Nothing beats an immersive open-world game for a delightful getaway from harsh reality. In today’s gaming market, it appears that more and more games seek to be open-world experiences, even if it doesn’t serve their gameplay. Unfortunately, it has become a buzzword that creators want to incorporate simply because that is what most modern players want to see. Yet, the best open-world games can lure you into their engaging narrative with exceptional attention to detail.
Excellent open-world games present their world to the player and respect their decision to explore and experiment, rewarding them with backstory and stuff. Its environment generates a sense of exploration and authenticity, keeping players involved and wanting more. While executing a bare-bones checklist to label a game as open-world is simple, it requires much effort to offer a convincing experience. For this article, I’ve compiled a list of the greatest of the best, including as many diverse genres as possible, ranging from classic activation adventure racing to an open-open world with no combat.
20 Best Open World Switch Games
Following are my top 20 best open-world switch games you must play.
Arceus from Pokémon Legends
Since this is a semi-open-world game, leaving it off this list would be a shame. Many believe Pokémon Legends: Arceus to be a breath of fresh air for the Pokemon series, with an immersive, colorful world to explore. Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a story-driven game filled with colorful characters to meet and iconic Pokémon to capture. Y
ou play as a mystery character who physically falls from the heavens into the Hisui region and must assist the locals with several mysteries, challenging battles, and research jobs. Whereas previous Pokémon games portrayed Pokémon as lovely and endearing, this game shows them as dangerous, wild, and strange, which is probably more realistic. The game mainly emphasizes investigation and learning more about them.
PLA provides everything a decent semi-open-world game requires to thrive. The primary plot is fascinating, the characters are likable, and plenty keeps you entertained outside of the main game. The planet is well-designed, and it wonderfully portrays the exploration spirit.
Breath of the Wild, The Legend of Zelda
The original The Legend of Zelda, launched in 1986, was one of the earliest open-world games. After the elderly man, hands Link a sword with the famous phrase, “It’s perilous to walk alone! Take this,” players are given no direction and are free to go wherever they like. As a result, the map was a riddle waiting to be solved, and there were always hidden goods in plain sight, waiting for the curious person to discover them.
Thirty-one years later, Breath of the Wild returns everything terrific about the original to current viewers. Players can experiment and explore a large playground in the game. Every mountain can be climbed, every ingredient blended, and every foe confronted, and it’s all up to you.
Moreover, several systems are in place to encourage you to experiment with your environment. For example, the weather system allows you to use your metal weapons as lightning rods during thunderstorms. Alternatively, you might fire a flaming arrow onto dry grass, causing a solid updraft that allows you to escape into the air on your paraglider. Breath of the Wild is one of the best open-world games on Switch because you may go in any direction in the overworld and find something fantastic.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3 immerses you in a world full of frightening monsters, intriguing quest lines, and intricate narrative and refuses to let you leave. Geralt of Rivia lives in a dark, sad world, and all he wants to do is aid others as much as he can… but never for free. The Witcher 3 is unrivaled in story, characters, and conversation. Every quest is handmade, with complex narratives and impactful choices. For example, the classic Bloody Baron questline can conclude in various ways depending on your choices throughout the minor tasks leading up to its conclusion.
Even a mission unrelated to the Bloody Baron’s quest line could significantly impact its result. Preparation and understanding are equally crucial in combat as reflexes and skill. In true Witcher tradition, there is a focus on exploiting your opponent’s weaknesses by concocting potions, putting certain oils to your blades, and casting the appropriate spells during the battle. Of course, gear is essential, and the best is Witcher gear discovered while scavenging through the lands.
Furthermore, The Witcher 3 has a fully fleshed-out card game called Gwent, which will keep you exploring to add rare cards to your deck. The card game is so fantastic that it generated its own independent game with an active competitive community and Throne breaker: The Witcher Tales, in which you play as the warrior-queen Move.
Skyrim, The Elder Scrolls V
Skyrim’s infinite breadth is why it has been ported to every console imaginable. You are free to travel wherever and be anyone you want after being presented to the world. The fifth Elder Scrolls game is a massive open-world game and an open book where you can pick your adventure. Skyrim was many gamers’ introduction to a fantasy sandbox-style game. The main story is enough to introduce you to the world, but as many players will attest, it is easy to become distracted by many side quests and guilds waiting for you.
