Open-world games are a dime a dozen these days, but not all open-world games are created equal. We’ve listed ten of the best that you can play on PS5 and PS4 today.
1. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Ubisoft’s latest open-world stabby-stabby fun-fest is easily the best entry so far. Rather than the massive map with a million icons, it’s a massive map with a well-structured to-do list, as well as a decent story that isn’t fractured by the game’s ambition to be the biggest, unlike Odyssey which had two memorable points: the start and the end. Everything else was just filler.
Valhalla has been given some nice updates since release, too, including free content and the usual slew of bug fixes and improvements. You can easily lose dozens of hours inside old-timey England, and I highly recommend it.
2. Sleeping Dogs
Hear me out, hear me out. I know what you’re thinking “Chris, this game is older than me” and that might be true, but so what? It’s one of the best open-world games that nobody bothered to play.
Sleeping Dogs was a spiritual sequel to the True Crime series – in fact, it started out as a True Crime game – and it gave us a location rarely seen in games: Hong Kong. The focus was on the story, the characters, motivations, and of course, kick-arse kung fu. What’s more is that while the game runs like a fat asthmatic on PS4, it runs like a fat asthmatic being chased by a lion on PS5. That’s to say, it runs really well. You can normally pick this one up for just a few pounds, dollars, or euros during PlayStation Store sales, so pick this one up when you get the chance and experience one of the best open-world games available on PS5 and PS4.
3. Spider-Man: Miles Morales
This is an easy recommendation and I had the choice between this one or Spider-Man remastered. I chose Miles Morales, if only because I love the snowy Christmas setting. It’s gorgeous and a real showcase for the PS5 – ray tracing, 60fps, slick combat and a wholesome Spidey story make this a must-play on PS5.
4. Immortals Fenyx Rising
Back to Ubisoft, because they really are the masters of the open-world genre, and we’ve got Immortals Fenyx Rising. Some say it’s just Assassin’s Creed Odyssey wearing Breath of the Wild’s skin. I say it’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey wearing Breath of the Wild’s skin… with style.
Alright, it’s about as derivative as can be, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be good. In fact, it’s great. It’s something different and a rare family-friendly open-world Ubisoft game that you can sit and play with the kids. It’s got combat, exploration, collectables, and the best part of all, the physics-based puzzles. Amazing stuff and while it’s not all that original, it’s one of the best things to come out of Ubisoft in a long while.
5. Just Cause 3
The only reason Just Cause 4 isn’t here is that I’ve barely played it, but Just Cause 3, I’ve played more than my fair share. I think I picked up the slack for everybody else during the PS4 days, but now it’s time for you lot to return the favour because Just Cause 3 on PS5 is brilliant. It’s still playable on PS4, mind you, and it’s a touch better on PS4 Pro, but for the best experience, you’ll want to be booting this up on PS5.
You get a massive open-world to explore and destroy and a simple story to wrap around it all, but nobody is playing for the story – it’s all about wanton destruction and making cows fly with explosions.
6. Watch Dogs Legion
And we’re back to Ubisoft because, as I already said, they’re the masters of the genre. Watch Dogs Legion might not be the strongest entry in the series (personally, I prefer Watch Dogs 2) it’s still worth a look. It’s got all the sexy next-gen features we’ve been hearing about for the last couple of years, like ray-tracing and blah blah blah. What it doesn’t have is 60FPS, but I’ll let that slide. What it does have is a brilliant open-world London to build your nerdy gang in, as well as a newly released online mode that’s worth taking a look at. I still prefer Watch Dogs 2…
7. Red Dead Redemption 2
What advantages are there to playing Red Dead Redemption 2 on PS5? Hardly any. It’s basically the same as playing on PS4 Pro, but with faster loading times – but that’s not an insignificant feature, you know. Loading times on last-gen were painful and I would often get through a couple of BBC news articles between loads. On PS5 you barely have time to pick your nose. It’s considered by many to be the best of the best when it comes to open-world games, and it’s hard to argue with that assessment. Expect it to be the gold standard until the inevitable next-gen remaster…
8. Days Gone
Bend Studio’s take on the zombie apocalypse was divisive when it released, but so were The Killers when they turned up in England all those years ago. Look at my boys now, headline acts with millions of records sold – and they’ve aged beautifully. I mean, look at Brandon, he’s in his forties and- er, what was I talking about. Ah, yes, Days Gone.
It’s good, and it’s better on PS5. In fact, it’s so much better on PS5 thanks to the next-gen update Bend Studio pushed out, bringing the game up to what is hopefully the next-gen standard 60fps. And while it’s a fairly by-the-numbers open-world game with the standard checklists and fetch quests, it’s still really good fun. Because what’s not fun about shooting thousands of zombies. Plus, that ending. Wow. Bring on Days Gone 2.
9. Mafia Definitive Edition
When remakes and remasters were new things, we all derided them because we wanted new stuff to play, not old games repackaged. Some developers and publisher have heard the message loud and clear and have come up with a compromise; we’re still getting old games repackaged, but that packaging is brand-spanking new and improved in every single way. Mafia Definitive Edition is perhaps one of, if not THE best example of a remake done right.
It’s one of my favourite games of the last couple of years and I implore anybody who has any love for gangster movies, specifically anything made by Martin Scorcese, to have a look at this one. It’s top-tier and while it’s not improved for PS5, it’s one of the best narrative-driven open-world games you can play on your expensive plastic tower right now. It was remade from the ground up with nothing being left untouched. The story was re-written, expanded, and recast so that every line was recorded new with modern technology. Motion capture techniques were used to bring characters to life in ways that were unthinkable back when the original Mafia released. It’s a showpiece for sure and definitely up there as one of the best remakes to-date. Mafia 2, not so much, and that’s why it only gets a sly dig on this list rather than a numbered entry.
10. GTA V
I didn’t want to include this on the list. I really didn’t. Not because it’s not an amazing game, but because there’s a PS5 version on the way. But still, it’s hard to deny the staying power of Rockstar’s sprawling open-world crime simulator. It’s just phenomenal, even all these years later. It may look a little rougher as each year goes by, but the core is far from rotten and I still find myself replaying the story every year. I don’t touch the online because I don’t care for it, but you don’t need to go online to get the best of what GTA V has to offer. GTA V is best played on PS5 thanks to the extra power that keeps the frame rate steady where it otherwise falters on PS4, and it’s still a lot of fun. Mind you, I can’t wait for the day where I get to delete it and replace it with the real PS5 version of GTA V. That will be a great day.
And that’s the end of this list. Of course, there are many other games but this is my list. I know there are some games that deserve to be on it, but I had to stick to ten because time is nobody’s friend. But, there’s always the future and I’ll no doubt be revisiting this concept soon enough.