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.
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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.
While it may have a dearth of sprawling cities compared to some of its open world counterparts, Horizon: Zero Dawn fills its vast open plains with something much more unique: a vibrant ecosystem of blood-thirsty machines. In this post-post-apocalyptic adventure, emergent set-pieces lurk around every corner, as you journey between the greenery of the Nora lands through to the sun-baked sands that the Carja call home. Imaginative and rendered in obsessive detail, it’s not hard to immerse yourself in Guerrilla Games’ open world fantasy landscape.
7. Fallout 4
Who knew that post-apocalyptic Boston could offer so much fun? Boasting Bethesda's first current-gen open world, Fallout 4's greatest strength is its setting, which is intricately designed and stuffed with mutants. The devastated American state is dense and always intriguing -- there's something new and potentially deadly lurking around just about every corner, and it's topped off by settlements that are yours to build and expand upon, establishing small pockets of hope in what is otherwise a hellish wasteland. It's all beautifully bleak.
Well, you knew this was going to be on here somewhere. Rockstar is a studio synonymous with open world titles, and with each new release, it seems to step its game up significantly. Grand Theft Auto V knocks it out of the park with Los Santos -- a varied and gorgeous setting that's bursting with life. It's an open world where you can stand in one spot for minutes at a time and just watch the game tick along as people go about their business. Even now, years after its original release, Grand Theft Auto V is so impressively dynamic.