If I were to pick my favorite genre of video games, then it’s got to be the open world games. I am sure I am not the only one who likes to get lost in the vastness of the world that an open world has to offer. I say that because the genre of open world games has exploded over the years. From simulated galaxies to post-apocalyptic wastelands, there are a ton of games out there waiting to be explored. 2020 is a great year for those who are looking to dip their toes and get a taste of open world games. Well, we’ve spent an inordinate amount of time playing a bunch of games to bring you a list of the 22 best open world games you can play in 2020.
Best Open World Games for PC in 2020
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- The Witcher 3
- Grand Theft Auto V
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
- Forza Horizon 4
- Batman: Arkham Knight
- Far Cry 5
- Just Cause 4
- Watch Dogs 2
- Middle Earth: Shadow of War
- Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
- Fallout: New Vegas
- Saints Row IV
- Dragon Age: Inquisition
- Mad Max
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
- No Man’s Sky
- Elite: Dangerous
- Death Stranding
- Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
What Is and Open World Game?
An open-world game is a game that offers a vast virtual world in the game that players are free to explore. They are also known as Roam games, and they are free of level-based gameplay. Players are free to explore the world and continue the main storyline at their pace. You can spend hundreds of hours doing nothing but traversing the world or doing side missions. The main idea is to provide players with autonomy as to how they want to approach the game.
1. Red Dead Redemption 2
When it comes to open world games, Red Dead Redemption 2 is the gold standard which most other games aspire to surpass. The game tells the story of Arthur Morgan, a gunslinger surviving the Wild West sometime in 1899. Your character is the part of a gang and the game starts with you and your gang trying to escape “Blackwater” after a heist. What follows is a story of epic proportion which will take countless hours to finish.
It is one of the longest I have ever played and still I was left wanting for more when it finished. Talking about the game, it features incredibly detailed and expansive world. From the shores of Blackwater to Horseshoe Overlook’s beautiful mountains, everything is exquisite, as if painted by hand.
I played the game in 4K and every little detail of the world was just popping out of the screen. It is the best cinematic experience I have ever had while playing a game. Another great thing about this game is that it wants you to take part in little things like talking to strangers, grooming your character, accessorizing your horse and more.
For example, if you don’t take care of your character he will grow beard, get a little chubby which will force you to get your character in shape. While it might seem pointless on the paper, when you are playing the game, these little nuances stand out and make the game feel more real. If you are looking to play an open world game, there is a high chance that this is the best one on the market right now.
Buy Red Dead Redemption 2 ($39.99)
If not ‘the most’ then at least one of the most famous games ever, Minecraft is a game that everyone has heard of. Showcasing a simple 8-bit graphic style, Minecraft actually has much more to it. It unleashes the creativity of one’s mind like no-one else. What sets this game apart from the crowd is just how simple, yet addictive this game is.
The objective is to continuously build the world around you, and fight off against monstrous enemies. While most open-world games focus on the concept of simply interacting with the world around you, Minecraft rather allows you to build the world around you to suit your liking.
Random features as rivers, caves, waterfalls, and ravines thread this world. Herds of friendly, blocky animals graze happily here and there: pigs, sheep, cows, and chickens all provide useful products when slaughtered, and they can even be kept and bred.
Download Minecraft ($29.99)
3. The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3 is a product of Projekt RED’s superb development and EA’s financing. It is also one of the most intensive open-world ever made. The Witcher 3 is as dense and deep as the other two games in the series in terms of RPG mechanics, and the overwhelmingly massive open-world environment has at once made that depth more intimidating, and in the long run, more rewarding.
You are a Witcher, a warrior who has been trained to fight since childhood, subjected to mutations and trials that have transformed you. You interact with the world around you, exploring on quests and hunts, solving side-missions and getting lost in the countless hours of gameplay.
