The 9 Best Open-World PS4 Games to Buy in 2018

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best First-Person Shooter: Far Cry 5

In "Far Cry 5", you play as a junior deputy investigating a militaristic and drug-addled doomsday cult in rural Montana. Spoiler alert: Things do not go as planned. As the situation quickly devolves into chaos, players must fight to survive by taking out enemies, acquiring weapons, and manning all kinds of vehicles from helicopters to buggies. There are objectives to complete, but the game doesn't rush you — instead, it allows players to explore the beautifully-rendered outdoor environments, play around with crazy weapons, and interact with all kinds of quirky characters at their own pace.

"Far Cry 5" emphasizes one of the most thrilling features of the open-world format: spontaneity. In this game, you can never be sure what's going to happen next. Roving packs of wolves and murderous cults provide unexpected hazards as you explore the lush and atmospheric world of the game. Because it's a first-person shooter, "Far Cry 5" gives players an arsenal of weapons and the ability to play cooperatively with friends online, as well as the chance to play in competitive online deathmatches where anything can —and will — happen.

Best Fantasy: Middle Earth: Shadow of War

If you’re a fan of the world of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit, then "Middle Earth: Shadow of War" is the best open-world fantasy game for PlayStation 4. Even if you’re not as familiar with the source material, this game holds its own as one of the most unique open-world experiences out there.

The third-person, action-fantasy game takes place between the storylines of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. Players take the role of a ranger whose family has been murdered, and who is now seeking revenge on the forces of Sauron. Traverse the dungeon-filled lands of Middle Earth, where gangs of orcs and other monsters lie in wait with clubs in hand. Luckily you’re armed with both a sword and special hypnotic wraith powers that can either defeat them outright or mentally manipulate them into allegiance or shame.

If the hack-and-slash cinematic melee gameplay or visually-lush, AI-filled environments don’t impress you, the characters will — enemies have three-dimensional personalities that can make you laugh, feel sorry for them, and maybe even want to befriend them.

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

Best Post-Apocalyptic: Nier Automata

"Nier Automata" transports you to a post-apocalyptic world where humans have been forced from the planet by mechanical alien invaders. You'll play as a katana-wielding combat android who's been sent in to reclaim Earth for humanity. What unfolds is an unpredictable, action-packed, and thought-provoking journey through our abandoned planet. The open-world format allows the story to unfold like a nightmare you can't look away from, immersing players in its desolate environments and heart-pounding encounters with alien robots.

"Nier Automata" combines both hack-and-slash and shooter gameplay in real-time combat sequences. Players are rewarded with experience points to level up a customized load out of skills and weaponry. There is also a small heads-up display to provide a more focused sense of gameplay as players explore the massive — and hauntingly beautiful — open-world environments. The storyline is fleshed out with plenty of side quests and tons of NPCs for endless variety, with 24 possible endings.

Best Action-Adventure: Assassins Creed: Origins

Go back in time with "Assassins Creed: Origins," an open-world, action-adventure stealth game set in the Ptolemaic period (49-47 B.C.). Here, you'll play as the (fictional) first assassin in history. Ubisoft has brought to life the awe-inspiring environments of ancient Egypt and Rome in stunning detail, filling these worlds with a fascinating cast of characters and non-stop, heart-pounding action.

This game lets you decide how you want to play — are you the type to sneak up on your target when he least expects it? Cause chaos from a distance with long-range arrows? Or would you rather storm in with swords drawn, 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. As you play, the game challenges you to take on bigger enemies and explore even deeper in the game's detailed open world. "Assassins Creed: Origins" will last you about 27 hours, and the deluxe edition with bonus content can 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 a third-person tactical shooter (with an optional first-person view for gun aiming) set in a huge open-world environment. Featuring dynamic weather systems and a variety of landscapes from wooded mountains to salt flats, this game is currently the second-largest open-world environment with 170 square miles to explore. Fun fact: the map is 13 miles long and will take you eight minutes to travel from one end to the other in an in-game aircraft going 120mph.

In "Ghost Recon: Wildlands," your objective is to dismantle a cartel. How you do that is up to you, and the game gives you an incredible amount of freedom to design and execute your own strategies. Infiltrate enemy compounds, mark targets with a remote-controlled drone, and interrogate criminals. Traversing the open environments is exciting enough on its own: use stealth tactics to collect and upgrade your gear and weapons, man vehicles like helicopters and dirt bikes, and even cliff jump with a parachute.

When you’re not completing missions or side quests, you’ll establish friendly (or hostile) relationships with citizens, officials, and rebels from all around the world. All of these other characters will have an impact on the success of your missions 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.

Best for Kids: LEGO Worlds

The limitless possibilities of LEGOs are now available in video game form. Whether you're buying for an imaginative kid or just looking to relive some childhood fun, "LEGO Worlds" is an open-world dream for builders and inventors of all ages.

This game lets players experience a galaxy of worlds made entirely from LEGOs. Create anything you can imagine, from little houses to large-scale landscapes. Players can jump into LEGO vehicles like helicopters, rocketships, and motorbikes, or they can even hitch a ride on a LEGO dragon as they search for more pieces and undiscovered treasures to expand their building capabilities. The number of customizations and creative possibilities are endless — pieces can come to life and form little societies and ecosystems under your benevolent rule as LEGO builder.

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

Best Retro Aesthetic: Yakuza 0

"Yakuza 0" stands out most for its unique aesthetic: the game takes place in a 3D model replica of Tokyo’s Kabukicho district, set in the 1980s. If you’re a fan of this kind of retro-inspired design — and especially if you like Japanese crime movies — you'll love "Yakuza 0's" cinematic visuals that bring a bygone era to life. Its open world is filled with tons of things to do and countless laws to break.

But this action-adventure game is not for everyone — it's best suited to players who appreciate movie-like games with a lot of different cut scenes, beautiful environments, fun characters, and side activities. There is violence, but those moments are interspersed with karaoke singing, dancing in discos, bowling, playing darts, and even heading to a Tokyo arcade where you can play actual SEGA games within the game ("OutRun," "Space Harrier," "Fantasy Zone," and more).

"Yakuza 0" serves as a prequel to the entire "Yakuza" series and deals with the origin story of the earlier games.

Best Remake: Shadow of the Colossus

Originally for the PlayStation 2, "Shadow of the Colossus" has been remade from the ground up for PS4, with updated technical specs at 60FPS and improved graphics. This straightforward action-adventure game does not have any towns, dungeons or other players to interact with — instead, players traverse lifelike outdoor landscapes, tracking down giant creatures called Colossi that they must find a way to kill.

A must-have for the PS4, "Shadow of the Colossus" is something of a work of art. The gorgeous environments, musical orchestration, and massive, beautifully-rendered Colossi will leave you in awe. If you want an open-world game with a remarkable sense of scale, give this fantastic remake a try.

Most Underrated Title: Gravity Rush 2

A stylized and richly-detailed game that never became as popular as it deserved, we're calling out "Gravity Rush 2" as an underrated title for PS4. This open-world game has the physics of a thrilling lucid dream, giving players the ability to manipulate gravity at will. Soar through the air, drop down with incredible weight, and explore unique environments in its action-adventure storyline.

In "Gravity Rush 2," you'll play 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 for all kinds of unique gameplay styles as your character jumps between platforms and fights her way through different enemies, from androids to aliens and more.

The game is also very visually appealing and features a soaring orchestral soundtrack as well as many comic-book-style cutscenes. There are also a ton of different characters to interact with, which is part of what gives "Gravity Rush 2" such a high replay value (about 20 to 40 hours of gameplay time).