What Open World Games Do You Just Roam Around In?

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Last night, Tegan and I spent some time rolling over Orcs in Shadow of War with Bajo. And at one point, we had a chat about the best kind of open-world games: the ones where you don't actually want to progress the story.

I've always found the best kind of open-world games are ones where I'm happy to just explore, rather than pushing forward to finish the game. The first Watch Dogs, for instance, was something where I couldn't wait to finish the story. I hated the characters, hated the in-game rendition of Chicago, and didn't want to be anywhere in the world.

The opposite, at least for me? Sleeping Dogs. Apart from having a cracker of a story for the genre, it was also fun just roaming around on a bike and getting into fist fights with everyone.

Another open world game where I more or less bumbled around in perpetuity was Just Cause 2 and 3. Those games are great for that: blowing shit up, slinging off planes, opening the wingsuit and going for a breezy flight off a cliff. The story is irrelevant - it's just a vehicle for spawning targets to shoot at - and it's loads of fun as a result.

What open worlds have you enjoyed messing around in?


    I finished the story, but Mad Max was fantastic for going just cruising around.

    I just roam around Hyrule in Breath of the Wild with nary a care in the world.

    I just like being there.

    LoZ: OOT - seemed so much bigger with more stuff to do when I was a kid.
    GTAV - probs the best in the business for mucking about.
    THPS3 - not open world but enjoyed just doing practice and mucking about in it and seeing what was out there in the maps.

    Horizon Zero Dawn. I loved just riding around and coming upon new machines, a collectible or two.

      Yep +1. Don’t get me wrong, the story was great, but on a hard difficulty setting simply stalking through the world, hunting targets of opportunity, kept me entertained for weeks.

      Absolutely. I re-purchased the game just to do this. The best realised open world yet I think.

      Witcher 3 is beautiful but I was always on a mission and when meeting over-powered enemies, it didn't feel like skill was enough to save me but in Horizon? Skill will get you there everytime. Skill and trip wires.

      GTA V has waaaaay too much random cursing for me. It gets old. And my kids like to watch me play. The first time I drove past someone to hear 'fuck you!' out of nowhere I exited the game. Plus the story sucks and all of the characters are super unlikable except for the black guy, who's just a stereotype of a non-threatening black guy.

        What is a stereotypical non-threatening black guy lol....

        To be fair, it is an R18 game so, not at all questioning your parenting methods, but perhaps it's not the best for them to be watching anyway. That aside, I think GTA V has one of the best open worlds to explore.

          That's why I don't play it in front of my kids dude. It's not suitable for them. But I don't like it either. It's just not for me. It seems stupid and immature.

            I think that's the point it's going for. A satire of everything wrong (mainly) in America. Each to their own I guess.

            I agree with Horizon though. What a beautiful world that is.

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    None really.

    While I do a lot of wandering around in open worlds it's always with a purpose - I'm always following the story, or doing a sidequest, or doing something in order to make the story or sidequest easier, or I'm looking for something specific that I don't particularly need, but want anyway.

    Point is there's always a reason to my wandering. I'm never roaming around just because.

      Yeah, it's always some kind of collectible/achievement hunt for me, never 'without purpose'. Probably the closest I ever got was exploring. It's particularly potent in GTA 5, but I've had that exploration itch all over the place. Just about every sandbox, really. MMOs, too! The Bethesda sandboxes (TES/Fallout), Dragon's Dogma, Red Dead Redemption, Sleeping Dogs, Mordor, Witcher, etc, etc.

    Still wandering around Fallout 4 on occasion.

    Witcher 3 is such an amazingly constructed world that its a treat to just wander about on Roach.

    Sleeping Dogs really did need a sequel. Gutted it didnt.

    Pretty much every Bethesda game because that's literally all they have in them.

    Then I get bored after and hour or so and play something with actual substance.

    AC:Black Flag was pretty much only fun until I started completing the story missions. There's a point in the middle where you can more or less treat it like an updated version of "Sid Meier's Pirates!", and that bit is awesome.

    Actually, if you count "Sid Meier's Pirates!" as an open world game that's probably my favourite. I spent a lot of time with the 2004 version.

    Open world games and I have a rocky relationship because they bore me pretty quickly if I'm not trying to achieve something. I can get indefinitely distracted chasing collectibles, powerups, currency or side missions but as soon as I'm not doing that my interest falls rapidly and I'll either drop the game or just try and fast-track an ending. That's not to say I won't mess about on the way. Most of my fun stems from the crazy situations and improviations that happen while I'm trying to achieve an objective.

      Sooo boring. I usually just mainline the story and move on. Horizon Zero and Witcher 3 are the only ones I've ever come back to. The rest just feel like 'make work'.

      Batman games aren't counted as open world for me. But they're amazing. Have replayed all of them a few times. Cos.......


    When I was much, much younger, there was nothing better than flying away from any planet in Elite and just go blasting unlimited and collect all the cargo canisters. When cargo bay is full, then fly back to the space station, offload and cash in, rinse and repeat. Open world game being powered by my beefy 32kb BBC Micro.

      Pretty much same in Elite: Dangerous, if that's the path you choose...

      Me, I'm currently on my way to Sagittarius A*, because... um. It's there, and I've not been for a couple of years and not with this account... :)

    I can't believe I'm the first to nominate this but Red Dead Redemption FTW.

    Fallout 4, really.

    I like the aesthetic of the world and I like exploring in it.

    Spider-man 2 and Hulk: Ultimate Destruction were ones I spent ages just roaming around in. More so Spider-man 2 because web-swinging was just too much fun. Hulk was fun to run around and just punch everything, and silly-fun when you got some of the later upgrades like shield surfing.
    Others have already been mentioned. RDR was fun to just ride around and shoot/lasso random dudes. Sleeping Dogs had a very satisfying driving system, I loved ramming other cars and leaping out on to others. The free-running was great too, not many games are much fun to run and climb over stuff. Just Cause 2 feels like it was built just to wander aimlessly. I think I only spent maybe under an hour on the campaign and probably several dozen just driving and flying around blowing stuff up. Breath of the Wild I did spend a lot of time climbing and horse riding for no real reason other than because I wanted to, and shield surfing down those snowy mountains... so much surfing.

    The game that first sprang to mind when I saw this was Saints Row 2 but also, to a lesser extent, Saints Row the Third.

    But I also fully agree with Sleeping Dogs.

    Used to really enjoy Oblivion. Just wandering around, checking out the hell gates, getting ambushed by minotaur... dragging corpses around in their underwear, making little visual stories with them.

      Yeah that was great. It was a different time though, the mid-2000s. Games have moved on since then. I haven't ever enjoyed an Elder Scrolls game as much as Oblivion. I'll always have a soft spot for it.

    GTA San Andreas. The ones after were great too, but having people in your colours yell out, 'yo, CJ!' while you're peddling around your 'hood totally made you feel like you belonged there. Or driving around listening with NWA blaring.

    Enjoying shadow of war for this,

    first 5 hours just wandering round the first level killing captains and getting.

    Couldn't find the mechanic people were saying about collecting orcs and all the legendaries that dropped needed domination.

    finally kicked the story can down the road, exciting to get home and see what that part has to offer.

    RED DEAD MUTHA TRUCKIN REDEMPTION. I'd think about just going home after school and going for a hunt through tall trees.

    Elite: Dangerous, just cruising from system to system. Sometimes down to planets to check out alien ruins... but at the moment hunting rare star classes.

    The Witcher,GTA,Fallout,New Mordor are all great to roam in."Cruisin' down tha street on mah Caragor"-Eazy E

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