Whether we’re causing mayhem in the open world, or confronting our guilt over running over a random civilian, Watch Dogs: Legion takes the open-world franchise to another level.
Watch Dogs: Legion delivers a never-before-seen gameplay innovation that allows you to recruit and play as anyone you see in the iconic city of London. Every single character in the open world is playable, and everyone has a backstory, personality, and skillset that will help you personalize your own unique team. Bring your characters online and join forces with friends to take back London in four-player co-op missions, end-game challenges, and daily events. Welcome to the Resistance.
Grab your rocket launchers and enter the city of New Providence as Isaiah Jaxon (Terry Crews) to destroy TerraNova’s infrastructure and release their hold on the city. Double-jump your way through the campaign either solo or with a friend, or enter the new multiplayer competitive mode, Wrecking Zone, in which nearly the entire map is destructible.
Repetitive and middling, Crackdown 3 is a totally average open-world game that doesn’t give itself a way to stand out.
All these years later, Crackdown 3 delivers on what made the original an enjoyable game, but never much more. Though the compulsive hunt for collectibles can be satisfying for a time, its overall campaign doesn’t evolve beyond a mostly bland auto-lock shooting gallery. Its tacked-on Wrecking Zone multiplayer highlights some neat cloud-powered destruction that’s never used to great effect in this tiny and woefully barebones mode.
Drop yourself into the fictional country of Solis and wingsuit your way through the 1024 square kilometres of exotic open-world, as you once more take on the role of Rico Rodriguez to take down a private army called the Black Hand. Boasting snowy mountains, rainforest and desert and a new weather system, you can expect to be avoiding thunderstorms and tornadoes as well as bullets in Square Enix’s latest entry in the action-adventure series.
Still delivers the series’ sandbox mayhem, but is underserved by some pretty dated combat and design ideas.
Just Cause 4 offers explosive fun thanks to Rico’s neat bag of tricks, but feels too similar to Just Cause 3. If you’re looking for an open world playground to mess around in, Just Cause 4 provides a nice space for that. Sadly, it’s not much more than surface-level fun.
Grab the gang, or betray them, in Rockstar’s sequel to their 2010 epic western Red Dead Redemption. Travel back to 1899 America where train robberies were the norm, hunting was a necessity and saloons were your drinking hole, gambling den and favourite place to murder someone. Experience the incredible story and unrivalled plant and animal realism on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Google Stadia.
Red Dead Redemption 2’s stark, slow depiction of America’s fading frontier is a monumental work straining against stubborn mission design and stability problems.
Red Dead Redemption 2 stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Grand Theft Auto V as one of the greatest games of the modern age. It’s a gorgeous depiction of an ugly period that’s patient, polished, and a huge amount of fun to play, and it’s combined with Rockstar’s best storytelling to date. Even after finishing the lengthy story I can’t wait to go back and play more. This is a game of rare quality; a meticulously polished open world ode to the outlaw era. Looking for one of this generation’s very best single-player action experiences? Here’s your huckleberry.
As Lincoln Clay, you return from years of combat in Vietnam and settle back down in your home of New Bordeaux. Live the quiet life of a mobster as you shoot, stab and run down your rivals in revenge for the murders of your mafia family. Never has being a part of a family been so authentically realized than in Mafia 3. Then forget that family and build a new one with military-grade weapons and the spilling of blood.
Mafia 3’s strong characters and confident storytelling kept me engaged, even if the gameplay rarely delivered anything but bog-standard and repetitive open-world action. That’s a bummer, because Lincoln is an incredible protagonist and New Bordeaux is a fantastic setting thematically, and it would’ve been great to see them put to better use.
Starts promisingly, but soon slips into a tiresome, repetitive grind, never doing its unique period setting justice.
Take on the role of Marcus Holloway, a young and talented hacker working with notorious hacker group DedSec. Drive, parkour, melee, shoot or blow your way through the San Francisco Bay Area in an attempt to pull off the “Hack of the Century” to take down the city’s advanced surveillance system, ctOS. Hack alone or together as Watch Dogs 2 gives the opportunity of cooperative gameplay or one-on-one combat.
