Nothing gives the avid gamer a better escape from reality than a gloriously expansive open-world game.
Open world games have become one of the best parts about the advancements in the technology of our gaming systems. They give us the ability to roam freely within our game, embark on side quests, and ultimately provide the games with that super-real feel.
Most open-world games average at a minimum of 40+ hours of gameplay. This can range all the way up to over 100 hours (ahem Skyrim) for those that want to be fully immersed in their PS4 gaming experience.
Open world games on the PS4 have so many different options, from crazy fun storylines to intense and intricate quests. The journey that you chose is entirely up to you!
This list focuses on the open-world aspect of each included addicting game: how cohesive the open world is, how enjoyable it is to explore, and how it improves the overall experience.
We have compiled a list of the best PS4 open-world games of all time!
Best PS4 Open World Games
Burnout Paradise Remastered
This remaster of the open-world arcade racer proves that there's life in Burnout yet. It's still incredibly fun zipping through city streets and mountain roads at ungodly speeds, and Paradise City is a perfect vehicular playground. With hidden areas, ramps at every turn, and hundreds of events to tackle, it's also stuffed with things to do.
Throw in Big Surf Island and the online multiplayer, and there's near endless fun to be had in this generously sized open world. Whether you've played it before or are new to the series, Burnout Paradise Remastered is relentlessly entertaining.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance
Kingdom Come: Deliverance might not be saturated in quests to the same extent of the other games on this list, but you're given the freedom to interact with the NPCs – and their possessions, if you have sticky fingers – however you wish.
What that means is that most of its open-world pedigree comes from letting you interact with the world in whichever way you want instead of being typecast as the ‘chosen one.'
Fields stretch almost as far as the eye can see, separated by small Bohemian (the region, not the style of clothing) villages or dominated by towering churches, so there's plenty to explore if you want to procrastinate from the main quest. Don't worry; we've all been there.
Far Cry 5
There was a danger that the Far Cry series was becoming too similar, but Ubisoft thankfully changed the formula just enough to make Far Cry 5 the best entry in some time. A large part of its success is its setting, which sees a fictitious county in Montana overthrown by a religious cult.
It's very much still a Far Cry experience, but with no radio towers to climb or mini-map to guide you, exploration is more organic and more rewarding. The open-world map's also huge, varied, and full of baddies to take out with the series' satisfying gunplay.
With case names like The Red Lipstick Murder and the White Shoe Slaying, L.A. Noire quite evidently prioritizes its noir detective cases over anything else. While the investigation process is in-depth enough to make you analyze suspect's facial twitches, the actual open world itself is mainly made up of crimes you can intervene in and vintage cars to commandeer.
L.A. Noire does have a few improvements that could have been made. You can't freely enter shops or play through Cole Phelp's personal life, but if you want to saturate yourself with old-timey talk and criminal activities, you'll find more than enough to delight in L.A. Noire. Although bearing in mind the number of corpses, you'll be faced with; hopefully, you won't be overly delighted in the scenery around you.
No Man's Sky
No Man's Sky may not have been well-received upon the first release, but updates to the game landed it a spot on the list! Now it's closer to the game that everyone was expecting, No Man's Sky has turned into a fulfilling voyage around the star system that'll have you trotting through procedurally-generated planets like the interstellar explorer you are.
It's now got 30 hours of story content, new lore, different ways to interact with its NPCs, portals to make jumping between planets a ton easier, and terraforming. The most recent No Man Sky's Beyond update brought even more features and changes, including ridable aliens, a new social system, and V.R. support.
Forget open world: No Man's Sky is an open galaxy, and you should absolutely jump into it if you look good in a spacesuit and love discovering exotic alien wildlife.
Terraria is so full of possibility that it verges on the sandbox/open-world boundary. Build your home and defend it from the icky things that will try to knock the door down and suck your brains out of your nose. If you'd rather, you can ignore those beasties and delve deep into the earth to find valuable resources or just explore to your tiny, pixelated heart's content.
Craft better armor and weapons, and even a jetpack, then once you're feeling strong enough – and probably a little bit cocky – wait for one of the game's bosses to spontaneously attack you. There's always something better to build, a new cavern to dig into or another story of your house to be built.
Infamous: Second Son
Seattle may be best known for being the birthplace of grunge, but there's no such grime in inFAMOUS: Second Son's glittery rendition of the Emerald City – apart from that which is supposed to be there.
As one of the smaller sandboxes on the PS4, the drizzly urban environment has less scope to impress compared to the enormous alternatives also available on the console.
But it succeeds in serving as a stellar playbox for protagonist Delsin Rowe's powers, which see him sprinting up the Space Needle and gliding into China Town with ease.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Because journeying around a massive world on your own is just no fun at all, Dragon Age: Inquisition gives you a bunch of companions to run around with and a ton of side quests to use them in. You wouldn't want to waste their talents, after all. Not only that, but the companions are some of the best party members around.
