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The best open world games on console 2024

For those wanting to get lost in massive fictional worlds, we’re helping you choose the perfect one with our list of the best open world games right now.

What are the best open world games? The big boom of open-world games started in the early 2000s, and as technology has progressed, so has their ambition. Nowadays, we find ourselves often overwhelmed by the sheer amount of gigantic fictional worlds that want us to explore every corner and experience long odysseys. As a result, it’s often hard to pick the finest ones that deserve most of our attention. We’ll try to make choosing easier for you with our guide to the best open world games you can play right now on PlayStation and Xbox consoles.

We must stress before we kick things off that we’re mainly focused on more hand-crafted worlds, leaving creative playgrounds like Minecraft out, even though they technically do fit the criteria. Nevertheless, you’re in store for some of the best games of all time right here. With new Xbox games and new PS5 games coming out all the time, we’ll update this guide with the latest hits when they arrive.

The best open world games are:

Best open world games: Two cowboys fire revolvers in Red Dead Redemption 2.

1. Red Dead Redemption 2

It’s probably Rockstar Games that really kickstarted the modern open-world formula, and it’s still the best at making it as deep as possible. On the surface, the second Red Dead Redemption installment (which is actually a prequel to the first game) might look familiar, but its reactive world and layered systems have yet to be topped. This isn’t a game you can jump in and out of easily, but one that rewards you for settling into its more methodical pace instead.

On top of what it has to offer as the best Wild West simulator ever, its story is highly profound, emotional, and cinematic in all the right ways – even if you haven’t experienced the first game, which canonically comes after the events of RDR2. Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of those rare games that doesn’t need to sacrifice top-tier production values to be massive in size and scope. From the impeccable voice acting and animations to the incredibly dense and diverse world, and the powerful third- or first-person combat.

As a result, it remains the modern open-world king and will probably keep that title until the GTA 6 release date arrives.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is available on PS5, PS4, Xbox, and PC.

Best open world games: Franklin from GTA 5 wearing a green shirt and holding a baseball bat.

2. Grand Theft Auto 5

The fact Rockstar Games outdid itself with RDR2 in 2018 doesn’t make the last Grand Theft Auto installment any less impressive. GTA 5 is one of the best-selling games of all time, and for good reason.

Back in 2013, it wowed everyone with a deeper (yet still chaotically-funny) story told from three different points of view, a highly dynamic game world, and an online component that still receives meaty content updates because there simply isn’t anything like it. If the open world of Los Santos wows you in GTA 5’s story, it truly comes to life in GTA Online.

GTA 5 has also endured through three different generations of consoles because it’s evolved over the years, incorporating new graphical enhancements and offering better performance whenever and wherever possible. And of course, we can’t ignore the huge community creating GTA 5 mods on PC, despite its troubled relationship with publisher Take-Two.

Best open world games: An armored knight performs a heavy slash attack on an enemy as sparks and blood fly.

3. Elden Ring

There are many things that make Elden Ring special. It’s a culmination of everything that FromSoftware has done since the release of Demon’s Souls in 2009, but perhaps the most important aspect is how it broke the traditional Soulslike structure in a way that felt directly influenced by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

For the first time ever in a game of this subgenre, you could circumvent entire areas or get lost for dozens of hours before attempting to defeat that one tricky boss again. In fact, you can beat the game without seeing even half of its content, with sprawling and intricately detailed areas tucked away just waiting for you to venture into their dark depths.

Elden Ring is also the anti-modern open-world game in a way; its bigger scale didn’t come with a map filled to the brim with icons. In fact, the map is merely a guide that you’ll have to learn to navigate. There are entryways into massive optional areas where you least expect them, and its layered world holds many secrets often as memorable as the main adventure (which is mind-blowing), if not more.

Don’t be scared by its difficulty; this is an odyssey worth embarking on, also ranking among the best Soulslike games. Utilizing its open-world structure in the best way possible, you can always journey off somewhere else and level up more if you’re having a hard time. And if you still don’t believe us, check out our Elden Ring review.

Best open world games: A person in ancient Japanese clothing looks out across a red field.

