The 25 Best Open World Games for Great Adventure and Combat

 Best Open World Games
We love smashing beautifully-rendered bosses to pieces

The Best Open World Games To Play Right Now

Open-world games are made to be played obsessively. They practically beg to be conquested. But in the heat of the open-world renaissance, how do you know which games are worth dedicating hundreds of hours to? Tell your boss you’re gonna be “out of town” for a while and get ready to sink your teeth into the best that open-world has to offer.

Top 5 Open World RPGs

25. The Witcher 3

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine || Launch Trailer ("Final Quest")

A witcher is trained from birth to hunt monsters, altering themselves with mutagens and intensive training until they ride the line between human and non-human. Our protagonist Geralt has every intention of being an unbiased, merciless killer, but that isn’t always possible when you have to choose who deserves your wrath. Conquering difficult terrain with the grace of an assassin makes you feel unstoppable. Geralt’s inhuman abilities shine in the satisfying combat, as you kick-flip and spellsling like a master hunter. The game’s world doesn’t sacrifice its beauty for its gritty undertones, unlike other games with dark themes. The explorer in you will fall in love with the breathtaking views, and the brutal combat will leave you feeling ruthless and powerful.

witcher 3 monster

The hunt is on: Fell 80 unique monsters and show giant beasts who the real threat is

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Explorer’s paradise: Witcher 3 has a massive open world and rewards you for sticking your nose in every corner

24. Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Kingdom Come Deliverance BATTLE Walkthrough (Combat Gameplay)

Set in the European Middle Ages, Kingdom Come is an RPG with an emphasis on historical accuracy. You play the role of Henry, who seeks revenge for his massacred family and gets wrapped up in a bloody revolution on the way. The game’s sprawling world is stuffed with sidequests, and allows you to totally customize your character’s class, encouraging you to play the game however you want. Combat is up-close and personal, and the game pits you against equals, so each fight feels like a real risk. One of the game’s more untraditional mechanics is a needs system, requiring you to eat and sleep to stay in good shape. It also has an in-depth dialogue system that informs your relationships with other characters and the development of your skills.

kingdom come deliverance

Fight for your honor: Kingdom Come’s realistic battles are right out of a LARP, but three times as awesome

kingdom come deliverance

Admit it, you thought this was a real photo: Explore the Kingdom of Bohemia and experience the kind of adventures that knights really embarked on

23. Skyrim

Skyrim - Battle For Whiterun (Gameplay)

Skyrim is another groundbreaking title in the Elder Scrolls’ legacy. Be the Dragonborn, and fulfill the prophecy that churns in your very blood… or just use your Gods-given powers to pillage the whole continent. Skill trees and weapons aren’t restricted to your class or race, so the combinations are endless. The weight of your weapon is tangible, making every hammer swing feel devastating, no matter how many times you knock someone’s head off with it. Skyrim’s world takes over two hours to walk a line across, not to mention the 343 unique locations to discover. And to top it all off, you can get married and buy a house! Who needs a real life when Skyrim has all that stuff anyway?

elder scrolls skyrim dragon

What big teeth you have: fighting giant dragons in Skyrim is all in a day’s work

elder scrolls skyrim

Hundreds of dungeons: Every location on the map has a story to tell

22. Fallout 4

Fallout 4 Gameplay 4K 60fps - EXPLORING THE WASTELAND

Fallout’s story continues in the Wasteland, in the aftermath of the series’ titular nuclear apocalypse. As one of the survivors, you explore the ruins of Boston in search of your kidnapped son. Fallout’s wasteland is surprisingly vibrant, with a huge but dense open world and an engaging story. You’ll fend off the warped, soulless husks of mutated humans with a mechanic that slows down combat so you can get ‘em where it hurts. Let’s not forget Dogmeat, who adds a new level to overworld combat and gives you one more thing to fight for when hope is all but lost.

fallout 4

I see you: Fallout’s time freeze mechanic helps you strategize your shots

 

fallout 4 commonwealth

Welcome to the end of the world: the Commonwealth is a vibrant place despite your grim situation

21. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Shadow of Mordor gameplay

