This is a time when open world games are at their best, with huge worlds of exploration and player choice where we can make our own stories. While there are stories, quests, missions, and goals, players can work on them at their own pace and finish them at their own pace. The best open world games let you do what you want. Whether they’re fantasy kingdoms, simulated galaxies, modern cities, or post-apocalyptic wastelands, the best games let you be yourself. It’s important to let players choose their own paths and make sure their adventures are both interesting and rewarding.
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We’ve put together a list of the best PC open-world games.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Valhalla would be better than Odyssey even if it didn’t have the series’ trademark stealth, a simple loot system, or a beautiful 800s-style England. But Valhalla’s surprises, especially the ones that happen in the open world, make it even better than it already is. This is a huge, moody world, and Valhalla has a few more in the works. If you want to know what we mean, you’ll have to play the game to find out. Just know that this game is bigger than it looks. Ubisoft also fills all that space with meaningful encounters, which range from silly to sad. Some of these little characters will stay with us longer than the big ones on the box art. There’s no doubt about it: Female Eivor is the best in the world!
Steven says it all in his review “Most of what you’ll find is new equipment and treasure that you can take back to your home or use to make your game better. I also found hidden caves with challenging puzzles, secret boss fights, and weird little one-off quests that are often bizarre and sometimes funny. There was a Viking who didn’t know that an axe was stuck in his head. He asked me what to do, so I said I’d take it off for him. He died right away. That’s all. I think the quest is done.”
First game after leaving Konami: Death Stranding is set in a post-death world where the idea of an afterlife has been blown apart. During your time as Sam Porter Bridges, you’re going to try to rebuild America by walking across the country to connect cities, preppers, and way stations to the Time Internet. It doesn’t make sense, but that’s fine. Death Stranding is first and foremost a mood piece, but it’s also a great hiking and delivery game that’s also very fun to play, too.
In his review, Andy Kelly says it very well: “Some jobs look like they’re impossible. When you’re at the base of a mountain, you wonder how you’ll ever get over it. The snow is whipping at the tops, and the fragile cargo is stuck to your suit all over. But you keep going, one step at a time, carefully setting up ladders and climbing ropes as you get closer to your goal. It’s possible to slip into Metal Gear mode and sneak past BTs, or deal with extreme weather that makes you feel dizzy. There is a chance that terrorists will knock you out and take your cargo. You will then have to sneak into their camp and get it back. So, after all that, you make it, and it’s so great.”
Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar’s open-world game Red Dead Redemption 2 has finally come to the PC. It’s a huge tribute to the dying American frontier. RDR2 has a lot of little things that make the world feel real, like animal corpses that keep decaying, Arthur’s commentary for almost every place and person, and random events that make the world feel alive, like sucking on a man’s snakebite wound or getting ambushed by hillbillies.
If you want to get through the whole Deadwood series in a hurry, you’ll have to spend as long as the whole thing. And on top of that, Red Dead Online adds a DayZ-like quality to the open world, which makes it possible to do everything from serious roleplay to silly, surreal things. As a bonus, it’s also one of the most beautiful games you can play on your computer today. With the mods coming in so quickly, RDR2 is going to be a game we talk about for years and years.
Subnautica has one of the most beautiful, terrifying, and striking open worlds in PC gaming because of its huge ocean environment and many different underwater biomes. Games are rarely, and literally, so beautiful.
This is how reviewer Phillipa explains her excitement: “Lighting and art work together to make each biome seem like a unique underwater creation that is both alien and familiar. I love how this is shown in the game. I love following the animals, even the ones that aren’t so nice. I’ll happily crawl through a labyrinthine cave system without remembering to lay out glowing markers so I can get out when I need to.”
The simulation isn’t very in-depth, but Subnautica is best known for how it makes it look like there is an ecosystem. They eat each other. Their physical and behavioural traits make sense for where you find them. As it turns out, most of them look good against dark blue water. This isn’t a bad thing. Between all the exploration you do because you are naturally curious, a story just kind of comes to you on its own. A good sci-fi mystery would be ruined if I said anything more about it now.
Grand Theft Auto 5
This is what money is used for: making a fake version of a real-world place that’s so good at capturing the atmosphere and details that it’s better than being there in real life itself. Los Santos is the result of the careful attention Rockstar paid to Liberty City in GTA 4, but it’s bigger than the city in GTA 4. The result is an open world that can only be bettered by Rockstar itself. In addition to GTA 5’s strong campaign and GTA Online, there are more than 100 hours of chases and gunfights across land, air, and sea for those who want to play them here, too!
GTA 5 cheats and the best GTA 5 mods can even make GTA 5’s open world playground more to your liking.
Assassin’s Creed Origins
It is one of the best worlds in the whole series and one of the most beautiful places in any open world game ever. They loved how lively Ubisoft’s take on Ancient Egypt was even though the game was so big. This is what Chris thought about the game.
“People, farmers, workers, and soldiers are all in the cities and small towns. Some of the wildlife is dangerous, but you can eventually learn to get along with it. There are dangerous crocodiles and hippos lurking in the Nile, as well as lions, hippos, leopards, and birds that fly away when you pass by on horseback.”
There’s gold in those hills, too. At the end of almost 35 hours of play, Chris had only seen a small portion of the map. This meant there were entire quests and characters and communities that he hadn’t even seen. Assassin’s Creed: Origins shows that Ubisoft can keep people interested in a long-running series by making it look good and not just by adding more features on the back of the box. If you want to go to Ancient Egypt but don’t want to kill anyone, a free mode called educational tourism has been added.
An RPG called Elden Ring is a great example of how to make a hardcore action RPG game that looks a lot like Souls. One reason Elden Ring has been so popular is because it now has a much more free-form open world. This means the player can go where they want and do what they want to do in any order they want. The critically acclaimed ARPG also manages to stay away from the typical gameplay of other games in the genre, like Assassin’s Creed or The Witcher. Instead, it has its own unique blend of challenging gameplay and free-form game design. Take a look at our Elden Ring review to find out what we thought of this open-world video game.
Even if you’re not a fan of Dark Souls, this is a good place to start. To help you get a head start, we’ve got guides to all the Elden Ring bosses and multiplayer, as well as the Ashes of War locations.
Halo Infinite has done a very good job of moving from a closed world to an open world that brings out the best of Halo: Combat Evolved’s previous glory, but also gives veteran players a new way to play. You can move around Zeta Halo in ways we haven’t seen before, giving you more tactical options and making it possible to explore this beautiful space.
Infinite has new collectibles, but they’re not very common and many are marked on the in-game map. There are only a few skulls you’ll have to look for, and they’re all in Halo games. As soon as Halo Infinite’s multiplayer and the Halo Forge are ready, you can play them. Check out our Halo Infinite review to learn more about the video game.