In my opinion, video games need to feel completely immersive in order to be effective. Sure, the story and graphics matter too, but a vivid, sweeping open world is the key to my heart.
After all, video games serve as a form of escapism. And from my experience, it’s an even better experience when there’s an open world to roam. An open world just adds another layer to the game and makes everything feel all the more real. And the best part? It’s not limited to a specific genre, so there are plenty of options, from realistic mock-ups to surreal fantasy lands.
Today, we ranked 9 of the best open-world games available on the Switch, in no particular order.
Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen (2012)
In Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen, the player takes on the role of the Arisen, the person destined to defeat the dragon Grigori and prevent the apocalypse from happening. Along the way, there are side quests to be completed and beasts to be slain, all set against the beautiful backdrop of Gransys.
What truly sets Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen apart is the unique Pawn system that lets you bring up to three NPCs with special skills that can fight alongside the Arisen during combat.
Dragon’s Dogma tends to draw comparisons to the other RPGs that came before it, but we firmly believe it holds its own against (and at times, even surpassing) the more popular RPG titles.
Perfect for: RPG gamers and wants a heavy emphasis on combat
Lego City Undercover (2013)
The easiest way to describe Lego City Undercover is that it’s basically Grand Theft Auto for kids, except you play as a cop instead of a delinquent. Players control undercover cop Chase McCain as he hunts down Rex Fury, an escaped prisoner that he arrested years ago, and other criminals in Lego City.
Exploring Lego City is an essential part of the game, as there are scattered bricks around the city that players can use to craft objects. Disguises are also hidden around the city and give Chase additional abilities. Even without these incentives, walking around Lego City is a total treat as the graphics and world design are extremely impressive.
Lego City Undercover is a game that expertly balances wit, humor, and heart.
Perfect for: Lego lovers and as an alternative for GTA 5 for young gamers
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015)
The Witcher 3 is often hailed as one of the best video games of all time, but it’s truly more than just a game. It’s an experience. As Geralt, a Witcher who is searching for his adopted daughter Ciri, players are treated to a visual, emotional masterpiece.
There’s the main story with different endings based on the choices you make during the game. There’s the breathtaking open world that has plenty of hidden treasures and things to do. There’s also the smooth, precise combat and an arsenal of weapons that you can experiment with.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an incredibly layered game and the perfect conclusion to the trilogy.
Perfect for: RPG lovers that has a rich story
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (2017)
In Xenoblade Chronicles 2, humans live in the bellies of Titans, who in turn live on a sea of clouds. It sounds like the beginning of a children’s book, but it’s actually a fantasy epic with a fully fleshed out story, characters, and world.
The hero, Rex, is killed at the beginning of the game but revived by a Blade (a powerful being) named Pyra on the condition that he brings her to Elysium, the rumored paradise atop the World Tree, where humans used to live before they were banished.
This leads to a monumental, lengthy journey that takes players across sprawling landscapes. Rex and his allies also encounter enemies such as mercenaries and a terrorist group that wants to abduct Pyra.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is an ambitious game that requires a lot of time and effort from its players, but it’s guaranteed to pay off in the end.
Perfect for: JRPG Fans
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017)
Join Link once again on this epic adventure open-world action adventure game where you can literally do everything you like from fishing, tame horses, gliding, rock climbing, snowboarding, and so much more!
Exploring the kingdom of Hyrule is such a wonderful experience full of beautiful scenery, unique monsters, crafting materials, and fun puzzles to solve.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild is 1 of the best open-world RPG game of this generation.
Perfect for: Legend of Zelda and literally recommended to everyone!
Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles (2017)
Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is an open-ended game with only one real objective: find and collect sprites to defeat Murk, the fog that is polluting the magical island the game is set in. This sole objective is what kick-starts a beautiful, heartwarming adventure around Gemea, an island with scenic landscapes and breathtaking skies.
Apart from collecting sprites, players can also fish, farm and craft items to pass the time. There are no monsters to battle, only fish to catch and seeds to plant. Players can also complete quests found in the 8 zones of Gemea.
Playing Yonder is nothing short of therapeutic. It’s a whimsical game that oozes charisma.
Perfect for: Gamers who like nonlinear gameplay
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)
Skyrim follows the Dragonborn and his quest to defeat Alduin, a dragon who is said to consume the world. It’s a story we’ve heard time and time again, but Skyrim is different. It’s considered the blueprint, and for good reason.
One of the most highly-praised elements of Skyrim is the vast open world. Like its predecessors, Skyrim allows players to ignore the main story in favor of traveling anywhere around the setting, which can feel limitless at times. More importantly, every detail in Skyrim feels meticulously planned.
Skyrim is one of those games that has since cemented its legendary status in video game history, so it’s pretty much a given that it was going to be included on this list.
Perfect for: Gamers who likes to have an alternative life
Fe is a set in a jewel-toned forest and follows the titular Fe, a fox-like creature who attempts to protect the forest and other creatures residing in it from an enemy referred to as the Silent Ones. Fe uses songs to communicate with other creatures and objects. These creatures can also teach Fe songs that give the fox special abilities.
The forest in Fe is one of the dreamiest open worlds in video game history. It manages to be alluring and eerie at the same time. The gameplay is just as mysterious, encouraging players to observe and experiment.
Fe is a mesmerizing game that offers a unique perspective on a different kind of nature.
Perfect for: Fans of stylish, minimalist games
Saints Row IV (2013)
After spending the first three Saints Row games building themselves up from a lowly street gang into becoming the most powerful organization in the world, the 3rd Street Saints have to defend their territory once again. This time, however, they’re defending themselves (and the rest of the world) from an alien invasion.
As we’ve all come to expect from a Saints Row title, there’s a lot of mayhem to go around, and the game offers a catalogue of wacky tools to get you started. Among these wacky tools are a ‘Dubstep Gun’ and ‘Laser Razor’, to name a few. Players can also gain elemental powers and speed boosts.
It’s known by now that the Saints Row franchise gets crazier and crazier with every new installment, but the people at Volition have really outdone themselves this time with Saints Row IV. Frankly, we can’t wait to see what other kooky adventures they come up with next.
Perfect for: Eccentric gamers
Open world games provide an opportunity to explore surreal dreamscapes and surroundings that we could only ever dream of visiting. The place in question may be stuck inside a screen and the interaction limited to the buttons on a controller, but there’s still something meaningful about being able to expand our horizons through video games.
Comment down below and tell us which of these games you’d love to try out!