15 Games of 2023 with Massive Worlds

The appeal of a game that puts you in massive locations and gives you the freedom to properly explore them is undeniable, and over the course of 2023, we’ve had plenty of those. From open world titles to semi-open world opens and everything in between, there’s been a wide spread of such titles to choose from over the last several months, and here, we’re going to pick out a few that stood out to us.


Nintendo really went above and beyond in trying to delivering a massive, gorgeous open world in Tears of the Kingdom. On top of bringing back a tweaked version of Breath of the Wild’s Hyrule (which was already gargantuan), Tears of the Kingdom adds a whole, separate open world map that’s just as massive in the form of The Depths, while also adding even more explorable locations in the form of the Sky Islands scattered throughout the skies above the world.


Bethesda Game Studios has always had a knack for crafting impressively huge sandboxes for players to lose themselves in, and Starfield sticks to that tradition, letting players explore an entire galaxy at their own leisure. Sure, the emptiness of space and the game’s use of procedural generation for over a thousand planets may not be to everyone’s liking, but even if you limit yourself to the handcrafted locations, there’s no shortage of real estate to explore.


avatar frontiers of pandora

As the largest game to date by the studio that both both Division titles, calling Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora might be a bit of an understatement. Taking players to the Western Frontier of the titular alien moon, Frontiers of Pandora lets players lose in a gargantuan map that’s teeming with gorgeous vistas, dense vegetation, and an abundance of natural beauty.


Hogwarts Legacy

The open world Hogwarts game so many had been dreaming of for years finally came out earlier in 2023, and it’s fair to say that it lived up to expectations, especially with its meticulously detailed and authentic recreation of the castle itself. Exploring the magical, labyrinthine school and the massive areas around it is easily one of the game’s highlights, even if it is held back at times by the excessive emphasis it puts on areas outside of the school.


marvel's spider-man 2

Size isn’t nearly important in Insomniac’s Spider-Man games as speed and momentum are, but Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 excels in all regards. The island of Manhattan returns from the first two games, but the map is nearly doubled in size with the addition of Brooklyn and Queens. Above all, navigating New York and its boroughs is an absolute blast, thanks to traversal mechanics that are somehow even better than the previous two games.



It’s fair to say that Forspoken proved to be a disappointment in several ways, from its storytelling and writing to the game’s repetitive structure. Similarly, even though Forspoken certainly does boast a pretty large open world, it’s let down by the fact that it feels largely empty, with not nearly enough engaging content to encourage exploration. That said, the traversal is, at the very least, consistently enjoyable, which makes getting around fun, if nothing else.


final fantasy 16

Ever since it was first confirmed that Final Fantasy 16 wouldn’t be open world, opinion was split on whether Square Enix had made the right call. Well, if it was content or size you were worried about, Final Fantasy 16 certainly dispelled those concerns. It features multiple, distinct maps of varying sizes that, put together, make for a world that’s not only quite huge, but is also teeming with enough content to keep you occupied for dozens upon dozens of hours.


Baldur's Gate 3_02

Though not an open world game in the traditional sense, you’ll be hard-pressed to find games that are this sprawling. Baldur’s Gate 3’s many areas and locations put together not only make up a massive world, but also one that boasts an incredible amount of environmental variety. Of course, what really helps the game stand out is the sheer density of incredible content that can be found no matter where in the world you find yourself.


Cyberpunk 2077 - Phantom Liberty_04

2023 was a year of revitalization for Cyberpunk 2077, and Phantom Liberty’s addition of Dogtown to the map of Night City had an important role to play in that. Though just a single new district in an already large map, Dogtown certainly stands out in memory, thanks in large part to the many eye-catching sights it houses, from impressive, futuristic architecture to the ruins and debris of once-great structures. And of course, you can always head back out into Night City proper if you want to explore an even larger map.


horizon forbidden west burning shores

In 2022, Horizon Forbidden West delivered what is probably one of the most impressive open world maps we’ve ever seen in games, and earlier this year, Guerrilla Games added to it with the Burning Shores expansion, which takes players to the half-submerged (and volcanic) ruins of Los Angeles. And not only is the new location absolutely gorgeous (as is expected of the series at this point), but also has some of the best content we’ve ever experienced in a Horizon game. Many who’ve played the expansion have said that its map stands toe-to-toe with the base game, and it’s hard to disagree with that assertion.


the crew motorfest

The Crew Motorfest is a pretty significant shift for Ubisoft’s open world franchise, leaving behind the mainline United States for a festival-themed recreation of the island of O’ahu, and for our money, it’s a gamble that paid off. Though not nearly as large as the first two games, The Crew Motorfest’s map is still no slouch where its size is concerned, while more importantly, thanks to an abundance of gorgeous environments and a ton of variety, it’s also infinitely more fun to explore or simply drive around in.


Everspace 2

For those who may been disappointed in Starfield’s take on open world space exploration, Everspace 2 might be the game that scratches that itch for you. After spending over two years in early access, it launched in full in 2023, and ended up delivering what might be one of the year’s most underrated titles. Among many other things, its open world map, which is just as impressively designed as it is expansive, deserves special praise.


Dead Island 2_0002

Dambuster Studios smartly chose to veer away from a fully open world setting for Dead Island 2, and even in its absence, the zombie-slaying action RPG manages to be an impressively sized experience. With multiple regions of varying sizes to explore, the game never seems to run out of impressive sights to show in its bright and bloody take on an undead-filled Los Angeles.


Diablo 4

Diablo 4 made the transition to a larger, seamless open world pretty gracefully. The entire game world being open to exploration and scaling with players meant that you are not disincentivized from going off the critical path either- in fact, you might even find some great loot or some cool new quest and characters along the way. Add to that the great horseback riding that the move to open world also necessitated, and the whole thing comes off as a net win.


star wars jedi survivor

Like its predecessor, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is, first and foremost, all about its Metroidvania design, structure, and exploration, but like any good sequel should, it expands on those ideas in several ways. Take the planet of Koboh, for instance, which is essentially a massive semi-open world map all on its own that expands and changes as you progress further in the game. All put together, Jedi: Survivor’s world is quite a big one, and exploring its many secrets never really gets boring.