Lose yourself in the world of video games.
Sometimes real life sucks, and you just want to escape for an hour—we get it. There’s no better way to relax and forget your stress for awhile than with an open world video game. With developers constantly pushing the limits when it comes to graphics and storytelling, there’s never been a better time to play—especially if you have a PS4.
If you’re wondering which open world games are the best of the best, these are our top 15 picks of 2023 when it comes to open world video games for the PS4.
Top 15 open world games for PS4 in 2023
1. Elden Ring
Of course Elden Ring was going to be on this list—would you expect any other open world game? A superior game in every sense of the word, Elden Ring is the new standard for open world games. Everything about Elden Ring adds to the overall experience.
Rich in style and combining elements from the Souls and Bloodborne series’, players can completely customize their skills they want to develop. You want a pure strength DPS build? You got it. Or maybe you want the swifter, stealthy Samurai build? Got you covered. And don’t forget about powerful spells and magic abilities, too.
Elden Ring is also home to some of the most powerful video game bosses ever, even topping some of the biggest villains in Dark Souls 3. The game has pioneered a new era of open world video games that we’ll forever be grateful for.
2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher series has exploded in popularity thanks to the Netflix show tie-in, but the games themselves offer an incredible open world experience. Witcher 3: Wild Hunt perfects an already solid line of games. Unprecedented storytelling, a killer soundtrack, and a great cast of characters will leave you feeling like you really are in the game.
While the plot of Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is relatively straightforward, players love being able to lose themselves on the many side quests and explorations. Many players, in fact, say this is the best way to experience the game as a whole.
The combat is nothing to sniff at, either. From crossbows to swords to spells, every player will find their perfect kit. You can’t help but love Geralt of Rivia and the many adventures in Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
3. Red Dead Redemption 2
It’s crazy to think that Red Dead Redemption 2 and God of War were both released in the same year. Despite coming out in 2018, Red Dead Redemption 2 still holds up as being one of the best open world video games for the PS4.
Red Dead Redemption 2 boasts some of the most realistic open world gameplay, along with a rich narrative to keep you engaged from start to finish. The world itself is constantly changing, not to mention huge (which means plenty of exploring). The details are really what cause Red Dead Redemption 2 to stand out from so many other similar games.
The storytelling is equal parts emotional and heart-breaking, with protagonist Arthur Morgan solidifying himself as one of the most well-loved characters in video game history. Developer Rockstar worked on this game for over a decade, and it definitely lives up to the hype.
Insomniac Games is known for some of their other franchises like Ratchet and Clank, but Spider-Man is what really set them as a serious team when it comes to open world video games.
Spider-Man for PS4 boasts incredible controls and fighting mechanics. You know the story: you’re Peter Parker, unlikely superhero living in New York City and everyone’s favorite friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. If that wasn’t cool enough, we’re finally at a point where we can have fully immersive web-swinging. And yes, it feels better than it ever has before.
The game itself is a little on the short side, but the sequel starring Miles Morales is already in development. Currently, it’s set to release in 2023.
5. Ghost of Tsushima
Taking place in feudal Japan, Ghost of Tsushima was initially revealed at E3 in 2018. Fans were hyped for the game all the way up until its release date. It quickly cemented itself as one of the best-selling and biggest open world video games ever.
Visually stunning with brilliant combat, players control Jin Sakai in Ghost of Tsushima, who is fighting the incoming Mongol invasion. Jin is a samurai who sacrificed his honor to become a shinobi and save the lives of those on Tsushima Island. You’ll fight against Mongol leader Khotun Khan throughout the story.
Ghost of Tsushima definitely takes a few notes from the Assassin’s Creed franchise, but the gameplay still feels fresh and unique. You’ll want to spend plenty of time exploring every corner of the map and going on plenty of side quests.
6. Horizon Forbidden West
Horizon Forbidden West is the perfect example of a franchise improving on every aspect of its predecessor. the new title boasts a new and improved engine. There’s also tons of new weapons to master and other great features to make it better than the original game.
