13. Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy XV takes place in a lush open world that successful combines fantasy with reality, with roads weaving through monster-infested wilderness. It's an incredibly unique setting, and one that begs to be explored. A glamorous day and night cycle works wonders, too, and the fact that powerful creatures appear at night can give the game a surprisingly tense atmosphere. More than anything, though, it's the title's road trip theme that makes its open world really click, with Noctis and the gang adventuring by day before retiring to a cosy campsite to see out the darkness.
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Gransys is a foreboding place -- a free roam fantasy setting that has a dark and dangerous edge to it. Again, this is an open world that isn't as expansive as some, but it's utterly drenched in atmosphere. Brilliantly designed beasts roam the land, and the game does an amazing job of making even the blandest of tasks seem like an epic quest due to the potential danger that's involved. To top it all off, reanimated corpses and other horrors appear at night, when the light of your lantern illuminates only your immediate surroundings. Gripping stuff.
As an MMORPG, a huge, open map is somewhat expected of Final Fantasy XIV, but genre expectations don't make the world of Eorzea any less impressive. A diverse and beautifully designed land packed with adventure, it's no wonder so many players lose hundreds upon hundreds of hours to A Realm Reborn. Travelling from one side of the map to another on the back of your trusty chocobo really opens your eyes to just how much effort has been poured into each gorgeous location.
Bethesda has crafted many an open world, but the frosty land of Skyrim is easily one of its most cohesive creations. From the vast plains of Whiterun to the autumnal forests of The Rift, Skyrim's still one of the most memorable open worlds to have ever graced PlayStation. Compared to more recent blockbusters, this 2011 release is starting to show its age when it comes to dynamic encounters and other details that we associate with the genre, but there's just something so magical about Tamriel's Northern province.
9. Watch Dogs 2
If the original Watch Dogs’ dreary depiction of Chicago made for a fine but forgettable backdrop for Aiden Pearce’s hack-heavy adventure, then its sequel’s sunny San Francisco is the polar opposite. Much like Los Santos, the Golden City is practically bursting with life, and you can’t drive down a single street without spotting something worthy of snapping on your ctOS-connected smartphone. The colourful spirit of the urban location reflects the title’s uplifting freedom fighter fiction nicely, but Ubisoft’s sense of humour is what shines most brightly, as it pokes fun at practically all of ‘Frisco’s inhabitants.