Witcher 3 is a game that takes everything from the games you love from The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings, Skyrim, The Legend of Zelda from Ocarina of Time to Twilight Princess and Red Dead Redemption. The Witcher 3 is the most awarded game of all time, and in my opinion, one of the best games to truly flaunt the open-world style.
Download The Witcher 3 ($39.99)
4. Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto V, the latest addition to the GTA franchise, is the fourth-most best selling game of all time. Rockstar Games’ crown jewel, the entire Grand Theft Auto series has been widely accredited for its superb storyline with an interactive open world gameplay. And GTA V has been their best product ever, driving through not just one, but three different players and their cross-over storyline.
Grand Theft Auto V is an intelligent, wickedly comic, and bitingly relevant commentary on contemporary, post-economic crisis America. The more time you play, the more you realize what a large and intensely detailed creation Los Santos is, and just how much is packed into the surrounding Blaine County.
You can literally spend hours and hours playing the game without even doing any mission (or side missions either) and yet enjoy, with the level of interactiveness the open world has put on this game. Add to that the massive online multiplayer gameplay, and you’ll never want to leave this game. Oh, and how can one forget about the amazing mods for this beautiful game that will take your experience to new heights. Grand Theft Auto is, in many ways, the complete package to satisfy almost all of your gaming desires.
Download Grand Theft Auto V ($29.99)
5. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Elder Scrolls series has been at the top of the RPG scene for a very long time, and rightly so, with the game providing a perfect balance between narration, story, and gameplay. Compared to the legacy Elder Scrolls, in Skyrim, there’s no more moon-hopping between hilltops with a maxed out Acrobatics skill or Athletics. The Elder Scrolls V pairs down a number of skills and cuts out attributes like Endurance and Intelligence altogether.
While Skyrim hasn’t got the best narrative of any RPG, the best combat, the best magic system or even the best graphics, but it does have one of the biggest, richest and most completely immersive worlds you’ve ever seen. The open world environment of this game is truly something to be experienced first hand.
You can perform a quest, kill a dragon, snatch torch bugs from the air, munch on butterfly wings or simply wander while listening to one of the best game soundtracks. With the enormity of the world and the colossal amount of content contained within it, everything around seems to have a meaning of its own.
Download The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim ($39.99)
6. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
Konami might be the studio behind it, but Metal Gear Solid is the real hard work and brainchild of Hideo Kojima, one of the most talented game designers of our generation. Metal Gear is one of the best-selling and most beloved games of all times, especially in the action-adventure genre. The game is a perfect mixture of strategy along with intensive gameplay.
The story revolves around the game’s protagonist – Solid Snake. Metal Gear Solid V can be best described in the developer’s own words – “Tactical Espionage Excellence”. While everything in the game is something you can relate to the previous generations as well, the open world gameplay of The Phantom Pain really captivates the user’s attention to the core.
While the free-roam is still somewhat limited in this game, the ability to approach your enemies and go about solving your missions with the variety of options is Metal Gear’s way of bridging the gap between linear and open world games. Metal Gear Solid V is truly overwhelming in terms of the freedom its open world affords and the number of concepts it expects you to grasp.
Download Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain ($19.99)
7. Forza Horizon 4
Forza Horizon 3 was already a great open-world racing game. However, Forza Horizon 4 is an even better title as it takes everything that was good about Forza Horizon 3 and makes it better. This is currently the latest entry in the “Forza” series and it is set in the land of the UK.
Much like the other games in the series, Forza Horizon 4 is all about racing with your peers, pulling stunts and just enjoy the open road, really. As a player, you’ll have the opportunity to buy in-game houses which unlock new items, cars, and game-play perks. The game also features a dynamic weather system that also depicts the change of seasons. The developers have also announced plans for two chapters of downloadable content for the game, so it’s never too late to pick up this title.
Download Forza Horizon 4 ($59.99)
8. Batman: Arkham Knight
The Batman: Arkham series really raised the bars for superhero action games, and it is one series that really brought out the feel of taking control of the caped crusader. While there have been a lot of great Batman games, Batman: Arkham Knight is probably the best of the lot that gave users a complete mix of a great storyline, impressive gameplay and a truly interactive (and destructible) open world environment.