Aloy is back with a new cast of characters. This time the story focuses less on building the world from the ground up and more on Aloy’s relationships. With gorgeous graphics and plenty of exploration, you’ll lose yourself in this open world game for the PS4.
7. Lost Judgement
A spinoff of the already wildly popular Yakuza series, Lost Judgement takes place in a separate universe from Yakuza. However, there’s still some characters who crossover into both games. You’ll play as protagonist Takayuki Yagami, following a story that weaves a grim detective story with beautiful open world mechanics.
Players can explore two distinct locations: Kamurucho, Tokyo and Yokohama, Injincho. Within these spaces, you’ll be fully immersed in the seedy underground of Japan, having plenty of chances to take on side quests and enjoy a wide array of activities, all within the game.
8. Yakuza 0
The original Yakuza game was released for the PS2 (which then spawned a series of beautifully immersive open world video games), and Yakuza 0 for PS4 is the prequel to the entire franchise. It’s considered one of the best crime drama games ever, and quickly became the most popular game from the developer, RGG Studios.
The game features dual protagonists Kazuma Kiryu and Goro Majima. With entirely different backgrounds and stories, their two paths converge into one as the game progresses. With excellent combat and customization, all taking place within 80s Tokyo, this open world game is full of high octane thrills from beginning to end.
9. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain marks the end of a historic franchise spanning decades. It’s the final game in the series written by Hideo Kojima before he left Konami in 2015. It also marked the first game in the Metal Gear titles to feature and open world sandbox design.
One of the reasons the game was such a huge success was because of how well the open world was designed. There are hundreds of ways to achieve your goal and accomplish your objective, encouraging all different types of play styles. The game will also punish players who use the same tactics to complete their missions, as enemies adapt to your tactics over time. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain is full of depth and discovery, just waiting for you to explore.
10. Cyberpunk 2077
Despite the release being pushed back multiple times and a rocky release date, CD Projekt Red did accomplish something truly amazing for the open world genre with Cyberpunk 2077. This action-packed game has a gripping and emotional story along with plenty of opportunities for exploration and customization within Night City.
Cyberpunk 2077 feels like a cinematic performance (thanks, Keanu!), quickly immersing you in the world and story from minute one. You choose between three different life paths, each of which come with a different story and quests to fulfill in the open world. After that, it’s up to you to determine how you want to experience Cyberpunk 2077—the possibilities are endless.
Before Elden Ring, there was Bloodborne. While it’s a Sony-exclusive title, it’s quickly become a wildly popular open world RPG thanks to the devastatingly difficult combat. Unsurprisingly, it’s also the most-requested game to get ported to PC. Due to its huge scope, it also greatly influenced the Souls series, even causing the entire genre of games to be known as Souls Borne.
The open world in Bloodborne is gothic, grim, and gray. There are plenty of unique (and downright bizarre) locations to explore, all of which contribute to the horror aesthetic in this incredible open world RPG game. Often described as merciless in nature, Bloodborne really was the crown jewel of the franchise for years (until Elden Ring, that is).
12. Horizon Zero Dawn
A completely open world game, Horizon Zero Dawn is a fresh take on the usual open world RPG genre. Players control protagonist Aloy, who must overcome the odds to become a warrior, as well as find secrets that could save the world from an enormous catastrophic event and eliminate the evil on the planet (known as Hades). All in a day’s work, right?
Despite being post-apocalyptic, the open world is truly breathtaking. Creatures roam, some friendly, some not, and you can customize your play style to suit your needs. There are plenty of weapons, armor, and crafting available to players, allowing them to really lose themselves in the open world of Horizon Zero Dawn.
13. God of War 2018
Obviously God of War is on this list of best open world games. Widely regarded as the best game of 2018, reinventing the franchise and open world genre in one fell swoop. While God of War is a linear open world game (meaning there is a plot that you’ll be gently steered towards as you play), it still has a place on our list.