Middle-earth is the perfect setting for an open-world game, with a sprawling world and a rich history just waiting to be turned into an interactive experience. Shadow of Mordor takes place between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and follows the plight of Talion, who is brought back from the dead by a wraith and vows to avenge his slain family. The densely-packed open world of Mordor is yours to explore from the get-go. You’re expected to take down certain Orcish officers, but how you go about it is up to you, from massacring their whole fleet to turning their own men against them. The wraith that possesses you can bring you back when you die, but dying still has a haughty consequence. Every single enemy has a name and a rank, and by the time you respawn, the ones you failed to kill just might remember your face.

shadow of mordor

Childhood dreams achieved: explore the world of the Lord of the Rings like you’ve always wanted to

shadow of mordor

Let me take that burden off your shoulders: Orcs and trolls are no match for Talion’s sword skills

Top 5 Open World Action Games

20. Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain

Metal Gear Solid 5 Phantom Pain: Free roam gameplay #1

Phantom Pain is a prequel to the original Metal Gear, and fills some big gaps in the Metal Gear timeline. The evil Skull Face engineers a parasite that will kill infected people if they speak English, and Venom Snake must stop it from terrorizing the world. A lot of MGS5’s gameplay involves stealth, but half the fun is getting caught and watching the mission dissolve into chaos (and somehow still pulling it off.) You’re always encouraged to use non-lethal means to subdue your enemies. Phantom Pain also has a mechanic where you can tie a balloon to something and make it float away - it’s supposed to be used to get rid of evidence, but I just like to send comically large things whizzing towards the heavens.

metal gear solid phantom pain

Fast-paced action: Phantom Pain’s large open world full of danger creates all kinds of tense situations

metal gear solid phantom pain

Locked and loaded: Snake’s high-tech mods allow you to lock on to enemies from afar

19. Monster Hunter: World

Griffin, Pat, and Chelsea Play MONSTER HUNTER WORLD

In Monster Hunter: World, you’re sent to the unexplored New World to conduct research. Laying into giant monsters with your sword is research, right? Each of World’s missions takes you to a new lush area home to over 45 different beasts. Your weapons are just as oversized and awesome as your prey, and just as deadly. You have to adapt to each monster’s environment and moveset to overpower it. The game also features multiplayer, and nothing says “bonding” like slaying dragons together.

monster hunter world

Stop and smell the roses: Monster Hunter’s locations are breathtakingly beautiful

monster hunter world

Yes, this is a real screenshot: World brings the drama in its cinematic battles

18. Grand Theft Auto 5

Grand Theft Auto 5 Gameplay

If you ever want to rob a bank, kill the teller and outrun the cops in a helicopter, we’d rather you tried it in the house. Grand Theft Auto’s 5th installment features both a dramatic main story and a sandbox world that’s yours to pilfer. The city of San Andreas is packed full of shops, clubs and other profoundly flammable structures. You can use your cell phone to rent vehicles, and certain phone numbers can be dialed for secret effects. Grab some friends and plan an elaborate heist, or go solo and ride off a bridge on a motorcycle with guns blazing. The possibilities are endless, and not one of them is morally sound.

grand theft auto 5

Because why not: GTA has an arsenal of over 40 different weapons for you to blow stuff up with

grand theft auto 5 san andreas

Visit scenic San Andreas: wreak havoc on one of gaming’s prettiest maps

17. Batman: Arkham City

Batman: Arkham City Gameplay

When the Joker’s TITAN-mutated blood starts to slowly kill him, he infects Batman and Gotham’s hospitals with his disease. Batman must find the cure before he deteriorates. Arkham City’s open world is a maze of skyscrapers, steel, and neon, glinting in the dark and fully accessible with Batman’s ability to fly. Kicks and punches straight from the comic books send criminals crying home - hearing thugs react in fear and surprise when the Batman has appeared never gets less satisfying. Arkham City’s story is a truly gripping tragedy, and much of the game’s narrative is told in-game without the use of cutscenes, keeping you immersed the whole time.

batman arkham city

Come fly with me: Batman can access every rooftop of Gotham with his wings

batman arkham city

Foiled again: Batman strikes fear into the hearts of criminals everywhere, and for good reason

16. Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs Gameplay| Free Roam

Set in a fictional reimagining of Hong Kong, Sleeping Dogs follows undercover cop Wei Shen as he tries to destroy a notorious street gang from the inside. Hong Kong is a welcome departure from the America-centric open-world maps before it, bringing a fresh aesthetic to the contemporary game scene. Partially procedural animations make traversal and combat feel fluid and kinetic. Every aspect of the game is a blast, from punching random strangers to barreling down highways in a stolen rod, and with an upbeat hiphop soundtrack you’d have to try pretty hard not to have fun.

sleeping dogs

Morally questionable: the life of an undercover cop isn’t always overtly good

sleeping dogs

Under the neon lights: Hong Kong is sprawling and bright, and full of opportunities for antics

Top 5 Open World Horror Games

15. The Forest

4 MUTANT ATTACKS, FINISHED THE WALL | The Forest | Let's Play Gameplay | S14E15

The Forest begins when your airplane crashes into a deserted island, and a strange tribe of cannibals kidnap your son while you’re unconscious. You’re the only survivor of the crash, and it’s up to you to shelter and protect yourself. You gather resources to build lean-tos, weapons, and tools, crafting in a seamless menu that doesn’t take you out of the game. The island’s natives are intelligent, and if you don’t kill them, they might bring reinforcements next time. An intuitive blueprint system lays down the groundwork for your structures for you, letting you know where to put resources to finish your building. That is, if you get that far - permadeath makes every innocent hunt for food a shot in the dark.

the forest

Bear Grylls, eat your heart out: survive in true uncivilized wilderness, with only your wits

the forest mutant

So much for an island getaway: more than songbirds and rabbits live in this neck of the woods

14. Dying Light

Dying Light - Gameplay Walkthrough

The world of Dying Light is no paradise, but at least the rules are simple: daytime is safe, and nighttime is not. Dying Light takes place in an urban village ravaged by zombies, and there’s nothing you can’t get to with some parkour. Your weapons may be makeshift, but zombies aren’t any match for you during the day. Uninhibited by sunlight, they twist into fast, dangerous predators, and the only way to get around is by stealth. You often have the choice to either aid your fellow survivors or take supplies for yourself, and your choices will be remembered.

dying light

Hardcore parkour: you’re not the only one who can climb buildings

dying light

There’s too many of them: sometimes melee combat just isn’t an option

13. 7 Days to Die

7 Days of 7 Days to Die - First Day

The Third World War has destroyed most of the world, and the survivors are left to fend for themselves. 7 Days to Die is a challenging survival gauntlet, requiring you to hunt for food and water while radiated zombies hunt you. You can join a multiplayer server and play with others, but whether they’ll help or hinder you is impossible to say. The game implements a crafting system as well as a physics engine that allows for terraforming and building. Every 7 days, hordes of zombies will swarm the players, and unless your base is prepared, you aren’t gonna make it out intact.

7 days to die

How quaint: your base can be functional AND aesthetic

7 days to die

Realistic, not pessimistic: when that seventh day comes, you’d better be ready

12. State of Decay 2

BRIDGE FORT BASE! - State of Decay 2 Gameplay - Zombie Apocalypse Survival

The #1 rule of survival rings true in every tricky situation, even the zombie apocalypse: there’s power in numbers. You’re one of a small community of survivors, and it’s up to everybody to protect your settlement and keep everyone in good spirits. Your survivors are randomly generated from hundreds of physical traits and can have any of 1,200 personality traits, making every playthrough different. When you’re not improving on your settlement, you can take out that stress by slicing up zombies.

state of decay

Community building: if morale gets too low, things can get dire

state of decay 2

Zombies not allowed: it’s up to everyone to protect the settlement

11. Darkwood

Darkwood - First 45 Minutes of Gameplay (No Commentary)

Darkwood finds you in a hostile, dark forest, where things come for you in the night. Strange characters populate the world, but be prepared to have “strange” redefined for you. Darkwood features a ghoulishly creepy art style, a crafting system, and a dangerous open world that opens up to you as you progress. During the day, you can scavenge for supplies and meet odd forest-dwellers, but at night, you’ll have to board your windows against scourges of shadows. Random events make every moment unpredictable; the forest is not your friend.

