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FEATURED VOXPOP oblivion437 Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that.  It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece.  I strongly recommend anyone...

Wide Open Spaces: The Best Open Worlds in Gaming

Posted on Wednesday, May 28 @ 14:00:00 Eastern by ryanbates

In the buzzword orgy that comes out of the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, “open world” has been one of the most prominent offerings. You can't walk a mere foot without hearing PR reps talking about the huge, massive, friggin' ginormous open worlds their games boast. Bigger than all their other games combined! Bigger than anything else on the E3 floor! Bigger than the state of Rhode Island!

But as many ladies and some guys will tell you, it's not always the size of the open world that counts; it's what you do with it, if you know what I mean.

WATCH_DOGS clearly knows what I mean. As Nick Tan pointed out in his review, not only are players free to roam around Chicago as they want, scads of opportunities for side missions and fetchquests exist, to the point where the immersive main quest only makes up about 20% of the available objectives.

To show that it's in good company, here are our selections for the best open worlds in open-world gaming. These open-worlds are the ones that not only allow (mostly) free-roaming, but a lot of options as to when to pursue side quests and when to focus on the main story. It's time to see who can really rock the socks off an open world and who just has a big... uh... map screen, but doesn't know how to use it.

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