The GTA franchise was largely responsible for the industry behemoth that is the open-world genre of games. The genre houses some of the most innovative titles in the gaming industry, and has been the most financially successful games of the last couple of decades.
The open-world formula works to a great degree as it can be virtually applied to any time period that a game wants to explore. Whether it be the medieval villages and Viking-like settlements of The Witcher, or modern cityscapes in GTA 5, the open-world genre has never failed to deliver breathtaking digital playgrounds.
Cities in open-world games are absolutely marvellous feats of game development, and have seldom ever let the fanbase down. Here are some of the best games with well-crafted open-world cities.
5 best games with great open-world cities like GTA 5
1) Watch Dogs 2- San Fransisco
Watch Dogs 2 attempts to go down a different route than games such as GTA V, where Rockstar takes inspiration from real-life cities but creates a fictionalized city of its own. However, Watch Dogs 2 is set in the real-life location of San Fransisco and transports a number of iconic locations from the city to the game.
As a result, the world of Watch Dogs 2 feels incredibly authentic, complete with real-life monuments and streets that residents of the city might recognize. The game is much more light-hearted than the original and as a result, San Fransisco ends up feeling more like a virtual playground, more so than the cold streets of Chicago.
The game's brilliant parkour traversal also adds a lot of charm to the location as player can explore the city's rooftops by leaping all over the place. Watch Dogs 2 is a must-have for fans of the open-world genre.
2) Just Cause 3- Medici
Just Cause 3 is absolutely massive, and the scale of the game never fails to impress the player. Just Cause 3 doesn't just give the player a city, but an entire nation to explore, with many different villages, towns and cities, all spread throughout its massive map.
Just Cause 3 is a breathtaking joy ride through absolutely beautiful vistas that encourage players to traverse its giant map in a variety of ways. While the player can always hop into a helicopter or a car, it is simply that much more gratifying to explore the nation of Medici through your trusty grapple-hook, wingsuit and parachute.
The game is simply one of the best in its class, and players will be hard-pressed to find more visually appealing cities that also integrates the chaotic gameplay of Just Cause as well.
3) Sleeping Dogs - Hong Kong
Sleeping Dogs might just be one of the most criminally underrated games of the past decade that had one of the most entertaining open-world playgrounds in recent memory.
The game's renditon of the real-life city of Hong Kong was breathtaking and exceptional in a lot of ways. In ways more than one, the player could interact with the world around them in a much more visceral manner than most games in the genre. There is plenty of gameplay options afforded to the player during combat to utilize the environment, thus adding a sense of immersion to the gameplay experience.
The game world feels extremely life-like, with the crowded and neon-bathed markets of Hong Kong, and the absolutely gorgeous skyline during nighttime in the Downtown area.
The game simply isn't one that should have ever been slept on. Pun intended.
4) Assassins's Creed Syndicate- Industrial Era- London
Assassin's Creed Syndicate may not have the most flawless of reputations in the gaming community, unlike many of the titles in the franchise that have come before or since the game. However, the game has a solid and devoted fanbase that rallies behind the game, to it being one of the most underrated titles in the series.
The game's depiction of Industrial-era London presents one of the most captivating virtual playgrounds in the history of gaming. Verticality has always been a somewhat mainstay of the Assassin's Creed franchise and Syndicate takes it a step further with the inclusion of the grapple-hook.
London feels like a city on the brink of revolution and it is the player's job to bring about the collapse of the villainous Templar that has been the rot at the city's core. As a result, rebellion and revolution are the themes of Syndicate that are very well realized in the city of London.
5) Marvel's Spider-Man- Manhattan, New York
2018's Spider-Man had a lot riding on its shoulders as it was set to follow one of the most beloved Spider-Man properties in Tom Holland's version of the web-head. Marvel was expecting Spider-Man to be the flag-bearer of Marvel properties in gaming as Iron Man had been for the MCU.
While there were many doubters in the wings, Spider-Man managed to dispel the lot of them by delivering an absolute knockout blow of a game. The city of New York was at the core, as the game's rendition of Manhattan had players thoroughly impressed.
The city feels vibrant, diverse and it truly feels like a character of its own. New York is as integral to Spider-Man as anything else about the character, and the game did a great job in providing players with an extremely charming version of Manhattan.
The sequel to Spider-Man will perhaps expand upon the map to include more boroughs of New York.