The 10 Best Open World Video Games of All-Time

Video Games

Open world video games have become very popular. For proof, look no further than the fact that open world settings have become almost expected for a wide range of video games from a wide range of video game companies. Regardless, some open world video games are better than the rest, meaning that those are the ones that interested individuals should check out before the rest.

10. Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain

Metal Gear Solid V can refer to a couple of games. First, there was Ground Zeroes, which was a stand-alone prologue that served as a taste of what interested individuals could expect. Second, there was Phantom Pain, which was the “true” Metal Gear Solid V experience. In it, the player took on the role of the mercenary leader Punished Snake who is hunting the people responsible for the attack on his mercenary group Militaires Sans Frontières in the prologue. The game has numerous issues. Something that is unsurprising considering the extent to which Konami and Kojima Hideo are supposed to have clashed over it. In fact, there are people who consider Phantom Pain to be outright unfinished, which is not as outrageous an accusation as it should be. Even so, it is one of the best stealth games in an open world setting to ever be released. For proof, look no further than the fact that Phantom Pain managed to receive perfect scores from multiple publications in spite of its numerous issues.

9. Fallout: New Vegas

Speaking of unfinished games, Fallout: New Vegas is another sort-of unfinished game that nonetheless deserves a position on this list. Like its name says, it is an installment in the long-running post-apocalyptic series, though it is set so late that it should be considered a post-post-apocalyptic game. Unlike its Bethesda-made counterparts, it was made by Obsidian Entertainment. As such, it has both that studio’s characteristic strengths and that studio’s characteristic weaknesses, which is to say, wonderful but both buggy and incomplete. Regardless, interested individuals take on the role of a courier who is ambushed, shot in the head, and left for dead. Fortunately, their character turned out to be harder-headed than what anyone could have expected, with the result that they managed to survive long enough to be saved by a local doctor. From that point forward, the player is free to explore the post-apocalyptic Mojave Desert, which will see them run into the expansionistic forces of both the New California Republic and Caesar’s Legion.

8. Genshin Impact

Genshin Impact is rather unusual in that it runs on a free-to-play model. However, it is an excellent example of how far such games have come since their initial popularization. It has its issues. In particular, Genshin Impact is a gacha game, which can be a huge problem for people who are prone to making impulse buys as well as otherwise not in full control of their own spending. Still, the sheer number of players make it clear that it has managed to carve out a huge chunk of the target market for itself. Story-wise, the player takes on the role of someone who has been separated from their sibling. As a result, their character sets out to find their missing sibling by traveling throughout the countries of Teyvat. So far, three regions have been released. However, five more are planned at the very least, meaning that Genshin Impact promises to become bigger and bigger in the times to come. Something that should come as welcome news for those who enjoy exploration in an animesque world.

7. No Man’s Sky

No Man’s Sky got absolutely trashed by the reviewers when it came out in August of 2016. Primarily, this was because poor communication resulted in inflated expectations that couldn’t be met by the finished product, with the result that No Man’s Sky marketing is now a case study for what not to do when it comes to video game marketing. There are some studios that might have given up then and there. However, Hello Games persevered in spite of the hostility, meaning that the game that exists in the present has seen huge improvements from the game that existed in the past. As such, there are plenty of people out there who would argue that No Man’s Sky has more than managed to redeem itself from a very poor launch. In any case, interested individuals should know that No Man’s Sky was designed to emulate the optimistic science fiction of the 1970s and 1980s that put so much emphasis on exploration. This means that exploring alien planets with both alien fauna and alien flora in an open world universe is the main selling point of the game. In these environments, interested individuals can do everything from fighting hostiles and documenting new forms of life to building bases and improving their gear. In other words, No Man’s Sky is one of those games that can always offer interested individuals something new.

6. Grand Theft Auto V

Rockstar Games works slowly. However, when it releases something, people tend to be pay attention for very good reasons. To name an example, consider Grand Theft Auto V, which remains one of the best open-world games ever made even though it came out almost a decade ago. In fact, it is still the second best-selling video game ever released, beaten out by Minecraft and only by Minecraft. Something that speaks volumes about how it was received. Moving on, chances are good that interested individuals can guess exactly what to expect from Grand Theft Auto V. After all, it was the latest installment in a long-running series that was already famous long before it. Furthermore, the Grand Theft Auto series has always been one of those series with a name that says exactly what it is all about. Grand Theft Auto V might not be as wacky as the Saints Row series, but for people who want a similar action-adventure criminal experience in a more serious modern setting, there is nothing that even comes close to match it.