Skyrim may have a rudimentary fighting system and a basic main narrative, but the amount of flexibility it affords more than compensates. It is unquestionably one of the most essential open-world games for Nintendo switch.
Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen
Dragon’s Dogma is a role-playing game set in an open environment with a very addictive gameplay cycle. The game does not hold your hand and demands you to work for your rewards. Quest objectives, for example, are not marked; the map depicts the broad region. So you must put in the effort by exploring the place. Yet the benefits are well worth it because, in conclusion, your power level has increased dramatically, almost to godlike levels.
The battle mechanism is a lot of fun and allows for imaginative theory-making. You can grip onto enemies Shadow of Colossus style, repeatedly stabbing a soft portion of their body as they transport you across the skies. Your partners’ artificial intelligence is also highly dynamic, making their brilliant pawn system more intriguing.
Finally, while the overworld is lovely and enjoyable to explore, the dungeons truly are the cherry on top. Crawling from dungeon to dungeon is a fun and challenging experience culminating in an epic boss battle against numerous chimeras. Skyrim may have a rudimentary fighting system and a basic main narrative, but the amount of flexibility it offers is more than compensates. It is undoubtedly one of the most essential open-world games on the Switch.
Furthermore, The Witcher 3 has a fully fleshed-out card game called Gwent, which will keep you exploring to add rare cards to your deck. The card game is so popular that it has created a different game with a thriving competitive community.
Wings of Ruin, Monster Hunter Tales 2
Monster Hunter Stories 2 satisfies players looking for more in-depth mechanics. The basic gameplay of the Monster Hunter franchise is masterfully translated into one of the best turn-based RPGs on Switch. But this time, you’ll not only go monster hunting with your favorite weapons, but you’ll also have your monster to battle beside you. Your weapons and companion monsters are classified into powerful, technical, and fast. Battles are fought in which one class trumps another in a rock-paper-scissors approach. However, the game incorporates more sophisticated elements, such as the Kinship gauge, to make battles more dynamic and enjoyable.
The option to ride your kidnapped monster around the game’s open-world areas is one of its best features. Certain regions are restricted to monsters with unique talents, such as the capacity to swim or jump cliffs. Exploration is the finest way to strengthen your squad as you hunt caves for monster eggs to add to your ever-expanding bestiary.
Immortals Fenyx Rising
Immortals Fenyx Rising is a cross between Breath of the Wild and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, but with a Greek mythological flavor. It distills the Ubisoft open-world idea to a smaller island full of platforming challenges and heroic encounters against mythical creatures. The battle, platforming, and exploration are all intertwined as new weapons and equipment serve all three. For example, the Wings of Daedalus allow you to glide over the landscape and go to the skies to attack winged opponents like Harpies.
Fighting grows more sophisticated as you progress. As you switch weapons to adapt to their vulnerabilities or merely to extend your combination, it feels wonderfully smooth. The development is rewarding and quick, so the island opens up faster for you to explore. Immortals Fenyx Rising is one of the best open-world games for Nintendo Switch if you’re seeking for an experience similar to Breath of the Wild.
Who hasn’t heard about Minecraft by now? After all, it is the all-time best-selling game. Playing Minecraft is similar to playing with Lego blocks in that you can build anything with only your imagination as a restriction. To keep things interesting, there’s also a light survival element. You must manage your food and health bar while avoiding all manner of animals to ruin your day. First, you construct a simple home base with a simple farm. Afterward, you go cave exploring for minerals to enhance your gear and increase your chances of survival.
Before you know it, you’ve created a completely automated resource harvester that grows your crops, harvests them, transports them to a conveyor belt where they are cooked, and safely deposits them to your chest, all without you breaking a sweat. Minecraft can be a simple, pleasant game in which you explore caves and fight creatures, or it can be a complex construction simulator for those with creative minds. It is truly an open-world game because the world is open for you to do whatever you want with it.
The Outer Worlds
This game is for fans of open-world sci-fi role-playing games like Fallout: New Vegas. The game was launched in 2019 and was made accessible for the Nintendo Switch a year later. With magnificent vistas, caustic language, bizarre scenarios, a strong combat system, rich character creation, and overflowing loot, The Outer Worlds is undoubtedly a product of the original Fallout developers. One of the obvious parallels is tactical time dilation during combat, which is akin to Fallout 4’s improved VATS.