Watch Dogs 2’s distinctive hacking and puzzle mechanics do a great job of reminding you that you’re not playing just another Grand Theft Auto clone as you tear through its beautiful Bay Area map. Marcus is a bit too friendly of a guy to be believable as our instrument of mayhem, but the flexible missions let you get through mostly non-violently if you’re good enough at stealth. And when it works, multiplayer is good unconventional cat-and-mouse fun, too.
A great PC port and lovely open world don’t give depth to Watch Dogs 2’s shallow combat and stealth design.
Sega’s legendary Yakuza series has its sixth instalment. Go back to where it all began with Yakuza 0, the prequel to the original and experience 1980s Japan. Battle your enemies on the streets, alleys or wherever suits as you freely walk around Kamurocho and Sotenbori causing trouble with everyone you interact with.
Comfortably the best, funniest and most heartwarming game about a desperate battle over real estate, now available on PC as a good port at a generous price.
Despite the shallowness of the combat, you’re always being pulled towards something new, and you can’t help but be carried along by it. Whenever you tire of one thing, the next distraction or big set-piece is just a few minutes away – just be prepared to be offered pocket tissues, have a few scraps, and become someone’s agony aunt.
If you want to laugh, be surprised, and punch the air, you can’t get much better than this.
The Saints Row series has always been firmly planted in realism and Saints Row 4 is no exception, giving you the opportunity to play through the realistic goal of stopping the alien overlord, Zinyak. Play as the US President as you casually go about saving the world with your newly acquired superpowers, such as the ability to shoot fire and ice projectiles. Create the ugliest hero you can with Saints Row’s unique character creator and save Earth alone or with friends.
With its recycled map and wildly overpowered abilities, playing Saints Row IV feels like a lot like enabling god-like cheat codes in Saints Row The Third and going nuts. Its ridiculous story, goofy characters, self-aware humor, and amazing character editor make it all work, especially for those of us who’ve played the previous games and can appreciate its in-jokes. But its appeal is shortened by the ludicrous speed at which we can zip across it and grow tired of its lack of challenge.
It might not have the sheen of Grand Theft Auto, but Saints Row IV is both gloriously stupid and stupidly good.
Crime doesn’t pay, unless it’s with friends in a four-player co-op shooter. Once more put on the masks of Hoxton, Wolf, Chains and Dallas to wreak havoc on Washington DC in an epic heist spree. Build friendships on Crime.net while together masterminding the robberies of banks, armoured cars and shops in an ever increasing level of difficulty from Normal to Death Sentence.
Played as intended with a group of friends, PayDay 2 is much like one of its heists: things can get a little sloppy, but the potential payoff is big. Parts of its presentation are lacking, and the state of its single-player is criminal, but overall, it’s a deep, addictive co-op shooter that tickled my inner burglar.
Smart co-op shooting slightly undermined by poor stealth mechanics and dogged insistence on withholding the best toys.
Plant yourself in contemporary Hong Kong as an undercover police officer, Wei Shen, as he infiltrates the Sun On Yee Triad organization. Boasting an unmatched martial arts system, destroy your enemies with brutal hand-to-hand combat. Take part in illegal street racing, cock-fighting, relax with some karaoke or simply enjoy the streets in an open-world setting. Hong Kong is your playground, play it your way.
I’m not sure why more people aren’t paying attention to Sleeping Dogs, but now that the game’s out, hopefully you won’t make the same mistake. Sleeping Dogs did things that wowed me from the moment I started playing, and it never really stopped. A few finicky issues aside, Sleeping Dogs has proven itself worthy of joining the top class of open-world sandbox games revolutionized by the likes of Grand Theft Auto IV and currently topped by more recent additions like Saints Row: The Third. But don’t be confused; Sleeping Dogs does some things better than even the cream of the crop, and its story will be what keeps you focused on playing. The fact that the game happens to play well is simply icing on the cake.
A messy story and horrible characters get in the way of decent, violent action in a scintillating open city.