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Best Open World Games of 2018


Best Open World Games of 2018

Best Open World Games of 2018

It’s that time of the year again… Twinfinite is taking a look back at the games that have shone brightest and are deserved of our annual awards. Here, we’re reviewing the best open world game of 2018. Voted on by our editors, these titles stand as exemplary titles with impressively realized sandbox environments and fresh innovations that pushed the genre forward.

Honorable Mention: Kingdom Come Deliverance

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Features Editor Alex Gibson: If we had an award for the “nearly” game of 2018, Kingdom Come Deliverance would take first prize. This impressively detailed and vast open world is unlike anything we’ve seen before.

Every inch of its (mostly) gorgeous sandbox has been designed with realism and immersion in mind, seeking to accurately convey the harshness of medieval life down to the shape of bread offered at local taverns and the weave of a bar maiden’s skirt. The attention to detail is mind-boggling.

Unfortunately, the gameplay doesn’t quite hit the mark, with an often overwhelming amount of role-playing and survival systems that mostly frustrate rather than keeps you locked in the moment.

The inventive sword-combat system, too, is impressive in design but not all that fun to actually play.

There’s no doubt, however, that the lush countryside of Bohemia is a stunning environment to traverse. You simply won’t find more beautiful forests in a video game, and every square foot of land in the game has been painstakingly recreated from real-life topographical maps of the period.

If you thought Assassin’s Creed games transport you back to ancient history, Kingdom Come Deliverance is on a completely different level.

For that reason, we couldn’t not include Kingdom Come Deliverance’s breathtaking open world on our list of the best in the genre in 2018. For all its faults, it’s still an environment we had an incredible time slowly absorbing and immersing ourselves in.

Best Open World Games of 2018

Second Runner-Up: Forza Horizon 4

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Contributor Jesse Vitelli: Forza Horizon 4 is another stellar entry in the franchise, taking open world racing games to new heights. The sheer amount of content is outstanding, the graphics absolutely top-notch, and the addition of new online functionality is hugely impressive.

It’s the open world of its UK setting that is the true standout feature, though, especially in combination with the awesome season mechanic. Indeed, when Ralph Fulton of Playground Games stepped foot on the Microsoft E3 2018 stage he said “In Forza Horizon 4, seasons change everything,” and he wasn’t joking.

Seasons in Forza truly makes the world feel alive, giving players a reason to revisit the game each week. All four seasons bring unique races, barn finds, and Forzathon events with them, using the climate and geography of each region in clever ways.

Equally, though, it’s easy to get swept up in just exploring the back roads, or driving on the frozen lake during the winter, such is the beauty of the environment.

For the first time in the Forza series, the world is populated with real players, too, which totally transforms the dynamic of the open world for the better.

Best Open World Games of 2018

First Runner-Up: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

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Contributor Wesley LeBlanc: When Assassin’s Creed Origins was released in 2017, it was praised for taking a franchise seemingly on the ropes completely revitalizing it. This year, Odyssey continues that fine form, proving the franchise is among the open world genre’s most accomplished once again.

Looking back at Origins after Odyssey, one can see that Bayek’s journey was just a tease of the series’ future.

From its RPG mechanics to its naval combat gameplay, Odyssey dials up the action in virtually every way, and the action takes place across an ancient Greek setting that’s even more breathtaking.

Odyssey’s island map dwarfs its predecessor, and the setting is equally compelling as it is beautiful.

Elsewhere, we absolutely adored the two playable characters, Alexios and Kassandra. Their personalities, a mix of charisma, humor, integrity, and bad-assery remind us of the iconic Ezio.

But here, thanks to Odyssey’s RPG-inspired dialogue system, we’re given a platform to shape the open world as we see fit. The manner in which the NPCs and composition of the environment shifts in a dynamic way to player decisions is impressive.

Odyssey orients the Assassin’s Creed franchise further toward this exciting new direction, and we’re very pleased about that here at Twinfinite.

Best Open World Games of 2018

Winner: Red Dead Redemption 2

Contributor Michael Allio: In 2018, Red Dead Redemption 2 defined a new gold standard for video games.

Bar none, the amount of detail packed into nearly every conceivable action was jaw-dropping. With the world reacting in such a believable manner, the setting became captivating and easy to lose oneself in.

Though the main plot delighted, the smaller moments and details made Red Dead Redemption 2 truly special. Starkly contrasted to GTA V’s rapid pace, Red Dead takes a serious tone towards realizing the reality of western life.

The directional shift may have understandably turned off fans expecting a game akin to Rockstar’s previous blockbuster, but the more intimate moments in Red Dead Redemption 2 became more impactful as a result.

The intimacy didn’t rely on gigantic set pieces or frantic gunplay, necessarily. It lied on immersing oneself within the setting.

Unforgettable moments forced players to think about the immorality of slavery, and the lengths those living in Rockstar’s West went simply to survive. Random encounters resulted in stunning emergent gameplay, and in turn, vastly different experiences for players.

Indeed, Red Dead Redemption 2 masterfully depicted emergent storytelling through exploration. But even bonding with Dutch’s gang stood out as the unraveling tragedy played across emotional moments.

Drunken nights with Lenny brought depth to his friendship with Arthur, as did hunting legendary animals with Hosea. The resulting conflicts stemmed from what players understood about each member’s motivations.

What Red Dead Redemption 2 accomplished was nothing short of extraordinary. Eight years of hard work paid off and it takes the prize of our best open world game of 2018.

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