Your character is plunged into a world dominated by big corporations and commercial tycoons whose avarice extends to acquiring planets. You become the captain of your ship, which serves as your central hub region, due to unfortunate events. You can freely select two partners from a diverse cast to accompany you outside the ship. They are extremely useful in fighting strategies and generate interesting and intelligent discourse. All of your decisions and actions from the beginning to the finish will affect the fate of the people and your crew.
This game features magnificent images as you travel to several planets. Choosing your character, battle style, and companions gives you a sense of liberation. In my instance, I allocated the majority of my points to dialogue to expand my dialogue options and deescalate disputes. Good and bad decisions are not revealed upfront but based on each faction’s beliefs. This complexity enhances the game’s moral ambiguity and replayability. You could kill any NPC, and the tale would continue because they appreciate your decisions (no matter how dark they may be).
The game Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag
Even though I’ve never been a great fan of the Assassin’s Creed games, Black Flag managed to captivate me like no other. Earlier games focused on parkouring across cities and assassinating major targets throughout history without leaving a trace. Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag alters the model by introducing Edward Kenway, a loud and aggressive protagonist.
There haven’t been many good pirate games, but Black Flag revives the genre. It’s wonderful to sail the wide open seas as your crew sings sea shanties in the background. Naval fights were also a fantastic addition to fully capture the pirate life. Black Flag may be polarizing among AC fans due to its departure from prior games, but most agree it’s terrific.
Subnautica is a truly disturbing experience despite not being a full-fledged horror game. Instead, it exploits our fear of the unknown and thalassophobia to offer an open-world survival game in which you always scan the outside for threats. You play as the sole survivor of a deep-space starship that landed on a lonely ocean planet in the distant future. You have no choice but to hunt for resources to help you live and escape the water. It’s a fascinating game when you’re at the surface, interacting with alien wildlife and underwater flora, but it quickly turns into utter horror as you descend deeper. Subnautica: Below Zero, a sequel, is also available for the Switch.
Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles
Yonder is a delightful game with a laid-back and pleasant feel. This is one of the only open-world games on the Nintendo Switch that lacks any form of fighting. Instead, the emphasis is much more on exploration and crafting. Consider it similar to Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley. There is a primary mission and various side quests that benefit different townspeople. There are also light farming features, such as planting crops, befriending animals, and crafting new products.
Regarding trading, many guilds are affiliated with the various crafting paths. Hence, if you want to maximize the worth of your commodities and trade for guild-exclusive things, you must delve into the crafting system and diversify your inventory. Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is a much-needed calming vacation from violent video games, thanks to its magnificent graphics and ambient music design. Overall, an underappreciated open-world Nintendo Switch game.
Dragon Quest Builders 2
Dragon Quest Builders 2 is the ideal sequel since it improves everything fans enjoyed about the first game. It has many similarities to Minecraft, although it focuses more on RPG features. In the popular Dragon Quest franchise, you may expect to explore, gather resources, and build and combat monsters. The farther you delve into it, the more intricate the game becomes. There are so many things to accomplish in this game that you’ll spend hours checking everything off the list.
Yet, the tasks here are some of the most enjoyable because the Characters always want you to make something for them. If you meet the target, you can make whatever you want; it’s like a supervised building session where you try to work creatively with what’s given to you. As you continue the primary campaign, extra features become available to keep things interesting. Dragon Quest Builders 2 will quickly consume your attention because this little building sim is addictive. You can invite up to three pals to your island to help you craft and construct.
The Dying Light
Dying Light works quite nicely on the Nintendo Switch. Because of all the running (escaping), you’ll be doing in this game, having a constant FPS is critical. The game features an elaborate parkour system that lets you escape zombies entirely if you can detect the next platform or ledge in time. Here, combat is both visceral and methodical. You find or manufacture improvised weapons that are restricted in their durability and your fast-depleting stamina. You’ll also need the stamina to flee at the drop of a hat. If you can find bullets for your guns, you can also use them in an emergency. But be prepared to flee the area once you’ve finished shooting since a horde is coming.
Later in the plot, the game’s difficulty increases. It never feels unfair because you’ll also gain access to new moves and stronger weaponry. Some problems, on the other hand, truly test your mastery. The game becomes terrifying after night. One of my most thrilling gaming experiences occurred when I lingered on a mission for too long and had to run back to the next safe house while being hunted from rooftop to rooftop by volatiles.
