The open-world RPG genre has taken over the video game landscape, in fact, over the last two generations, almost every game has incorporated some kind of element from the two game-styles. So, it's no surprise that one of the big releases of the year will be Obsidian's The Outer Worlds.
With a unique world waiting to be explored, full of unique characters, and some fun, witty writing — this title will surely be one of the better offerings from this genre this generation. But if you don't understand the hype heading into this game, don't worry we have you covered — you'll just have some homework to do. So, with that in mind, here are 10 Open World Games Everyone Should Play Before The Outer Worlds.
10 Vampire the Masquerade - Bloodlines
Troika Games' Vampire The Masquerade - Bloodlines was plagued with development issues before Activision set a hard deadline for a 2004 release, and it shows in the game's technical aspects, but with witty writing, a deep customization system, and clan-based allegiances that impact how you play the game, there's a lot going on under the hood.
With rich lore that takes players into the dark underworld of 21st century Los Angeles, there's a pretty interesting story to keep players interested as they go along. Yet, because the game is pretty old, and was even buggy for its time, it does take a specific type of player to truly enjoy this title with all its warts.
9 No Man's Sky
Hello Games' No Man's Sky was presented as a title where players have almost limitless possibilities, upon its release it never lived up to that expectation. Yet, despite those lofty promises, No Man's Sky has become a pretty unique game that's only gotten better through updates.
Giving players the ability to fly to a number of randomly generated worlds, they can interact with the alien life forms — either through combat or trade — while harvesting the planet's resources and building bases. That last item has been a real game-changer since it's integration into the game, mix that with land-vehicles, and players now have a real purpose to explore the "18 quintillion planets" that were promised from the outset.
8 Pillars of Eternity
When looking at the other titles on this list, Obsidian's isometric RPG, Pillars of Eternity, will stick out like a sore thumb. That's because, visually, and a little bit in the gameplay department, this game does not really bring about ideas of vast worlds full of interesting characters, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Playing as a character who can read souls, gamers can learn a lot about even the most random NPCs. That's without getting into the rich story that sees a world full of people who were born without souls where only our protagonist can find out why.
This game has all the typical Obsidian charm to it, there's a deep but rewarding strategic element to combat, the writing is full of life, and the world is living and breathing in a way that only this developer can provide.
7 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Ever since its release in 2011, every open-world RPG has been compared to Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and it's not hard to see why. With a map that's massive, even by today's standards, players can spend hours just wandering the vast and varied wilderness of the Norse-inspired Skyrim, yet, there's so much more than just a large map.
The world is incredibly dense, filled with intricate NPCs and side quests galore. In fact, you can spend almost as much time soaking in all the secondary aspects of the game, that you can almost completely ignore your main quest — which is really just to kill a dragon who wants to destroy the world.
6 Dragon Age: Origins
BioWare's Dragon Age: Origins is everything a player could want in an open-world RPG. A captivating story that puts the player in the middle of an escalating conflict, colorful and distinct characters, dialogue that impacts your relationships with others, and of course, a massive world that you're just beginning to understand.
Giving players the choice of playing as a Human, Dwarf, or Elf, along with gameplay styles, Dragon Age: Origins then opens up into an intensely customizable experience while combat keeps the flow of gameplay going at the perfect tempo.
5 The Witcher III: Wild Hunt
3D Project Red's The Witcher III: Wild Hunt came into the scene and quickly set the benchmark for what an open-world RPG should be. Taking control of Geralt of Rivia — a monster hunter, or witcher — players are thrown into a high fantasy world full of monsters and magic while our protagonist searches for his lost daughter.
While that main story is a great reason to jump in, there's so much more to the game than just that. With a frantic combat system that is both heavy and rewarding, and a massive open world full of villages and NPCs to interact with, players can spend hours immersed in this world.
4 The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
Nintendo's critically acclaimed The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild is easily the biggest in the series, ditching more linear gameplay for a big open world, Hyrule is there to be discovered however players want. This is the real appeal to this title, as it's the first game in the franchise's history where players can choose how they explore, right down to the armor they wear which dictates their movements.
Not only that, but the game is littered with tiny secrets across the entire massive map, meaning the game has hours of extra content outside of the main story. Another big addition is the dynamic weather, which completely alters how players would normally tackle regular obstacles — there's a lot going on here.
3 Mass Effect 2
In many ways, BioWare's Mass Effect 2 was a game that defined a generation. As one of the best open-world RPGs around, it's a masterclass in character-driven storytelling that gives players just enough influence over the events to make each experience unique.
Putting players in the shoes of Commander Shepard, they are tasked with building relationships to gain loyalty in an attempt to stop an alien attack. While not as open as other games in this series, Mass Effect 2 is full of hub worlds to explore, each of which full of dialogue opportunities that players have a hand in controlling.
2 Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic II
Developed by Obsidian, Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic II one of the best RPGs players can get their hands on. With a cool morality system that dictates which side of the force players will align with — changing how your party interacts with you and the powers you unlock — choice matters. Mix in an entire galaxy waiting to be explored filled with planets with their own citizens and problems you can get involved with, Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic II is the perfect sequel to a game.
Yet, it's very accessible. While it is a sequel to the first title, the game does a great job filling players in on the events of the previous game, meaning players can jump into the new plot — which involves hunting down the few remaining Jedi left in the galaxy in an attempt to stop a complete Sith onslaught.
1 Fallout: New Vegas
If you want to understand what the excitement is regarding The Outer Worlds, play Fallout: New Vegas. Developed by Obsidian, New Vegas puts players in the shoes of a character who is kidnapped and shot in the head while transporting a package across the deserts of post-apocalyptic Nevada. Somehow surviving the attack, players embark on a journey to find the killer and discover what was so important about the package. Yet, while this is easily the most intriguing story in the Fallout franchise, the exceptional world-building, and trademarked Obsidian dialogue makes this a standout title in the franchise.
Mix all of that with the typical Fallout formula of deep customization options, a blend of first and third-person combat and the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting (VAT) System that improves gunplay and you have an RPG that's worth exploring much longer than its campaign.