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25 best open world games to play right now and completely forget real life exists

20. No Man’s Sky

No Man’s Sky

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Hours of play: 70 hours

Recent updates to the game brings No Man’s Sky surprisingly high on this list, considering how poorly it was received when it first came out. Now it’s closer to the game that everyone was expecting, No Man’s Sky has turned into a fulfilling voyage around the star system that’ll have you trotting through procedurally-generated planets like the interstellar explorer you are. It’s now got 30 hours of story content, new lore, different ways to interact with its NPCs, portals to make jumping between planets a ton easier, and terraforming. The most recent No Man Sky's Beyond update brought even more features and changes, including ridable aliens, a new social system, and VR support. Forget open world: No Man’s Sky is an open galaxy, and you should absolutely jump into it if you look good in a space suit and love discovering exotic alien wildlife. 

19. Watch Dogs 2

Watch Dogs 2

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Hours of play: 41 hours

The world of Watch Dogs 2 is a playground full of technological puppets where you hold all the strings - and boy, can you make those high-tech gadgets dance. Like in real life, gaining followers means everything to your secret hacking organisation DedSec, as higher numbers mean more power for you and your friends. Complete missions to get more followers - or, if you’d rather, swan around San Francisco and hack into people’s phones, instigate electrical chaos, and generally make as much mischief as you like. Go anywhere you want and do almost anything you like - just be prepared to outrun the police when they track you down. 

18. Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Hours of play: 127 hours

Because journeying around a massive world on your own is just no fun at all, Dragon Age: Inquisition gives you a bunch of companions to run around with and a ton of sidequests to use them in. You wouldn’t want to waste their talents, after all. Not only that, but the companions are some of the best party members around (I'm looking at you, Dorian Pavus). At first it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of sidequests that saturate its lush fantasy world, but as long as you remember to take advantage of the fact that - like many of the best open world games out there - there are multiple areas to explore from the very beginning (don’t just stick to one), you’ll slowly be able to gauge which ones are worth doing asap. The story will also keep you gripped throughout, so while it might claim many hours of your life, it's worth the time investment. 

17. Minecraft


Available on: Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
Hours of play: tricky but... 112 hours 

Okay, okay, so Minecraft is technically a sandbox game but hey, that still counts as an open world game. Punch trees, mine deep into the mountains, and try to avoid falling in lava in this phenomenally large exploration extravaganza. Your imagination is truly the limit in Minecraft, as people have created entire cities, working computers, towering statues and so much more on its blocky landscape. Achievable, er...achievements provide a loose framework in case you want a bit more structure in your games, and when you start to get bored with the ordinary world you can start to explore the Nether and make your next stronghold there. So technically there are two open world environments at your disposal. Talk about value for money!

16. Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Hours of play: 110 hours

Guns, guns, guns, and MOAR GUNS. Borderlands 2 is a glorious cacophony of bullets and self-conscious tongue-in-cheek comedy with the odd dick joke, and it’s all the better for it. Seriously. Most of the open world game shenanigans comes from hoovering up its weird side missions (including shooting Face McShooty in the face) and killing any hostile fauna in sight for the chance of finding some exquisite new loot, but the story is surprisingly affecting - especially if you’ve played (and loved) Borderlands. Whether you’re charging through the Wildlife Exploitation Reserve - yeah, you read that right - with your D374-TP (DeathTrap, geddit?) or suspending foes in mid air with the eerie Phaselock power, all Borderlands 2 wants is for you to embrace its ridiculous high-octane havoc. You’d be wise to do so. 

15. Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain

Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Hours of play: 163 hours

Going in with all guns blazing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so if you’re thirsting for a stealth action open world game Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain should be your hot beverage of choice. Encouraging non-lethal playing styles rather than killing indiscriminately, the degree to which all the different systems interweave is astonishing and you’re free to roam and dispatch with enemy soldiers however you see fit. However, don’t get too used to a set group of tactics - the enemies will adapt if you repeat the same approaches too much. Keeping you company in the world is D-horse and D-Dog, a wolf raised to help you in the field, and the dynamic weather system is just as helpful, as it periodically makes you harder to see and hear. 

14. Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion

Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion

Available on: PlayStation Now, Xbox One (backwards compatible), PC
Hours of play: 185 hours

Thanks to PlayStation Now and Xbox One backwards compatibility, Bethesda’s gem still makes it onto this list. Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion stands the test of time, as it’s heavy with enough quests and memorable NPCs (I’m looking at you, Glarthir) to make you seriously consider hibernating with it for a good long while while you try to climb the ranks of the Thieves’ Guild or just delight in trying to get someone’s jumbo potatoes back. As soon as you’ve broken out of your cell you can go anywhere whenever you want, and neglect the whole saving-the-world-thing until you feel ready for it. If only real life worked that way. Sigh. 

13. Assassin’s Creed: Origins

Assassin’s Creed: Origins

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Hours of play: 76 hours

Ever wondered where those dagger-loving assassins came from? Assassin’s Creed: Origins has all the answers, and it’s no coincidence that the best Assassin’s Creed game yet is also one of the best open world games out there. A buzz of activity courses through every city and village, with NPCs going about their daily chores as you ride around as Bayek, a Medjay (kind of like an ancient Egyptian policeman) who’s about to get entangled in a pyramid’s worth of story-dense sidequests. When you’re not taking down crocodiles or hippos you’ll be helping out your fellow Egyptians, and the world is so full of things to see that just spending a day diving underwater will lead you to brand new (well, ancient, but you know what I mean) ruins and Easter eggs. Oh, you can also go on a peaceful discovery tour if you’re not into all that fighting. Praise Horus. 

12. Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Hours of play: 43 hours

Eden’s Gate might sound like a picturesque location, and it actually is - when you’re not busy fighting cultists or fleeing from a very angry bull, that is. Far Cry 5 has you taking on the Project at Eden’s Gate, a doomsday cult headed by manbun-loving Joseph Seed but don’t let that interrupt your exploits. Unlike previous Far Cry games you can access the entire region as soon as you’re finished with the tutorial missions, allowing you to glide, drive, or just sprint through the dense Montana landscape and take down the cult’s outposts much like previous Far Cry games. This time you can have a mountain lion, dog, or bear at your side though - making it instantly 14% better. Because who doesn’t want something furry to pet after shooting a ton of bloodthirsty folks in the face?  

11. Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout: New Vegas

Available on: PlayStation Now, Xbox One (backwards compatible), PC
Hours of play: 132 hours

Some games have you trying to find a cherished family member. Others make you the chosen one. Fallout: New Vegas makes you a courier who just really wants to find the prick who shot you in the head. You might have to get used to the Nevada Wasteland’s yellow tones, but once you do there’s so much to discover, from the ruthless Caesar’s Legion to becoming a major player in Mr House’s political game at the New Vegas Strip. Or you could just try to take on the Deathclaw-infested Quarry Junction, or figure out just what’s going on with the many abandoned vaults in the region. Story absolutely saturates New Vegas, and with its grounded main questline there’s really no other Fallout game like it. 

Turn to page two for our top 10 best open world games...