That’s also why Death Stranding is such a brilliant example of this genre. Its desolate and sometimes hopeless world happens to be the perfect setting for a game designed to teach you to appreciate the value of little victories and human connections. You’ll fall, you’ll fail, and you’ll sometimes wonder whether you’re having any fun, but by the time you look back at the better world you left behind and how far you’ve come, you just might shed a tear. – MB
7. The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind
At a time when developers were simply dipping their toes into the waters of the open-world concept as we know it today, the team behind The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind took a different approach. They decided to make an open-world game that seemingly featured everything that they’ve ever wanted to do with their already epic RPGs. As a result, Morrowind can often be confusing, complicated, and remarkably user-unfriendly.
Yet, many of the qualities that you could use to criticize Morrowind could just as easily be used to explain why it’s such an important and incredible open-world experience. It’s an open-world RPG where you truly get to feel like you’re gradually growing your character and making a name for yourself in its beautiful, dangerous, and wonderfully weird world. Mods and fan updates can improve some of this game’s technical shortcomings, but there is no replacement for the ways that Morrowind makes you feel like you’ve truly been transported to a distant land where the only victories you’ll find are those that you make for yourself. – MB
6. Fallout New Vegas
Player choice is at the heart of the Fallout franchise, and Fallout: New Vegas offers more choices than any other entry into this franchise that redefined what video game role-playing really means. Players can solve almost every problem with their weapons, wits, or wallet, but the game’s gray morality remains a constant challenge. Many otherwise excellently designed characters and organizations in Fallout games are either overly good or mustache-twirlingly evil, but New Vegas blindsides players by ensuring that nothing is quite as it seems. There are choices in this game that go far beyond right and wrong, “A” or “B”, or color-coded moral compasses.
Fallout: New Vegas demonstrates what kind of magic can happen when game developers make a world’s inhabitants as morally flexible as the main character. – AG
5. Grand Theft Auto V
Like the rest of the entries into this legendary franchise, Grand Theft Auto 5 is essentially a gigantic crime simulator. Gamers can explore every back alley of its incredible world and absorb all the details that went into creating this overblown and satirical universe that somehow feels more real than it probably should. While GTA 5‘s return to a slightly more ridicicolus form of gameplay bolstered by a variety of side activities was certainly welcome, the thing that really elevates this game above its predecessors is its use of three protagonists. The concept of three protagonists in a GTA game could have been a gimmick, but our “heroes’” personalities and goals play off each other in a way that creates a thrilling narrative that would have been impossible to achieve with only one lead.