For the past twenty years, the open-world genre has been progressing thanks to technological advancements that have made them possible. Through Grand Theft Auto V, you can rampage through a fictional depiction of Los Angeles; In Red Dead Redemption II, you’re a cowboy in the twilight of the Wild West; In Assassin’s Creed, you explore historic times in Europe, the Middle East, and Revolutionary War America; In Yakuza, you can immerse yourself in an accurate depiction of Japan’s seedy red-light districts; and in Skyrim, you can go on a journey in a world of fantasy. As the decade closed, the industry continued to deliver more open-world games and we wish to present to you what we find are the Top Open-World Games of 2019.
5. Metro Exodus
- System: PS4
- Publisher: Deep Silver
- Developer: 4A Games
- Release Dates: February 15, 2019
Metro Exodus is a first-person shooter, a survival horror, and a stealth game all rolled into one. In Metro Exodus, players must survive a post-nuclear war Russia as they scavenge in the badlands for parts to make into weapons as they must face monsters and other enemy combatants.
What also makes this game distinguishable is that is features a weather system, a day-night cycle, and other changes as the timeline in the game progresses. As the year in the game goes on, players can see the changes in the environments they explore. They can still see leaves fall in the autumn and when it’s winter, they must survive the harsh Russian snow. If you want an experience that that’s Chernobyl times a million, then Metro Exodus is probably what you’re looking for.
4. Dragon Quest XI: Sugi Saraishi Toki wo Motomete S (Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition)
- System: Switch
- Publisher: Square Enix (Japan), Nintendo (US, Europe)
- Developer: Square Enix
- Release Dates: September 27, 2019
If you wish to explore a world of fantasy, then we strongly recommend the Switch version of Dragon Quest XI. With character designs once again provided by Akira Toriyama, the creator of Dragon Ball, players can feel like they’re living in his world. In a sense, RPGs are the forefathers of open-world (we’ll get back to that later) because players can explore the world of the game and interact with its characters and environments.
With present-day technology and open-world games advancing side-by-side, classic RPGs are in a position to give players a much more immersive experience by allowing them to deeply explore a forest, endure the heat of a desert, or get lost in a castle town. If you wish to see a variety of environments and people, Dragon Quest is the experience you’re looking for!
3. The Outer Worlds
- System: PS4, XBox One, Switch, PC
- Publisher: Private Division
- Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
- Release Dates: October 25, 2019
The Outer Worlds is an outer space adventure that also serves as a first-person RPG. As the title suggests, what makes this selection different is that The Outer Worlds takes place in outer space. In comparison to Dragon Quest or any other J-RPG, The Outer Worlds is more akin to Western RPGs where players make their own character, but they can recruit any character they meet on their journey.
The combat is very straight-to-the-point with its first-person features, but there are instances where players can avoid fighting by either talking to the opponent or just trying to scare them into thinking that you’re not someone to mess with. The story progresses based on a player’s decisions so it’s truly a game that can go anywhere. Like Death Stranding, it does have its own unique political messages that relate to modern times but The Outer Worlds interprets what can happen when corporations aren’t regulated.
2. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
- System: PS4, PC, Xbox One
- Publisher: Activision
- Developer: From Software
- Release Dates: March 22, 2019
For those that love stories about ninja in feudal Japan, there’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice for you to check out! Since players assume the role of a ninja, it’s only natural that Sekiro emphasizes stealth. If the player can approach an enemy without getting detected, then their enemy won’t know what hit them!
Beyond its unique and intense action sequences, players are treated to an older world where they can raid traditional castles and a serene countryside with plant life that is unique to Japan (most notably, sakura trees). Sekiro gives us a Japan that we could never know now that much of its bigger cities are lit up by neon signs, the sounds of trains, and rows of buildings and restaurants.
1. Death Stranding
- System: PS4, PC
- Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Developer: Kojima Productions
- Release Dates: November 8, 2019
For Sci-Fi lovers, we have Hideo Kojima’s latest release, Death Stranding. As Sam Porter Bridges, the player must deliver supplies to various stations while evading ghost-like beings and bandits that rule the wild in a dystopian America. While carrying equipment out in the field was featured in previous Metal Gear Solid installments, Kojima takes this notion to new creative expressions as it relates to Death Stranding.
Depending on what Sam has to take with him on his deliveries, the weight and distribution can affect his balance and movement so players have to be cautious as he treks through hills, rivers, swamps, and valleys. When it comes to Kojima, he’s all about storytelling as Death Stranding explores concepts of the afterlife and reunifying a nation.
Finally, we have to mention Shenmue III. As many of you know, Shenmue was the first ever open-world game. Shenmue introduced features what we now see in the genre such as weather, day-night cycles, interacting with NPCs, and experiencing a world as if you were there. Beyond Japan and China, players can visit outer space, learn history, and explore modern society through a lens like no other. In addition to our picks, what do you think are 2019’s best open-world games?