Open-world games can make for exhilarating, wondrous experiences - especially those that pummel you with heart-pumping action that keeps you engaged.
As the industry has evolved and game engines grow more sophisticated, many games have shifted from more linear corridor-like settings to open-ended sandbox worlds. These titles often make for a more thrilling and enriching experience, as the player is left to you carve out their own adventure. Games have increasingly begun to feel like endless epics; many of which leave the completionist with their hands full for quite some time.
With this list, we'll take a look at 10 of the longest open-world action games ever made, and touch on how long it takes to complete them.
10 Just Cause 2
Bringing new meaning to the term "sandbox" game, the Just Cause series truly feels like an expansive, digital sandbox, brimming with explosive toys and vehicles to play with.
Just Cause 2 upped the ante of the already robust, chaotic first game, adding more vehicles and more dynamic sidequests that includes race challenges and stronghold takeovers akin to Far Cry. The game contains a centralized main story, which will run you in the ballpark of 16-18 hours. Yet exploring the vast island of Panau, knocking out all of the side quests, upgrades, weapon/vehicle purchase, etc, can run you around 86 hours.
9 Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Ubisoft truly outdid themselves with their latest rendition of this thrilling action-adventure saga. Each game paints the scene with a unique, epic period in history and features expansive, fluid combat.
Odyssey raises the bar with even more in-depth RPG elements and a return to the fun naval combat, set to the bombastic backdrop of ancient, mythological Greece. Being caught in the middle of the complex politics and infighting of the various Greek city-states, there is plenty of action to get in on.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey definitely lives up to its name, with a plethora of features and tons of content; arguably more than any prior AC title. Focusing on the main story will take you roughly 40 hours to complete, while completionists could find their Peloponnesian odyssey expanding to a whopping 120 hours.
8 Borderlands 2
There are few developers that have managed to balance RPG depth and nuance with action-packed excitement quite like Gearbox Software, as they have with the Borderlands series. This second entry in the zany RPG shooter franchise is arguably its peak - not just in terms of quality, but the breadth of the content as well.
Sticking mostly to the main story missions actually makes for a moderate length at 30 hours. While this path is technically possible, it's not advised if you're looking for juicy loot and an easier run, since you'll have to grind a bit to get a leg-up in XP. Though most gamers will be enticed to tackle some of the amusing sidequests, those looking to take on all of Pandora's happenings will end up spending over 115 hours. You also have the countless DLC packs released on top of this.
7 Fallout 4
This action-RPG can best be described as a Skyrim-esque journey, fused with an anarchic Borderlands shooter vibe, and some old-school Fallout lore for good measure. The end product makes for one of the more enduring gaming epics ever. Fallout 4 - like 3 and New Vegas before it - drops you into the gigantic ruined landmass of post-apocalyptic New England. Given all the NPCs offering tons of quests and the free-roaming gameplay, your desolate journey will be a long one indeed.
The main story clocks in at roughly 25 hours. Though, it's quite easy to get sidetracked as you wander the enticingly eerie landscapes. Those who tumble a bit too far down the Fallout 4 rabbit hole and seek to knock out all the content will be spending up to 150 hours.
6 The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
Kicking off the Switch launch with a bang, The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild soars as one of the console's most epic games yet and is possibly the richest, most ambitious Zelda title to date.
Drawing from the open-world free-flowing spirit of the original NES Zelda and injecting some modern-day glitz similar to Skyrim, it's easy to get lost in this ruined version of Hyrule for countless hours. From the massive plains to treacherous volcanic environments, simply exploring all the nooks and crannies of Hyrule will take some time. Factor in the gaggles of foes, intricate Divine Beasts, and countless Shrines, and you've got a truly epic adventure.
The main campaign alone will take almost 50 hours, while those seeking to leave no stone unturned could spend an epic 180 hours.
5 Red Dead Redemption 2
If there's any developer that knows its way around sleek, open-world action games, it's Rockstar, one of the pioneers of this style. Red Dead Redemption 2 reinforces this notion; reminding gamers that these guys are still the head honchos when it comes to gaming grandiosity.
This cinematic masterpiece is brimming with content, dazzling the viewer with some gorgeous landscapes and lengthy cutscenes - which by themselves run for several hours. Being the no-nonsense outlaw that he is, you've got a wealth of action and monkeyshines for our antihero to engage in as he tries to navigate the turbulent, hostile Wild West. The main story can take 46 hours - but that's small potatoes compared to the 158+ required to truly absorb all the content.
A retro-style 2d sidescroller may not scream huge or "open-world," yet Re-Logic's Metroid-meets-Minecraft adventure stands as one of the largest gaming experiences out there.
This game caters to action-laced retro charm with its appealing combat and magic system. At the same time, Terraria's versatile, sandbox gameplay is reminiscent of a more accessible form of Minecraft. While the game leans on mining and building, it's also loaded with tons of cool collectibles, ominous baddies, and endless exploration across an array of colorful biomes; both above and underground.
Plundering through the dangerous depths of the mines and defeating the final boss can take dozens of hours to achieve. Though milking the maximum amount of content out of Terraria - uncovering each biome and defeating each boss - can take well over 100 hours.
3 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Polish developers CD Projekt seemingly came out of nowhere with this game, elevating the status of the Witcher series from a relatively obscure WRPG to the gold standard of epic action-adventures.
The swordplay combat is both in-depth and intuitive, providing endless action as the protagonist, Geralt, faces-off against a myriad of creatures and human fighters that stand in his way. The gameplay of The Witcher 3 is both dynamic and deep. Even its dialogue exchanges are nuanced; forcing the player to choose from multiple options which can alter the course of the narrative down the line. Focusing mostly on the main story alone will take well over 50 hours, while completionists can pour a massive 170+ hours into the game.
If there's any game that can drain countless hours, weeks, and even months out of your life, it's this endlessly appealing adventure.
On one level, this revolutionary indie sandbox romp is endless, featuring an infinite rendering of blocky environments as you travel - along with deep mines brimming with riches. Thanks to various updates, Minecraft has an "end game" now. You can venture through the hostile Nether and the eerie "End," as well as slay a final boss dragon. Yet, even if you've plunged into the vast, expansive world of Minecraft with the intention of "beating" the game, it can still take 130 hours to do so!
1 Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
When it comes to action-laced sandbox games, it's tough to find a bigger example than the Monster Hunter franchise, particularly this enriching sequel. This project was so costly, in fact, that Capcom felt the need to shift resources from its original home of the PS3 to the Wii since it was cheaper.
When compared to Minecraft, this Japanese phenomenon is relatively smaller, assuming you focus on beating the main Guild quests and hunting for required monster parts. Monster Hunter is not open-world in the traditional sense, as the world is split into several areas rather than one interconnected map. That said, the areas themselves are dense and explorable, serving as mini open-worlds.
Yet, given the huge lineup of monsters, the vast environments, and an endless stream of collectibles, completionists will find this on a scale nearly rivaling that of MMOs. Those looking to cover all of the content could spend a mammoth 600+ hours. This is a monstrous game indeed!