Get lost in these gaming worlds

Social media, Netflix watch parties, subreddits and beyond have changed the way we consume entertainment – but none are quite so immersive as gaming.

Whether you choose to play online or offline, or single player or multiplayer, here are some of the most stunning and expansive virtual worlds to explore. 🧚

Note: I’ve played most firsthand on Nintendo Switch or PlayStation, and the others come highly recommended from trusted sources. 👍

Octopath Traveler

Genre: Role-Playing, Adventure.

Gameplay length: up to 80 hours. ⏳

Description: eight travellers. Eight adventures. You alone can choose your path. Explore each traveller’s story and use their abilities in and out of battle.

Perfect for: playing on the go and at your own pace. Each satisfying chapter lasts around one hour, and its turn-based battles means you can pause as needed.

Why you’ll love it: while it’s not an open world, it’s a non-linear narrative. Once you choose a character’s story to follow, you can go almost any direction from there! Complete one or all eight journeys, it’s really what you make of it. Forget level grinding, its robust battle system will keep you engaged as you make each turn count. The striking “HD-2D” visuals and emotive musical scores really bring this nostalgic world to life.

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Genre: Role-Playing, Adventure.

Gameplay length: around 40 hours.

Description: with a copy of the Wizard’s Companion in hand and trusty friend Drippy by your side, travel across this rich fantasy world to tame familiars, battle enemies and overcome challenges that stand between Oliver and his mother’s salvation.

Perfect for: a feel good tale with quirky characters, fun puzzles to solve and a gorgeous world to explore. If you’re a fan on Pokémon and classic JRPGs then you’re in for a treat!

Why you’ll love it: the game features animation storyboarded and created by the legendary Studio Ghibli and music composed by the renowned Joe Hisaishi. ✨

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Genre: Adventure, Action, Role-Playing.

Gameplay length: at least 60 hours.

Description: step into an open world of adventure and forget everything you know about The Legend of Zelda games. It’s a boundary-breaking game where you can travel across vast fields, through forests, and to mountain peaks as you discover what has become of the kingdom of Hyrule.

Perfect for: total escapism, so be prepared to immerse yourself fully to get the most out of this sensory masterpiece.

Why you’ll love it: As a real time action adventure, everything feels so “in the moment”. The attention to detail is unparalleled. From weapon wear and tear, hunting and gathering and customisable outfits, you’ll leave no stone unturned in your quest to explore every corner of this fantasy realm. 🍄

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Genre: Adventure, Action, Role-Playing.

Gameplay length: around 70 hours.

Description: Wild Hunt is a story-driven, open world adventure set in a dark fantasy universe. You are Geralt of Rivia, mercenary monster slayer. Before you stands a war-torn, monster-infested continent you can explore at will. ⚔️

Perfect for: action adventure thrill-seekers who aren’t afraid of things that go bump in the night.

Why you’ll love it: a refreshing retake of the fantasy genre following the tale of an enigmatic protagonist with a unique set of skills. If you enjoyed Skyrim, Halo and the like then you’ll savour this epic story and plethora of side quests that will keep you busy. Once you’re done, you can relive the magic on Netflix.

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

Genre: Adventure, Role-Playing.

Gameplay length: at least 70 hours.

Description: embark upon an exciting adventure as The Luminary with a band of loyal companions as you work together to survive an onslaught of ne’er-do-wells and overthrow the dark forces.

Perfect for: your classic Good vs. Evil fantasy epic with turn-based combat. 🛡️

Why you’ll love it: expect all the much-loved fantasy tropes by the genre-defining Dragon Quest franchise: a hero, team of ragtag characters, side quests and an epic journey to save the world. The map is equally massive as it is gorgeous thanks to a visual style that blends stylistic cel-shading with photorealistic detail.

Spyro Reignited Trilogy

Genre: Platformer, Adventure.

Gameplay duration: around 30 hours.

Description: explore expansive realms, encounter the fiery personalities and relive the adventures of the original three Spyro the Dragon games. 🔥

Perfect for: charming childhood nostalgia and classic platforming.

Why you’ll love it: both a loyal homage to the original games and a refreshing remaster with reimagined environments and details, the trilogy offers over stunning 100 levels to explore in vibrant HD graphics.

Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization

Genre: Adventure, Action, Role-Playing.

Gameplay length: around 40 hours.

Description: Kirito and his friends are pulled into a VRMMORPG called Sword Art: Origin, a game housed on the same servers that hosted the death-game Sword Art Online from the anime.

Perfect for: JRPG enthusiasts and Sword Art Online anime fans. 💥

Why you’ll love it: expect all the JRPG tropes (the good and the bad) coupled with ethical considerations around artificial intelligence and virtual reality. The show’s popularity aside, the game’s thrilling story, distinct areas and sophisticated battle system make for an enjoyable experience in its own right.

What are some of your favourite virtual worlds to explore? Share your game recommendations in the comments below! 👇

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