First and foremost we must begin this with a disclaimer. Any game you play after finishing Red Dead Redemption 2 is going to pale in comparison. The open world Rockstar crafted in that game is, without a doubt, the most fully realized open world game ever created. Its scope and ambition are all but unrivaled, so to hold any other game to that standard will only result in you being disappointed.
BUT, if you approach most open world games on their own merits, you quickly learn there are some hugely rewarding and enjoyable games out there. And while 99% of them pale in comparison to RDR2, that doesn't mean they aren't still fantastic games that deserve some of your time. With most people having completed the single player aspect of Red Dead Redemption 2 already, we thought this would be an ideal opportunity to tell you all about 10 other open worlds that could fill the gaping hole in your soul that Red Dead Redemption 2 has left.
10. Saints Row Series
While it was hard not to specifically recommend Saints Row 2 (best in series, yo), the whole Saints Row series is bombastic, over-the-top, open world madness at its most chaotic and fun. While everyone knows that the Saints Row series is a knock-off GTA clone, by the second game it found a very unique voice (crass, to say the least) but a voice that worked really well at setting it apart from the games it pays homage to. Basically, it is GTA with weirder side missions and more d*ck jokes.
9. Shadows of Mordor Series
Once people got past the "pay to win" model that basically every online game is following now, what you actually have here is a Batman Arkham game series ripoff that somehow works just as well (if not better, because of Nemesis system) as that series.
But it really is the Nemesis system they've implemented in this game that makes it shine (and why it hasn't been ripped off yet is kind of beyond us). The world stays alive and active, so if you get killed by an Orc, it stays in that world and the next time it sees you it mocks you. Or if you take off a limb or stab them in the face and they survive, they very well could be hunting the map for revenge.
It is the most PVP feeling single player game ever made, which is what makes it so damn fun.
8. Assassin's Creed Series
The Assassin's Creed series, for all its missteps, is actually a great game series (that may have overstayed its welcome at this point, but that's okay). But the last thing we have to do at this point is explain the Assassin's Creed series to anyone. You are an assassin, but like, you are really only in a simulation, but the people who run the simulation are actually... well, it is really contrived at this point.
But the games themselves are pretty fun with lots to explore and do (and the games are glitchy as hell, which can be funny in its own right).
7. Mad Max
In this writer's opinion, this is probably one of the most recent generations most underappreciated games. Mad Max may look cliche (yes, it is another Arkham clone), but only someone who has sold their soul to Satan herself wouldn't have a ton of fun driving around Mad Max's universe, using the frankly sick harpoon gun to tear other cars apart while electrical storms rage around you.
Take that Just Cause 4. Max did it first and did it better. And the game, while not licensed to look like the actors or anything, still does a stellar job at making you believe you are in that world.
6. Sleeping Dogs
Granted, we're taking it back a gaming generation right now, which is unheard of (though it is remastered on current systems), Sleeping Dogs beat Watch Dogs in getting on this list for one, simple reason.
Sleeping Dogs is way more fun.
Think GTA with Batman's combat and in a Yakuza setting. Yes, and somehow it merges all those gameplay elements quite well and doesn't suck or come across as trying too hard in the process. By no means the biggest or deepest game on the list, Sleeping Dogs is still a must-play for any fans of the worlds Rockstar creates.
5. Breath of the Wild
Maybe the only game on the list (besides entry number one further down) that can really rival Red Dead Redemption 2 in terms of scope and detail, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is about as close to a perfect game as games can get. So good in fact, there are people who bought a Switch just to play this game, and have no regrets whatsoever.
Honestly, non-Switch owners have been jealous up to Red Dead's release, but they aren't anymore. The games are actually oddly similar (crafting, cooking, camp, horses), and if you have yet to play BOTW, now you have no excuse. And yes, it is "worth the price for a Switch" good. Honestly.
4. Just Cause Games
While we could have said Just Cause 4, the reality is, there really are only slight differences between 2, 3, and 4. Outside of adding balloons and weather effects, Just Cause 4 doesn't feel any different than JC3, which is not an insult. Just Cause 3 is the open world game equivalent of anarchy.
While not having strong missions or story at all, the fun of the Just Cause series is to step into it and "Just Cause" chaos. It is like the old Red Faction games, only way more fun and rewarding.
This one held rank until RDR2 dropped, and for good reason. Spider-Man for PS4 is kind of a perfect game. Really. The sense of speed and power you get from being Spider-Man is kind of unrivaled in gaming up to now, and the way New York is realized in the game is just breathtaking. Outside of those factors, the story is fantastic with lots of twists and turns you won't see coming, and it might be one of the best interpretations (on all fronts) we have seen yet of the wall-crawler.
Honestly, this game has us really excited, as you know more entries will inevitably be announced.
2. Yakuza Series
No frills here, no BS, Yakuza might just be the most fun open world game series out there, Yakuza 0 being one that shines particularly bright for the series. Yakuza is exactly what it sounds like. An open world game about (wait for it, wait..for...it) being a Yakuza. But this Sega game sets itself apart from all the games on this list in one way: It is whimsical, deliberately corny at times, and funny as hell as a result.
Just the mini-games alone are better than some whole games. When one minute you are in a brutal fight scene with six dudes, then in the next, you are at a karaoke bar singing K-Pop and doing your best not to miss a note, you know you are playing something special.
1. Horizon Zero Dawn
This is the game that, it's safe to say, pleasantly shocked the most people in the last few years. A new I.P. that merges concepts of technology with old-world values and aesthetics, Horizon Zero Dawn is about as finely tuned a game and as fully realized an open world as any we have seen in gaming up to this point.
Also, many people consider Aloy to be one of the best original characters in the last five or so years of gaming, and we couldn't argue. Her character arc is amazing to be a part of. Hers is a complex tale woven over a long period that somehow combines the ideals of Vikings with a world where corrupted tech has given birth to a breed of new (animalistic) robots that are taking over the world, and you're tasked with finding out why and stopping it.
Honestly, this game has the best bow mechanics we have ever played in a game, and that includes Red Dead 2, so if you have yet to pick up Horizon Zero Dawn and you just beat RDR2, you're welcome.