Games are getting bigger than ever when it comes to the sheer size and scale of their worlds. Technology today allows developers to create the most expansive game universes yet, and open-world games tend to take advantage of this the most. If you’re looking to sink dozens of hours into it while wandering across the map, these are some of the best open-world games you can choose from.

★ Featured favorite

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 just about has it all: a compelling cast of characters, an unparalleled story, and a diverse amount of activities. The amount of realism and immersion that comes with it can be hit or miss at times depending on your tastes, but there’s no denying the amazing quality. The feeling of looking across one of its beautiful vistas to see the landscape ahead is something special.

$35 at Amazon

Welcome to the Northern Kingdoms

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Complete Edition

Staff pick

The Northern Kingdoms in The Witcher 3 contain a vast array of landscapes, from boggy swamps to snowy mountains and everything in between. There’s a tale to tell in every one of them, and unravelling the mysteries of the land and its inhabitants is part of the fun. You never know what you’ll encounter, but you can always be assured it’ll be worth the journey.

$35 at Amazon

The concrete jungle

Marvel’s Spider-Man

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as swinging around New York City as Spider-Man. Insomniac nailed the feel of our friendly neighborhood hero and created a wonderful environment for players to explore (and beat up lowlife thugs). No matter how many times New York City is recreated for a video game, you’ll find something new each time. Spider-Man certainly proves that.

$33 at Amazon

Old meets new

Horizon: Zero Dawn

Horizon: Zero Dawn takes the dilapidated cities of the old world and combines them with a surprisingly primitive future. At least, it would be if it weren’t for the giant mechanical beasts roaming around. The landscapes may seem spartan at first, but there’s plenty to discover below the depths of the ruins.

$10 at Amazon

Sprawling cities of Greece

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

If Ubisoft has managed to do one thing consistently well, it’s creating open-world maps. Formulaic approaches aside, the company masterfully recreates locations in time periods that are lost to the ages. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey lets players venture all across ancient Greece and the Aegean Sea, with plenty of content to fill in any quiet moments.

$20 at Amazon

Zombie apocalypse

Days Gone

It’s received some mixed reviews, but we believe Days Gone is a great open-world game, especially if you like zombies. Follow biker Deacon St. John after the apocalypse as he attempts to survive and figure out what happened to his wife Sarah, all the while learning what role the government played in the pandemic.

$35 at Amazon

The redemption story

No Man’s Sky

Welcome back No Man’s Sky! Over the past few years, the devs at Hello Games have been working hard to evolve NMS into a full-fledged game and they’ve done wonders. All the promises that were made at launch have been met and then some, it just took a little time. Now we have the largest open-world, (open universe) to explore, ever. Thank you for not giving up on this gem, Hello Games.

$32 at Amazon

Religious fanaticism

Far Cry 5

Hope County, Montana is a fictional city that Ubisoft designed just for Far Cry 5, but it certainly resembles some more remote country towns in the United States. What’s different is that there’s a fanatical religious cult on the loose… or maybe not so different. Either way, Hope County is full of activities for you to do, whether you want to take to the skies in a plane or relax by the riverside and fish.

$29 at Amazon

Hacking San Francisco

Watch Dogs 2

Watch Dogs 2 captures San Francisco’s diverse mix of cultures with seemingly relative ease. If you can’t go visit the city in real life, this is your next best bet. Though it’s cool to see its historical landmarks like Alcatraz or the Golden Gate, it’s even more fun to mess with a Silicon Valley tech billionaire by hacking into their systems.

$24 at Amazon

Goodbye Cyrodiil

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition

At this point, if you haven’t played Skyrim, I’m not sure what the hold-up is. The Special Edition is the perfect way to explore the expansive region on PlayStation 4 and finally understand what all of those memes are about. Plus, you’re fighting dragons, what’s cooler than that? (Definitely not the Frost Trolls, no matter what their names imply.)

$17 at Amazon

Get ready to explore

Red Dead Redemption 2 is easily the most polished game out of the bunch with a beautifully rich open world, tons of content, and compelling characters that drive a story you won’t soon forget. The time of cowboys and outlaws may be coming to an end, but you’ll put up a hell of a fight to continue your way of life. It’s easily one of the best games, period.

A western may not be appealing to you, though. If that’s the case, take on a fantasy game like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. There is so much to do and see in its world that it can be a little overwhelming, but it’s well worth the time spent it’ll take you to do so. Get ready to explore new worlds and try one of these awesome open-world games.

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