darkwood

It’s quiet… too quiet: discover Darkwood’s secrets, and find a way out

darkwood

Don’t let the shadows bite: when night falls, fortify your base against near-invisible enemies

Top 5 Open World FPS Games

10. Hunt: Showdown

THIS IS MY BEST HUNT SHOWDOWN MATCH EVER | 1 V 4

In Hunt: Showdown, you and your team of hunters must find and kill monsters and collect the bounty. As if banishing demons wasn’t hard enough already, other teams of hunters will have their eyes on that treasure, too. The game is a teeter-totter of risk and reward, and you constantly have to decide whether a little fortune is worth permadeath. This looming threat as well as the moody atmosphere make every match tenser than the last.

the hunt showdown

Mutant madness: the monsters in Hunt are anything but human

the hunt showdown

Friendly fire: other hunters will be just as keen on that fortune as you

9. Far Cry 3

Far Cry 3: Free Roam Gameplay | Part 2

An island vacation turns into a rescue mission in Far Cry 3, when protagonist Jason’s friends are kidnapped by pirates. The tropical open world allows you to follow the main quest dutifully, or do some sidequests to buff yourself up. A crafting system allows you to create and upgrade weapons, using resources you gather yourself from the island. Sneaking around in the bushes and raiding pirate bases makes you feel like a part of the tribe, as Jason strays further from his humanity and has to decide whether he really wants to go back home.

far cry 3

One of these things is not like the others: this island’s got everything - a view of the ocean, palm trees, and big, big guns

far cry 3

The thrill of the kill: things get messy when Jason starts to enjoy his new hobby

8. Borderlands

Borderlands Gameplay HD (PC)

In Borderlands, you are a treasure hunter looking for the Vault, a high-security mountain-sized safe supposedly stuffed with untold fortune. Borderlands’ funky art style and snappy comedy are unmistakable. You’ll meet a Claptrap unit, a snarky robot who often accidentally leads you astray, as well as dozens of other colorful characters. Borderlands’ weapons are randomly generated, with a whopping 3,500,000 possible combinations, and can have effects like covering enemies in acid or setting them on fire. The vehicle joyrides are my favorite part - there’s nothing like speeding across the rolling desert and running over bandits before they even know you’re there.

borderlands

Right out of a cartoon: Borderlands’ art style is modern and unique

borderlands

Miss Moxxi: humor and wit are in no short supply in Borderlands’ campaign

7. Metro: Last Light

10 Minutes In The Swamp With Metro: Last Light

The events of Last Light take place in the year 2034, after a missile strike on the mysterious Dark Ones eradicates the nuclear mutants, except for one - a mere child. The protagonist decides to help her, believing she can help bridge the humans and the Dark Ones together. Last Light places emphasis on exploring. A dusty but attractive color palette and scarce music make for a tense and uncanny atmosphere. The in-depth story is the game’s opus, and the choices you make will affect the way it plays out. The monsters you fight are grotesque and unnerving, and shooting them down only puts you back in control for a moment before they just keep closing in.

metro last light

Welcome to the underground: Metro’s urban environment is hostile and uncertain

metro last light

Don’t go in there: Last Light ups the scare factor with brilliant ambience

6. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat

Stalker Call of Pripyat - Revisiting a PC Classic in 2017 (Max Settings)

Call of Pripyat finds you in the aftermath of Chernobyl, after the events of the first game in the series have left the previously quarantined Zone a free-for-all. You explore the irradiated wastes with a team of fellow stalkers, keeping an eye on your hunger, thirst, and radiation levels. The Zone’s inhabitants are split into several factions, which are all motivated towards their own causes and will react to you differently. You have to juggle all these outside threats while furthering your own purposes, and it makes for a challenging, rewarding campaign. You can even choose to stay in the Zone at the end to complete all the sidequests you missed and find all the game’s secrets and artifacts.

stalker call of pripyat

Heel, boy: there’s a reason this place was quarantined off

stalker call of pripyat

Advanced for its time: Call of Pripyat came out in 2009, and is considered a classic of PC FPS gaming

Top 5 Open World Survival Games

5. Conan Exiles

Conan Exiles Gameplay - The Black Keep Dungeon!

