from the first title, exploration steps up as gamers need to trek to surrounding islands to increase their chances of survival. Included in Stranded 2 was the ability to create scripted maps, allowing gamers to build upon the already existing world with their own scenarios, quests, dialogue, and scripted events. With this element in place, Stranded 2 was able to deliver on a world with endless possibilities.
Red Dead Redemption
The Wild West had never been so big when Rockstar released Red Dead Redemption into the world. Taking cues from the developer’s famed controversial series, Red Dead Redemption mixed hefty exploration with character building, a thick plot, and plenty of mayhem. Replacing cars was your trust steed, who helped get you across the dangerous lands of New Austin, West Elizabeth, and Nuevo Paraiso. Gun slingers, wolves, bandits, and other hazards litter the lands, throwing obstacles in your way to remind you that the expanse world of Redemption is alive. The follow-up DLC, Undead Nightmare, turned the Wild West into a dreary undead playground, even further solidifying Red Dead Redemption’s open world as one of the top.
Just Cause 2
Sometimes bigger is not entirely better, like with the Just Cause 2 map. This explosive game from Avalanche Studios and Eidos Interactive sports a massive playground, larger in scale than even Grand Theft Auto V’s multi-county layout. Though large, the world of Panau is mostly bland – so it’s up to the gamer to bring some life to it. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to find enjoyment traveling throughout Panau, whether it’s destroying military encampments, parachuting from deadly heights, or even tethering an ATV to an airplane using the world’s strongest grappling hook. A lot of Just Cause 2’s open world charm comes more from the ridiculous things you can do in-game rather than what you’re supposed to do.
Spider-Man 2: The Video Game
It may be “antequated” in the sense of the gaming timeline, but Spider-Man 2: The Video Game was one of the first really successfully 3D open world titles that wasn’t a Grand Theft Auto game. As the 4-limbed spider, gamers could explore a scaled Manhattan to take on some of spidey’s greatest enemies – or just enjoy swinging around with infinite webbing. The city wound up being one of the greatest playgrounds and swinging around as the Big Apple’s staple hero brought more enjoyment than barreling through red lights behind the wheel. Tight controls and a seamless integration from running to swinging to fighting made it so easy to enjoy one of gaming’s best licensed titles.
World of Warcraft
It’s not easy to create a gaming list and have Blizzard not make it somewhere on it, and when it comes to open worlds, the continuously expanding lands in World of Warcraft are on top. With each new expansion, a new, fully traversable area is opened up, giving gamers another expansive location to trek through. With these new worlds come new lore, characters, and enemies, ensuring that you’re bound to spend another several hundred hours lost in the world of Warcraft. The land of Azeroth is brimming with a seemingly infinite number of locales to explore, and with six expansion in 10 years, chances are it will continue to grow.