With the launch of Horizon Zero Dawn this week, it got me thinking about the other epic open world games that really stood out among the rest this generation.
We have been spoiled with choice in the recent years, and if you have not played these games then shame on you. Here are the best open world games of the current generation.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
There is no doubt that before Horizon Zero Dawn, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was the best open world game to date. Its superb environment, weather system, and don’t forget the sheer beauty of it all, was an experience that we had never had prior to the release of the game.
From the snowy mountains of Skellige, to the lush valleys of Toussaint, which we visited in the expansive DLC Blood and Wine. Witcher fans were spoilt for choice when it came to visiting all these amazing places, in a world that felt alive throughout the experience.
Bethesda have always had a knack for building great open world games, it is really their thing, and when Fallout 4 was released, we knew that the game would surpass all previous Fallout games to date. Set in the wasteland of Boston and its surroundings, Fallout 4 had so many diverse locations, creatures, and of course collectibles to hunt for.
Every time you started up the game you knew it would take you to some strange part of the map, or into a vault that was worth spending an hour ransacking. Just when we thought the game had it all, Bethesda released DLC for it that further expanded our experience to new locations. Far Harbor and Nuka World both took us to new places that were quite different from the original main game.
In the end we have one great open world game, whether or not you are into the DLC. Fallout 4 is the most Fallout-ish game to date, and it can only get better from here.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
I know Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is a pretty old game in the series, and Unity and Syndicate came after it, but Black Flag still stands as one of the best Assassin’s Creed games to date, and it is mainly thanks to the awesome world it takes place in.
No entry in the series has been able to capture the world like Black Flag. Set in the 18th century Caribbean, the game took us to all sorts of islands, and pirate hideouts. It was also the biggest open world in the series to date, as we could hop onto our ship and go anywhere we wanted on the map.
Every island had a cave worth exploring, and every city was bigger than the last. It was the sheer size of it all that added to the game’s great exploration. Knowing that there was nothing holding you back from sailing off into the distance toward new uncharted territory.
Grand Theft Auto V
Over the years we have seen the GTA series evolve from a top-down scroller, to the awesome open world game we play today. GTA V’s world was like nothing before, and it managed to integrate perfectly into both the single player experience and the game’s popular GTA Online.
The best part about the world is how alive it feels while walking down the street. People taking selfies, joking about social media, and when you get in your car, the parody of life continues on your radio. Announces joking about celebrities, and it is crammed full with over-the-top adverts.
When it comes to the world itself, you can spend hours experiencing every corner of it, and taking in the sights. When online grab some friends and mountain bike down a hill, or parachute off a cliff. GTA V’s world is not short of any activity.
Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy XV was a technical marvel, of which still stands as one of the most breathtaking open worlds we have ever explored. It is thanks to the powerful engine that runs it all, that makes the game a standout in a long list of open world games.
The day/night cycle that breathed life into the environments. The wet ground that slowly dissipates as the rain dries after a storm, and the unique weather system that brought it all to life.
The game would however be an empty open world if it was not for the creatures that inhabit the forests, lakes and hills. Everything comes together so well in Final Fantasy XV, and every creature feels like it belongs in the world around you. Square Enix did not hold back any punches at all.
Batman Arkham Knight
Rocksteady had some high expectations after the huge success of Arkham City, and Arkham Asylum. When Batman Arkham Knight released, it blew fans of the series away with its stunning dark city, and great use of the Batman series.
Arkham Knight’s Gotham City is one of the best cities I have ever explored in a video game, and to get to do it as Batman added to the fandom like never before. Ever island was detailed and refined to bring the city to life, and it was also thanks to the game’s stunning visuals that added layers upon layers of visual effects to make the experience shine.
Rain dripping off Batman’s suit, lights shimmering in the distance, as the city’s night time lighting was the show stopper. We need more games like these.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
While the last Dragon Age: Inquisition was not really a fully open world game, it still counts, as the hubs for each area had various open world mechanics to it. Every time we entered a new area, the game’s sheer beauty welcomed us, and every new location was different from the past.
From the wet and stormy shores of Exhalted Plains, to the dry and hot desert sands of the Western Approach. We could not wait to finish up one area, so that we could jump into the next and explore it. It was also the game’s great engine that added to the beauty of each location, and it still stands as one of the most visually captivating games of this generation.
What open world games do you think need to be on this list? Let us know in the comments and forum.
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