The 9 Best Open World PS4 Games to Buy in 2018

Ready, set, explore

We are committed to researching, testing, and recommending the best products. We may receive commissions from purchases made after visiting links within our content. Learn more about our review process.

Open world games loosen up the strict linear gameplay of video games by allowing players the ability to explore on their own and let things come to them naturally. Sometimes the open world is full of surprises, leading players into big trouble or the chance to discover new opportunities and hidden secrets that make the game that much more exciting. Interested in exploring the most awesome open world environments the PS4 has to offer?

We put together a list of the top ones that include genres from shooters to story style cinematic video games and they reward players for their curiosity of exploration. You may find yourself in the middle of the forest only to stumble upon a ferocious bear; maybe you’ll take a stroll to the arcades in Tokyo to play some Sega games (games within a game); perhaps you’ll even walk through town and find some interesting neighbors. If you’re wondering what PS4 games have open world environments and you want to dive right into the best ones, this is the place to start.

Our Top Picks

Best First-Person Shooter: Far Cry 5

What makes an open world so believable is spontaneity like in Far Cry 5 where a simple stroll through the forest can result in a pack of wolves sneaking up on you or a cultist group chasing you down. Far Cry 5 is the best first-person shooter, open world PS4 game that gives players an arsenal of weapons, the ability to play cooperatively with friends online, as well as the chance to play in competitive online deathmatches where anything can happen and will happen.

In Far Cry 5, you play as a well-mannered, unarmed junior deputy set out on investigating a militaristic doomsday cult high off hallucinogens in the middle of nowhere Montana when all of a sudden all hell breaks loose. From there, players are forced to survive by sneaking up on and taking out enemies, seizing arms and acquiring multiple vehicles such as helicopters and buggies to explore the lush outdoors and complete various objectives. The game doesn’t rush you either​ and encourages players to follow their own path as they discover flamethrowers, tame wild animals, interact with various characters, go fishing or infiltrate enemy compounds full of precious treasures.

Best Fantasy: Middle Earth: Shadow of War

If you’re a fan of J. R. R. Tolkien’s world of Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit, then Middle Earth: Shadow of War is the best open world fantasy game you’ll find on the PlayStation 4. Even if you’re not a fan, Middle Earth: Shadow of War offers one of the most unique open world experiences where you’ll be able to defeat enemies not just with weapons, but convincing or shaming words.

The third-person, action-fantasy game takes place between The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, where players take the role of a ranger who is set out on seeking revenge on the forces of Sauron after their wife and son are killed. Words will be used as you traverse through the gradient dungeon-filled lands of Middle Earth where gangs of orcs and other monsters foolishly await you with clubs in hand looking to rough you up, but you’re armed with both a sword and special hypnotic wraith powers that can manipulate them into allegiance or utter mind-boggling shame. If the hack-and-slash cinematic melee gameplay or large environments with tons of AI on screen don’t impress you, the characters will; enemies have three-dimensional personalities that make you laugh, feel sorry for them, and even, possibly, form an emotional connection of friendship.

Check out our other reviews of the best PS4 fantasy games available on the market today.

Best 1980s Japanese Crime Movie: Yakuza 0

The brilliance of Yakuza 0 is how well it’s made: It's a 3D model replica of Tokyo’s Kabukicho district set in the 1980s. If you’re a fan of the '80s and Japanese crime movies, Yakuza 0 is the best visual cinematic presentation that brings the era to life with an open world filled with tons to do and countless laws to break.

But this action-adventure game is not for everyone: Ideally, if you’re a fan of movie-like games with a lot of different cut scenes, beautiful environments, fun characters and side activities, then you’ll love Yakuza 0. Gameplay isn’t always centered on violence, though. You can tell your jazz band to play you a song as you calm down a drunken customer trying to punch you in front of hundreds of guests, sing karaoke, dance in a disco nightclub, go bowling, throw darts, invest in real estate or head to the arcade in Tokyo where you’ll play actual SEGA games such as OutRun, Space Harrier, Fantasy Zone and Hang-On. Yakuza 0 serves as a prequel to the entire Yakuza series that has you uncovering the origin story of where it all began.

Best Remake: Shadow of the Colossus

Originally for the PlayStation 2, Shadow of the Colossus is made completely from the ground up for the PS4, with updated technical specs at 60FPS and improved detailed graphics. The open world environment has players traverse large fields and valleys to explore and hunt down giant creatures called Colossi that will put any gamer or non-gamer in a complete sense of awe.

A must-have for the PS4, Shadow of the Colossus is a work of art with a visual presentation of lifelike outdoor environments, musical orchestra and massive opponents that make you feel like an ant. The simplistic action-adventure game features no towns, dungeons or other players to interact with except the giant Colossi that you must find, struggle to climb up on and figure out how to kill by searching for their weak points.