4. Ghost of Tsushima

Ghost of Tsushima is one of PlayStation’s biggest success stories in recent times, yet it didn’t receive all the attention it deserved in the summer of 2020 as it launched under The Last of Us: Part II’s shadow. It’s not Sony’s plain, riskless take on Assassin’s Creed either; Sucker Punch Productions definitely gave it a voice of its own, born from many influences that just feel right for the setting and the main concept behind the game: mixing together the classic Kurosawa-like samurai path with the dishonorable life of an assassin.

Sucker Punch killed two birds with one stone, as Ghost of Tsushima feels like a more than adequate successor to the long-forgotten Tenchu series despite largely behaving like a leaner and meaner version of Assassin’s Creed, which takes very useful cues from more ‘natural’ open-world games such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. For example, you’ll use the wind to guide you through the open world, rather than a GPS or immersion-breaking line to follow. Combat is just deep enough to be challenging but approachable, all while looking incredibly slick in its brutality.

It also looks and runs beautifully, even if you’re still stuck on PS4, which is a remarkable feat given it was released at the tail-end of last gen. It’s undoubtedly one of the best PS4 games of all time.

As a Sony exclusive, those with a PS Plus Extra or Premium subscription can enjoy the Director’s Cut of Ghost of Tsushima as part of the service. Alternatively, you can pick up a physical copy below. Unfortunately yes, Ghost of Tsushima is only available on PS5 and PS4 consoles right now, though it could come to PC in the future.

Best open world games: Spider-Man swinging on a web through a city street.

5. Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered

Insomniac went all out in its rendition of the iconic Marvel IP, and its original story walks easily among Peter Parker’s best in any medium.

There’s definitely room for improvement when it comes to some of the secondary tasks (the obligatory stealth sections with MJ and Miles often drag), but Spider-Man is both one of the best (if not the best) comic book games ever and a surprisingly breezy open-world adventure that makes the simple act of traversing New York irresistible. Plus, if it leaves you craving more, its Miles Morales-centric interquel is great too. although smaller in scope.

Like Ghost of Tsushima, Marvel’s Spider-Man is a Sony exclusive for the PS5 (remastered) and PS4 (not remastered) – sorry Xbox players. While you can enjoy Spider-Man Miles Morales as part of PS Plus, Spider-Man Remastered is sadly not on the service right now. 

Best open world games: Peter Parker as Spider-Man doing a spin in the air in Marvel's Spider-Man 2 game

6. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

Our second Spidey entry in the list, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is the third Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man adventure and is exclusive to the PS5.

For those who have yet to play the recent series of games, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 features some fast and fluid combat that excels at what the Batman Arkham franchise started, while delivering an incredibly emotional narrative that sits with you days later.

However, if you’re looking for a brilliant world to explore, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is perfect. Web-swinging has never felt better, and the introduction of Web Wings allows the PS5 to show off its SSD with extremely fast loading. Exploring New York is so amazing, that many of us at The Loadout are still booting the game up just for some fun.

The Loadout’s Callum Self gave the game a 10/10 in his Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 review, going as far as to say “Spider-Man 2 is hands-down the best game of the PS5 era so far”. If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line action-adventure experience to enjoy, this is the game for you.

Best open world games: An image of Starfield, showing a player waving on a hill with a backdrop of a planet's surface and their ship. A ringed planet is in the distance.

7. Starfield

As our Starfield review can attest, Bethesda’s latest RPG is incredibly ambitious, seeking to take the heights of Skyrim and Fallout 4 and spread them across a full galaxy of around 1,000 planets.

There’s an incredible breadth of systems and features in Starfield, from light survival mechanics to space combat, player-built outposts, and even fully customizable ships. Yes, you can make a ship shaped like a robot, a massive frigate, or even iconic Star Wars ships in Starfield.

Starfield refines and expands Bethesda’s RPG experience to brave new heights. While some aspects are certainly a little lacking, such as space exploration, the open world is still fun to explore with plenty of factions to join and stories to uncover.

