Since Skyrim and Fallout skyrocketed the open world genre to unprecedented success, open world games for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC have become a dime a dozen. It’s impossible to move without whacking some form of behemoth-sized sandbox adventure, and you’d be forgiven if you felt like multiple 40-hour games a year was just too large a time investment.
Still, they’re prevalent and are successful for a reason. These beautiful open world games give you the opportunity to explore huge, beautifully crafted worlds, and that freedom to roam is something that allows you to truly get lost in the offline or online free roaming experience. So, without further ado, here are 5 of the best open world games you’ll be able to sink your teeth into in 2016!
Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Buy Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst
While not the sequel many were expecting, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC is taking the franchise in all the right directions. A 2016 open world game with parkour-centric action adventure, you will assume the role of Faith Connors, who can jump, slide and swing her way around the city to complete missions and objectives.
While developer DICE is known for their first-person shooters — Battlefield Hardline and Star Wars: Battlefront, to name a few — Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst will abandon the guns, focusing on the melee combat in an open world free roam game that will see many AI thugs get drop-kicked off a tall skyscraper. Win.
Homefront: The Revolution
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Buy Homefront: The Revolution
Even if you fancied yourself a bit of a psychic, you probably didn’t see this open world game coming. The sequel to a critical success but commercial failure, Homefront: The Revolution aims to bring the franchise back in a big way, featuring an epic online co-op adventure, this could be one of the best open world games to explore with your Xbox One, PS4 or PC friends.
The USA has been invaded by Korea, and it’s up to you to stop this attack. You’ll have to scavenge items from the wreckage around you, upgrading your weapons and equipment in the process. Some of the enemy’s weapons are fingerprint locked, meaning you’ll have to carefully plan your assault with just the supplies you’ve got on your back.
This aside, Homefront: The Revolution is an exciting free roam game because nobody expected it. The first game wasn’t a huge success, so if the franchise is returning, it must be bringing something special with it.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Buy Horizon: Zero Dawn
One of two brand new franchises on this list, Guerrilla Games’ Horizon: Zero Dawn caused quite a stir when it was unveiled at Sony’s E3 conference in 2015. For starters, it saw the developer transition from linear first-person shooters to a third-person, open world PS4 game — about as far from the Killzone series as you can get.
When this PS4 open world game releases in 2016, you’ll be able to explore a post-apocalyptic earth and the beautiful world it has to offer. The main baddies — robotic creatures, akin to dinosaurs — can be destroyed by strategically placing traps like tripwires, and using the wide variety of arrows at your disposal.
Horizon presents one of the best sandbox games in which humans still exist, but any sense of the civilisation we live in today has been lost. You can see decrepit buildings and remnants of a time gone by, but it’s a mystery as to how things ended up the way they are. Thankfully, we won’t have to wait long before putting on our detective caps, strapping on our explosive arrows and heading out into the open world wilderness.
PS4 owners can rejoice with Horizon: Zero Dawn as it is going to be one of the few exclusive PS4 free roaming games coming out in 2016.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Buy Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands
When the reveal trailer for Ghost Recon: Wildlands debuted last year, you’d be forgiven if you thought it was a Far Cry sequel. From the South American jungle-based setting to the way your protagonists claimed an enemy outpost, all Ghost Recon: Wildlands seemed to be missing was a murderous rampage through the local wildlife.
And yet, despite both games sharing publisher Ubisoft, they couldn’t be further apart. Where Far Cry went primal, Ghost Recon is rooted in the present day and tells the story of an elite spec ops unit, dispatched by the U.S. government to end the reign of a powerful drug cartel.
Here, a carefully planned tactical assault will always win out against a reckless attack. You can choose to play things stealthily, go in guns blazing, or simply perch on a nearby hill with a sniper rifle. You can dispatch a drone to help you survey the environment, and bundle captured enemy hostages into the boot of your car for a speedy getaway.
Speaking of vehicles, you can utilise everything from boats to bikes to helicopters to traverse one of the biggest and baddest sandbox worlds, one that is packed with side missions, loot and hostile enemy camps, which require you to dole out a bit of swift justice.
According to Ubisoft (via Gamespot), Wildlands is the biggest open world game they’ve ever created. While scope is important, so is detail, and we’ll have to wait and see if there’s enough fun stuff to do in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands.
No Man’s Sky
Platform: PS4, PC
Buy No Man’s Sky
If No Man’s Sky lives up to its lofty pre-release footage, it should become the granddaddy and best open world of 2016 (if it does not get delayed). This is one of the only open world games where an entire universe built for you to explore, this insane new video game puts you in control of your own trusty spaceship and shoots you off into the galaxy.
Land on a planet, and it’s yours for the taking. You can give it its own unique name, and any other players who visit that planet after you will see what you’ve called it. This should lead to some pretty crude titles, and personally, I can’t wait to get murdered by a robot on a planet called “Teabag”.
You can scavenge local resources in order to upgrade your ship and equipment. Game director Sean Murray has stated that the objective is to reach the centre of the universe — a supposedly malevolent threat whose impact you will feel as you explore other solar systems.
All in all, No Man’s Sky is an incredibly exciting prospect that could bring online open world games to the next level. Ever since Star Wars released in 1977, fanboys across the globe have wanted to partake in space dogfights, conquer planets and become a Han Solo-type explorer, roaming about the galaxy without a care in the world. Come this June, you’ll be able to do just that in No Man’s Sky, living out your own intergalactic fantasy in a galaxy far, far away.