Also Read: Best Nintendo Switch Controllers For 2023
Burnout Paradise Remastered
Burnout Paradise is a chaotic open-world racing game in which you smoothly travel about Paradise City, which has five large districts (six with Expansion). Unlike prior iterations, you can approach challenges in whatever order you desire, and the game gradually increases the complexity as you complete events. If you wish to race, you can pull up to any of the 120 traffic lights and start one. The open-ended principle also applies to races, as you can take any path to the finish line as long as you arrive first.
Other modes allow you to demonstrate your driving abilities, such as a stunt run in which you earn points by performing acrobatic acts like drifting and rolling mid-air off a ramp. In classic Burnout form, there’s a fun game where you bang into other cars on the road to gain takedowns and magnificent crashes. But be careful not to crash too hard, or it’s game over.
Saints Row IV: Re-Elected
If I had to say just one thing about Saints Row 4, it would be that it is ludicrous and senseless. During an alien invasion, you play as the President of the United States. You and your gang are locked within a simulation and must escape it to destroy the invaders ultimately. Some of your gang members who escaped could hack into the simulation and grant you superpowers, kicking off a crazy game journey. This game resembles Grand Theft Auto, but you have superhuman skills. Besides the ordinary destruction that standard weaponry can deal with, you can also unleash your powers in outrageously wacky action scenes. It might be overwhelming at times.
Red Faction Guerilla Remastered
Red Faction Guerilla Remastered is a remastered version of the third Red Faction installment. In video games, revolutions are always entertaining, and this occurs on Mars. In this current state of technology, this is the case. In this current state of affairs, it is the case.
The game begins deceptively simple. You’ve got your classic sledgehammer and will progressively progress to more complex weaponry. Nevertheless, when you start razing structures and decimating troops with sophisticated guns and high-powered bombs, the game quickly gets chaotic. You’ll eventually be able to seize advanced mechs from which you can easily wreak havoc by destroying buildings and vehicles. Nothing beats piloting a mech and going to town on your enemies.
Disco Elysium is one of the best independent games of this generation, and nothing else compares. Old tabletop pen-and-paper RPGs inspire it. Yet, instead of traditional talents such as strength and luck, you level up twenty-four distinct personality traits such as empathy and reaction speed. They are not static abilities but different people who contribute observations and provide additional discussion options. Disco Elysium begins with your typical outsider detectives investigating a small-town murder mystery. But, the game quickly demonstrates that it is simply a vehicle for your spiritual and philosophical journey.
The discussions are humorous, lengthy, and thought-provoking. It is also repayable because the dialogue greatly changes depending on your invested skills. Despite the map being smaller than the other open-world games in this list, it more than makes up for it with the richness of its characters. Select a direction, then chat to anybody you see and observe the writing’s strength and wit. You’ll finally solve the murder mystery as well.
Starlink: The Fight for Atlas
Starlink is a fun open-world game for those who like the original Starfox games’ spacecraft fights. Nevertheless, unlike previous games that dropped you in and out of missions, Starlink allows you to explore other planetary systems. Also, because it is a Ubisoft game, it is ideal for completion because there is a lot of supplementary stuff to explore.
The combat is complex for an on-rails shooter, with extensive customization for your pilot, ship, and weapons. An intriguing system also requires you to swap out your weaponry on the fly if they overheat, encouraging you to diversify. Toy collectors will be pleased to learn that you can physically modify models of the starships, which will reflect in-game, providing a pleasant kinetic link to the game.
Sunless Sea: Zubmariner Edition
Sunless Sea is one of the most unique games on this list. Based in the Fallen London universe, it assigns you the role of a sea captain (Zee captain in-game) tasked with exploring the foreboding beneath the ocean. Regrettably, your captain and crew will most likely perish, and you must accept this fact. Narrative and writing are the most crucial parts of the game; they can be the only thing to keep you going at times because the game’s pacing can be so horrible. Even if this is true, there is no primary story.
Instead, you select an aspiration that affects your win condition and your captain’s story. For example, if you chose wealth, you can win by amassing large amounts of money and retiring in a house. With little notes and cryptic in-game language, Sunless Sea scatters its plot like breadcrumbs. The writing is strange and downright dismal. Honestly, you’ll have to read the Fallen London narrative to piece together the missing background fully.
DISCOVER THE UNSEEN…
If you want a game that will take a long time to complete, an open-world title is your best chance. These games provide a large region to explore and a plethora of side missions and challenges. You may rest guaranteed that an open-world game will give you the greatest bang for your cash.