Having launched day one on Xbox Game Pass, you can jump into the rich new universe by Bethesda – the first in nearly two decades – at no extra cost. However, due to Microsoft owning Bethesda, you’ll probably be in for a long wait for a Starfield PS5 version…

Best open world games: A Skyrim character wearing medieval armor walking through a village.

8. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Special Edition

It’s been more than a decade, but Skyrim still hasn’t let go of millions of players after three different console generations, several expansions, and thousands of user-made modifications. Its world is lively and deep like few others, and its accessible action-RPG systems have eased countless casual players into checking out more role-playing titles. That’s no small feat.

In our humble opinion, what sets Skyrim apart from newer competitors is how detailed and interactive it is despite its massive scale. Everywhere you go has some secret or story to tell, and there’s an incredibly rich universe to pull from, packed with various factions, religions, gods, and more. Bethesda Game Studios excels at this, and even the two Fallout games released after The Elder Scrolls V struggled to capture that same magic. Even if you’ve already played it for hundreds of hours, one little adventure can’t hurt. You could even try a different playstyle other than the tried and true stealth archer, though anyone who has already played Skyrim will already know how long that lasts.

The Special Edition of Skyrim for PS5 and Xbox Series X|S is currently available on PS Plus (Extra and Premium) and Game Pass, respectively. Yes, you can jump into one of the most pivotal games of the last decade or so at no extra cost. Otherwise, Skyrim is available on nearly everything, including PS5, PS4, Xbox, Switch, and PC platforms.

Best open world games: A mysterious silhouetted figure walking through a dimly lit street.

9. Fallout 4

Yes, we’ve just told you Fallout 4 didn’t match Skyrim’s greatness and eternal charm, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an amazing open-world game. It doesn’t pack the most memorable Fallout story, and some of its procedural quests are rather annoying, but Fallout 4 still offers the best open-world experience in the series and has plenty of creative systems that have shaped a good chunk of Starfield.

While Fallout 3 and New Vegas are more like open-world RPG adventures you want to play through every few years, Fallout 4 offers more of a post-apocalyptic life simulation on top of the usual quests, combat, and in-depth exploration we’ve come to expect from the talented folks at Bethesda. Minutemen faction leader Preston Garvey will forever be annoying about outposts under attack, but building and expanding settlements in the middle of nowhere is engrossing. The combat is also vastly improved, with much smoother controls, great weapon design, and even powerful suits of Power Armor that turn you into a walking tank.

Just like Skyrim, you can play Fallout 4 as part of your Xbox Game Pass, PS Plus Extra, or PS Plus Premium subscriptions. If you can’t tell already, those subscription services are rather good…

Best open world games: A red Ferrari sports car with racing stripes and numbers parked in a town square

10. Forza Horizon 5

Time for something a little different. While the vast majority of open world games are enjoyed on foot, Forza Horizon 5 proves that wheels are just as good.

Playground Games’ recreation of Mexico is absolutely stunning. Not only does it do an amazing job of portraying the country’s diverse array of natural biomes and environments (beaches, deserts, jungles, volcanos, you name it), but it also nails the added requirement of it actually being fun to race on. Throw a dart at the map, and you’re guaranteed to find a a twisting mountain road, a high-speed straight, or a rugged off-road track.

Sure, the world itself is amazing, but FH5’s excellence isn’t just skin deep. There is an obscenely massive garage of customizable cars, dozens of overworld activities like speed traps or stunt jumps, hundreds of races, and a Creative Hub that supports some incredible user-generated content.

On top of all of that, Forza Horizon 5 actually has one of the most impressive live service structures we’ve ever seen. Despite being several years old now, the game is still supported with new cars, events, and challenges on a weekly basis. Yes, weekly.

We know a racing game probably isn’t what you’d expect to see on a list of the best open world adventures, but FH5 absolutely deserves its spot here. Unfortunately for PlayStation players, this is an Xbox exclusive, but do recommend Ubisoft’s The Crew Motorfest as a suitable, Hawaii-based alternative to Forza’s Mexican magic.

Best open world games: A massive griffin attacks a group of players in Dragon's Dogma 2

11. Dragon’s Dogma 2

Sitting alongside the likes of Elden Ring as one of the greatest RPGs of the PS5 and Xbox Series X generation, Capcom’s Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a must-play for open-world game lovers.

