The most beautiful open world games have imaginative locations or spectacular graphics that will keep many coming back again and again. They can also fill players with wonder.
This list doesn't focus on the gameplay. Instead, these beautiful open world games will be judged by their visuals and exploration value.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora
Avatar gets a lot of unnecessary hate, and Frontiers of Pandora proves the film series should get more love. The world of Pandora looks incredible in this Ubisoft game. Flora disappears in front of the Na'vi, stunning flying mountains capture the imaginations of many, and plenty of impressive jungle trees cover the area of the Western Frontier.
Once the blue men or women leap on an ikron and soar through the sky, players may realize a true current-gen experience as they glance at the sunset and fly through a giant archway of land (as shown above). Many think this a typical Ubisoft open-world game; no, it's a spectacle. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora actually inspired this list of beautiful open world games in the first place.
The Death Stranding open world provides a character in and of itself. The scenery takes many's breath away from how realistic it looks, and the water running down the streams and waterfalls in this game illustrate a jaw-droppingly enchanting environment.
In addition, the environment knows how to set the mood. The dark lighting from the black clouds above can make players feel sad, while the sound of nothing around the protagonist causes loneliness. Developer Kojima Productions ups the stakes when the mysterious foes called the BTs encroach on the player, grabbing them from underneath the ground. The world makes protection missions somehow fun.
Genshin Impact ranks as the anime answer to beautiful open world games. Each region elicits joy with detailed architecture and gorgeous vistas. The characters also explore architectural design and natural features inspired by different areas around the world.
The opening region of Mondstadt establishes wonderful sights to behold. It features open spans of bright green fields, a huge statue of the goddess, and windmills seen from a far distance. It seems like a miracle developer MiHoYo can run the game on a mobile device. Fingers crossed that a Switch version launches one day.
Ghost of Tsushima
“To be honest, we [Japan] were beaten,” said Yakuza director Toshihiro Nagoshi during a livestream (via Kotaku) when talking about the Western-developed Ghost of Tsushima. He later said, “Honestly, I think that’s a game that should be made in Japan.”
Regardless of origin, this game features drop-dead gorgeous environments and so much attention to detail in its Mongol-era world. Each building and campsite feels authentic, and the scenery might make players' jaws drop many times. The blossom trees give a glorious pink, and the way the wind flows through the grass and plants may send a tingle down players' spines.
The engrossing Japanese landscape alone makes this one of the best PlayStation games ever.
WB Games and Avalanche Software replicated the magical world of Harry Potter in Hogwarts Legacy. What makes it different from the regular series? The events take place during the 1800s, not the 1990s.
Players see a change in what the townsfolk are wearing, and the signage feels of that time. Prepare to feel bliss as the user-created protagonist rapidly flies through the sky on a broom and gazes upon the magnificent Hogwarts castle in its full glory.
Harry Potter fans may find it delightful to find familiar locations like the Room of Requirement and the Great Hall just like they witnessed in the films. They can also explore the nearby hamlets from the castle too–another treat.
The seasons change throughout the narrative, so the Scottish highlands have different weather as the protagonist student goes through their fifth year.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Horizon: Zero Dawn delivers a unique (at least among beautiful open world games) post-apocalyptic setting. It goes outside of the box with robot dinosaurs, metallic hills, and wonderful environmental storytelling. Remnants of our civilization appear within the overgrown greenery.
It will intrigue players to see an Earth past our civilization as there are tribes all over the open world, and a belief system based on technology rather than a deity or a God. Strange structures and labs left over from the past world within this environment also elicit intrigue.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom poses a miracle. On a less graphically intense console like the Switch, Link can explore the skies, ground, and underground areas of Hyrule. The Nintendo staff should be applauded for this feat as it also looks pretty to boot.
Seeing the sunrise while looking down upon Hyrule from a floating mountain may be a sight that won't be forgotten. Hyrule Castle, just like the game's predecessor fills many with dread as it seeps in dark energy.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom‘s environmental storytelling presents a more fascinating open world. Each devastated major city or settlement was caused by the pressures of Ganon's dark power. For example, the Rito are struggling to deal with the wintry weather surrounding them, and Link has to go airborne to fix the disastrous weather.
Marvel's Spider-Man 2
Marvel's Spider-Man 2 packs an impressive graphical tour-de-force with an immaculate recreation of New York City. Peter Parker and Miles can hear the mechanical rhythm of the cars down below, find cool references to other Marvel characters like Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum, and climb up the tallest tower in this buzzing city.
Neat side-quests to pick up around the open world from common city folk in New York have cute, down-to-earth stories to tell. Marvel's Spider-Man 2 doesn't ignore Spidey's neighborhood duties.
Sea of Thieves
Yo-ho! Yo-ho! A pirate's life might be attractive after players set sail. It has an unusual art style that developer Rare may be known for. Some might ignore this game, but that might change if they see the waves.
They look incredible as they move to and fro many a ship. Whether a slight breeze or a heavy storm, but the water is animated so well and looks realistic as the waves hit the boat. Players have plenty of treasure to find out there too as they look upon the colorful skies from its day/night cycle.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
While Cyberpunk 2077 has greater overall graphical quality, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt‘s open world can be argued as prettier. Distracting ugly advertisements or shops with questionable items to sell don't fill the streets of this fantasy world. Instead, The Witcher 3 features expansive fields and oceans to explore. Players may find tracking beasts thrilling as they look at the evidence and hunt as a mercenary. The architecture of each town and the castles look majestic while Geralt and his horse Roach adventure through the open world.
Additionally, this RPG establishes many interesting side characters to meet with stellar side quests more memorable than some of the main storyline.
Xenoblade Chronicles Series
Similarly to The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, this remarkable open world can run on an inferior Nintendo Switch.
While playing this game, witness lovely vistas like the mountainous Gaur Plains, magical forests, and unique mechanized towns that try to survive among the dangerous world. The music from the open worlds from Team ACE inspires players to explore and take in the grand sights this series has to offer. The first game marks one of the best Wii games Nintendo fans can check out as well.