In the Knight version, your main enemy is, as the title suggests, The Arkham Knight. You face off the many goons and boss enemies in the city until finally defeating the Knight and encountering Batman’s other enemy – Scarecrow. The Batman: Arkham Knight is also the only game in the entire series to allow the players to even make use of the Batmobile, and explore the city.
While the map is comparatively smaller as compared to the other games on this list, the overall gameplay combined with the storyline, and the backdrop of being able to live out your fantasy of being Batman is what makes this game a must recommend.
Download Batman: Arkham Knight ($19.99)
9. Far Cry 5
Ubisoft’s Far Cry is also a franchise that needs no introduction, does it? If you thought Far Cary 3 and 4 were insane titles, then wait till you play Far Cry 5. The game takes place in Hope County, a fictional region of Montana, United States. The main story itself revolves around the Project at Eden’s Gate, a cult that rules the land under the guise of its charismatic leader named Joseph Seed.
Much like any other Far Cry game, your objective is to meet new people and progress through the story. That, however, is just optional. You can go out and explore the world which has a lot of experiences to offer by itself. From hunting to fishing, Far Cry 5 is beautifully designed game that will keep you occupied for a long time. A new Far Cry game called Far Cry: New Dawn is about to release (at the time of writing this), so be sure to grab Far Cry 5 getting getting your hands on the new title.
Download Far Cry 5 ($59.99)
10. Just Cause 4
Ever since Just Cause 2 raised the bar of chaotic entertainment titles, it’s been an uphill road for the franchise. Much like the other titles in the series, Just Cause 4 also builds upon the concept of causing chaos everywhere. The game’s main protagonist Rico is just as awesome as he was before. In fact, he takes the iconic Just Cause action to insane new heights.
As always, Just Cause 4 includes everything from Wingsuit to an exotic set of weapons. You also get to enjoy a vast open-world location that spans across 1024 square kilometres. From rural grasslands to bustling cities, Just Cause 4 has a lot going for it.
Download Just Cause 4 ($29.99)
11. Watch Dogs 2
Watch Dogs was a game who’s concept was loved by everyone, but the overall gameplay had its debates. The sequel, Watch Dogs 2, can be considered an expansive form of the initial project with improved gameplay and new features, which most people, including me, consider a step in the right direction.
By expanding on a lot of what the first game and its expansion got right and mixing action, stealth, and puzzle gameplay with handy remote-control drones, Watch Dogs 2 impresses with open mission designs with multiple ways to reach your objective and some great toys to find them with.
The main outline of this game is that you’re part of a hacker group DedSec, and you wage your war against the tech giants that steal the innocent citizens’ data and breach their privacy (Probably what the Anonymous group does in real life?). Watch Dogs 2 is as much as a stealth game as it may be an action game, but more so, the open world opens countless opportunities for you to interact with your enemies.
If you ever get bored of the missions (which might be hard considering the storyline is superb), the open world allows free roam with handy gadgets at your disposal to keep you entertained for hours. Giving you the feel of being a hacker, it just might feel like playing GTA with cheats enabled throughout.
Download Watch Dogs 2 ($49.99)
12. Middle Earth: Shadow of War
Middle Earth: Shadow of War is the sequel to highly popular game Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. Based on the popular epic fantasy Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, the game takes you back to the Middle Earth, which is the fantasy land the books are based on. In this game, you will go behind enemy lines and forge your army to dominate the Mordor from inside.
The game features an improved nemesis system where not only you but also your opponents grow in rank and challenge you to battle in different parts of the game. The nemesis system is quite ingenious and not seen in any other game.
This gives you a unique experience, one which you are going to enjoy. In the game you will forge a new ring of power to confront the full power of the Dark Lord Sauron and his Ringwraiths in this epic new story of Middle-earth. If you love Lord of the Rings, this is a must play game for you.