Let’s start with the world itself. Unlike many open-worlds which opt for a fairly square or circular layout, Dragon’s Dogma 2 stitches its three main regions together in a crescent shape. Your journey begins in the very north of the human kingdom of Vermund, before taking you to the desert region of Battahl, and ending in the south’s Volcanic Island. It’s an incredibly beautiful and varied world, with settlements, cities, wilderness, caves, towers, and everything else you’d want to find in a sprawling fantasy realm.

Many games can create stunning open worlds, though. What sets Dragon’s Dogma 2 apart is how it guides you through the game – and by that, we mean how little it guides you. DD2 largely forgoes the usual open-world tropes of waypoints, fast travel, and clearly-marked paths. Instead, it leans on environmental clues, NPCs, and your own curiosity for you to find your way around.

Its RPG elements are also exquisite. Combat is varied and satisfying, the various Dragon’s Dogma 2 classes (known as ‘vocations’ in the game) all feel unique and exciting to master, and boss fights are some of the most epic encounters you’ll find in any game on this list. It’s pawn system is also incredible, allowing players to recruit player-made companions that will assist you in combat, give you pointers during exploration and quests, and carry items for you. We can’t recommend Dragon’s Dogma 2 enough.

Best open world games: Aloy in the distance standing at the foot of a tall Long Neck robot dinosaur in Horizon Zero Dawn.

12. Horizon Zero Dawn

Sony’s Horizon Zero Dawn was a surprise hit when it released in 2017, though it was quickly overshadowed by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild which released only a few days later. So, chances are one of the best open world games completely passed you by.

With a unique world bringing together a tribal, almost Neolithic setting with sci-fi robot dinosaurs and other high-tech machinery. From the get go, the world of Horizon Zero Dawn is absolutely captivating, and we loved exploring it to learn more about its inhabitants and to solve the mystery at its heart.

Speaking of, the narrative is superb. You play as Aloy, a young woman who was banished from her tribe from a young age and was raised by another outcast. After years away, Aloy is eager to prove herself and so she sets out on a journey that takes you on a tour through this incredibly unique setting, learning more about Aloy herself, the robot dinosaurs, and how this weird world came to be. It’s intimate, pertinent, and full of mystery. We won’t spoil anything, but it’s not a narrative you want to miss.

It’s not all about the story and world though, as Zero Dawn also boasts remarkably engaging gameplay. Using a variety of weapons (both ranged and melee), traps, and gadgets, the star of the show is undoubtedly taking down the robotic dinosaurs and other creatures. Each robot animal you encounter has a different set of weaknesses and ways to take down, with rare materials up for grabs depending on how you defeat them.

Overall, there’s nothing else quite like Horizon Zero Dawn, firmly earning its place among the best open world games, though it’s a shame on PS4, PS5, and PC players can enjoy it as it is a first-party Sony game.

Best open world games: Aloy and another character standing overlooking an overgrown Hollywood sign, covered with leaves and massive robotic limbs.

13. Horizon Forbidden West

Speaking of nothing else that can come close to Zero Dawn, that’s not technically true as its sequel, Horizon Forbidden West, beats it in almost every way – something our Horizon Forbidden West review covers.

Continuing to build upon the rich universe set up in Zero Dawn, Forbidden West sees Aloy traveling even further afar to a brand-new location, giving you a new map to explore that’s equally as interesting and eye-catching as its predecessor. Exploring this detailed environment is better than ever thanks to new movement mechanics, such as more free-from climbing and even a glider.

You’ll fight bigger and even more awe-inspiring robotic dinosaurs than even the first game accomplished, which is great considering the weapon and tool sandbox is also slightly improve over Zero Dawn.

The only area we feel it falls a little flat in compared to its predecessor is the narrative which, while great, doesn’t quite have the same sense of mystery and awe as the first game does, though it would be hard to beat the first game’s story.

