• Just Cause 3 offers mindless mayhem in a world of chaos, perfect for unwinding after a long day.
  • Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild lets players explore Hyrule freely, focusing on serene sights and sounds.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2’s expansive world allows for unique adventures outside the main story, immersing players.

Open-world games continue to improve beyond belief, providing players with increasingly detailed environments to explore to their heart’s content. But the bigger the map, the bigger the story, and sometimes the number of mainline and side quests can become overwhelming.



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The best open-world games on the PlayStation 5 push the system to its absolute limits, offering players some of the most stunning locations in gaming.

Thankfully, there are a handful of games that reward the player by taking a step back to enjoy the seemingly trivial things in their open-world environments. While games like Horizon Forbidden West and Ghost of Tsushima rely heavily on the narrative drive of their stories, they also push the player to explore the world outside the main character’s contained story.

Updated March 31, 2024 by Mark Sammut: Open-world games are commonplace nowadays, and most of them are quite cozy since they typically don’t rush players. That said, the genre has a few representatives that are especially great options for people looking to unwind after a long day’s work. These relaxing open-world games encourage players to get lost within their worlds.

1 Just Cause 3

Sit Back & Watch The World Burn

Just Cause 3
November 30, 2015


Sometimes, nothing hits the spot like unrelenting destruction and mayhem. Just Cause is all about spreading chaos across a large map, with each story dropping Rico Rodriguez into an isolated powder keg and telling him to free the oppressed citizens by blowing everything up. While not devoid of story beats, the games limit these elements to a minimum to ensure they do not get in the way of the addictive gameplay routine.

Just Cause 2 is probably the most beloved entry in the franchise, and it is still a fun time all these years after its debut. However, its sequel arguably represents Just Cause at its best, and its middling initial critical reception was largely due to technical issues rather than a lack of quality. Nowadays, the game should generally run fine, and it is an absolute blast to play from beginning to end. While always engaging, Just Cause 3 is also the definition of a mindless open-world game, and that is a compliment.

2 The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

An Expansive Sandbox With No Strings

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
March 3, 2017

Nintendo EPD


The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom may have provided its predecessor, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, with much-needed tweaks and improvements, but nothing can top the sheer wonder that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild provided when it was first released in 2017.


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Even now, players are still finding underrated features within the game as they explore the wild and untamed land of Hyrule. Thanks to the freedom to do literally anything, fans can skip the main story altogether and focus on taking in the sights and sounds of the majestic land. Sometimes it’s nice to just sit next to a fire in the rain and listen to the beautiful score.

3 Red Dead Redemption 2

Intense Story Matched With A Slow-Paced Adventure

Red Dead Redemption 2
October 26, 2018


Red Dead Redemption 2 is a revolutionary game in many ways, especially in its design. The open world of Red Dead Redemption 2 is so expansive that players can experience an entirely different game outside of its main story. For example, the process of hunting can take up a large portion of time from choosing the right weapon to use and the prime spot to take.

Getting sidetracked in this game can lead players to extremely unique situations, ones they may not have found themselves in had they stuck to the linear story of planning heists or helping the Van Der Linde Gang in their exploits. While there are limits to what players can do at a given time, the freedom of exploring the American Frontier is something else.

4 Ghost Of Tsushima

Master The Way Of The Blade & Shut Off Your Mind

Ghost of Tsushima
July 17, 2020


There’s an art to Ghost of Tsushima, whether in the midst of combat or just admiring the vibrant scenery. Each area players find themselves in Ghost of Tsushima is unique, whether that’s the lush forests or the fields of Chinese silver grass, dancing in the wind. The immersive wind effects make the views even more atmospheric, providing an unforgettable experience.


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For true immersion, fans of historical settings should look no further than these great historical open-world video games.

Even in battle, there’s a flow and a rhythm to Jin’s strikes which helps in switching players’ brains off. It becomes second nature, much like other aspects of the game, like composing haikus which provide the opportunity to stop and take in the serene scenery.

5 Horizon Forbidden West

Enjoy A Beautiful World At Whatever Pace You Prefer

Horizon Forbidden West
February 18, 2022


Aloy’s adventures in the Horizon franchise have quickly become one of PlayStation’s flagship RPGs, and with good reason. Its most recent release, Horizon Forbidden West, takes Aloy on a journey to the post-apocalyptic Western United States as she is tasked with saving the world from impending doom. Naturally, there’s a lot of pressure on her shoulders, but players have the opportunity to mitigate that by exploring the world of Horizon Forbidden West to their heart’s content.

Obviously, certain areas are cut off due to progression. But by the end of the game, gamers have free rein to explore the Forbidden West and the Burning Shores, where they can hunt machines for parts and improve their skills. Or, players can simply sit and watch the sun rise and set from stunning locations around the map, courtesy of the beautifully rendered scenery by Guerrilla Games and their Decima engine.

The Ultimate Open-World Experience, & The Story Is Basically Optional

November 11, 2011


Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim may have come out over a decade ago, but players are still finding secrets hidden within the fantasy realm. While Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim doesn’t have the biggest map in the franchise, it more than makes up for it in Bethesda’s attention to detail, from its rolling landscape to its memorable characters.

Like many open-world games, Skyrim is full of side quests for players to get lost within. But unlike other titles, the game doesn’t punish players for ignoring side content, meaning they can focus on the story without worrying that they’re missing out on something.

7 Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

Explore A Well-Realized Historical Setting

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
October 15, 2018


Assassin’s Creed Odyssey saw Ubisoft’s continued focus on exploration for the franchise, this time taking place during the Peloponnesian War. There’s obviously a main story to follow, but the detailed historical environment of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey invites players to stare at the wonders of Ancient Greece and take in the sights of what the Mediterranean has to offer.

And if players want to go on an educational adventure, there’s a mode specifically for that. Discovery Tour: Ancient Greece lets players roam the world free of combat and story to learn about the landmarks and other historical monuments to be found. It can be purchased as a standalone or as part of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and is accessed through the game’s main menu.

8 Cyberpunk 2077

Replayable & Immersive

Cyberpunk 2077
December 10, 2020


Cyberpunk 2077 has an expansive map consisting of contrastingly different areas, even within Night City itself. These include districts like Watson, Westbrook, Pacifica, and Santo Domingo housing buildings and other facilities like clubs and offices to explore. Even outside of the city, there is an expansive world in the deserts of the Badlands, in addition to hidden gems like the Chram Denya Jinja in North Oak.

Players of Cyberpunk 2077 could quite easily just drive around Night City and the surrounding areas, not undertaking any quests to take their minds off things, while visiting a few of the local spots to take it all in. It’s discovering these parts that make the game so replayable.


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Open world games are an exciting genre due to exploration, and these games have done a wonderful job at those mechanics


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