Red Dead Redemption 2 is a game that is going to inspire many emulators. Between its incredible story and voice-cast, to its occasionally revolutionary gameplay systems, it's going to have some staying power.
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But, you can't play the same thing forever. The good news is, there are quite a few games that might scratch a similar itch. The criteria for games on this list is the inclusion of an extensive open-world, a narrative that entirely sucks you in, emergent gameplay that puts you in the driver's seat, and some chill moments that just let you sit back and relax.
10. RED DEAD REDEMPTION
To start off this list with a resounding: “Well... duh”, I'll mention the original Red Dead Redemption. While it's not all that easy to get a hold of anymore since it's a last-generation game, it is worth the effort. Many gameplay systems will feel outdated as compared to its sequel, but Red Dead Redemption is chronologically a sequel to Red Dead Redemption 2, so if you're heavily invested in the story, it's definitely deserving of a playthrough.
If you're that final person on Earth who's never played Skyrim, then consider this a formal recommendation. In this humble writer's opinion, Skyrim is not over-hyped. At all. It's absolutely awe-inspiring; a game that completely changed my perception of games and the worlds within. Sure, it's quite a few years old now, and will occasionally show its age. But if you're really willing to delve deep into the game, deep into the world, it will be a truly rewarding experience that has some severe staying power.
Plus, no matter what platform you game on, chances are Skyrim is available for it. If you've got a PSVR or a PC VR setup, you can play the entirety of Skyrim in VR, too. And that experience is one that you will never, ever forget.
8. FALLOUT 4
Okay, yes, I love Bethesda, but Fallout 4 is truly relevant to this conversation too. The wasteland of Fallout 4 has a lot going on, and you could spend dozens of hours just walking around getting into the occasional shenanigans. But if you want to get deep into a story, heck, a few stories, then Fallout 4 has you covered in that department, too. There's a lot of story content here, and you can invest as much or as little time into it as you want. If you'd rather just gather supplies and build the new coolest city in the post-apocalypse, you're more than welcome to. It's worth mentioning that this is available in VR on PC, too.
7. THE WITCHER 3
The Witcher 3 is a game unlike any other. (Besides, perhaps, Witcher 1 and 2.) But there's a reason passionate gamers get teary-eyed when they describe Witcher 3 and their time with it. There's just something about the game, about the world, and about the characters, that's utterly beautiful. There's so much happening in the game that there is really no way to express just what the game experience is like without simply telling you to play it. There are no wasted quests; there's no filler content, here. Every moment you spend in this game feels meaningful, and it's really hard to pull yourself away from it.
6. ASSASSIN'S CREED ODYSSEY/ORIGINS
I'm going to cheat a little bit here, but Assassin's Creed Odyssey is very new and Origins is still pretty new, so I feel confident slapping them together. Both of these games have open-worlds that are so big that they really do feel like whole worlds. There is so, so much to see in these games, and the amount of time Ubisoft must put into creating an open-world that's awesome to look at, engaging to play in, and is somewhat historically accurate is impressive.
Both of these games have deep storylines that allow you to engage it at your own pace, and plenty of side-activities to lose yourself in, too. Or, if you want to just tour around and take pictures in photo-mode, then go right on ahead. There's so much to do here, and most, if not all of it, is a blast to accomplish.
5. FAR CRY 5
While this open-world isn't quite as expansive and beautiful as either Assassin's Creed Origins or Odyssey, it's still above par. There's a lot to do in this world, not to mention a plethora of interesting characters and a decent story. While there might not be anything absolutely revolutionary about Far Cry 5, there's a huge amount of possibilities, and it does a lot of things right. The first time you leap off a mountain and glide across what seems like the entire map will be an experience to remember.
4. THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD
Breath of the Wild is an incredibly impressive game for a slew of reasons, not the least of which because the whole game is in your hands from just a couple of hours in. Giving players that much freedom is something that is becoming rarer and rarer, and makes games that do grant it shine.
But that's not to say that there isn't a story here, and that story is an interesting one. The more you play, the more you're learning about the world, about Link, and about the other characters around. This game feels so rewarding every time you play, and if you want to 100% the game, there are going to be a lot of play-sessions.
3. METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN
I'm going to come clean here: MGSV is the first game of the franchise I've ever played. I know, I know, but listen; this game is absolutely superb. Seriously, there's so much story here, with characters and cutscenes that couldn't exist anywhere else in the gaming universe. There's so much about Metal Gear Solid that is completely unique, yet has enough familiar things around that you never feel lost. The craziest stuff in the game is surrounded by other things that are perfectly grounded, forming a juxtaposition that creates a world that's a blast to explore.
2. GRAND THEFT AUTO V
You knew it had to be on the list, didn't you? Another Rockstar title, GTA V is another game with a huge, varied open-world that's great fun to explore, and enough story content to keep you going for weeks. With not one, not two, but three main characters, each with their own side-missions, this game allows you to pace yourself on whatever content you feel like playing at that time. If you'd like to go completely destroy the stock market for your own benefit, go for it. Want to rob a jewelry store? It's all yours. Want to see how many cars you can blow up with one well-placed grenade? (Seriously, it's a lot of cars, trust me)
1. KINGDOM COME: DELIVERANCE
There are very few games that make the effort to immerse you as much as Red Dead Redemption 2, but a strong contender would have to be Kingdom Come: Deliverance. There's quite a bit of jankiness here, but once you get accustomed to it, there's an experience to be had that is like few others. This game doesn't pull any punches and is perfectly fine with beating you bloody for hours on end, and you're going to have to put in quite a bit of time before you're any kind of force to be reckoned with. But that means when you can throw down with the best of them, it's that much more rewarding.
That's not even mentioning the huge story here, full of characters that are going to consistently surprise you. There's a lot going on in this game, and delving into it is a great time.