Nevertheless, it’s the perfect sequel to Zero Dawn and one that we highly recommend you jump into after you’re beaten its predecessor. When you do, we’ve got a Horizon Forbidden West walkthrough that would be perfect as you play through one of the best open world games, as well as all the best Horizon Forbidden West skills and best Horizon Forbidden West weapons to use.

Best open world games: Geralt riding a horse through a picturesque wood as a deer appears from the trees.

14. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

It’s going to be a while before both the next all-new Witcher installment and the remake of Geralt of Rivia’s first adventure arrive, which means there’s plenty of time to replay (or experience for the first time) The Witcher 3.

It’s true that fellow open-world epic Cyberpunk 2077 has come a long way since its troubled launch, but the third Witcher game should be a top priority for anyone into videogames with huge worlds. It’s simply CD Projekt Red at its best. After all these years, The Witcher 3 is still used as the gold standard for many traditional action RPGs, influencing the likes of Assassin’s Creed and more.

While you may step into The Witcher 3 looking for an expansive fantasy world, we’re pretty sure the engaging story, memorable side quests, and charming cast of characters will make you stay in the long run. After a solid current-gen upgrade, there’s never been a better time to jump in. Be sure not to skip its two fantastic expansions either, please; Hearts of Stone is arguably the best expansion in history.

If you’re up for giving it a go, The Witcher 3 can be played on PS5, PS4, Xbox, PC, and even Nintendo Switch.

Best open world games: two Viking brothers embracing in Assassin's Creed Valhalla

15. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Welcome to the Assassin’s Creed section. Here we have plenty of top recommendations thanks to the fact that Ubisoft has been putting out incredible parkour stabby stabby games for many years now – Valhalla is a testament to that.

Embodying the Viking raider Eivor, Valhalla takes place in 9th Century Europe, crossed between the frostbitten shores of Norway and the fractured factions of England. Eivor’s plan to establish a new Viking clan in Anglo-Saxon England is, however, made difficult as they find themselves caught up in a conflict between the Assassin Brotherhood and the Templar Order – familiar organizations for long-time players.

In its 8/10 Assassin’s Creed Valhalla review, sister site PCGamesN notes that, while “it doesn’t do anything fundamentally new and too much of the series’ jank remains”, the game is “a marvel.”

This isn’t the only AC game set in the 9th Century, and the next game in our lineup – Mirage – serves as an origin story for a very familiar face for those who have already dabbled in Eivor’s own.

Best open world games: A screenshot of Assassin's Creed Mirage, with Basim crouched on a tall tower overlooking a busy marketplace.

16. Assassin’s Creed Mirage

Sure, Assassin’s Creed Mirage is by no means as sprawling as Origin’s authentic recreation of Ptolemaic Egypt, but the intentionally smaller setting of 9th-century Baghdad, particularly the Round City, is incredibly enthralling. With this much more dense setting, parkour is back on the table, seeing you racing across the rooftops with such speed and grace not truly seen since AC1 in 2007.

Like all AC games, Mirage also packs its open world full of detail that adds to the authenticity and immersion of historical periods not explored elsewhere in media. So rich is this environment that you might even learn a thing or two about 9th-century Baghdad while you’re on your virtual tourism adventure.

Outside of the setting, Mirage boasts a smaller scale, more traditional AC narrative, and gameplay mechanics as well. The story is full of character despite its short runtime and will see you assassinating several Order of the Ancients members in some of the best level design in the series. It helps then that stealth gameplay is back at the forefront, with a host of tools and deception mechanics to take advantage of.

Check out our Assassin’s Creed Mirage review to find out why it’s easily one of the strongest entries in the series, and why it deserves to be among the best open-world games you can play right now.

Assassin’s Creed Mirage is available on PS5, PS4, Xbox, and PC. In the future, the game will even be playable on iOS devices – somehow.

Best open world games: An Assassin riding a camel fires arrows from their bow at enemy soldiers in Assassin's Creed Origins.

17. Assassin’s Creed Origins

Many gamers have understandably grown tired of the long-running Assassin’s Creed series and other open-world titles from Ubisoft because of the basic template they’ve been reworking for years now – but Assassin’s Creed Origins sets itself apart.

