Open-world games can be some of the toughest genres of games to develop as they are to contain an immersive experience. This is meant to engage the player both in terms of story and gameplay. Game QA services such as functionality testing and compatibility testing go a long way to ensure that these huge games can perform without bugs or glitches for the players.

Open-world games have come a long way over the years. They offer a long range of options and freedom as to how we explore and how we approach our objectives in games. These games need to focus on providing a number of things- that include a good narrative, interesting challenges and intuitive game mechanics. These are some attributes that game development studios need to focus on so the game can be on anyone’s radar as a game to play.

Here are our top five picks for open-world games that have released in 2022 and earlier; where we sift through which games deliver as a complete package in letting us best get lost in a world, lore and characters:

No. 5: Spider Man: Miles Morales

New York city around Christmas time can be a magical thing to witness. Insomniac does an incredible job recreating that very charming atmosphere in Marvel’s Miles Morales. Every aspect of this game is built upon and around Marvel’s Spider-Man (2018). This game follows up on the fundamental gameplay mechanics from the previous title, but everything else from the approach to the world, mission design and story is starkly different and improved upon in this game.

Although there is much less of the game to play through, the streamlined aspect of storytelling where Miles discovers his powers through the game and the player gets to unlock them through the events- makes the story all the more personally impactful. Along with a smoother combat mechanic and traversal system, animations are overhauled and new skills and gadgets are introduced. Insomniac captures both the heart of both Spider-Man and New York in an astounding manner, letting players swing through Christmas in New York at any point of time in the year.

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No. 4: Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain

Metal Gear Solid 5 has an extremely detailed and expansive open-world sandbox that allows the player to virtually approach most missions in more than one way. This overwhelming world is the result of a number of Kojima’s eccentric storytelling tropes that make it feel even more special with a fantastic soundtrack. The story is the weakest part of the game, but the freedom the game affords still makes it an interesting sandbox for players to delve into.

Every little design aspect is purposeful and intentional, such as the day-night cycle and dynamic weather systems make it so that this game is built on realistic world environments. Time of the day dictates how visible far away targets are and different times of the day has NPCs doing a variety of things such as eating, patrolling, sleeping among other activities. Every infiltration space including guard posts and command centres give a varied and challenging experience where there is no scripting or directing from the game developers that one needs to follow. This opens up the possibilities of what the game can offer new and returning players alike!

No. 3: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Theis game has been remastered and re-released on platforms all the way from PS5 & Xbox Series X and even on Amazon Alexa devices in recent times. This is because the game has set a precedent as to what an open-world adventure game could be and it remains to be a great game for over a decade as a reference.

The PC version has one of the most bust modding communities in gaming history where full side games are born out of its community developer efforts. Along with the recent upgrade to next-gen platforms, with its engrossing story, living open-world and more content that constantly gets created, Skyrim still stands today as one of the greatest open-world RPG a player can spend their time with.

No. 2: Grand Theft Auto 5

The legacy and influence of the Grand Theft Auto series is unparalleled. This game proves to be the perfect send off to PS3’s and the Xbox 360’s era of gaming, as it still holds a powerful presence in the industry extending into an additional two generations of hardware. Topping charts whenever re-released on last generation’s PS4, Xbox One and PC, it is no doubt that as it was released on PS5 and Xbox Series, it garnered similar results. This is owing to the impressive and frequent updates and patch fixes the game receives from the developers for Grand Theft Auto Online.

The game has a compelling story that spans across a triple protagonist structure which takes the player through the story in natural missions to flesh out both the world and the characters included. The immersiveness of GTA 5’s open-world is added upon with features such as being able to invest in the in-game stock market and seeing how rates for different products go up or down in-game. Along with containing activities like being able to skydive, participating in a triathlon and purchasing house properties, the game offers a wide variety of missions and activities to partake in and revisit with friends on GTA Online.

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No. 1: The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild

This game provides a breath of fresh air as it serves to be the product of the ultimate realization that the early Legend of Zelda games sought to provide. The template was laid out in the NES days when the first few titles of the game came out. The fully explorable and infinitely replayable nature of the game is aided by the humungous map design and gameplay mechanics that need to be constantly learned and unlearnt through the events of the game.

The simple charm of the character and world design coupled with a traversal system aided by most environment being able to be scaled, provides an experience that is adventure filled and magical to behold.

There are many other open-world games such as Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, Elden Ring, No Man’s Sky & Death Stranding to name a few that have been fan favourites over the years. If there are games that you think are interesting to add to this list, put them down on the comments section, let’s discuss!

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