3 open world games like Dragon’s Dogma 2 on console and PC in 2024

3 open world games like Dragon’s Dogma 2 on console and PC in 2024
(Image credit: Capcom)

There are open world games, then there are the best open world games. Recent releases like Dragon's Dogma 2 best exemplify what the genre is. As we’ve seen with many AAA titles, open world games can be great but not have the best open world. 

When I talk about the best open world games, I’m thinking about titles with such an in-depth open world that you completely lose yourself to it. There aren’t many like that, unfortunately. But there is enough to show you the difference between vast empty plains and a living, interactive world. 

These are the best open world games.

Dragon’s Dogma 2

3 open world games like Dragon’s Dogma 2 on console and PC in 2024

(Image credit: Capcom)

There’s no way I’m name-dropping Dragon’s Dogma 2 without including it on this list. 

Dragon’s Dogma 2 inspired this list when I found a cliff with a gleaming Seeker’s Token (one of my Dragon’s Dogma 2 tips is all about that). With no obvious way up, I had to cheese it with the Thief’s Concussive Leap, bouncing around the cliff face until I scrambled my way up. I grabbed the coin, but noticed that the path kept leading upward. I convinced myself that I would hit an invisible wall and almost turned back out of instinct. After more tough climbs, I made it over the edge of another cliff. I saw… pillars? I didn’t know what to make of it. Then I saw it: the Sphinx. Imagine the loud thud when my jaw hit the floor.

That wasn’t the first or only time that Dragon’s Dogma 2 rewarded me for my exploration. I’ve picked up new skills and vocations just by exploring the world, interacting with NPCs, and slaying unique monsters. I’m over 60 hours into this and I haven’t even completed the first main story quest line. I’ve just been exploring. This is what the best open world game looks like — a real adventure.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild / Tears of the Kingdom

3 open world games like Dragon’s Dogma 2 on console and PC in 2024

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Don’t hate me for lumping these two together — there’s nothing I couldn’t say about Breath of the Wild that I couldn’t say about Tears of the Kingdom. Well, apart from getting to craft a fighter jet from spare parts. But both titles excelled at delivering a gorgeous, expansive world filled with unique moments, characters, and creatures at every turn. 

I vividly remember climbing the snowy mountains of the Great Plateau in Breath of the Wild, hunting a deer for some meat. I had to cross rivers, battle monsters, and snowboard my way to get the last ability. After hauling through what felt like an exhaustive journey, I unlocked the Glider. When I took off outside of the Great Plateau, the map opened up to reveal the world to be exponentially larger than the little rock I’ve just spent several hours on. Did you hear that? Yeah, that was my jaw hitting the floor again.

Tears of the Kingdom elicited the same response. It doesn’t take very long before you get to those massive holes within Hyrule and you jump right on in. What’s down there? I wondered. I anticipated some tunnels that could link across different locations on the map. That seemed like an exciting prospect. That didn’t happen. What I got was another Hyrule — a whole damn basement to the expansive open world we received in the first title. My jaw broke at this point.

Elden Ring

3 open world games like Dragon’s Dogma 2 on console and PC in 2024

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

We’ve dreamed about it for years — an open world souls game. FromSoftware delivered Elden Ring, a work of art stretched across a vibrant landscape of pain and suffering. 

You didn’t know whether around the next corner would be a site of grace tempting you to rest or the trigger for an ancient dragon to swoop down and turn you into ground beef. Out of the games on this list, exploration was the most punishing and most rewarding in Elden Ring. Each boss, chest, or punk with cool armor offered you a chance to upgrade your build.

I spent roughly 10 hours in the opening area as a Wretch — the only class that starts at level one with nothing but a club. I do this in every souls-like game, but I’ve never felt more punished by doing so than in Elden Ring. Without a traditional progression system, I had to carefully pick off my foes from the shadows (shoddy bushes) and piecemeal their gear together. It wasn’t until the sixth hour that I actually picked up a sword. I lost all connection to reality during this adventure around Limgrave. I felt like Rambo in First Blood — running around the terrain and carrying out guerilla warfare on the undead. My jaw shattered when I eventually stumbled into an elevator that descended for what seemed like 15 minutes to reveal yet another entirely new area of the world. 

FromSoftware hasn't finished with Elden Ring, either. We’ll see the Shadow of the Erdtree expansion launch June 20, 2024.

Death Stranding

3 open world games like Dragon’s Dogma 2 on console and PC in 2024

(Image credit: Kojima Productions)

I’m proud to say that people are now recognizing Death Stranding as the masterpiece it is. And if you’re not, I’m shaking my fist at you.

Unlike the other best open world games, the open plains of Death Stranding aren’t filled to the brim with content. The game rewards you for exploring, but it focuses more on the journey than the destinations. You’re a mailman — it’s critical to plan out your routes through a haunted and terrorized America. Every new place you discover not only has the potential for unique rewards, but knowledge as simple as a safer path to follow.

The game mechanics are so deeply tied to the story that it creates interesting circumstances. When my sister started playing it, she described how one of the human terrorists accidentally died, and that she left their body alone. I knew where this was going. You see, the phenomenon known as “death stranding” in this universe is that people who die cannot move on to the afterlife. They’re stranded. But that’s not all. Their stranding causes a massive explosion that can level a city. When my sister looked at her map a few days later, she noticed a giant hole that wasn’t there before. She traveled to the site and realized what had happened. There was nothing but a crater where this person had died. Just like my jaw.

Death Stranding has a wild narrative, but that’s not what will keep you playing. It’s the beautiful graphics and art design that suck you into the landscape. The gameplay loop is immensely satisfying, with each new journey teaching you how to become a better traveler. A better mailman.

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Rami Tabari
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Rami Tabari is an Editor for Laptop Mag. He reviews every shape and form of a laptop as well as all sorts of cool tech. You can find him sitting at his desk surrounded by a hoarder's dream of laptops, and when he navigates his way out to civilization, you can catch him watching really bad anime or playing some kind of painfully difficult game. He’s the best at every game and he just doesn’t lose. That’s why you’ll occasionally catch his byline attached to the latest Souls-like challenge.