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

15. 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. 

14. 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. 

13. 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. 

12. 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. 

11. 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?  

10. 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. 

9. Fallout 4

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Hours of play: 151 hours

Ok, this time someone’s taken your baby and you need to get him back. Mind you, it’s not really that big a deal. Hear me out: Fallout 4’s potential is just too tantalising to ignore for long. Its surprisingly colourful world of Boston, MA is stuffed with quests: follow the freedom trail, investigate mysteries with the unforgettable synthetic detective and sassmaster Nick Valentine, try and liberate synths with the Railroad, explore a haunted house, or just loot everything (and everyone) in sight to build up a mountain of caps. Play however the heck you want and see how it influences your followers, adding an extra layer of depth to this post-apocalyptic open world game. Just don’t set the world on fire. Yet. 

8. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Hours of play: 100+ hours

Malaka, Ubisoft really didn’t hold back when it comes to Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Set in Ancient Greece, you have the choice of playing as Kassandra or Alexios the misthios (mercenary), ready to sell his or her sword to either Athens or Sparta. Odyssey is truly a remarkable achievement, as the story-rich main questlines all interweave to leave you wrestling with personal revelations as well as something mysterious which will - of course - affect the entirety of the Ancient Greek world. 

There are mercenaries that will hunt you down if you murder or steal (who you can then defeat and climb up the ranks of notoriety yourself), as well as mythical monsters for you to tackle, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey romance storylines, and the return of naval combat. Plus for the first time in an Assassin’s Creed game you have dialogue options to choose from, so you can finally decide whether your misthios is a massive dick or just wants to be everyone’s friend. There’s enough to keep you busy for at least 100 hours (no exaggeration, promise), so if you’re looking for a game that’ll give you value for money with the amount of content bubbling inside it, you really can’t go wrong with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. 

7. Horizon: Zero Dawn

Available on: PS4
Hours of play: 59.5 hours 

As well as being one of the best PS4 games around, Horizon: Zero Dawn is also one of the most original titles to come out since Bioshock. I’m not kidding. Taking place in a post-post apocalyptic world where tribes hunt robots in a lush overgrown landscape, you’re put in the shoes of Aloy, the razor-sharp outcast. Hunt robots sneakily or with your dizzying range of weapons as you uncover the mysterious past of the Old Ones, their ruins dotted through this massive open world game being sure to keep your interest at its highest peak. Breathtaking surroundings mean that even after you’ve hoovered up the sidequests just traversing the map is a joy, whether you stop to take advantage of its photo mode or not. The New Game+ mode even keeps Horizon challenging, and begs you to revisit it even when the main quest is done and dusted. Trust me: it’s truly phenomenal. 

6. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Available on: Nintendo Switch
Hours of play: 175 hours

See that mountain? You can climb it. You can also attach octopus balloons to a raft to float into the air, or turn a fallen tree into a deadly projectile. Mixing up the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s ingenious mechanics is what makes its open world so deliriously freeing as it encourages that special breed of mad scientist experimentation so it’s no surprise that it’s one of the best Nintendo Switch games available right now as well as one of the best open world games. Instead of quests propelling you around most of the map, you’ll find curiosity getting the better of you most of the time as Breath of the Wild’s landmarks are downright intriguing and offer the chance to find out more about the world before Calamity Ganon struck. Or you can hunt down the 600 adorable Korok Seeds. Or perfect your cooking repertoire. Or take on a Lynel. get the idea.