Some games deliver quality in a precise 5 to 6 hour experience that is incredibly linear in both design and storytelling, while others choose to create massive sprawling worlds that we can get lost in for ages. With the newest one, No Man’s Sky releasing next week, we thought it would be interesting to take a look back at the various video games that have sucked hundreds of hours from us without blinking an eye. Though we will not be focusing more on the size and scope of the game, rather than the replayability of it.
We are looking for worlds and gameplay levels that blew us away in the sheer scope and size of them. The quality of the game itself won’t be as big of a factor, as the world and richness of it is more important. This is not a list of the biggest games in terms of content, story, or characters, just the sheer scope of the world itself.
I’m sure this one was pretty much expected, but it’s on this list for good reason. Minecraft still has one of the biggest worlds to date and a lot of that is thanks to the communities constant need to build. If you enter the right server it may take you weeks or even months to explore every nook and cranny. Even in the randomly generated world on your own, the sheer scope of places you can explore is nearly awe-inspiring.
Grand Theft Auto V
Rockstar’s latest entry in their smash hit series sees the world of Los Santos fully realized and it’s size in staggering. Not only does this city truly feel lived in, but the level of detail given to every section is beyond reason. Couple this with the great desert and mountainous areas and you have one of the biggest video game worlds in recent memory.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
While you do have to load into certain regions that hardly diminishes the size of The Witcher 3 maps.There have been very few games that can match the lifelike feeling that this world can. Every single corner appears to have had a personal touch, making for hours of exploration. Just be careful you don’t stumble into a nest of Drowners or Ghouls.
Say what you will about this game, but there is little doubting how impressive Ubisoft’s recreation of New York City is. As someone who lives just on the outskirts of this legendary location, I can safely tell you that it’s impressively accurate. While the game may not offer a ton of variety, exploring the world itself my yield better results.
Sure this might be a desolated wasteland that’s full of nothing but sand, barren mountains, and destroyed buildings, but it looks fantastic in Mad Max. Sprinkle in a dash of psychopaths, insane car chases, and fantastic art direction and you get a world you can get lost in. Though this game’s world is maybe one you don’t want to be stranded in, what with the War Boys and all.
Expect Bethesda on this list more than once, but we have to acknowledge how impressive Skyrim truly is. While many modern open worlds are massive, we have to remember Skyrim was created with the last generation in mind. With that knowledge alone, we can only feel star struck when we are cut loose and allowed to explore every dark cave and ruined castle.
Another procedurally generated world, Don’t Starve’s Lovecraftian-esc world is teeming with a variety of monsters and wildlife. Surviving this desolate landscape is a terrifying and challenging endeavor, just make sure not to wander off into the darkness.
Batman: Arkham Knight
This is probably the smallest map on our list, which is saying a lot, but seeing a fully flushed out Gotham City is every comic fan’s dream. Not only is the city large ins scope, but hidden with hundreds of riddles, thugs, and fun easter eggs.
The latest post-apocalyptic world from Bethesda is quite easy to get lost in, especially since hundreds upon hundreds of buildings can be explored. Then when you’re all done ransacking that useless loot, you can build your own settlements to populate Boston.
Terraria is another sandbox style world that you can explore and craft in though the layout of this game is what helps it stand out. Bay shifting to 2D, the world and our perception of it alters, letting us see just how far into the earth we are digging. It’s an interesting concept as it allows us to truly grasp the size of a map abd how much more we have to explore.
I'm sure this one was pretty much expected, but for good reason. Minecraft still has one of the biggest worlds to date, partly thanks to its procedurally generated world and partly due to the community's constant need to build. If you join the right server, it may take you weeks or even months to explore every nook and cranny. Even on your own, the sheer scope of places you can explore is nearly awe-inspiring.