There are two types of open-world video games on the market today: those with well-made maps and a world that feels alive, and those where every content and dungeon appears to be a rehash of the other. After a long day, you might want to get lost in a gorgeous game environment where you can explore and discover all its mysteries and quests. Open-world titles are fantastic candidates for that.
However, the sheer number of options can be overwhelming. This article will provide you with some of the most critically praised works according to Metacritic.
Note: This article is subjective and reflects the writer’s opinions.
Top-rated open-world video games according to Metacritic reviews
7) The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom – 96
Tears of the Kingdom is the epitome of what a video game sequel should be. The creators added new features, such as the ability to build various machinery and cause havoc. The game replicates Breath of the Wild’s formula with precision and provides players with a great deal of freedom as they explore the game’s open-world sandbox.
Tears of the Kingdom also features some of the strongest writing in the Zelda series, cementing Link’s reputation as one of the best video game protagonists. Without any question, it is one of the best open-world video games of 2023.
6) Grand Theft Auto III – 97
Rockstar Games has made a name for itself as a master craftsman of open-world video games. Without a doubt, their claim to fame has been the Grand Theft Auto series. What began as a top-down title evolved into one of the most successful game franchises in history. GTA 3 is the game that established the series as a household name.
Players assume the character of Claude as they explore Liberty City, a foggy parallel of New York City. Players regard Claude’s adventures as he tries to escape a life of crime as one of the best storylines produced by Rockstar Games.
GTA 3, 22 years after its debut, is still one of the gaming community’s favorite open-world video games, as many love to sit back and unleash chaos on the streets of Liberty City.
5) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – 97
Breath of the Wild, launched in 2017, is one of Nintendo’s most ambitious projects. At a time when every game of this genre felt the same, it reinvented the concept of an open-world video game. Breath of the Wild’s incredible story, stunning visual aesthetic, and great interactive environment made it an obvious choice to win the title of 2017’s Game of the Year.
The art design of Breath of the Wild leaves a lasting impression. It prompted other game developers to incorporate the Cel-Shading technology in their games, the most notable example being HoYoverse’s Genshin Impact.
4) Red Dead Redemption 2 – 97
Rockstar Games’ commitment to creating solid open-world video games is evidenced by the 2018 blockbuster Red Dead Redemption 2. The title is meticulously detailed and tells the story of a man attempting to keep everything together in a changing world.
When it was revealed that John Marston, the protagonist of 2010’s Red Dead Redemption, would not be the title’s main character, many people were unhappy. However, as the game progressed, people grew more and more fond of Arthur Morgan. Many even consider him to be one of the best-written video game protagonists. His story is tragic, and RDR 2’s chapter six can leave you in tears.
The realism in the game is also noteworthy and requires you to look after Arthur and his horse. Each NPC goes about their mundane tasks in their settlements and camps, such as the Van Der Linde gang’s chef Pearson preparing meats and veggies for his stew. This brings the game’s open environment to life and is one of the reasons for the game’s high rating.
3) Grand Theft Auto V – 97
Grand Theft Auto is one of the biggest open-world video game franchises. And the most famous and widely recognized GTA game? Obviously, 2013’s Grand Theft Auto V. The title is the second best-selling video game ever.
The game takes place in a fictional version of Los Angeles, as seen through the eyes of three protagonists. Trevor, an insane criminal, Michael, a retired crook struggling with his family, and Franklin, a small-time thief from Los Santos, get together to tell a story of cooperation and heists with a dash of comedy thrown in for good measure.
Thanks to its fantastic story missions, amazing replay value, and visually stunning world, Grand Theft Auto V is still regarded by many as one of the best open-world video games. Additionally, Rockstar Games continuously updates the multiplayer, which is admittedly not to everyone’s taste. GTA Online pits you against other players, and sometimes they are not friendly. Also, the amount of hackers you may run into can ruin the experience for you.
2) Grand Theft Auto IV – 98
Given that Rockstar Games is widely considered to be a studio of video game geniuses, it is not shocking that four of its titles appear on this list. Another amazing game developed by them is 2008’s Grand Theft Auto IV.
Players follow Slavic gangster Niko Bellic as he escapes to the United States in search of the American ideal, taking us back to Liberty City from the third game. From this point on, he begins his life of crime, which is full of turns and tribulations. Occasionally, he also goes bowling with his cousin Roman.
Many people believe that GTA IV’s plot is the best in the entire series. Additionally, there are two substantial expansions for the game that add more characters. Revisiting GTA 3’s world with updated visuals and the story of Niko makes it one of the best open-world video games.
1) Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time – 99
The central theme of the Legend of Zelda series is the exploration of a mysterious realm. The year 1998 saw the debut of one of the most important Zelda titles, Ocarina of Time, the very first 3D game in the franchise. The plot takes many unexpected turns as Link journeys through the expansive game world in an effort to save it from Ganondorf’s tyranny.
Link is aided by a mystical artifact dubbed Ocarina of Time, given to him by Princess Zelda. Players adored Ocarina of Time’s gameplay and campaign, and it also featured a fantastic soundtrack. These OSTs still have the potential to incite intense nostalgia among players.
Ocarina of Time also features numerous well-crafted dungeons that reward you with unique weapons. Each puzzle and part of the map is also distinct from the others. If Nintendo wishes to remake any game from their library, most players will vote for this game without hesitation.