5. Minecraft

On a related note, it should come as no surprise to learn that Minecraft has earned a spot on this list as well. Simply put, it is a sandbox game that went public in May of 2009 and has continued strong into the present time, not least because of the continuing effort that the people behind it have put into it. Thanks to that, Minecraft has been ridiculously successful, as shown by the franchise that has sprung up around it. As for why Minecraft has been so popular, well, chances are good that its freedom has something to do with it. Essentially, interested individuals are free to do whatever they want in a procedurally-generated open world built using 3D blocks. Some people have used that as a chance to build incredible structures based on either real life counterparts or the products of the human imagination. Other people prefer combat, exploration, or any number of other things. Whatever people are into, Minecraft offers them a great deal of freedom with which to pursue it.

4. Horizon Zero Dawn

There are a lot of action-adventure games that see interested individuals taking on the role of an adventurer in a dangerous world, who must use a combination of their wits and their weapons to fell fearsome enemies. As a result, it is difficult for any single one of them to stand out because they tend to blur together after a while. Out of those, Horizon Zero Dawn is one of the best, not so much because it is particularly innovative but because it managed to execute its premise well. Setting-wise, it takes place in the post-apocalyptic United States of the 31st century. Humanity has been returned to a tribal existence. Meanwhile, much of the world is populated by robots, which are curiously life-like. Unsurprisingly, the player has to take them on. This might seem unfair. However, Horizon Zero Dawn provides them with a wide range of tools that make the resulting combats exciting but nonetheless manageable.

3. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Once upon a time, the popularity of The Witcher franchise was limited to Eastern Europe. Nowadays, it has international reach, not least because of the success of The Witcher games put out by CD Projekt Red. Out of those, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is by far the best, so much so that there are plenty of people out there who would consider it to be either the best or one of the best action RPG games of the 2010s. In any case, this is the game that brings the story of the protagonist Geralt of Rivia to a conclusion, which is pretty amusing considering that the games don’t start until after the ending of the books. Regardless, those who are unfamiliar should know that said character is one of the titular witchers, who are mutated monster hunters with superhuman capabilities who tend not to be very well-liked by the people around them. In this game, Geralt is focused on finding his adopted daughter Ciri who is on the run from the titular Wild Hunt. Even so, there is plenty of monster hunting to be done in the game because if there is one thing that can be said about it, it is that it is packed full of content.

2. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has received so many re-releases that the jokes about those re-releases got old years and years ago. Still, the sheer number of times that it has been repackaged for sale makes it clear that this is a very popular game. To an extent, this is because of Skyrim itself. However, it should also be mentioned that it has a thriving modding community, which has provided it with a much greater longevity than what it could have expected under other circumstances. Based on the name, it should come as no surprise to learn that Skyrim is set in the region of the same name. This time around, interested individuals take on the role of the Dragonborn, who possesses enough power to decide the fate of a region embroiled in civil war. On one side, there is the Empire, which seeks to hold onto Skyrim so that it will be in a better position to confront the Aldmeri Dominion a second time. On the other side, there are the Stormcloaks, locals who are infuriated by the peace terms imposed on the Empire after the loss of the first war with the Aldmeri Dominion. Besides this, the player is also expected to deal with dragons, which have made a very unwelcome appearance in the region.

1. Red Dead Redemption 2

As mentioned earlier, Rockstar Games doesn’t release a lot of games. However, when it releases something, that something tends to be worth the wait. To name another example, consider 2018’s Red Dead Redemption 2, which is actually a prequel to its immediate predecessor. Mechanics-wise, interested individuals should expect a western-style action-adventure game in the last days of the Wild West. Having said that, it is important to note that while the game offers plenty of exciting gameplay, it also comes with a pretty decent story in its own right. Something that is particularly true because it comes with enough leeway as well as enough ambiguity for interested individuals to decide exactly what happened as well as exactly what to take away from it without making the whole thing unsatisfactory in any way. A fine balance that is hard to strike to say the least. Besides that, there is a multiplayer mode as well, which is effectively a game in its own right. As such, if people are craving more content after finishing the single-player game, well, suffice to say that they can find plenty more in its multiplayer counterpart.

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