Hi Five – Top Five open world games7 minute read

Hi Five takes a look at Jim Cullinane’s top five open world games

Open world games are to some gamers the pinnacle of a gaming experience. Coupled with the linear story experience of more traditional titles they offer a world where you can make the decisions on progression. Some titles have traits whereby certain decisions affect the game further down the progressive path, meaning a personal battle of concious as well as strategy. Some open world games also contain multiplayer elements and bring in an entire different player base compared to the single player epic adventures. Regardless of the genre, art-style or franchise there is usually an open world game to suit most. This article is not about MMORPG’s but single player titles that have taken the sandbox gaming genre to all new levels.

Disclaimer – these are my top five and are in no way to be considered an official list.

5 Grand Theft Auto V

From the 1990’s Grand Theft Auto has always been a title that I have adored. The ability to not only complete missions and play out a storyline but also to just “mess around” and play havok with a city blew my mind. Back when GTA was a top-down view game I was hooked. It was the first game I purchased for the Sony PlayStation before I even had the console – as I wanted to make sure I had a reason to buy the platform. Since then I have played every GTA title available.

Grand Theft Auto IV was my previous favourite. The character really meant something to me and the graphics were a huge improvement over the previous titles. But then GTA was launched and I was hooked once more. The ability to play a story that covers multiple characters first put me off, until I met them. The amazing acting displayed in this title alone makes it worth the ride. The game once again blows all expectations out of the water and allows you to pretty much do whatever you want.

4 Fallout 4

I have played the majority of Fallout titled, expluding perhaps the first game itself. However, Fallout 4 was the game that really grabbed me, shook em around and stuck me in front of the TV for a hundred hours wanting more. The game spoke to my inner musician, with one of the best soundtracks available in a video game. The setting is something I love, with a post-apolcalyptic world and scavanging rights enabled.

Fallout 4 was a critical success, and for good reason. With all the abilities that come with modern open-world games comes a fantastic lore. The history, present-day and future of this new-age society that we find ourselves thrown into works wonders for film-goers and gamers alike. The branching storylines also add a senseo of longevity to the game – whereby you will want to play several times to choose other factions over the ones you chose prior. Finding out the different endings and finding a path that suits you is one of the key elements of the latter stages of the game.

3 Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption was better than Red Dead Redemption II. There – I said it. The second game of the franchise took my mind by storm. It was literally GTA in the wild west, but the story was so memorable that I couldn’t stop thinking about it after I completed it. The mechanics, the world and the lore were so amazing that this game had to make my list.

The third game in the series (Red Dead Redemption II) however did not appeal to me. After the first three hoursin the snow, the slow and laborious gameplay and the disconnection from the previous title I just couldn’t sit through much more. Red Dead had so much going for it and it really opened up the possibility of what games like this could achieve, whereas its successor just built atop that legacy with nothing overly original.

2 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Breath of the Wild was one of the first large games I tried on the Nintendo Switch. I have dabbled in the Legend of Zelda franchise of games before, but never to the extent of this one. I thought I would try tha game on launch as it was one of the key titles for the console, and to my amazement I found myself literally glued to this game. Firstly I could not believe how such a massive game could fit on such a small cartridge, but secondly the game is absolutely excellent.

Once again the storyline and the lore are what make this game. But there was something new with this title and that was the sense of adventure. Often I would find myself on the way to a crucial part of the mission, only to become distracted by a shrine, or treasure chest or even a strange sound. I would find myself coming to the mission once more around 15 hours later, poorer or richer depending on what path I had taken and usually better equipt for the job. The game literally threw me into a world where I had no idea what was actually going on. And from there I evolved and grew across a hundred hours of pure brilliant gameplay.

1 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

I would have contained two of The Elder Scrolls titles within this Hi Five but I thought better of it. My first experience with the franchise was The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. That game literally stunned the life out of me. Upon finding the Imperial City and learning that I could sneak around at night, pick the locks of doors and take what I wanted I was hooked. It wasn’t just this mechansim but the entire premise that I could basically do what I could in GTA and more. I still remembering pick-pocketting a homeless NPC in the game and planting a poisoned apple in their pocket. My astonishment came when I returned to that area an in-game day later to find the person had died, presumably from the apple.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the successor of Oblivion. Much of the game mechanics and premise are the same except this one has Dragons. Skyrim for me is a slightly better variant (just) because of the graphical output of more modern consoles as well as the story arc. It appears to contain much more than Oblivion which was an already huge title. I have played Skyrim on several platforms too, from the original release, the remastered launches, virtual reality and the portable version on the Nintendo Switch. I know I could still load up a new game today and spend a very easy and fast 50 hours in game before I had noticed.

What will next weeks Hi Five be about? Well you can decide. Send us your ideas via Facebook or Twitter and we will pick one at random, no matter how obscure they might be! And the creator will get a mention too.

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