Table of Contents
Top 10 Underrated Open World Games
10. Mad Max
Man Max Fury Road captured lightning in a bottle, so the standalone game released around the same time had some pretty big shoes to fill. Critics generally found Avalanche Studios title to be nothing more than okay, but most praised the gorgeous open world for capturing the atmosphere of the films.
Mad Max: The Game is littered with side quests and busy work with the main plot focusing on max building his magnum opus, which is his car.
Vehicle combat is an absolute blast though and Max shines when the player is allowed to roam the wasteland from behind the wheel.
9. Retro City Rampage
Pop-culture references: The video game. Set in the city of Theftropolis, Retro City Rampage is reminiscent of grand theft auto’s earlier top-down games. A love letter to the 1980s V-blank created an open-world that is packed with adventures inspired by the 8-bit era.
Theftropolis mixes massive skyscrapers with dive bars offering players a ton of options on how they’d like to proceed. With around 50 story missions, responsive gameplay, and a very easily annoyed Police Force, Retro City Rampage is the ideal choice for gamers who miss GTA’s pre 3d titles.
8. Ultimate Spider-Man
7. Red Faction Guerrilla
As the third entry in this franchise, Red Faction Guerrilla drops gamers into a war-ravaged Mars in the year 2025 and gives them the tools to knock some shit down. Divided into six sectors, Guerrilla’s open-world directly impacts the storyline as main quests only unlocked after Alex Mason sufficiently weakens the earth defense forces control on that sector.
With a variety of main and side quests and the ability to destroy enemy structures and buildings with a big freaking hammer, Red Faction Guerrilla prioritizes creative freedom and by creative we mean destructive.
6. Driver San Francisco
After the underwhelming second and disastrous third entry Driver: San Francisco arrived a little too late to save the Driver series as a whole. In a move that is equally silly and brilliant, the protagonist is in a coma for the majority of the storyline which triggers an ability that allows gamers to jump from one car to the next with the click of a button.
With over a hundred licensed cars and no on foot sections San Francisco’s sprawling environment cuts out any of the unnecessary fat and offers an open-world defined by complete freedom. As long as you’re staying on the roads.
5. Mafia II
A Mafiosos life is hardly fun or endearing, a fact reflected in 2k games action-adventure title. Mafia 2 takes place in a fictionalized version of New York City with era-appropriate cars and music of course.
Set in an extremely detailed and story-driven open world, Mafia 2 opts for immersion rather than freedom with practically no side activities to distract from your journey. Empire Bay acts as a gorgeous but somber backdrop with players needing to keep their nose out of trouble to avoid attracting unwanted attention.
This unfortunately sometimes includes driving under the speed limit and stopping at traffic lights, you know, the thing you try in GTA4 like five minutes.
4. Dying Light
Exploring a world is only fun with the right mechanic’s. Tech lands Dying Light learned from dead islands mistakes by ramping up the difficulty curve and establishing a parkour system that makes traversing the urban environment much more enjoyable.
With a dynamic day and night cycle, Dying Light is a pure survival game. One that punishes players for being unprepared when heading out into the zombie-infested city.
Platforming feels basically amazing in Dying Light. Especially once that grappling hook is unlocked allowing the protagonist to catapult onto rooftops or onto the side of buildings.
3. Sleeping Dogs
Irrelevant to its setting or gameplay, almost any modern open-world crime focused game will always be compared to rockstars franchise. Sleeping Dogs took a big risk by moving away from western culture to tell a story set in Hong Kong.
Stepping into the shoes of Wei Shen an undercover cop infiltrating the triad, Sleeping Dogs is a bit more character-driven than GTA and doesn’t really reward players for causing unnecessary mayhem.
While the driving mechanics are only okay, developer United Front added in neat little touches like hijacking a car in mid-action and the focus on hand-to-hand combat is definitely a welcome change of pace too.
2. Yakuza Zero
Once in a while, a Yakuza member just wants to beat teenagers in a slot car race and sing karaoke. Yakuza zero is an insane ride through 1980s Tokyo one packed with punks to brawl with and quirky places to visit.
The storyline lays it relatively straight but the explorable open-world and ludicrous side quests break up the monotony very well. In terms of scale, Yakuza zeroes world is small but very densely populated with minigames ranging from karaoke contests to classic Sega arcade titles.
Yakuza zero feels like a celebration of gaming culture and serves as the perfect entry point into the series.
1. Sunset Overdrive
Tired of gritty post-apocalyptic worlds? Then insomniac games has your back. An Xbox one exclusive, Sunset Overdrive looks and plays like a deranged cartoon complete with a Saturday morning corporate villain.
Sunset city is overrun by energy drink obsessed mutants, And the only way to save the city is to blow shit up. While shooting is fun and generally passable Sunset Overdrives platforming mechanics definitely steal the show.
With the player gliding on 4rails to move over the colorful world, from the awesome aesthetic to the response of an addictive gameplay Sunset Overdrive should have been a system seller for Microsoft.