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The best open-world games on PC

Open-world games are incredibly popular — and for good reason. Offering a sense of freedom not found in other genres, these titles manage to keep players entertained years after their initial release. And with the price of games continuing to rise, open-world games pose a great value to consumers.

If you happen to play on PC, there is an overwhelming number of open-world games at your disposal. Whether you’re looking for a multiplayer shooter or a single-player game that’ll keep you occupied for more than 100 hours, here are 10 of the best open-world games on PC.

Further reading

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The Dragonborn stares down a dragon in Skyrim.
Via Bethesda

With Skyrim now available on just about every platform under the sun, odds are good you’ve already experienced the Dovahkiin’s journey. If you haven’t — or if you’re looking to relive the glory days — consider diving into the recently released Anniversary Edition of Skyrim for a bit of bonus content.

Playing the open-world epic on PC is arguably the best way to experience Skyrim, as it gives you access to thousands of mods that further augment your world. Whether you want to ramp up its graphics, add new questlines, or turn dragons into Macho Man Randy Savage, Skyrim on PC is a beast all its own. As far as open-world games are concerned, it’s hard to beat Bethesda’s iconic masterpiece.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Geralt looking at mountain in The Witcher 3.

Jump into the shoes of Geralt one more time, as he navigates political turmoil, disgruntled townsfolk, and a whole lot of deadly beasts. Despite offering one of the most intriguing and tightly written narratives in gaming, The Witcher 3 still gives you incredible freedom to explore every dark corner of its haunting world.

Throughout The Continent you’ll find plenty of tasks to keep you busy — from sitting down to a game of Gwent to chasing down supernatural monsters that are terrorizing nearby farmers. And with more than 50 hours worth of content (and close to 200 if you’re a completionist), the open-world of The Witcher will keep you entertained for a very long time.

Grand Theft Auto V

GTA 5 player in a forest.

With GTA VI still a mystery, GTA V remains the best open-world crime game on the market. Boasting a thrilling narrative that jumps back-and-forth between three playable characters, a realistic world to explore, and hundreds of supercars available for the taking, there’s not much Rockstar could have done to make GTA V a better game.

You can even take the action online and roam the streets of Los Santos with a gang of your friends. Aimlessly causing chaos is half the fun, but GTA Online also gives you a variety of multiplayer game modes and unique Heist missions to put your skills to the test.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

A Viking looks over a sprawling field in Assassin's Creed Valhalla.

The latest and greatest Assassin’s Creed game sees you taking control of Eivor — a Viking that travels to England during the 9th century. With the rolling countryside as your backdrop, you’ll get into the usual AC shenanigans of sneaking around castles, taking on dozens of foes in hand-to-hand combat, and collecting a literal treasure trove of hidden items.

Despite being the umpteenth entry in the series, Valhalla manages to stay fresh with a reworked combat system and one of the most interesting locations in recent memory. Beyond its gigantic open-world, Valhalla also gives you the freedom to play how you’d like — whether that be running in with a giant ax or slinking through the shadows picking off enemies with a bow. The freedom offered by Ubisoft is unparalleled, and Valhalla quickly became one of the most popular open-world games of the past few years.

Borderlands 3

Borderlands 3 characters preparing for a gunfight.

The only thing larger than Borderlands 3‘s gigantic world is its arsenal of deadly (and ridiculous) weapons. If you’ve played any of the previous games in the series you know exactly what to expect, although this time things are even more ludicrous than ever before.

Borderlands 3 ensures the looting and shooting never gets boring with a roster of unique playable characters, a vibrant world filled with quirky characters, and enough multiplayer content and DLC drops to keep you playing for years. If you’re looking to loot, shoot, and laugh, consider making space for Borderlands 3 on your drive.

Forza Horizon 5

A low angled shot of a car, speeding past some desert terrain.

As one of the best games of 2021 (and with a “Very Positive” rating on Steam after more than 45,000 reviews), Forza Horizon 5 somehow manages to outperform its predecessor. More cars, better graphics, and the breathtaking Mexican landscape combine to make Forza Horizon 5 stand out in a crowded racing marketplace.

Even if you’re not a fan of the racing genre, Playground Games makes sure there’s plenty of fun to be had in Mexico. In fact, the game will reward you just for driving around and checking out new locations. Much more than a racer, Forza Horizon 5 is an exploration game — and one that everyone should check out in the coming year.

Minecraft

Overhead shot of Minecraft world.

Minecraft gives you a nearly limitless world to explore, filled with strange biomes, dangerous monsters, and hundreds of collectible resources. The only restriction is your imagination and how much free time you have on your hands.

Now more than a decade old, Minecraft has accumulated an overwhelming amount of content. And unlike at launch, it’s never been easier to invite a few friends to join in on the fun. Piecing together gigantic castles or traveling to the Nether is much more enjoyable with a group, and there’s always something new to discover in the timeless world of Minecraft.

Red Dead Redemption II

RDR2 character on a horse.

Let’s face it — Rockstar has perfected the open-world formula. Five years after the launch of GTA V, Red Dead Redemption II took everything players loved about the crime game and improved and adapted it for an old western setting.

The world of Red Dead Redemption II always feels alive, from the wildlife roaming its forests to the trains zipping around railways. It’s all pulled together by a cinematic main story and robust online offerings. Considering it still has a healthy player base more than three years after its original release, it’s safe to say Red Dead Redemption II‘s open world will keep you busy for quite some time.

Horizon Zero Dawn

A robot stands tall in Horizon Zero Dawn.

Originally a PlayStation exclusive, Horizon Zero Dawn has since found its way to PC. You’ll guide Aloy on a quest to discover her past and save an Earth overrun by towering, hostile machines. Its world is completely open to exploration, but that often takes a backseat to incredible voice acting and an emotional narrative that never stops driving the action forward.

Horizon Zero Dawn on PC comes with a bunch of extras, including expansions, cosmetic DLC, and even a digital artbook on Steam. And since its upcoming sequel is going to be a PlayStation exclusive (at least for now), Zero Dawn is your only way to check out the futuristic series on PC.

Black Desert

Black Desert player in a sandstorm.

Say what you will about its monetization scheme, but there’s no denying Black Desert‘s appeal as an open-world RPG. Once you’ve launched the game and started playing, you’re free to roam a gigantic map that’s entirely free of loading screens — quite the feat for an MMO of this scale.

Better yet, Black Desert manages to pack every inch of its world with worthwhile content. Whether you’re out looking to gather resources, searching for an efficient mob grinding location, or want to find a good hiding spot to ambush unsuspecting players, Black Desert rarely feels like an empty game.

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