2017’s Assassin’s Creed Origins was the series’ first foray into the open-world action RPG realm, and while it might not be at the very top of our best Assassin’s Creed games list, it definitely boasts the best open-world experience in our view.

Some fans understandably prefer the more recent Odyssey and Valhalla to Origins, but Bayek’s journey might be the most memorable of the most recent trilogy, and even Mirage’s Basim. Moreover, its Ptolemaic-period Egypt setting is still the franchise’s most distinct and immersive one to date. Have you ever wanted to explore Ptolemaic Egypt, its sprawling cities, and the ancient pyramids? Well, Origins lets you do just that in incredible detail, despite the overall size of the world.

We also think it’s the Assassin’s Creed entry that has just the right amount of secondary content – it’s big without feeling ridiculously overwhelming and bloated like Odyssey and Valhalla frequently do.

For those subscribed to either PS Plus (Extra and Premium tiers) or Xbox Game Pass, you’re in luck, as Origins is available on both services right now. That means you can get hundreds of hours of incredible world-building, exploration, story, and more at no extra cost. Otherwise, Assassin’s Creed Origins is available on PS5, PS4, Xbox, and PC.

Best open world games: Two characters attacking a dragon flying towards them in Dragon Age Inquisition.

18. Dragon Age Inquisition

Despite nearly being a decade old, Dragon Age Inquisition is still as superb today as it was in 2014, representing arguably the very best of legendary developer BioWare. With a successor, Dragon Age Dreadwolf, coming at long last, there’s no better time to become immersed in the land of Thedas.

Becoming a member (and the leader) of the Inquisition after a cataclysmic event at the start of the story, you’ll embark on a journey across Thedas to restore order. Alongside your party of lovable companions (quite literally, in some cases), you set off to close the Breach and put an end to the demons spilling out into Thedas and the ensuing chaos. Its biggest accomplishment is that, despite how political in nature the events often are, such as brokering peace between Mages and Templars, it’s never boring. You’ll go from intense war-room discussions to lavish balls and intense action all in the name of saving Thedas.

While it’s not an open world in the traditional sense, with one giant map, Dragon Age Inquisition is broken up into several distinct open zones. Packed with secrets and side quests, there’s plenty of the open world fun you’d expect, just in much more manageable chunks. It’s also a great way to offer lots of environmental variety as each zone isn’t seamlessly connected. Likewise, there’s even large secret zones you can unlock from completed quests and other objectives that unlock even more content for you to enjoy.

Lastly, we couldn’t not mention how fun the combat and build variety is. When you make your character at the start of the game, you’ll get to pick your class. From here, you’ll find gear and level up, letting you hone in on a specific playstyle, all while getting your hands on flashy and fun abilities. That’s not all though, as you can even play as your companions by switching to them at any time, so you’re never stuck to just one role.

Once you give it a go for yourself, we’ve no doubt you’ll be as excited for the Dragon Age Dreadwolf release date as we are.

Best open world games: a masked man in a black cloak in Death Stranding Director's Cut

19. Death Stranding Director’s Cut

Coming out of the pandemic, Death Stranding became a much more visceral experience for many – ourselves included. As isolation and the need to reconnect engulfed us, the arrival of a Director’s Cut to the list of PS5 exclusives and PC bangers provided a fresh opportunity to dive back into post-apocalyptic America with several much-needed improvements.

This time around Sam’s delivery work is aided by the introduction of a cargo catapult, buddy bots, and even a slick new roadster to whip around in. Combat’s also been greatly expanded, making for a much more well-rounded experience than the ‘walking sim’ it was originally criticized for being.

As a Kojima game, Death Stranding’s story is certainly on the weird and whacky side – we can’t complain. However, while it’s like vegemite for some, at its core is a message of connectivity that we can all ascribe to.

In our Death Stranding Director’s Cut review Echo praises it for “excellent DualSense enhancement and some meaningful updates”, awarding it a solid 7/10 overall.

So those are our picks for the best open-world games on console. These are some of the best PS5 games and best Xbox games ever made, and will keep you engrossed for dozens (maybe even hundreds) of hours.