When Skyrim first dropped on the scene earlier this decade, it pushed the envelope. For a good part of the early 2010s, Skyrim was the pinnacle of gaming. The open-world, the story, and the character design were all applauded by the community. Not many games during that time were doing what Skyrim was doing because of the hardware limitations of the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3.
In video games, an open world is a game mechanic of using a virtual world that the player can explore and approach objectives freely, as opposed to a world with more linear and structured gameplay. While games have used open-world designs since the 1980s, the implementation in Grand Theft Auto III (2001) set a standard that has been used since. Games with open or free-roaming worlds typically lack level structures like walls and locked doors, or the invisible walls in more open areas that prevent the player from venturing beyond them; only at the bounds of an open-world game will players be limited by geographic features like vast oceans or impassible mountains.
So Skyrim was the gold standard for gaming, and the standard was hard to match for a time. Since then, Skyrim has opened up the flood gates, forcing other developers to push the boundaries as Bethesda did. Since then, there have been games that have jumped beyond what Skyrim and any other Elder Scrolls game has done.
I often see number 1 and 2 on the list swapped around. I've just bought both of them so aim to find out for myself. But consider these just an appetite whetter as newer games are also busy launching in 2020... I would also have added Kingdom Come: Deliverance, L.A. Noire, Watch Dogs 2, Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain, and Grand Theft Auto 5.
See 10 Open World RPGs More Breathtaking Than Skyrim
Skyrim set the bar for open-world RPGs, but here are 10 games with even more breathtaking settings than this epic game.