- The best open-world games on Xbox Game Pass offer immersive gameplay, vibrant worlds, and a range of activities to explore.
- Grand Theft Auto 5, State of Decay 2, and Disney Dreamlight Valley are among the top open-world games available on the platform.
- From action-adventure to RPGs, these games provide an array of experiences, whether you’re doing crime in San Andreas or controlling a human in a Disney-inspired world.
The best open-world games place you in an area that’s teeming with life and contains a bunch of things for you to do. On top of that, they excel in the other areas games are judged on, such as gameplay mechanics and presentation.
Over the years, many games have ticked all those boxes, whether they’re action-adventure titles, RPGs, or creative sandbox games. And if you have Xbox Game Pass, you already have access to several of the best ones. After all, the subscription service has a load of compelling open-world experiences. The following ones are the best it has to offer.
Updated September 22, 2023 By Ben Jessey: Open-world experiences are becoming increasingly common in gaming. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Xbox Game Pass has a litany of them. There are open-world RPGs, open-world action-adventure titles, and even open-world racing games.
So, there are so many different types of open-world games on the service. In this list, we included the greatest ones you can play at the moment, and now we’ve updated the piece to add a few more.
Starfield takes place in a time when humanity has become a spacefaring race and has managed to travel beyond the Milky Way. Therefore, the open world in this RPG is very large, as you have a bunch of different planets you can explore.
You do so while controlling a protagonist that you’ve personally created and given a backstory to. You can travel through space, embark on many different quests, and talk to plenty of people.
22 No Man’s Sky
Once upon a time, No Man’s Sky was known as one of gaming’s biggest flops. The title has significantly improved since its launch, though. These days, it’s an exciting survival game where you roam different planets and mine resources.
There is also a story if you want to seek it out. The tale is all about discovering the secrets of the universe. So, it’s serious stuff, but you can ignore all that and just explore the interesting worlds you visit.
21 Forza Horizon 5
The racing genre isn’t known for its open-world adventures. After all, races tend to happen on defined tracks. Yet, Forza Horizon 5 contains a free-roam element. And you don’t just drive around a random made-up location.
The game provides you with a large fictional representation of Mexico to explore. Driving around the place and seeing the sights is a very soothing experience. This is because the driving mechanics are smooth, and the visuals are stunning.
20 Grand Theft Auto 5
Grand Theft Auto 5 is among the greatest open-world games ever. As is often the case in this series, it’s an action-adventure title revolving around crime. This one features three protagonists named Michael, Franklin, and Trevor.
They’re all criminals who work together to pull off some major heists. But it isn’t all just fun and theft for the trio. They also have the government on their backs throughout the compelling main narrative. All of this takes place in the beautiful San Andreas, which contains its own spoofed version of LA. Outside of missions, you’re free to roam around the lively world.
19 State Of Decay 2
Open worlds are generally fun sandboxes for you to roam around in. Yet, these places can also be dangerous. This is certainly the case in State Of Decay 2, as the world is filled with deadly zombies.
Your natural instinct in this situation would be to find a safe area and stay there. And there are bases in State Of Decay 2 that provide that safety. However, you have to journey out into the wild to complete missions and gather supplies. While doing so, you control a group of survivors that you continually swap between to keep people alive and in good condition.
18 Disney Dreamlight Valley
If everyone imagined their perfect world, several people would think of one filled with Disney characters, which is exactly what Disney Dreamlight Valley provides. The titular place includes various biomes that not only contain original Disney characters like Mickey Mouse but also feature characters from Pixar movies.
You don’t play as an established character under the famous banner. Instead, you create a human to live among the famous faces. ‘Live’ is meant to be taken fairly literally, in this case, as this is a life simulation game.
17 Burnout Paradise Remastered
The Burnout series didn’t seem like a natural fit for an open-world game. After all, it’s a series mostly about causing vehicle destruction, not driving around beautiful cities. Yet, Burnout Paradise proves that the combination of free-roaming and car demolition can work.
The game gives you free rein to drive around Paradise City at an electric pace, making crazy jumps and participating in special events along the way. The loose goal is to improve your driving license, which unlocks more impressive cars. Yet, the real goal is to have pure chaotic fun.
16 Just Cause 4: Reloaded
The Just Cause series has a reputation for providing wild open-world games where you’re encouraged to cause as much havoc as possible. Just Cause 4 certainly follows the series tradition in that regard. In this one, protagonist Rico Rodriguez goes to the fictional nation of Solis. It’s a vibrant island filled with different biomes.
So, you have to chance to explore distinct environments in this very large world. The size isn’t too troubling, though, as there are a lot of ways to quickly get around, including Just Cause’s signature grappling hook and wingsuit combo.
15 Halo Infinite
Halo Infinite is the first game in the famous FPS series to provide a true open-world experience – ODST dabbled with the concept. After finishing the prologue, Master Chief spends the rest of the game on a Halo ring.
This world is bright and full of greenery. Yet, it’s also full of enemy camps and bases, which you’re free to attack as you drive around the place. The said enemies are members of the Banished, who the Chief intends to stop as part of the main story.
14 The Outer Worlds
The Outer Worlds is an RPG set in the distant future where humanity can colonize new worlds. The game revolves around their colonization of a new star system called Halcyon.
