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There’s no going in a straight line in these sandboxes. Welcome to Watchmojo.com and today we are counting down the top ten open world games. For this list we are focusing on games that let you explore with few boundaries and limitations, while maintaining a smooth gameplay experience.
Note: This list only encompasses games that came out before May 21, 2014.
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#10: "Batman Arkham City" (2011)
When you make a Batman game, people naturally have high expectations. Expanding upon the linear design of Arkham Asylum, Arkham City has you gliding and zip lining across rooftops in an way that really makes you feel like Batman. While it may be a bit small and a little drab, Arkham City is packed so full of Dark Knight lore that you’d have to spend hours to discover it all, let alone understand it.
#9: "Fallout 3" (2008)
Even though the entire Fallout series is more than qualified to be on this list as it's own entry, it is the third installment of the game that truly enraptures what open world games are all about. While the 3rd entry basically maintains the macabre beauty set up in the first 2, being able explore the wasteland from the ground up is truly the way to go. Amidst the ruins Washington DC you’ll find an endless adventure where the often bleak landscape is absolutely peppered with harrowing encounters and grim discoveries.
#8: "Saints Row 4" (2013)
While this game has not had the same amount of success as its GTA counterpart, there is no doubt that the Saints Row series has given us some great games. Though Saints Row 2 and 3 gave us a truly great open world atmosphere, the fourth installment brought us a crazy alien invasion story line, superpower, and a freaking gun that shoots Dubstep. It may have started life as DLC for the 3rd game, but being able to trash that city with superhero powers is way too satisfying to care about that.
#7: "Far Cry 3" (2012)
Blending the FPS and Open World game genres is no easy task, however the third entry in the Far Cry series showed us that it can be done. Receiving wide spread critical acclaim, Far Cry 3 did not have to sacrifice it’s open world freedom in order to deliver a compelling narrative. This game also gets bonus points for the stand alone expansion "Blood Dragon," which sounded the jungle in neon fueled 80s camp.
#6: "Just Cause 2" (2008)
One of the more action packed games on our list, Just Cause 2 has tons of open world violence to enjoy. And at 400 square miles across, Just Cause 2 has the largest pre-made map on this list. And the game's infamous Grappling Hook that lets you latch onto anything, all while giving the middle finger to gravity. Who would have thought that the best mode of transportation involved you getting yanked by your arm for miles on end.
#5: "Assassins Creed: Black Flag" (2013)
The Assassins Creed series as a whole is known for huge environments to explore, and Black Flag took it even further by giving you your own ship to sail around the Caribbean, and pirating any ship you feel like. Staggeringly huge, there’s simply no end to the towns, desert islands, and turquoise waters over which you can explore, stab, and plunder.
#4: "Red Dead Redemption" (2010)
Rockstar seems to have a knack for making open world games that go above and beyond the norm. Contrary to the beliefs of many, this game is not just a GTA game set in the old west. Focusing on John Marston, a former outlaw who trying reunite with his family by doing the government’s dirty work. He has to deal with con-men, Mexican Revolutionists, and his former gang, which in turn leads to one of the most critically acclaimed games ever. Even those not thrilled by the dusty setting have to be impressed by the teaming amounts of oozing from ever corner of this epic.
#3: "Minecraft" (2011)
You would be hard pressed to find a gamer who does not know about this wildly popular low-res block laying game. Comprised of almost endless worlds that are randomly generated for each player, where its tranquil by day, and dangerous at night. And as a result, Minecraft has an encyclopedic amount of details and systems at play. With no distinct goal, exploring and building in Minecraft becomes a strangely addictive and often existential experience that you have to try to understand.
#2: "Elder Scrolls: Skyrim" (2011)
Few games truly give you the hands off freedom right off the bat that the Elder Scrolls series can offer. Peerless in the realm of RPGs, any shortcoming that Skyrim has in narrative storytelling is absolutely eclipsed by the sheer volume of content packed into its stunning landscapes. Go the top of any mountain you see, enter every building, explore every cave and dungeon. Better bring protection though, it’s dangerous out there.
Before we reveal our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Spider-Man 2 (2004)
- Prototype (2009)
- Infamous 2 (2011)
- Borderlands 2 (2012)
#1: "GTA V" (2013)
While pretty much any GTA game is eligible for the top spot with San Andreas also being considered, GTA 5 was the fastest selling game in the series history, and with good reason. Though players had been to Los Santos before, it had grown up a lot in their absence. Teaming with interesting characters and innumerable distractions, the macro detail of the map is only rivaled by the micro detail at every turn. While all the rest of the open world games gave you enormous sandboxes to explore, The attention to detail makes this game’s city feel truly alive.
Do you agree with out list? What game makes you think outside the box? Subscribe to Watchmojo.com for more entertaining top tens published every day.