Download Middle Earth: Shadow of War ($49.99)
13. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
Every year, Ubisoft Games comes up with a new game in the Assassin’s Creed franchise and raises the bar of the open world titles. However, the studio has confirmed that there won’t be any new Assassin’s Creed game in 2019. But thankfully, the Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a really good title, which is just as fresh as it was back when it launched.
The Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, just like the other games in the franchise, has an addictive storyline and character build up to go with it. One of the highlights of the game is that it introduces a new dialogue system, which gives you an opportunity to explore additional storylines and unlock side missions. Besides that the Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has a lot more to offer, so be sure to check it out.
Download Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey ($59.99)
14. Fallout: New Vegas
Yes, the Fallout 4 is here and is easily shaping up to be one of the best in the series, with all credit going mainly to the modding community. That being said, Fallout: New Vegas is, in every aspect of the game, the best title of the series so far. Back in 2008, Fallout 3 was launched which was regarded as the best open-world game of its time. Two years later came its successor, the New Vegas, and the standards were raised so high that no other game of the series could even match them.
The central story is that you’re following the trail of the man who shot you, as it snakes across the Mojave through the major urban areas, drip-feeding you tasks that vary from sorting out a town’s escaped prisoner problem to a ghoul infestation with a brilliantly over the top ending.
The great thing about the open world of New Vegas is that there are practically no limits to your exploring instincts. There’s almost an overwhelming amount of places to find and every time you turn around someone will be there wanting your help. Just when you think you’ve explored every nook and cranny of an area, you’ll realize that there are underground sewers to brave or some other previously undiscovered sector.
There are times when I literally forgot about the storyline and was too engrossed in exploring the barren lands, satisfying the inner craving for adventure that is attained on probing around the world. If the open world gameplay of Fallout is something that appeals to you, then take my word for it and play New Vegas – it is indeed the best of the lot.
Download Fallout: New Vegas ($9.99)
15. Saints Row IV
Remember how I referred to Watch Dogs 2 as GTA with cheats of a hacker? Well, Saints Row is an entirely out of this world version of Grand Theft Auto. The Saints Row series combines elements of action, adventure, and vehicular gameplay. The player can freely roam the virtual open world on foot or by use of vehicles and make use of an array of weapon and mêlée based combat, but what sets it apart from the other games in this sandbox genre is the inclusion of crazy superpowers, that leave you untouchable.
Like Saints Row the Third, Saints Row IV is set in the city of Steelport. The game starts with an alien attack on Earth, takes you through an infiltration of a terrorist base to find a nuclear missile. The missile explodes, you fall to earth, and manage to crash through the ceiling of the oval office.
In the beginning, Saints Row 4 is very much the same parody-packed third-person action game as its predecessors. Your objectives vary as multiple aspects of the storyline are unlocked, but what keeps the gamer engrossed for hours is not the story line, rather the utterly hilarious comedy of the characters and the gameplay.
Saints Row was born out of Grand Theft Auto, but while the latter focuses on providing a movie like experience, the former focuses more on the crazy, stupid and literally nonsensical gaming culture that people prefer to opt for the sake of entertainment.
Download Saints Row IV ($14.99)
16. Dragon Age: Inquisition
One of the best games that you can purchase on Origin, Dragon Age: Inquisition is one of the best role-playing games ever made. While the entire Dragon Age series is great, Inquisition is a phenomenal sequel to its predecessors and lives up to the fame that was accredited to it even before the launch. The Dragon Age series focuses on the continent of Thedas and tells stories spanning multiple nations and various time periods.
In Dragon Age: Inquisition, you are the Inquisitor, tasked with saving the world from itself. For all its large, free-roaming areas, each one littered with numerous missions and objectives, Inquisition is primarily a game of collecting party members and forging alliances in order to combat a monstrous evil.
