The open world game craze has taken the world by storm, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. Starting with Grand Theft Auto III back in 2003, the gaming community fell in love with the mantra of ‘go anywhere; do anything,’ and developers around the world starting cranking out open world games at a breakneck pace. These games not only revolutionized the gaming landscape, but created some of the most critical acclaimed, and commercially successful, titles in gaming history.
Today, open world games have come a long way since their explosive origins. Modern open world titles incorporate bigger maps, more side quests, more activities and side games, and tell complex, intricate tales over dozens or hundreds of hours. The community for these games is also vast, with gamers banding together to solve challenging puzzles, discuss lore and story theories, offer tips and tricks for crafting the best gear, or defeating the especially difficult bosses. It truly is a great time to be an open world gamer, and there’s ample opportunity for you to join this sprawling community through online forums, Youtube channels, a blog network, or even a blog you register for yourself.
If you’re new to open world games, or have had a small taste and are craving more, here are the three best open world games you can play on current gen consoles.
1) Red Dead Redemption II
The newest title on this list, and also one of the best, Red Dead Redemption II is a prequel to the critically acclaimed and mega bestselling original from 2010. The game follows Arthur Morgan, a veteran and key member of the Dutch van der Linde Gang, a notorious gang of outlaws who have gained a reputation for robbing, stealing, and threatening any who stand in their way, as they seek freedom in the dying days of the Wild West. After a botched robbery on a riverboat, the gang flees east, trying to escape the law, and the society that’s eating up the frontier, as they go.
Everything Red Dead Redemption did well on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2010, Red Dead Redemption II does better on current gen. The gunplay, key to any game about outlaws in the Old West, has been refined, and is incredibly fun, engaging, and challenging. Arthur can explore an immense frontier, or travel to numerous towns and homesteads, on foot, or via horseback, train, or stagecoach.
In addition, there’s plenty to do, as Arthur can hunt wildlife for pelts, crafting items, and meat to either sell, sustain himself, or donate to the gang’s camp, which will open up unique items and more resources. As an outlaw, Arthur can also interact with any character in the gameworld, and rob individuals, stage coaches, businesses and trains. There’s a wealth of main storyline and sidequest content, ranging from the heartbreaking to the downright absurd, and each feels incredibly unique.
With Red Dead Redemption II, you’ll never lack for things to do as you enjoy an emotional, action packed story that explores morality, the cost of violence, friendship, and what happens when the world changes, but you can’t change with it. Saddle up, partner.
2) The Witcher III: Wild Hunt
Hailed as not only the best of the trilogy, but regarded as one of the best video games ever made, The Witcher III serves as the final entry (for now) in the saga of Geralt of Rivia, a seasoned and legendary Witcher, a type of genetically mutated monster hunter, as he traverses a land rife with conflict, searching for his protege and adopted daughter, Ciri. Ciri fled several years before the game begins, desperate to escape The Wild Hunt, a band of phantom warriors from another dimension, who relentlessly pursue any prey they set their sites on, and once took Geralt’s lover, the sorceress Yennefer.
Capitalizing on everything that has made CD Projekt Red’s gaming series the massive hit it’s been, The Witcher III takes those ingredients and makes them bigger, better, and more beautiful than ever. With upwards of 100 hours just for the main storyline alone, you’ll enjoy a sweeping epic, while engaging vicious, hideous monsters, and unsavory humans, as you seek your lost adopted daughter. As a Witcher, Geralt can craft potions that will enhance his super human abilities, forge new weapons and armor, and accept contracts to slay monsters who terrorize the countryside and towns.
The game world is massive, one of the biggest in all of gaming, and you can explore every single nook and cranny on horseback, on foot, or by boat. There’s a host of incredibly fun side content, including the in game collectible card game, Gwent (which now has its own spin off game). With the Witcher III, you can close the chapter on one of gaming’s most epic series, while you explore a world that showcases the best of everything that open world games offer.
3) Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands
The latest entry in the Ghost Recon franchise of tactical military shooters, and the first open world game in the series, Wildlands sticks to the core of what makes the franchise so renowned, and gives you an even bigger world, and more tactical options, to explore. As the Ghosts, a covert, Tier I military Special Operations Unit, you and three elite operators are deployed to Bolivia, where the Santa Blanca drug cartel has been terrorizing the population, and distributing massive amounts of cocaine to the U.S. and around the world. After a bombing at the U.S. embassy in La Paz, and the execution of an undercover CIA agent by the cartel, the Ghosts are assigned as part of Operation Kingslayer, and given a single mission objective: eliminate the cartel, by whatever means necessary.
What those means entail is entirely up to you. With dozens of different firearms, from assault rifles and machine guns, to pistols and sniper rifles, as well as a host of gadgets, including a drone with built in camera and EMP, as well as explosive and smoke grenades, night vision, thermal vision, and more, you’ve got plenty of tools to get the job done. As you explore Ubisoft’s massive, fictional recreation of Bolivia by boat, car, dirt bike, ATV, helicopter, or plane, you’ll be given a wealth of tactical options that allow you to complete your objectives in any way you see fit.
Silent type? Sneak in on foot, with suppressed weapons, and eliminate ‘tangos’ quietly with the series’ signature Sync Shot. Go big or go home kind of player? Parachute (yes, you have a parachute) from a helicopter or plane with a machine gun, and mow down the cartel members before they even know what hit them. It’s entirely up to you, and Wildlands is an absolute blast no matter how you play.