At first, it's easy to get overwhelmed with the number of side quests that saturate its lush fantasy world. Still, as long as you remember to take advantage of the fact that – like many of the best open-world games out there – there are multiple areas to explore from the very beginning so don't try to just stick to one, you'll slowly be able to gauge which ones are worth doing asap.
The story will also keep you gripped throughout, so while it might claim many hours of your life, it's worth the time investment.
Assassin's Creed Iv: Black Flag
Stretching back to the launch of the PS4, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag still offers a unique open world to explore — mainly because most of it is water.
Taking to the free-roaming seas as the captain of your very own pirate ship, Black Flag encourages you to pillage your way across the Caribbean, soaking its crystal waters with the blood of your enemies. A selection of lovingly crafted port towns are also on the agenda, should you get a bit seasick.
You can't play NieR Automata without feeling like there's a subtext in every facet of its design, and that expands to its open world, too. The games appeal is vast from it's the monochromatic space station that serves as 2B and 9S' base hub, and the abandoned theme park that some machines have assumed as their home.
One thing is fr certain; the role-playing releases sandbox plays a huge part in shaping your emotions throughout. This may not be the most elaborate setting on the PS4, but its visual variety and impact on the narrative make it stand out.
If you have ever wanted to run into an open world colorful game, guns blazing and ready for mischief, you've found it. Borderlands 2 is a glorious cacophony of bullets and self-conscious tongue-in-cheek comedy with the odd dick joke, and it's all the better for it. Seriously.
Most of the open-world game shenanigans come from hoovering up its weird side missions (including shooting Face McShooty in the face) and killing any hostile fauna in sight for the chance of finding some exquisite new loot. Still, the story is surprisingly affecting – especially if you've played and loved Borderlands.
Whether you're charging through the Wildlife Exploitation Reserve – yeah, you read that right – with your D374-TP or suspending foes in midair with the eerie Phaselock power, all Borderlands 2 wants is for you to embrace its ridiculous high-octane havoc. You'd be wise to do so.
Unforgivably cliched story aside, Dying Light is an excellent option if you're looking for open-world horror. With the city of Harran overrun with zombies, it's up to you and your first-person parkour skills to save the day.
The game does a really good job of making its setting seem quite claustrophobic while also allowing for plenty of freedom, and the best part is that you can enjoy the vast majority of the adventure with up to three other players. Surviving together as a group of baseball bat-wielding free runners is fantastic fun.
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands
Ghost Recon: Wildlands is like the mother of all cookie-cutter open-world games, packed with map markers and approximately 12 billion things to collect. However, Ubisoft's squad-based shooter really shines when it comes to co-op play with up to three other people.
Thanks to its truly gigantic and completely open map, there's always something for you and your buddies to do — even if you're just looking to cause absolute chaos. With the right team at your back, Wildlands can be an absolute blast.
Mafia III certainly isn't the most original open-world game on this list, but if you can look past the repetitive sandbox missions, there's a lot to like about the tale of Lincoln Clay's vengeance.
The atmosphere is rich, and the storytelling is fantastic, while the gunplay is super satisfying. What's more, the 1960s era radio is absolutely top-notch, really solidifying the title's tone. This is one of those open-world games, where simply driving around the city is a pleasure.
Just Cause 3
Medici isn't an island that's ever known peace, which is really for the best if you consider just how much chaos you can cause as Rico Rodriguez. The entire province is at your feet, and considering the arsenal of weapons that you'll build up during your playthrough, I can't help but pity its citizens a bit.
Destroy your enemies in this action open world with anything from a rocket launcher or exploit the element of surprise with your parachute and grappling hook because horizontal traversal is for chumps.
Don't expect too much from Just Cause 3's missions or NPCs, as they're shallow at best. Despite this, there's really nothing like parachuting towards the fast-approaching ground and then letting loose with a shotgun RPG.
Days Gone is a game that's greater than the sum of its parts. Sony Bend's return to AAA console development may not appear to bring many original ideas to the open-world genre.
However, its emergent gameplay and gigantic technical feats make for some seriously white-knuckle encounters in one of the PS4's most lush sandboxes. With a vast, apocalyptic backdrop that's constantly in pursuit of you, this exclusive's emphasis on survival gives it a je ne sais quoi that's made it a real fan favorite.
Saints Row 4
The fact that Saints Row 4 has a sex appeal slider that alters a few scandalous items on your character really sets the scene for its ridiculous tone.
