With most video games, the world is your oyster. They take us on miraculous journeys and stretch the limits of our imagination. And when it comes to open-world games, this is especially true. Featuring expansive locations full of quests, secrets, and Easter eggs, these games allow us to play and discover without limits. Whether it’s the scenic and beautiful locations or the extras waiting to be discovered, these settings and all they offer pull gamers deeper into the story by supplementing the main plot. Here are the five immersive open-world games to lose yourself in.
Assassin’s Creed 2
The Assassin’s Creed series is known for its captivating, immersive open worlds. Gamers get to explore historical time periods, meet memorable figures, and relive the moments that changed the past, like the American Revolution. With each new chapter, we experience a taste of the past and solve mysteries to expand the history lesson. But, it’s Assassin’s Creed 2 that blows us away.
Set amidst the gorgeous backdrop of 15th-century Italy, the sequel sees Ezio Auditore da Firenze living our wanderlust dreams in at least seven destinations! From crossing the canals of Venice to running through the fields of Tuscany, the settings are sure to give you major FOMO (fear of missing out). Sure, you have to assassinate targets and uncover the dark secrets of the Templars, but it’s the world that keeps things interesting. And with 200 mission to complete, you’ll definitely want to take some time to admire the scenery. Of course, there’s no better way to immerse yourself in the game’s picturesque landscape than by performing Leaps of Faith off of the towers.
Marvel’s Spider-Man gives us a bigger, better New York City than anything we’ve seen before in a game. The in-game locale captures the vibe of the iconic city, from its high-rise buildings to the eclectic streets in its various neighborhoods. Swinging from building to building provides players with the perfect opportunity to marvel at NYC’s familiar locations and scenery. But just like any open world game, it’s the extras that deepen the experience.
Each of the game’s many neighborhoods allows players to take part in side quests and mini-games to grow their character. For instance, you can channel your inner Peter Parker and take photos around the city to unlock landmark tokens. On top of that, there are more fights, challenges, and other items to discover that take a bit of time and exploration. New York is a big city. You can’t do see it all in a day — unless you’re Spider-Man.
Don’t let Deadly Premonition’s last-generation graphics fool you; its setting is still worth exploring. Set in the rural community of Greenvale, the game has players traverse the wide-open town and its surroundings to investigate a mysterious murder. From the large lake to the lumber mill to the mansion sitting on the cliff, there are plenty of quaint, eerily charming locations to explore. The locale would fit in perfectly in an episode of Twin Peaks.
For a “small town,” Greenvale gives players ample ground to cover. Driving in your police cruiser channels all the feelings of taking a long road trip; in fact, driving to your next spot (let’s say from Becky’s House to Anna’s Tree) is no quick trip! But it’s all about the journey and what you find. One minute, you could be following the townsfolk in real-time on the map and the next, you could be discovering all the hidden trading cards off the beaten path.
Batman: Arkham City
Gotham City’s criminal alter-ego delivers an immersive experience in Batman: Arkham City. As the titular character, players get to explore an open world filled with criminals, secrets, and missions set in the Batman universe. Iconic landmarks and districts, like the GCPD building and the cinema, are transformed, drawing influence from some of Batman’s biggest foes (see: Two-Face’s half burnt, half normal courthouse). Your curiosity will drive you to figure out which villain has taken over each area.
Hidden within the dark and gritty metropolis are a bevy of secrets to discover. Whether you’re diving deep into the sewers or climbing high up Wonder Tower, there are fights to stop, crime scenes to investigate, and riddles to solve from The Riddler. But we recommend taking a moment to view the city when you can. For an evil and dangerous place, Arkham City is beautifully designed, right down to the smallest detail.
Grand Theft Auto V
When you look at the map for Grand Theft Auto V, it’s easy to forget that the entire game takes place on an island. The city of Los Santos and its surrounding communities almost feel like they’re in their own little worlds. The bustling city, the rural desert town, the mountains, and the quiet seaside community are just some of the areas you can explore and cause a little chaos in. And with the biggest world yet for a Grand Theft Auto game, the possibilities are endless.
Los Santos has a lot of missions available to fill your time. From chasing a producer in Vinewood to setting cars ablaze in Sandy Shores, Grand Theft Auto V takes your adventure across the map — and that doesn’t even include the races and heists you can join. On top of that, Los Santos is a gorgeous setting! Sometimes you’ll just want to fly your plane around the island to check out the scenic views (whatever you do with the plane after that is all you!).