Kratos returns, but this time taking a more relaxed approach in this father-son storyline. If you love playing games for spectacular writing, this is the open world game to play. Although the game does start off fairly linear, you’ll eventually have the opportunity to explore and take on new challenges and side quests.
14. Dragon Quest 11
One of the original turn-based JRPG franchises, Dragon Quest is still going strong with the latest iteration, Dragon Quest 11. The series is the building block for all other JRPG games, including the likes of Final Fantasy. You’ll play as the “Hero” character, on a journey to the Kingdom as the fated Luminary…or are you?
With twists and turns in the plot you’ll never see coming, you’ll be met with intense challenges, acquire party members, and unlock skill trees to create a play style that meets your every need. Akira Toriyama’s influence on the series is still felt all these years later, making Dragon Quest 11 one of the best open world games for the PS4.
15. Shadow of the Colossus
A game with a cult following, Shadow of the Colossus, went on to inspire other huge open world video games, most notably Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Sony gave fans a totally remastered remake of the open world game for the PS4 in 2018, reestablishing its importance in the genre of open world games.
The story follows a young boy named Wander who must resurrect a girl (Mano) from a deep slumber. Together with his horse Arno, the pair set off to slay 16 different beasts in order to save Mano. The combat had a huge influence on the David and Goliath style gaming that’s popular today, along with creating complex puzzles and boss battles each time.
People Also Ask…
What Is An Open World Game?
An open world video game gives players the option to explore the game at their own leisure without forcing them on any specific story path at a certain time.
While most video games follow a linear structure (think “go to point A to unlock the next story event” and so on), open world games allows players to go most wherever they want, whenever they want. It gives players the freedom to craft their own play style and enjoy the game as they see fit.
What Is The Most Immersive Realistic Open World Game?
It all depends on how you define “immersive.” Do you want an incredible story to draw you in? Or are we talking about the world itself? Regardless of what you’re looking for, these five games are usually considered the most immersive realistic open world games:
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- Elden Ring
- Watch Dogs 2
- Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
What Are The Best New Open World Games In 2023?
As far as open world games go, 2023 has been a relatively quiet year, aside from a few exceptions. Of course, there are still plenty of games from years past you can play in 2023.
But if you’re itching for something new in terms of open world games, there are our recommendations of open world games that are releasing later in 2023:
- Atomic Heart (February 2023)
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 (Spring 2023)
- Starfield (Q1/Q2 2023)
- Final Fantasy XVI (TBA 2023)
- Diablo IV (TBA 2023)
- Crimson Desert (TBA 2023)
What Open World Games Are Coming In 2024?
2024 is looking promising for open world games. There’s plenty of trailers and footage being released already in 2023, so we’re hopeful there are plenty of new games poised to hit the shelves. Here’s what we’re most excited about for open world games in 2024:
- DokeV (TBA 2024)
- Assassin’s Creed: Mirage (TBA 2024)
- Skull and Bones (TBA 2024)
- Dune: Awakening (TBA 2024)
Where Does Elden Ring Take Place?
If you’ve picked up a copy of Elden Ring and wondered where this mystical story takes place, we’re here to tell you it might not be as magical as you think. Simply known as The Lands Between, this immense territory is ruled by Queen Marika the Eternal.
An ongoing joke in the fandom is that Elden Ring actually takes place in Ohio, due in part to the vast stretches of desolate landscape (found in the Worlds Between) the Midwest is known for. We can’t confirm or deny, but it’s a fun theory!
Which open world game for PS4 are you most excited to get your hands on? Just be sure to see if you can use your student discount from Student Beans on any tech you might be getting to make your gaming experience that much better! And don’t forget to use our student discount available at Fanatical to get games on sale!
Need some games to play with friends? Read through our rankings on all of the Jackbox Party Packs! And if you really want to get lost in an open world sandbox game, check out our guide on how to create concrete in Minecraft.