Although it's not one of the best open-world games out there, it's sure to make you laugh out loud with its vibrant purple brand of inanity. At the same time, you race around the streets with your newfound powers as you fight to free your friends from the alien invasion that threatens your position as President of the United States of America.
Sometimes you'll be playing dubstep in a 50's America, shooting zombies in the face, or speeding ahead of cars using your powers. We have to say, Saints Row 4 is open-world madness, but it definitely does pull it off.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Metal Gear Solid V excels when it comes to player freedom — freedom that's afforded by the game's open-world structure. You can have Big Boss tackle missions however you want, with the wide-open maps giving you a reason to consider your approach carefully.
And, when things don't quite go to plan, the open-world can become a gloriously chaotic sandbox. In typical Metal Gear fashion, you can spend hours just playing around with enemies and the many gadgets at your disposal.
Final Fantasy Xv
Final Fantasy XV takes place in a lush open-world that successfully combines fantasy with reality, with roads weaving through the monster-infested wilderness. It's an incredibly unique setting and one that begs to be explored.
A glamorous day and night cycle works wonders, too, and the fact that powerful creatures appear at night can give the game a surprisingly tense atmosphere.
More than anything, though, it's the title's road trip theme that makes its open-world really click, with Noctis and the gang adventuring by the day before you get to retire to a cozy campsite to see out the darkness.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited
The world of The Elder Scrolls Online is gigantic — and even then, we feel like that single word doesn't come close to properly describing the scale of this colossal MMO.
Quite possibly the largest, fully explorable map of any game on PS4, Tamriel offers near limitless adventure. Filled with quests, dungeons, and everything in between, it's not the best looking open world on Sony's system, but it's certainly one of the most time-consuming.
Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen
Gransys is a foreboding place — a free roam fantasy setting that has a dark and dangerous edge to it. Again, this is an open world that isn't as expansive as some, but it's utterly drenched in atmosphere.
Brilliantly designed beasts roam the land, and the game does an amazing job of making even the blandest of tasks seem like an epic quest due to the potential danger that's involved.
To top it all off, reanimated corpses and other horrors appear at night, when the light of your lantern illuminates only your immediate surroundings—gripping stuff.
Final Fantasy Xiv Online: A Realm Reborn
As an MMORPG, a vast, open map is somewhat expected of Final Fantasy XIV, but genre expectations don't make the world of Eorzea any less impressive.
A diverse and beautifully designed land packed with adventure, it's no wonder, so many players lose hundreds upon hundreds of hours to A Realm Reborn. Traveling from one side of the map to another on the back of your trusty Chocobo really opens your eyes to just how much effort has been poured into each gorgeous location.
What a lovely day! You'll be thinking to yourself as you storm through the sandy world of Mad Max with your friendly associate Chumbucket firing jolly little rounds from your car-mounted machine gun. Or using a flamethrower to incinerate nearby War Boys.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that most of the game is about vehicular warfare, so it's rife with confronting camps of War Boys in an otherwise desolate and empty land, or customizing your car to make it as offensive as possible (in the combat sense, not as if you're painting swear words on the side). Action rather than story makes up the backbone of Mad Max, so if that's your cup of chrome, then look no further and get that engine revving.
Watch Dogs 2
If the original Watch Dogs' dreary depiction of Chicago made for a fine but forgettable backdrop for Aiden Pearce's hack-heavy adventure, then its sequel's sunny San Francisco is the polar opposite. Much like Los Santos, the Golden City is practically bursting with life. You can't drive down a single street without spotting something worthy of snapping on your ctOS-connected smartphone.
The colorful spirit of the urban location reflects the title's uplifting freedom fighter fiction nicely, but Ubisoft's sense of humor is what shines most brightly, as it pokes fun at practically all of ‘Frisco's inhabitants.
An open-world makes so much sense for Spidey, and Insomniac Games really pulled it out of the bag for Marvel's Spider-Man. The developer built a richly detailed version of Manhattan that's an absolute joy to explore.
It may not be pushing open-world design, but the missions, collectibles, and side objectives this web-slinging sandbox hosts all add up to a wonderfully compelling experience. Simply getting around in this game is endlessly fun, and even when you've exhausted the list of things to do, you'll still catch yourself fighting crime and web zipping across the New York City rooftops.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Special Edition
Bethesda has crafted many an open world, but the frosty land of Skyrim is easily one of its most cohesive creations. From the vast plains of Whiterun to the autumnal forests of The Rift, Skyrim's still one of the most memorable open worlds to have ever graced PlayStation.
Compared to more recent blockbusters, this 2011 release is starting to show its age when it comes to dynamic encounters and other details that we associate with the genre, but there's just something so magical about Tamriel's Northern province.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
While it may have a dearth of sprawling cities compared to some of its open-world counterparts, Horizon: Zero Dawn fills its vast open plains with something much more unique: a vibrant ecosystem of blood-thirsty machines.
