Open world games are a bit like Marmite: you either love them, or you hate them.
I'm in the camp of the former; I can't get enough of running around a sprawling map, completing mindless objectives in whatever order I see fit. It's cathartic escapism. Other people find them too boring and repetitive, however. Sure, the same mission types might pop up again, but getting to boss around a big city like you own the town is a feeling like no other.
As video game technology continually advances, these open worlds are getting bigger and more detailed than ever. Games like the Assassin's Creed series have continually pushed boundaries to make the cities you explore as faithful and historically accurate as possible, whereas other games like Grand Theft Auto 5 take artistic liberties with real world cities, making them as believable yet as fun and frenetic as they possibly can.
The best open world games have a great story at the heart of them, too. To get the formula just right, a game needs to have a map that's just the right size, filled with interesting landmarks, people and tasks, but at its core, it needs to have a protagonist you love, and a story that you actually care about. Sometimes, excellent gameplay can make you look past a weak story, but the best games will have a perfect balance of both.
There's a lot to choose from, but I've selected 13 of the best open world games on Xbox One. If you're a fan of the open world adventure genre, then these are 13 games you need to seek out for your collection.
13. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition
The Elder Scrolls games have always provided players with a huge fantasy world to explore, but none have been as varied or cohesive as Skyrim’s. Why so far down in the list, though? Well, it's been around the block a few times and it's available on several formats, and we've all likely already played it numerous times. But do we ever really get tired of exploring its rich and varied lands?
Abandoning the class system used by previous entries in the series, Skyrim enables players to develop a character as they see fit throughout the course of the game. This, along with a streamlined menu system, makes the game much more accessible to those new to the series. With a world full of mysteries and quests to solve, as well as dragons to defeat, Skyrim is still one of the best open world games for those seeking an absorbing and time consuming fantasy.
12. Assassin's Creed Syndicate
The first of two Creed games to appear on the list (I know, shoot me), Assassin's Creed Syndicate takes the long-running franchise onto the streets of Victorian London. And while it's a far cry from series favourite Rome with Ezio in Assassin's Creed 2, there's something incredibly magical about climbing up Big Ben, driving a horse and cart up to St. Paul's cathedral and sneaking into Buckingham Palace.
The two protagonists, twins Jacob and Evie, are brash but entertaining and hugely likeable, making the time you spend with them fun from start to finish. It's a shame the series looks to continue in a new direction because revisiting London would be brilliant.