It’s a surprisingly huge, dense world, and despite spending hours and hours on the game, you will find yourself still discovering new and untravelled lands. Despite its less than compelling plot, you would be internally compelled to go back to explore and fight through every nook and cranny of Dragon Age: Inquisition, and be lost in the wilds of the beautiful atmosphere of the Dragon Age.
Download Dragon Age: Inquisition ($19.99)
17. Mad Max
Remember the old Mad Max movies that we watched while growing up? It was a dream come true when we got to take control of Max, driving around in his Magnum Opus, while ruthlessly destroying enemies in our path, when in 2015, Avalanche Studios finally released the long awaited Mad Max video game.
The game became an instant hit, launched alongside the next addition to the Mad Max movie series – Mad Max: Fury Road. At its core, Mad Max isn’t about the survival of the fittest or the strongest, but instead, the most ruthless.
Mad Max is based on the concept of death of hope. Mad Max is a post-apocalyptic action-adventure game emphasizing vehicular combat, in which the player is the eponymous Mad Max. Up to 60 percent of the game focuses on driving, in which some weapons and tools such as flamethrowers and turbo boosts, are mounted directly onto the Magnum Opus.
While others, such as a grappling hook and sniper rifle, are used in conjunction with the vehicle by Chumbucket, Max’s assistant, or Max himself. Max’s Magnum Opus, with its V8 engine and powerful ramming ability, can destroy enemies’ vehicles and weaponry.
Mad Max opens with Max jamming a chainsaw into the skull of local gang leader Scabrous Scrotus. No sooner has he accomplished this feat than his car is stolen, leaving him alone to try to survive in the harsh wasteland of a post-apocalyptic world where every major body of water has dried up.
While having a stand-alone story with no strong connection to any of the four films, the game manages to capture the user’s attention and keep him engrossed for hours of gameplay, exploring the barren lost lands in search of water and other means of survival. While the concept of a wasteland might be a reminiscence of the Fallout series, it takes you the bare minimum amount of time to quickly realize how different and unique the open world interaction of this game is.
Download Mad Max ($19.99)
18. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
The oldest game on this list, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl still manages to give a strong competition to most of the open world games of this generation. The idea of fusing first-person shooter mechanics with an open world is a tantalizing one, and it is something that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. manages to pull off in great fashion. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. takes place in an area called “The Zone”, which is based on the real-life Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, where the tragic 1986 Chernobyl disaster took place, and partly on the settings of the source novel and film.
The game starts with your character, known as the Marked One tumbling off a death truck on the outskirts of The Zone. You meet up with a man named Sidorovich, who hands out your first tasks and introduces the fiction of the environment. As the journey progresses, you’ll move through the game’s various self-contained zones that together make up The Zone, from the relatively placid Cordon to the war-wracked Army Warehouses, Pripyat, and finally the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant itself, from which all things sinister seem to emanate.
The storyline of this game is filled with engaging experiences and a gripping twists and turns in gameplay. And while the environment may appeal linear at first, stepping aside from the main storyline and onto the side quests really lets you explore the open world elements of the game. The excellent gun battles, a fairly new ambiance, and an intriguing storyline make the Shadow of Chernobyl a fascinating achievement.
Download S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl ($5.99)
19. No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky is an action-adventure open-world survival game by the indie studio Hello Games. The game quickly gained popularity due to its open world experience. It’s tough to comprehend what the game has to offer without actually playing it as there’s an entire galaxy waiting to be explored.
No Man’s Sky has a vast story mode with more than 30 hours of story. If that’s not your thing then you can simply explore the galaxies with your friends to explore, trade, fight and survive together. No Man’s Sky is also one of those games which are growing over time thanks to the development team and all the free upgrades.
Download No Man’s Sky ($29.99)
20. Elite: Dangerous
Elite: Dangerous is a game for anyone who grew up looking up the stars, watching Star Trek or some variation thereof with their parents, and dreamt of being an astronaut and exploring the distant skies, or even galaxies. It’s one of the most enthralling and evocative space combat and trade sim games ever made.