Conan Exiles takes place in the ruthless world of Conan the Barbarian. You have been exiled to the wasteland, plagued with sandstorms, monsters, and other exiles trying to survive. Build a base and protect it with spikes and traps. Craft armor and weapons out of natural resources, and top up your hunger by hunting wildlife. Capture NPCs and beasts with your thrall mechanic, and use their abilities to your advantage. You can also choose to follow a religion, whose god will grant you special abilities and tools, provided you worship them. Conan Exiles can turn into an all-out turf war, a friendly community, or an uncivilized wild - it depends completely on the players.

conan exiles

Warriors and warfare: Conan’s battles are large-scale and destructive

conan exiles

Fantasy come to life: the world of Conan the Barbarian is full of myths and monsters

4. RUST

NO BASE IS SAFE FROM US! (Rust)

Rust is a free-for-all survival game, and many gamers come away with some deep-rooted trust issues. The primary threat to your progression is other players, who will usually form clans that share a base and raid other clans’ bases for their supplies. You can build anywhere on the huge map. Walls can be placed to hide behind or to trap other players, adding a layer of depth to confrontations. Air drops will appear regularly, but going for them risks running into better-equipped players. Rust is a crazy rush for power, and being powerful puts just as big of a target on you as being weak does.

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The fabled air drop: air drops can contain supplies that’ll put you ahead of the game, but you probably aren’t the only one after them

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Players are king: you can do anything in Rust, be it helpful or hurtful

3. Unturned

Unturned Gameplay - Greece Map - New Camper

Unturned drops you in the heat of a zombie apocalypse, leaving you to fend for yourself. A crafting system allows you to salvage unwanted items for their base components, then craft them into healing items or armor. Combat is fast-paced and challenging, and you’re scrambling for health more often than not. There are wild animals you can hunt for food, and cooking them with other ingredients makes for more filling meals. Multiplayer gives you the opportunity to team up with your friends or attack other players for their gear. The game’s style draws inspiration from Roblox, and where it lacks in hyper-realistic graphics it easily makes up for in ease of access, loads of content, and a stressful, exciting experience.

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Survival of the fittest: raid towns for supplies and try to keep yourself alive

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Oh, the places you’ll go: Unturned has 15 different maps, all of which are scattered with settlements full of zombies

2. Starbound

Starbound - E09 - Finding Titanium! (1080p Gameplay / Walkthrough)

You’re a member of the Terrene Protectorate, an organization devoted to spreading peace throughout the cosmos. On the day of your graduation, the Ruin attacks and destroys Earth, and it’s up to you to defeat it before it engulfs the whole universe. Starbound has an insane 12 quadrillion planets in its universe, generated by an algorithm that determines the biomes, monsters, and even the gravity. You can explore planets on foot, or use your mech to investigate anomalies in open space. The game features crafting, building, a pet capture system, the ability to recruit crew for your spaceship, and hundreds of collectibles. It’s an endless romp through the infinity of space, and you’ll be blown away by just how much game there is.

starbound ship

Truly endless: whether you’re 5 hours or 500 hours into Starbound, you’ll find something new every time you play

starbound village

Village life: encounter villages with NPCs that can be recruited and traded with

1. ARK: Survival Evolved

ARK: Survival Evolved - DINOSAUR ISLAND SURVIVAL!! (ARK Ragnarok Gameplay)

Set in the age when dinosaurs ruled the Earth, Ark’s island overworld is teeming with prehistoric predators and ancient mysteries. Dinosaurs can be killed for materials, ridden as mounts, or tamed as pets. All the creatures in the game are part of a larger ecosystem, and have their own lives outside the player’s influence. Crafting and building allow for the construction of shelters, but thatch isn’t always enough to stop a brontosaurus’s massive foot. Treading carefully is key to blending into the herd of Mesozoic monsters.

ark survival evolved

I’ll turn you into fossil fuel: Ark’s dinosaurs are menacing and stunning, and killing them isn’t easy

ark survival evolved

How to Train Your Pterodactyl: larger dinosaurs are often tameable, changing the way the game is played

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Emory has been described by witnesses as a short young man in a cheap costume cloak, carrying a replica sword and picking up pretty stones just in case they're magic.
Gamer Since: 2003
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Moonlighter
Top 3 Favorite Games:Little Inferno, Portal 2, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
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