Most Underrated Title: Gravity Rush 2

Gravity Rush 2 looks like it was made by Studio Ghibli; a stylized and richly detailed game that wasn’t widely received as expected, but is by far the most underrated, open world PS4 title out there. Like a lucid dream, players are given the ability to manipulate gravity, allowing them to soar through the air, drop down with incredible weight and navigate through unique environments as the orchestra soundtrack builds the ambience of thrilling action and excitement.

An immersive, action-adventure game, Gravity Rush 2 has you playing as a girl with special powers who is pulled into a mysterious world and must fight off an army who threatens the very fabric of the universe. The gravity-based action mechanics make gameplay styles unique for players as they jump from platform to platform and chain together combo attacks against a set of enemies (think androids, soldiers and aliens). The game is also just visually appealing and comes with comic book style cut scenes. Not only are there a ton of characters to interact with, but the game has a high replay value (about 20 to 40 hours of gameplay time).

Best Post-Apocalyptic: Nier Automata

Set in a post-apocalyptic world where humans have left the planet, Nier Automata has you playing as a katana-wielding combat android set on discovering a hidden mystery inside Earth. The action-packed, role-playing open world game is like a fascinating nightmare set on a barren and desolate rusty Earth full of alien robots.

The immersive Nier Automata will delight any player who loves a mixture of action and combat by combining fast hack-and-slash gameplay with shooter elements. Players are rewarded with experience points to level up a customized load out of skills and weaponry. The minor heads-up display in Nier Automata gives a more focused sense of gameplay as players explore an abandoned Earth where Mother Nature and the relics of a crumbling infrastructure give off a haunting type of beautiful. The game’s world offers plenty of variety, including huge diverse environments to explore and real-time combat sequences, side quests and numerous NPCs that’ll have you questioning, discovering and opening up one of possible 24 different endings.

Best for Kids & Imagination: LEGO Worlds

What if I told you that your imagination of yesteryear when you were playing with your LEGOs is now in video game form with an open world of unlimited possibility? The opportunity awaits with LEGO Worlds, where, as the name suggests, allows you to make a world out of LEGOs and start living the dream of your childhood.

LEGO Worlds lets players experience a galaxy of worlds made entirely of LEGOs, giving them the ability to create anything they imagine from little houses to large-scale landscaping. Like any good LEGO set, players can jump into vehicles such as helicopters, rocket ships and motorbikes or even fly on dragons as they search for more pieces, items and other treasures that expand their possibilities and room for growth. The number of customizations and creative possibilities are endless in LEGO Worlds, where other pieces come to life and form little societies and ecosystems all under your wishes.

Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best PS4 kids' games article.

Best for Action-Adventure: Assassins Creed: Origins

It’s time we go back in time with Assassins Creed: Origins, a giant, open world, action-adventure stealth game set in the ye olde Ptolemaic period (49-47 B.C.) that recounts fictional history where you get to be the first assassin, ever. Ubisoft’s latest installment brings to life giant worlds of Egypt and Rome in high detail along with a cast of characters with incredible voice acting and non-stop heart-pounding action.

While you take in the scenery of the beautiful environments around you, Assassins Creed: Origins will let you decide how you want to play. You can either like sneak up on your target in a field of flowers, cause a ruckus with long-range arrows or just rush in clashing blades with bandits. The RPG elements of the game grant players full customization of their character, allowing them to upgrade over 100 weapons and abilities all while challenging them to take on bigger enemies and explore deeper in tombs for treasure. Assassins Creed: Origins will last you about 27 hours and also comes in a deluxe edition with bonus content and levels that total over 40 hours of solid gameplay.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best PS4 adventure games

Best Tactical Shooter: Ghost Recon Wildlands

Ghost Recon Wildlands for the PS4 is an open world, third-person tactical shooter (with an optional first-person view for gun aiming) set in huge environments with a dynamic weather system full of mountains, forests, deserts and salt flats. It’s currently the second-largest, open world environment game with 170 square miles (the is map 13 miles long and will take you eight minutes to go end-to-end in an in-game aircraft going 120mph).

Your objective for the game is to dismantle a cartel in Ghost Recon Wildlands. This means you’ll have to be sneaky when infiltrating compounds, marking enemies with your remote-controlled drone, interrogating criminals and taking cover as you collect and upgrade your gear and weapon load outs and escape via helicopter, car, dirt bike or cliff jump (with a parachute).

When you’re not completing missions or side quests, you’ll build friendly or hostile relationships with citizens, officials and rebels from all around the world that will have an impact on your duties when the time comes to take action. Ghost Recon Wildlands also features a cooperative multiplayer mode where you and three other players can explore the game’s world and complete campaign missions together.