Posted March 9, 2017 by Charlie Small in Feature

Seven of the most memorable open-worlds created

We’ve been receiving a ton of open-world games over the last couple of years, with it almost becoming an industry standard. But lately it seems that developers have put more thought into the quality of the worlds created rather than just filling it with pointless fluff. So with the recent release of Horizon Zero Dawn, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Ghost Recon: Wildlands, it got me thinking about some of the best and most memorable open-worlds ever made.

Florence, Venice – Assassin’s Creed II

Widely considered the best game in the series, Assassin’s Creed II improved a lot from its predecessor. One of the aspects it really improved on was the cities that Ezio (the main protagonist) finds himself in. It’s one of the first games I can remember where the cities felt alive and lived in. It wasn’t overly cluttered, with just enough side quests and collectibles to keep you interested. It also felt real, since a lot of the buildings and landmarks were based on its real world counterparts.

New York City – Spider-Man 2

The oldest game on the list, New York City might feel a little dull and bland by today’s standards, but back then it was quite something. Especially if you consider that you could swing around the city as freaking Spider-Man! Getting from point A to point B couldn’t have been more fun.

Skyrim – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Probably the largest of all the worlds in this list, Skyrim is an entirely different beast. The world is your playground and it serves as the canvas for the adventure that you choose to have. Skyrim is mostly a cold world, but it’s filled with icy tundras, frigid glaciers to vast mountain ranges with a robust weather system. There’s also the great dwarven cities or smaller towns to explore, so there isn’t ever a dull moment. It’s is truly the ultimate sandbox, because you are The Dragonborn after all!

San Andreas – Grand Theft Auto San Andreas & Grand Theft Auto V

A fictional representation of Los Angeles, San Andreas is pretty well known and there are very few gamers that haven’t visited it at least once. First seen back in 2004, it was revolutionary in the way a real city was depicted in a game. There were so much to do and explore in the world. Rockstar obviously managed to up the ante in 2013 when we returned to the city for GTA V. San Andreas became a vibrant city alive with all the degenerates that inhabit it, each almost having their own life and story to tell, until you run them over with a truck that is.

The Faelands – The Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

The Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning can be seen as a bit of a failure, it didn’t do nearly as well as EA expected, and the possibility of it becoming a franchise was ultimately canned. But it’s a shame, since the game was pretty damn good with an incredible world called The Faelands. Only a small portion of the entire lore’s map, it still ended up being huge. From lush forests, to boggy swamps to wide open desert expanses. It was bright and colourful and offered a lot of areas to explore, filled with a wide variety of creatures, enemies and friendly NPCs to engage with.

The Capital Wasteland – Fallout 3

There are some that might argue that the Commonwealth of Fallout 4 is better, but I found it to be too cluttered, and sometimes less is better, as was demonstrated by its predecessor, Fallout 3. Whether or not it was a limitation of technology at the time, the wide open barren wasteland that was The Capital Wasteland was just incredible. It certainly isn’t the prettiest place on this list, but it just felt so surreal. The loneliness of wondering around, scavenging for loot and looking for sidequests was amazing, and it just felt more like a post apocalyptic world than what came after it.

The Northern Kingdoms/Skellige Islands – The Witcher III: The Wild Hunt

Few worlds have been as well realised as that of The Northern Kingdoms and Skellige in The Witcher III. The war-torn world is absolutely breathtaking, and the amount of variety found in the world is beyond imagining. What really made this world special was the way that is transitioned from a battlefield to a lush untouched woodland without you realising it. Simple things like the further North you go, the less signs of war you see. You can get lost in the wilderness for days, and when you return to civilisation, it almost feels like you were really gone for a few weeks. The cities are vibrant and authentic, with small details like children playing in the streets, or beggars asking for alms making it all the more immersive. And don’t even get me started on The Skellige Islands, which has its own sense of beauty about it.

That’s my list. Any open-worlds you would’ve added? Let us know in the comments below and tell me how right or how wrong I am.

Charlie Small

Just a dude who likes games and movies and sports... You know the normal stuff!