14 Huge PlayStation Game Worlds That Are a Treat to Explore

There's plenty of real estate to run around in in these PlayStation games.

Posted By | On 13th, May. 2024

14 Huge PlayStation Game Worlds That Are a Treat to Explore

Whether a game chooses to be linear, open world, or somewhere in between, there’s nothing quite like diving into an experience that has a vast world to explore and traverse. With a couple of features in the past, we’ve looked at several PlayStation-exclusive titles that fit that description, and here, we’re going to continue doing that. Here are a few more of the biggest video game worlds you can explore in games on PlayStation consoles.

HORIZON FORBIDDEN WEST

We’ll start things off with one of the most obvious entries. Horizon Forbidden West had the tall order of one-upping its predecessor’s open world, and it did so with surprising ease and confidence. Its map is massive and brimming with engaging quests and breathtaking sights, making exploration endlessly engaging in a way that’s rare to see in games. The fact that it’s also one of the best-looking games ever made only makes its map that much more unforgettable.

FINAL FANTASY 7 REBIRTH

One of the most recent entries on our list, and also one of the most outstanding. Honestly, it’s hard to believe that something on Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth’s scale can even exist in the current AAA market. Its world is mind-bogglingly large, but on top of that, also boasts some of the most impressive environmental variety you’ll ever see. There’s a bevy of towns and cities to visit, an impressive variety of side activities, minigames, and side quests throughout the map, a startling number of unique traversal methods across different regions- and that’s just scratching the surface.

GOD OF WAR RAGNAROK

God of War Ragnarok took the wide-linear, semi-open world approach of its 2018 predecessor and did what you would expect a sequel to do by expanding its scope by a noticeable degree. There’s a handful of large, semi-open maps that you explore throughout the game, and each of them houses a hefty amount of side content that’s almost always well worth seeking out. Some areas are particularly excellent- like the Crater in Vanaheim, which might just be one of the best areas in any God of War game ever

MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN 2

After letting players zip through the same New York City map in two games, with Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, Insomniac decided to expand the available play space by nearly doubling the size of the map. But Spider-Man 2’s New York isn’t just impressive because it’s larger- it’s particularly impressive because, typically enough for the series, traversing it is an absolute dream. Significant improvements to the core webswinging mechanics (most notably the faster speed of movement) are combined with new mechanics like the Web Wings to ensure that moving through Spider-Man 2’s Manhattan never, ever gets boring.

NIOH

Nioh

Nioh was obviously not anywhere close to being an open world game, but in spite of its segmented, level-based structure, it was a surprisingly (surprisingly at the time, at least) beefy experience. Levels in Nioh could be quite large, and exploration was often handsomely rewarded. If you’re the sort of player that doesn’t just stick to the critical path, you can lose yourself in Nioh’s world for dozens upon dozens of hours on end.

RISE OF THE RONIN

Breaking from tradition, Team Ninja recently delivered its first ever open world game in the form of Rise of the Ronin, and though the game’s execution of some of its new ideas divides fans, there’s no doubting that those looking for a massive map to explore will find it here. Rise of the Ronin’s 19th century Japan map is brimming with things to do, and regardless of whether or not it sticks the landing in other areas, when it comes to its traversal mechanics, the game never loses its charm.

FINAL FANTASY 16

Final Fantasy 16 not being an open world game was a disappointment to some, but even with its semi-open structure, the action title succeeds in giving players a large world to explore. There’s a number of sizeable maps that players visit throughout the entirety of the game, with an abundance of side quests, hunts, and more to seek out. Admittedly, mileage varies on how engaging that content is- but those who love the game’s combat enough to fully dive into all of its offerings aren’t left wanting.

FORSPOKEN

The prospect of a new AAA open world action RPG IP from Square Enix was an exciting one on paper, but Forspoken turned out to be one of the more prominent high-profile failures of the industry in recent memory. Even so, though it disappointed in a number of key areas, Forspoken still had its strengths. Chief among them were its traversal mechanics, which made zipping and flying across its world a constant blast, even if other aspects of the open world experience were often subpar.

INFAMOUS 2

inFamous 2

We’ve spoken about inFamous Second Son in previous editions of this feature, so here, we’re going to turn the spotlight on its immediate predecessor. Though not as large the many PlayStation open worlds that followed in the years after its release, inFamous 2 was a sizeable game in its own right. The city of New Marais also looked and felt much more alive than the first game’s Empire City, and above all else, served as an excellent sandbox for players to wreak havoc in as a superhero (or supervillain).

THE LAST GUARDIAN

The Last Guardian is another example of how even a linear game craft a deceptively large world- one that perhaps feels even larger than it is. Environments in the acclaimed action-adventure title were often quite large, of course, while their underlying atmosphere of mystery made them seem that much more imposing. And of course, with a companion like Trico always by your side, exploring your surroundings and discovering secrets always felt rewarding, especially as your bond with the adorable creature grew.

KILLZONE SHADOW FALL

killzone shadow fall featured

Killzone Shadow Fall did something most had never thought Killzone would ever do by shedding the hyper-linear design style of its predecessors in favour of much larger and more open-ended levels- and it worked out surprisingly well. By presenting players with a number of different options when chasing specific objectives, levels in Shadow Fall often encouraged exploration in ways that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from a Killzone game. Of course, it was by no means a massive experience in any sense of the word, but it provided an exciting glimpse of what a Killzone game in a larger, more open world could look like- one that still hasn’t been followed up on, unfortunately.

RETURNAL

Given its roguelite nature, you become very familiar with each of Returnal’s six biomes as you make your way through the game, and it’s hard not to be surprised at just how large the game is. Each biome is not only significantly different from most others, they’re all also surprisingly large, and made to feel even more so that the randomization of which areas and rooms you see in each biome changes in every run. Add to that rewarding optional content and some sprinkles of solid Metroidvania-style exploration, and traversing these large maps manages to remain compelling throughout the game.

UNCHARTED 4: A THIEF’S END

uncharted legacy of thieves collection pc

Naughty Dog has mastered the art of crafting linear, cinematic experiences like no other studio has been able to, but it has also been sprinkling larger and more open-ended levels into its games over the last several years. That started with Uncharted 4, which not only has a semi-open world section in Madagascar, but also has regular levels that are much wider in scope than previous Uncharted titles. Like a couple other Naughty Dog games in recent (or relatively recent) years, it’s an intriguing glimpse of what a non-linear Naughty Dog game would look like.

UNCHARTED: THE LOST LEGACY

Immediately after Uncharted 4, Naughty Dog followed up on its semi-open world section with a similar section with an even wider scop in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, even if the game itself was obviously smaller in totality. Specifically, we’re talking about The Lost Legacy’s Western Ghats, a fairly sizeable map that players are allowed to explore freely, as much or as little as they want. Traversing through the environments in your 4×4 and seeking out optional content and hidden treasure is surprisingly engaging, ensuring that this section stands out as a highlight of the game.


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