Open World Games I've Played

Open World games are categorized by a primary gameplay loop of self-directed story progression and (probably) many icons placed on a map. I've played 12 games in this genre so far.

You can also go back to all genres.

poster for Horizon Forbidden West

Horizon Forbidden West

Took everything about the first game and improved it. Bigger world, better stories, more varied machines, better weapons, more interesting exploration, the works. The story was a little weaker, but set up some very interesting things. Plus, there's a lot of bits to find. And the stash system! What an improvement. Kudos all around.

poster for Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Enjoyed it. Tighter and more focused than original Spider Man. I liked the explorables and the smaller story. Characters were good, missions were decent.

poster for Marvel's Spider-Man

Marvel's Spider-Man

Oh man, what a game. The worst parts were how repetitive the crimes were. The best parts were everything else. The story, the environment, the variety of locations, characters, music, and feel. The map almost felt small, but mostly because you could move so fast. The challenges and science portions showed some of the cool spins they can do on the use of powers and objectives. Biggest complaint would be repetitiveness, but it was still wicked fun. Excited for more.

poster for Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn

What a beautiful world. Lots to explore. Good monsters, really makes you feel scared while hunting. Cool story, great worldbuilding. Never dragged, which was impressive. The inventory management was annoying and there were a lot of weapons that never got used. They didn't get in the way though, and it was just so fun to play.

poster for Sable


Really interesting concept. Cool art style. I liked the self-directedness of it. Unfortunately, it was pretty rough around the edges bug wise; enough that eventually, it discouraged me from climbing/exploring more. But, the climbing + navigating was cool and the music was atmospheric. Writing was good too, I liked the concept a lot. So, there's a lot there, but it needs some polish and refinement.

poster for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Pretty fun. Orc characters surprisingly charming. The combat flows pretty well, but feels simplistic. It becomes pretty repetitive. The errands feel random (x of y plant), whatever. Nemesis system seems complex and rewarding, but it’s hard to tell what’s going on. World is small (though apparently there’s another map) and pretty drab. Climbing is fun. Between missions it’s unclear what I’m supposed to be doing. Like I said, stealth feels pretty good. I’d rather be playing Dishonored.

poster for Pokémon Legends: Arceus

Pokémon Legends: Arceus

I have some complicated feelings about this one. As Pokemon games go, it's certainly novel. It tries a lot of new things and some of them are good! It's a little grindy and there are too many papercuts, but there's a lot of serious QoL. The core gameplay is still great, and while a lot of systems have been simplified, I think they made good choices. On paper, this would be the Pokemon game fans have been dreaming about for years and years. But, it dramatically falls short of its potential. The graphics are dreadful (and you can't _just_ blame the hardware; there are good looking Switch games) and the movement itself feels bad. There's boss battles are mostly button mashing and dodging, which is a weird way to climax a battling/catching game. The story is basically non-existent and all the side quests are just fetch quests. If this weren't a Pokemon game, it would be a bargain bin 5/10. It just hurts because there's _so_ much opportunity here, and this is what they came up with. I'm glad they're trying new things, but would really appreciate a higher quality bar.

poster for inFAMOUS: Second Son

inFAMOUS: Second Son

I wanted to like it. Cool graphics and powers, but HDR was real bad it and it felt very dark. Also binary choices in games always feel hollow- you basically have to play one all the way. Then it's just punitive when you accidentally kill someone. Boss fights were slow, characters were largely weird/bland. Open world was pretty, but sort of lifeless. Style and presentation were good though, on the whole.

poster for No Man's Sky

No Man's Sky

What an interesting game. The scope an exploration were truly awesome. Very cool actually being able to fly around an entire galaxy and planet. Graphics were great. Sense of scale, both indoor and outdoor were cool. But, everything else was mediocre. All quests are generic fetch quests. There's only 1 space station in the entire universe. Base building is fine, but wasn't hard enough to be interesting. Definitely a "find your own fun game". Honestly, just a worse version of Subnautica. Doesn't matter if there's infinite things if they're all generically the same.

poster for Assassin's Creed

Assassin's Creed

I can see what they were trying to do here, but it didn't quite hit the mark. The controls are interesting, but the game is repetitive and feels slow. Music is neat, story could be cool, dialogue is pretty awful.

poster for The First Tree

The First Tree

While the environments look ok, the fox doesn't control well and the dialogue is pretty poorly written. It attempts to pull at heartstrings, but is more frustrating than compelling.