If someone asked you to think of two of the biggest and most successful genres in gaming history, there’s a high chance you will come back with FPS and open world. Both chart the changing tides of demand in the industry, with FPS games being absolutely everywhere in the 90s and 00s, while open world games have been hot in demand roughly ever since the PS3 and Xbox 360 era began. When you combine the two, you get not only some of the best open world FPS games, but also some of the best games of all time.
However, what’s surprising is how relatively rarely the first-person shooter and giant sandbox actually combine. Most open worlds seem to be best explored in third-person, with the likes of Breath of the Wild, The Witcher, and Horizon all being particular standouts, yet almost every single time the first-person and open world genres collide, it’s at least worth playing. With the likes of Halo even embracing the open world, we may see more open world FPS games than ever going forward.
If you’re looking to explore a vast landscape with an itchy trigger finger, here are the best open world FPS games you should be playing, limited to one entry per franchise. Bear in mind that all games listed for PS4 and Xbox One will work for PS5 and Xbox Series X & S respectively thanks to backwards compatibility.
The Best Open World FPS Games
10. Rage 2
Developer: id Software, Avalanche Studios Publisher: Bethesda Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One
Rage 2 isn’t as good as it should have been, especially with two of the best developers around collaborating to handle the FPS and open world side of things. id, famous for DOOM and Quake, made the shooting feel bombastic, while Avalanche of Just Cause fame made a massive world to explore.
Unfortunately, Rage 2 didn’t quite ever reach its full potential. There’s a real case to be made that the game simply ran out of time and budget, as once this post-apocalyptic blast really starts going, it’s pretty much already over and the credits roll. It’s short and mostly sweet.
Despite its brief nature, Rage 2 is still an open world FPS game worth experiencing. The combat is as excellent as you’d expect and the irreverent tone makes it the perfect weekend game: something you can pick up and play as a neat distraction and nothing more.
9. Cyberpunk 2077
Developer: CD Projekt Red Publisher: CD Projekt Red Platform(s): PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X & S, Xbox One
If this list was written in 2020 or 2021, there’s a good chance that Cyberpunk 2077 wouldn’t even make the cut owing to just how terrible a state it was released in. CD Projekt Red has done well to update it in the time since its troubled launch (though it’s still not perfect), but there’s one thing that’s always felt consistently excellent as you make your way through Night City: the shooting.
There’s a certain heft to the shooting in Cyberpunk 2077 that few other games can match, whether it’s the satisfying “boom” of Johnny Silverhand’s Malorian Arms 3516 pistol or the outrageous power of some of the legendary gear. Couple that with a very satisfying power curve that leaves you feeling like an anime character by its end and lashings of slow-mo and you have some brilliant, boisterous fun.
As for Night City itself, it’s a good open world playground, though far off being the all-timer that so much of the pre-release hype may have led you to believe. CD Projekt still has time to make it feel truly alive, though.
8. No Man’s Sky
Developer: Hello Games Publisher: Hello Games Platform(s): PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X & S, Xbox One
From one redemption story to another, it’s fair to say that No Man’s Sky makes the cut here more for its open world(s) than its FPS action. While No Man’s Sky does have some light combat, exploring its many, many strange worlds is really the aim of the game.
Hello Games has done an admirable job of turning the ship around over many years with constant updates for the game, including the ability to build your own alien home from home, team up with other players, experience it all in virtual reality and much, much more.
Those looking for something like DOOM in an open world may want to look elsewhere, but for the sheer scope of ambition and also what you can do in the game, No Man’s Sky has plenty to offer that may surprise you, especially for those who were disappointed by its poor launch.
7. Metro Exodus
Developer: 4A Games Publisher: Deep Silver Platform(s): PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X & S, Xbox One
While it’s true that Metro Exodus isn’t an open world experience right the way through to the credits, what exploration it does provide points towards a bolder, more experimental future for the franchise. Who knew that changing from the dank, linear underground to the post-apocalyptic overground could work so well?
You once again play as Artyom, a survivor in irradiated Russia, as you look to escape the titular Metro and find some kind of life on the surface. Joined by your family and friends, you embark on a long journey to find some hope in a world that lost all traces of it long ago.
Metro Exodus may not have the slickest shooting or the vastest, most content-packed sandboxes going, but this is an open world FPS game with a lot of heart and a storyline worth investing your all into.
6. Far Cry 5
Developer: Ubisoft Publisher: Ubisoft Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One
The Far Cry series is a large part of the reason why there have been so many open world games in recent times, with Far Cry 3 being the game that really sent the series mainstream. You could argue that Far Cry hasn’t innovated since then, but it doesn’t need to be some revolution each time — Far Cry is just dumb, loud fun. We need more games like that.
Far Cry 5, though, represented the biggest step for the franchise in some years with a wider adoption of RPG mechanics (and, unfortunately, microtransactions) to really try and crank up the playtime. While FC5 was controversial at the time of its release, not least for its modern American civil war storyline that sees you going up against a religious cult, time will likely prove to be very kind to this open world FPS.