To call it an open world Star Trek game would be misleading though, but it does share the general concept of driving around to figure out what could be out there in the endless cosmos waiting to be discovered.
Starting with 1984’s success story Elite, and proceeding with Frontier: Elite II and Elite III, came the highly awaited Elite: Dangerous in the fall of 2014. Easily one of the best space explorer games, Elite: Dangerous is currently set in the year 3303 and has been running in sync with UTC +1286 years, around 45 years after Frontier: First Encounters (Elite III), the previous game in the series.
Elite: Dangerous retains the basic premise of previous games – players start with a spaceship and a small amount of money and have to make their own way in an open galaxy, furthering themselves either legally or illegally, through trading, mining, bounty hunting, piracy, and assassination.
Elite has an enormous open world which is basically the entire universe, and while the recently launched indie game No Man’s Sky does allow the users to explore the universe as well, the concept of Elite: Dangerous is completely different and in its own ways mesmerizing.
Download Elite: Dangerous ($29.99)
21. Death Stranding
Apart from Last of Us Part II, if there’s one game that got the ire of the gaming community only to redeem itself as the time passed is Death Stranding. Create by Hideo Kojima, Death Stranding is a post-apocalyptic cargo delivery SIM that will test your patience. But if you don’t give up and keep on playing the game, it will be rewarding at the end.
The story of the game is weird, mind-bending, and satisfying. The game is open-world in every sense of the way. You play as Sam Porter Bridges (portrayed by The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus), whose mission is to connect the entire breadth of North America to the Chiral Network.
In the game, you will spend the majority of your time, on the open plains and hills, walking and delivering the cargo. The game feels like a brilliant open-world hiking simulator, and I loved every moment of it.
The only thing that’s bad about the game is the bugs. When I played the game at launch, there were too many bugs that pull me off of the game. Hopefully, they have been squashed by updates. If you enjoy prancing around in an open world, you are going to love this game.
Download Death Stranding ($59.99)
22. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is one of the best games released in 2019. It has not only won the hearts of gamers but also won many awards across the spectrum. Made by the legendary gaming company FromSoftware (makers of games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne), Sekiro remains true to the company’s DNA.
That means you are getting an expansive open-world universe with gameplay that you are going to love to hate. It retains the difficulty of games that FromSoftware is known for while bringing a more cohesive story and focused timeline.
You can easily sink more than 50 hours in this game completing the main plot. It will test your skills, your anger management, and your patience with equal brutality. And when you defeat the game, at last, you can add a start to your gaming crown. If you want a tough, open-world game that challenges you at every turn, you should play Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
Download Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice ($59.99)
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Which open world game is best?
It’s hard to crown any game as the best open-world game as it depends on the player’s preference. For me, The Witcher 3 remains the best open world game of all time. Others may prefer GTA V or Sekiro or Red Dead Redemption 2.
The point is that there are many excellent open world games and you should play them to find the one that you like the best.
Q. What is the most realistic open world game?
Most of the open world games feature fantastical elements so it would be hard to find a realistic open world game. If you want an answer, I believe that GTA 5 displays the best representation of the city that the game is based in.
Q. What is open world gameplay?
In gaming terminology, an open world gameplay refers to types of games where players are free to explore the virtual world and are not restricted by a linear gameplay mechanics.
Q. Is Metro 2033 open world?
No, Metro 2033 is a level-based game that can be quantified as a linear game.
Explore and Interact with The Best Open World Games for PC
An open world game is mainly made while keeping the idea of freedom in the mind. Users are released from the shackles of a linear world map and are put in this area which they are free to explore and interact with. An open world game requires a lot of development, and while some manage to hit the spot, often developers miss out on the overall gameplay. Share with us your favourite open world game and what made you fall in love with it in the comments section below.