Into The Wild Blue Yonder
With each new trailer released, Red Dead Redemption 2 seems poised to steal the year away with its breathtaking visuals, rich world-building and gritty tale of crime in the dying old west. With Arthur Morgan and his dubious morality at the helm, it’s fair to say the Rockstar might have another game-changer on their hands. Of course, it certainly has some stiff competition in the form of these legendary games!
#5: “Shadow of the Colossus” (2005)
This atmospheric adventure game, in which you play as a young man on his quest to resurrect his dead girlfriend, has become a frequent example of video game artistry. Much of that comes from the depiction of the mysterious Forgotten Lands that he must ride across. Unlike the other entries on this list, the world is not packed with NPCs for you to interact with, instead your character has to search over these inhospitable lands to seek out and face each of the sixteen majestic creatures known as Colossi that roam these lands. Each Colossi is more awe inspiring than the last, but taking each one down will make you question your morals.
#4: “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” (2004)
L.A inspired suburbs, street gangs, and more N.W.A nods than you can keep track of, Rockstar’s 3rd 3D Open World Title is as ghetto as they come in a video game. This instalment of the popular open world series putting players in the role of former gang member CJ, who returns home to find out who murdered his mother, only to get dragged back into the dangerous gangsta life after being blackmailed by a pair of crooked cops. Of course if you’re not one for following the engaging story, going on a destructive rampage in this game is just as fun, of course your parents were probably horrified at the sound of committing such acts. But better in a game than in real life am I right?
#3: “The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind” (2002)
I’m sure many of you have sunk countless hours into this franchise, no doubt primarily between the green hills of Cyrodil and the frosty peaks of Skyrim – but only a fortunate few got to trek through the Ashlands of Varrdenfel. Morrowind was a title that predated many the conventions we now associate with open world games: things like fast travel and easy-to-follow map markers were non-existent here. This lack of hand holding forced you into an intimacy with the strange island you were exploring, meaning you observed the landscape in an organic way as you marched from town to town, reading signposts and dodging wildlife in an unforgettable world.
#2: “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” (2017)
Even though Nintendo has been making video games for almost 4 decades, it’s hard to believe that not only was this their first attempt at an Open World Game, but it turned out to be this good. Breath of the Wild’s biggest draw is its non-linear design, as once you finish the starting area, the player is literally free to explore wherever they want to go, no one way is the right or wrong way, and the game rarely holds the players hand, leaving them to figure out what they should do. Few games offer as much freedom as Breath of the Wild does, and if this is Nintendo’s first open world game, imagine what the future holds for the Zelda series.
#1: “The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt” (2015)
Video games and Fantasy worlds have been a match made in heaven for many years, and we were left in awe at the level of adventure and visual wonder that is The Witcher 3. As CD Projekt RED supposedly last run with the Witcher Geralt of Rivia, we’re treated to an epic tale of magic, monsters and so much more. Everywhere from the blood soaked lands of Velen, to the rocky islands of Skellige are teaming with something new for you to discover. But what only just pushes it ahead of Breath of the Wild was CD Projekt RED’s frequent support for the game; both with plenty of free DLC, and Paid DLC that can stand up to other full priced games on their own.
Be sure to check out the video below to see our picks on the Top 10 Open World Video Game Maps.