Hope County remains an absolutely beautiful slice of America to explore and explode, while the gunplay remains tight with plenty of tools at your disposal, the humble shovel probably being the most effective of all. It’s silly, bombastic pulp and an absolute ride from start to finish.
Far Cry 6, meanwhile, arguably jumped the shark when it came to balancing the goofy with the serious and barely changed the formula, though it’s also worth a play.
Developer: Facepunch,Double Eleven Publisher: Facepunch Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One
Rust really should come with just a whole batch of safety warnings. Facepunch’s survival game can be an absolutely miserable experience that completely consumes your life, or it can turn you into a pumpkin-munching hobgoblin who’s just having a good time. There is no middle ground.
The objective of Rust is simple: survive and thrive. Players are dropped onto a random open world map and must either team up with other players or take them down to evolve their tools from a simple rock to an AK and beyond. There’s a lot of steps before that, as the brilliant thing about Rust is that it’s such a dynamic game with each session writing its own story.
It must be said, though, that Rust really isn’t at its best as a pure FPS experience if you’re only going to be playing it occasionally. You need to put in serious hours to Rust to see what all the fuss is about and also begin to understand its many weird, fascinating edges. Just make sure to watch out for any doorcampers in the night.
4. Dying Light
Developer: Techland Publisher: Techland Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
While it’s fair to say the shooting is actually the most unpolished part of Dying Light, and you don’t even get easy access to guns until pretty deep into the game, that doesn’t take away from how engaging it is when coupled with the parkour and general zombie dropkicking.
You play as Kyle Crane, who’s dropped into Harran during a outbreak but quickly finds himself nibbled on by one of the infected, kicking off a hunt for the truth, safety, and a vaccine. What that means for you is plenty of death-defying jumps as you escape the undead across rooftops and explore the exotic open world of Harran, which was packed with content at launch but now finds itself positively bursting with things to see and do all these years later.
Dying Light is seen as too rough around the edges by some and is often criticised for having a slightly weak story, but the sheer fun factor of its open world gameplay more than makes up for any shortcomings. Its sequel, Dying Light 2, does away with pretty much all guns, but it’s a slightly more vertical delight that hits many of the same beats, just with a higher budget.
3. Halo Infinite
Developer: 343 Industries Publisher: Bungie Platform(s): PC, Xbox Series X & S, Xbox One
Halo has always balanced linear corridor shooting with more open destruction admirably well, but it’s almost crazy to think that it took two decades for Halo to go down the open world route with Halo Infinite. The wait was worth it, though.
While, yes, Halo Infinite wasn’t quite as good as it could have been in terms of its single-player campaign, omitting some rather important backstory and pressing fast-forward on the retcon button, it’s like playing Just Cause but in first-person. That should be all that needs to be said to get you interested.
From the constant trickling of content to the dynamism of Zeta Halo to the extremely enjoyable grappling hook, Halo Infinite’s one of the best open world FPS games purely for how well it nails and blends both elements. Yes, there’s plenty of room for improvement, but Infinite points towards a bright future for a franchise that needed a shot in the arm.
2. Fallout: New Vegas
Developer: Obsidian Publisher: Bethesda Platform(s): PC, PS3, Xbox 360
One of the greatest action RPGs of all time, Fallout: New Vegas is another story of a troubled game that went on to have quite the redemption story, so much so that Fallout has really struggled to come anywhere close to its level of excellence since.
New Vegas sees you playing as The Courier, who’s suddenly wrapped up in a quest for revenge after being left for dead by Matthew Perry’s greaseball Benny. At least that’s the idea, but the chances are that you’ll end up getting distracted by any of the million things to see and do around Nevada.
From defending bases against mutants to getting a new cyborg dog pal, you really aren’t struggling for content in New Vegas, and that’s without considering the many branching paths you can go down — it really puts the “RP” in “RPG”.
Sure, the actual FPS elements of New Vegas aren’t anything amazing, but the phenomenal open world has carried the game into absolute classic status.
1. Grand Theft Auto V
Developer: Rockstar Publisher: Rockstar Platform(s): PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X & S, Xbox One
Grand Theft Auto V is a game so successful and well known at this point that it’s widely joked that it allowed Rockstar to retire early. They’ve been a bit complacent since its release in 2013, with the game since being ported to two console generations, the PS4 and Xbox One generation seeing the arrival of its FPS mode.
GTA in first-person doesn’t feel as immediately natural as its third-person counterpart, but there’s still countless people who play in this view simply for the fact that it’s much more immersive. Liberty City’s bustle feels even more hectic when in first-person, and the rather simple gunplay takes on a whole another dimension when you’re staring down the crosshairs.
GTA V is of course a game of two halves, with its single-player campaign getting absolutely no love in the years since and GTA Online getting update after update — it’s where the money is, after all. However, for sheer immersion (and the fact that there aren’t flying cars everywhere), the story surrounding Trevor, Franklin, and Michael is as good now as it was a decade ago.
Still doesn’t make it okay that we never got an ounce of single-player DLC, though.
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