In this post-post-apocalyptic adventure, emergent set-pieces lurk around every corner, as you journey between the greenery of the Nora lands through to the sun-baked sands that the Carja call home. Imaginative and rendered in obsessive detail, it's not hard to immerse yourself in Guerrilla Games' open-world fantasy landscape.
Who knew that post-apocalyptic Boston could offer so much fun? Boasting Bethesda's first current-gen open world, Fallout 4's greatest strength is its setting, which is intricately designed and stuffed with mutants. If you want to be fully immersed? Turn on that ironically entertaining radio on your pop boy.
The devastated American state is dense and always intriguing — there's something new and potentially deadly lurking around just about every corner, and it's topped off by settlements that are yours to build and expand upon, establishing small pockets of hope in what is otherwise a hellish wasteland. It's all beautifully bleak.
Assassin's Creed Origin's
Ubisoft has achieved something truly special with Assassin's Creed Origins. Set in Egypt, the developer has crafted an utterly stunning open-world — one that boasts a frankly insane amount of detail for how colossal it is.
From gloriously golden deserts to meticulously modeled ancient cities, this is one of Ubisoft's best open-world works — and that's saying a lot. Dynamic wildlife, encounters, and sandstorms make it all feel alive, and that's without even mentioning how good it looks. Simply put, Origins is a joy to be a part of.
Grand Theft Auto V
Well, you knew this was going to be on here somewhere. Rockstar is a studio synonymous with open-world titles, and with each new release, it seems to step its game up significantly. Grand Theft Auto V knocks it out of the park with Los Santos — a varied and gorgeous setting that's bursting with life.
It's an open world where you can stand in one spot for minutes at a time and just watch the game tick along as people go about their business. Even now, years after its original release, Grand Theft Auto V is so impressively dynamic.
Death Stranding delivers an incredibly atmospheric and ultimately very lonely open world that's quite unlike anything else on this list. It isn't stuffed with enemy camps, and there isn't a fight around every corner — it's a post-apocalyptic tale that does an excellent job of portraying a desolate yet oddly peaceful land.
As the twisting, turning, and undeniably intriguing story strings you along, it's the deliveries that lead character Sam Porter Bridges completes, which ensure this weird but wonderful open-world lives long in the memory.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey
And we thought Assassin's Creed Origins was impressive. Ubisoft has crafted another utterly stunning virtual world with Assassin's Creed Odyssey, its inspired recreation of ancient Greece a sight to behold.
Gargantuan in size and brimming with life, this is one of the most technically impressive open worlds on PS4. Just climb to the peak of any mountain and spend minutes gazing off into the horizon — it's frankly incredible. Top it off with countless dynamic events, a gorgeous day and night cycle, and a nearly endless supply of stuff to do, and you've got Ubisoft's crowning open-world achievement.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt doesn't care all that much for clearing markers off maps and peppering itself with collectibles — and that's what makes it stand out from most other open-world games. The title's dark fantasy setting is vast and stuffed with things to do, but everything feels like it has a purpose — it's not just fluff or filler.
Wild Hunt is rightfully praised for the depth of its side quests, and these tasks tie directly into the game's open-world design, always giving you a real reason to journey across a land plagued by monsters and war. The Witcher 3 strikes a perfect balance between linear storytelling and open-world exploration.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Setting a new standard for open-world games, Red Dead Redemption 2 is developer Rockstar's best ever release. Unlike many of its peers, Red Dead 2 doesn't pack its map with objective markers and undiscovered locations — it's happy just to let you explore the wilderness at your leisure, and it's this approach to player freedom that really sets the game apart.
Stuffed with all kinds of secrets, this is an open world that constantly wows. What's more, there's a deliberate, slow pace to exploration that contrasts brilliantly with the next bout of inevitable action, resulting in a thrilling kind of tension that very few other games can pull off.
Absurdly detailed and masterfully crafted in just about every conceivable way, Red Dead Redemption 2 is among the PS4's best open-world adventure games.
The Wrap Up
In truth, this was a difficult list to put together. ‘Open world' is a very broad term, now more than ever, but we like to boil it down to its base meaning: ‘open-world' applies to any game where you're free to go off and do your own thing. You are not always tied down by a story or stage progression, and there are optional tasks to sink your teeth into.
Not every game on the list may be your forte, but I challenge you to try something new that you may not have considered before! There are tons of open-world games with plenty of fun surprises hidden within!
We hope you enjoyed our list. Let us know your favorite selection in the comments below!
Scarlett Rose is a professional cosplayer, actress, voice actor, published model, and mother of rabbits. When she is not crafting armor or building costumes, she can be found playing the latest video game or enjoying a retro classic.