Game Freak surprised Pokemon fans everywhere by doing what most thought they never would; announcing an honest open-world Pokemon game. Pokemon Legends: Arceus is set to switch up the series’ formula by letting players explore a huge world in a prequel to Pokemon Diamond and Pearl.
The developer already said the game is not coming until 2022, so players have a long time to wait. Until the hotly anticipated title comes out, play any of the following games below. Some of them require other consoles like a PS4, but several can be played on the Nintendo Switch, reminding us how good open-world games can be on the hybrid hardware.
10 Breath Of The Wild
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild came out on the Wii U and as a launch title for the Nintendo Switch. At the time, it was unbelievable how such a good looking game could run on a handheld console. More than four years after release and it still impresses. The open design helped attract a whole new legion of Zelda fans. Players are still discovering secrets while wandering around Hyrule waiting for the game’s sequel.
9 Final Fantasy 15
Final Fantasy 15 polarized the fanbase with its diversions from the formula. One of the main complaints was how incomplete it felt at first, but various updates and the DLC chapters help fill in the missing holes. Anybody who likes open-world RPGs would have a good time exploring the world as Noctis and his buddies. The structure is a little odd, however, with gargantuan chapters in the first half of the game followed by minuscule latter chapters that take a fraction of the time to complete.
8 Xenoblade Chronicles
While Xenoblade Chronicles came out in 2010, the lineage of games with “Xeno” in the title goes back all the way to 1998’s Xenogears. However, Xenoblade Chronicles is the first open-world title directed by Tetsuya Takahashi.
A Nintendo exclusive, it quickly became a mainstay of the company’s roster. With a spin-off and sequel released on the Wii U and Nintendo Switch, there is well over one hundred hours of Xenoblade Chronicles content to explore.
When talking about open-world RPGs, one always has to mention the Elder Scrolls franchise. Skyrim has come to be one of the most legendary western RPGs of the past fifteen years. Some may prefer Morrowind, but Skyrim has the more universal appeal with a more convenient UI and gameplay conveniences. One wonders how much inspiration Game Freak is taking from Bethesda’s series when making Pokemon Legends.
6 Kingdom Come: Deliverance
On a more extreme end of the spectrum, Kingdom Come: Deliverance takes place in a real historical setting. It is a significantly slower paced game than the other titles on this list, forcing players to dive deep into more nuanced systems and stats. Its greatest weakness is the plethora of technical issues. If you can look past these, you’re in for one of the most unique open-world RPGs out there.
5 Horizon Zero Dawn
Guerrilla Games spent a lot of time making the first-person shooter franchise, Killzone. Afterwards they crafted Horizon Zero Dawn. The 2017 open-world action game went on to be one of the PS4’s most celebrated exclusives. With a sequel in the works, now is the perfect time to dive in and prepare for what is sure to be a fantastic followup. While Pokemon Legends takes place in the distant past, Horizon takes place in the far future.
4 Death Stranding
Much like Breath of the Wild, a game which seems to have a big influence on the upcoming Pokemon adventure, Death Stranding is all about the journey rather than the destination.
Hideo Kojima’s 2019 title takes place in a world where cities are separated by miles of uninhabitable wilderness. Only delivery people are the threads connecting each city. Earning new ways to traverse the landscape is way more rewarding than it seems on paper. The online functionality is also ingenious.
3 Wasteland 3
InXile entertainment really knows how to keep fans waiting. It took 26 years for RPG players to get a sequel to Wasteland. Fortunately, they only had to wait six for Wasteland 3. This title is a good example to look at for open-world games that mix in turn-based combat. The battles themselves feel like they come from an XCOM game, and can be just as difficult if you have not properly prepared for them.
2 Immortals: Fenyx Rising
Considering the obvious influence from Breath of the Wild, it only makes sense to also include this Ubisoft game on the list. Not everyone will be a fan of the art style or humor, but the fluid movement will definitely be a joy to those who are primarily concerned with fun gameplay. The focus on maneuvering and the combat does a lot to separate itself from other Ubisoft open-world games.
1 Ghost Of Tsushima
Often considered one of the best looking open-world games currently available, this PS4 exclusive does so much more than just look pretty. The minimal hud and the way navigation is ingrained into the game world fully immerses the player into the island of Tsushima. The tragic samurai tale is also compelling. Pick a direction, go, and just let nature tell you where the secrets are.