Not everyone made it to this new world, though. One ship, in particular, didn’t reach its destination. This means many people are still in cryo sleep, which was the case for your character until the opening scene, where you’re thawed out. Your goal is to explore the different planets in Halcyon and decide what to do with your frozen peers. Each of these planets is its own open world, and you’re free to travel between them.
13 LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga lets you experience the nine main live-action Star Wars movies in LEGO form. They’re deep and satisfying re-tellings that cover all the main moments of the series. During those movies, the main heroes travel to all sorts of wild and wonderful places across the galaxy.
In this game, you get to wander around LEGO re-creations of some of those planets. So, instead of one giant open world, this game includes several slightly smaller ones that you can roam. In the process, you can find all sorts of interesting things.
12 Sunset Overdrive
The colorful Sunset Overdrive is set in a city that contains plenty of mutated humans. Their mutation is a result of drinking a toxic energy drink. The protagonist used to work for the drink company and now has to escape from the world their former bosses created. Plus, they also want to bring the cooperate villains to justice.
In the process, you get to traverse the brightly colored metropolis. To do that, you do plenty of rail grinding and wall running in this movement-focused third-person shooter.
11 Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War
As the start of the title suggests, this game is set in Tolkien’s Middle-Eath, which gives you a fantasy-filled open world to explore. It’s separated into a few regions that are visually distinct from one another. There are plenty of things to do in each of them, including engaging with the game’s iconic Nemesis system.
The feature gives personality and a hierarchy to some of the goons you fight. Whether you defeat or lose to them in battle impacts their standing within their army. You’ve also got your own crew that you’re trying to build up in anticipation of taking on Sauron’s mighty forces. This serves as the primary motivation for the main story.
10 Dragon Age: Inquisition
Dragon Age Inquisition isn’t a completely open-world game in the traditional sense, as you’re not placed on one giant map and told to get on with it. Instead, there is a bunch of smaller maps that you’re free to explore. There is a great variety to them, as you visit all sorts of different places and environments.
Wherever you go, there is always a bunch of missions to complete and landmarks to find. And no place is entirely safe, as all the maps contain enemies. Some of them even have dragons. You go to these locations to recruit allies for your Inquisition and mess with the evil Corypheus’s sinister plans.
9 Immortals Fenyx Rising
Immortals Fenyx Rising is heavily inspired by Greek mythology. Thus, it takes place in a land of gods called the Golden Isle. The map is split into several regions, and each one is dedicated to a different deity.
It’s an incredibly beautiful world due to the game’s eye-catching art style. And your customizable protagonist has both climbing and flying abilities, meaning traversing the place is a lot of fun. The goal of your hero is to restore the gods, who have been robbed of their status and powers by an evil being known as Typhon. You also have to put a stop to the villain’s plan to take over the world.
8 Watch Dogs 2
The San Francisco Bay area is the setting for Watch Dogs 2 – albeit a fictionalized version of it. And you get free reign to roam the place in-between missions.
The city is filled with all sorts of shops to visit and races to join. In fact, it’s one of the best non-racing games to include racing, as the titles offer plenty of different types, from Sailboat events to drone circuits. The map also includes a lot of technology to mess with as you play as a hacker trying to bring down a major tech corporation called Blume.
7 Far Cry 5
The Far Cry games tend to take place in very exotic locations. The fifth game doesn’t quite follow that trend as the story occurs in a fictional region of Montana. Still, the environment is beautiful regardless. And the map contains a bunch of things to occupy your time. There are collectibles, side missions, and outposts for you to discover.
However, it is also a treacherous land. For starters, dangerous animals are abundant in the wild and will attack you on sight. Plus, at the beginning of the game, the entire region is controlled by the villainous Seed family, led by cult leader Joseph Seed. The goal of the game is to stop them.
Skyrim’s main quest is about the customizable Dragonborn stopping a dragon that’s prophesied to destroy the world. However, it can take a long time to get there, as the world is jam-packed with stuff to do.
You can spend many hours traveling around the giant map, discovering new locations. On top of that, there are a bunch of items to locate and side quests to complete. You can also roam the map looking for resources. Few open worlds are as big or include as much content as the one in Skyrim.
5 Assassin’s Creed Origins
Origins boasts one of the biggest maps in Assassin’s Creed history. It is a beautiful re-creation of Ancient Egypt. Therefore, it contains all the famous landmarks, such as the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. Plus, as this is Assassin’s Creed, you can do more than just visit them – you can climb all over the structures.
They aren’t the only places worth visiting, as there are many other fascinating locations on the map. However, you shouldn’t spend all your time exploring as the main questline is worth doing also. It tells an interesting tale about a Medjay called Bayek, who attempts to avenge the death of his son.
It’s fair to say that Minecraft is one of the most famous video games of all time. Each new game in this juggernaut of a survival title begins with you spawning into a randomly generated world. As such, everyone gets a different place to explore, but they each share similarities. For instance, every world contains the same mobs and similar sorts of resources.
With the said resources, you can build what you want with them. After all, this game is all about giving you complete freedom to experience it how you see fit. There is technically a conclusion, which you activate by beating the Ender Dragon. Yet, you can avoid all that and just stick to farming if you like.