Best Open-World Games On Xbox Game Pass

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It could be said that open-world games encapsulate gaming’s best attributes and push them to their logical extremes — they offer fully fleshed-out alternate realities for the player to explore as they wish, generally affording them unprecedented levels of agency and freedom in determining their path through it. An open-world game has the potential to, almost literally, become a second life for the player to disappear into.

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So it should come as no surprise that some of the gaming industry’s most prolific titles manifest as open-world games. And as luck would have it, a generous selection of these titles are at your fingertips if you happen to have an active Xbox Game Pass subscription. But which world should you dive into next? For starters, you’ll definitely want to try these.

Minecraft

  • Approximate Game Length: N/A
  • Genre: Survival Sandbox
  • Developer: Mojang
  • X|S Enhanced: No

No game encourages freedom and exploration the way that Minecraft does. As soon as players spawn into the world, there are no boundaries restricting what they do next. Building a mansion in the forest, mining to the depths of the world, or crafting the most intricate roller coaster are all options on the table. Though there are no quests sprinkled throughout the open world of Minecraft, the ability to do anything so chosen is the game’s main appeal.

Elite Dangerous

A spaceship flies above a planet

  • Approximate Game Length: N/A
  • Genre: Multiplayer Space Simulation
  • Developer: Frontier Developments
  • X|S Enhanced: No

Though a space flight sim might seem like a strange fit here, calling Elite Dangerous an “open-world” title is more than a bit of an understatement considering the game encompasses a scale replica of the Milky Way as we know it. And really, the role a player takes in piloting their ship through the endless expanse of space is as open as said galaxy is — whether it’s as a trader, a pirate, or humble asteroid miner making their daily haul, Elite Dangerous offers endless opportunity in an equally endless galaxy.

Skyrim

one mile run skyrim

  • Approximate Game Length: 34-100 Hours
  • Genre: Open-World RPG
  • Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
  • X|S Enhanced: No

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has long been a definitive staple of the open-world catalogue, and it’s likely to remain that way until the next chapter of the mainline Elder Scrolls saga manifests. Even today, players still wander the snowy tundra, lush forests, and decrepit dungeons of Skyrim in droves, which is no mean feat considering the base game was released in 2011. If for some reason you’ve yet to experience the epic tale of the Dragonborn, now’s as good a time as any. And if you already have, then you can pick from an extensive selection of mods that are available for Xbox consoles and fabricate a new twist on a familiar adventure.

Monster Hunter: World

  • Approximate Game Length: 50 Hours
  • Genre: Action-RPG
  • Developer: Capcom
  • X|S Enhanced: No

Nothing makes an open-world title as exciting as throwing a bunch of gargantuan beasts into the mix. While players can appreciate the natural beauty of Monster Hunter: World’s atmosphere, the large creatures that inhabit this environment demand constant attention. Gorgeous vistas aside, taking down huge monsters requires skill and experience, which makes Monster Hunter: World a breath-taking game to master.

Batman: Arkham Knight

  • Approximate Game Length: 27 Hours
  • Genre: Action-Adventure
  • Developer: Rocksteady Studio
  • X|S Enhanced: No

The open-world formula of the Arkham series is only enhanced with the Batmobile at your disposal. Hurtling through the streets of Gotham in Batman’s iconic vehicle is a rush. Though it is always fun to soar from mission to mission using nothing but Batman’s cape, the experience is only heightened by intense car action. As with other games in the franchise, Batman: Arkham Knight is an exciting and easily digestible open-world experience.

Yakuza 6

Yakuza 6 The Song of Life Kiryu looking at Puyo Puyo machines

  • Approximate Game Length: 30 Hours
  • Genre: Action-Adventure
  • Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studios
  • X|S Enhanced: No

The sixth installment in the wildly popular Yakuza series hits long-time fans in the feels with its emphasis on familial ties. In addition to that, Yakuza 6: The Song of Life also provides players with a vibrant open-world setting in the familiar location of Kamurocho. Plenty of fun activities lie in store around every corner, and entertaining story moments are matched only by the robust combat system that is a staple of the Yakuza franchise.

Fallout: New Vegas

Quarry Junction in Fallout New Vegas

  • Approximate Game Length: 70 Hours
  • Genre: Action RPG
  • Developer: Bethesda
  • X|S Enhanced: No

Though Fallout 4 may be New Vegas shinier, newer, and (slightly) better-optimized cousin, New Vegas is considered the crown jewel of Fallout’s three-dimensional, first-person outings for a reason. With Obsidian helming the effort, the roleplaying elements that were present in Fallout 3 were polished to a mirror shine that Fallout 4 couldn’t seem to pull off in succession.

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The Mojave wasteland may look a bit dated by modern standards, but the Courier’s fateful journey after being shot and left for dead still makes for a timelessly wild adventure.

The Long Dark

  • Approximate Game Length: 35 Hours
  • Genre: Survival Adventure
  • Developer: Hinterland Games
  • X|S Enhanced: No

Survival-oriented titles are a common sight when browsing through any catalog of open-world games, but The Long Dark is certainly a standout mention among them. Stranded in the wilds of Canada after a cataclysmic weather event, players must consistently contend with the frigid cold and measure their bodily needs against the prospect of pressing onward. Though hauntingly desolate, the environments and art direction of The Long Dark make it a practical necessity.

Nier: Automata

Nier Automata city center

  • Approximate Game Length: 37 Hours
  • Genre: Action RPG
  • Developer: PlatinumGames
  • X|S Enhanced: No

Though more linear than most open-world games, Nier: Automata possesses an ethereal charm that makes wandering its environs just as mesmerizing. The main story will take you across vast open spaces that feel largely desolate, but remain haunting and beautiful regardless. Nier: Automata is not the best example of an open-world title, but it is unique and engaging enough that it should not be missed by any fan of sprawling areas and gripping narratives.

GTA V

  • Approximate Game Length: 45 Hours
  • Genre: Open-World, Action-Adventure
  • Developer: Rockstar North
  • X|S Enhanced: No

Los Santos lives and breathes like no other open-world environment in gaming. GTA V perfectly captures the vibe of walking through a bustling city. There is no shortage of activities players can engage in while playing this popular title. If anything, feeling bored while playing GTA V is a nigh impossible task. Rockstar has long held the crown when it comes to making open-world games, and it’s not hard to see why after sinking hours into any GTA title.

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