35 Best PC Exploration Games of All Time

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There was a time when video games were incredibly rigid. By that, we mean that you weren’t “meant” to go and wander around the game world because there wasn’t a game world to wander around. The first Legend of Zelda broke that mold in various ways, and then as time went on, exploration games came about and encouraged you to wander. So let’s show you 35 of the best.

#35 Fallout 76

Fallout 76

Is it mean to put Fallout 76 on the bottom of this list? …no, not really.

This was a title that was meant to be the “biggest evolution” for the Fallout franchise, as this was a Fallout world that you could play online, have fun with friends in, and help shape the world.

Turns out though the world was…pretty empty, bland, not much to do, and so on. Even Bethesda had to admit they screwed up with this one!

Sure, it has gotten better, but it’s likely never to live up to the promises that were made. And thus, it’s at the bottom of our list. But it’s not alone…

#34 Cyberpunk 2077

Oh yeah, you KNEW that Cyberpunk 2077 had to be on here. Because this RPG/action title/exploration game was ALSO promised to be the next evolutionary set in what the developer had been doing. In actuality…it was a buggy mess from start to finish. Bad developer, bad!

If you have been able to play this game with minimal issues…you must have a really good PC.

And yes, like other devs on this list, CD Projekt Red have been toiling away night and day to fix things, but that doesn’t mean it’s where it needs to be at present, because it’s not.

It COULD still be a great game once they fix everything…but for now, you can explore it…and witness all the bugs unfolding as a result.

#33 Ghostwire: Tokyo

We promise this is the last “underwhelming” game on this list. Because Ghostwire: Tokyo was made by one of the masterminds behind horror gaming, and thus when he and his team announced this title, it was met with a lot of hype.

And to be fair, more than the others, this game is very much one that welcomes and rewards those who do exploration. This is a VERY detailed version of Tokyo, Japan, and as a result of that, you’ll have a lot to go and find. Not the least of which are Tanookis. No, really.

That being said, the rest of the game…is kind of lackluster. But if you want to just use this to explore Tokyo? By all means.

#32 Exo One

There are two space exploration games on this list (you’d think there’d be more…) and both of them are back-to-back! And, both of them are incredibly different.

For example, in Exo One, you’ll find yourself controlling a very unique ship that you use gravity and momentum to build up speed with and then shoot off across the stars!

This is very much the kind of exploration game that favors those with the desire to see beautiful landscapes and vistas. To the extent that you might be surprised by the level of detail within the title itself.

It’s going to be a very interesting ride through the stars, are you willing to go on an adventure? Jump in and find out!

#31 Astroneer

In space, you are supposed to be rather limited in what you can do given the nature of the cosmos. But, in Astroneer, that’s not going to be a problem for you at all, now is it? Instead, you’ll be part of a team from the 25th century, dubbed the “Intergalactic Age of Discovery”, and you’ll get the chance to roam a solar system with 7 planets that you can explore top to bottom.

Then, you can go across those planets and build basically whatever you want there! You can build up a base, start up a colony, do some deep diving for resources, and so on!

And if you don’t want to do it alone? 4-player co-op is an option for you here. So go see what the stars have to offer you, and what you can do with the ability to shape the planets to your will.

#30 Grounded

Yep, you’re grounded! Go to your room, RIGHT NOW!

Ok, not really. The GAME known as Grounded you are one of a bunch of kids who have been shrunk down in your own backyard (typical) and are now the size of an ant. As such, there are PLENTY of dangers all around you from both the insect life (not creepy at all…) and the elements.

You’ll need to go and get resources to build up your space, protect your stuff from those that might want to take it, and explore the background to see all that’s really in it.

If you’re not a bug fan? You shouldn’t get this game. Just saying.

#29 Tunic

We promise that there’s a Legend of Zelda title later in this list, but for now, how about one that definitely pays tribute to that?

In Tunic, you’ll take on the role of a fox (no joke) as they end up in a mysterious land. You are not told anything else about the game…because the “tutorial” that you have is only one with pictures and a weird language that you can’t translate!

As such, you must explore the land from top to bottom, find out where to go, fight enemies along the way, collect pages for your “guidebook” and more!

Exploration and adventure go hand in hand with this title, so don’t miss out on this very unique indie game!

#28 Valheim

Set in a procedurally generated world, Valheim puts you and potentially a group of other players in a Viking-style world where you’re tasked with exploring, building, and seeing all that is within its borders.

As you move through the various environments, you’ll encounter not just resources, but creatures that can make your life pretty difficult.

Should you choose to, you can explore the land for the perfect place to build a home for yourself and your crew. Then, expand it, make it grander, and make it worthy of a Viking Lord! And that’s before you go and build yourself up with the best weapons and armor you can craft.

Your Viking journey awaits.

#27 Resident Evil Village

One of two Resident Evil games on this list, Resident Evil Village puts you back in control of Ethan Winters, whose life has been turned upside down again and this time, his child has been taken, by Chris Redfield!

Now, you must go to a mysterious village that is home to 9-foot-tall vampire women (no jokes, please), monsters of all shapes and sizes, and a dark mystery that permeates the area.

You’ll need to explore the village, figure out what is going on, stitch yourself back together when danger comes (and it’ll come a lot) and figure out where is your child.

Whether you’re ready or not, this game is here to terrify you and challenge you, good luck!

#26 Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

The Division 2

In Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, you’ll find yourself in Washington D.C. during a time of uprising and chaos (boy, why does that sound familiar…?). There’s a potential coup going on in the White House (also sounds familiar), factions are rising up to challenge the authority (yep, that sounds about right) and you as an agent of The Division, must try and bring peace to the capitol.

You’ll work alone or in groups in order to take down targets, get data, recapture key places, and more. All the while, fighting off various factions in their bid for power.

Add to this, Ubisoft has been updating the game for years now, so as you explore, you’re going to have plenty to do as you progress.

#25 Days Gone

Set two years after a global pandemic (ironic, we know), Days Gone puts you in the shoes of Deacon St. John, a bounty hunter who is tired of being surrounded by death, and just wants a reason to keep going.

With your motorcycle as your greatest tool, you’ll rummage through a massively ruined world in order to get supplies and do what you need to do in order to survive. As a result of your actions, people might try and help you, or, you might find yourself at odds with certain groups.

The world itself grows and evolves not just on the choices you make, but how the environment is affected by the weather and more. Oh, and did we mention the monsters? Yeah, you have to deal with those too. Good luck!

#24 Resident Evil 2

Remakes/remasters are defined by how good they are, and when it comes to Resident Evil 2, this remake was everything it should’ve been, and more.

The game not only overhauls the graphics and gives some well-needed quality of life improvements, but it also goes and deepens the story and allows you to play separate tales featuring Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield.

All the while, tasking you with exploring Raccoon City as it gets overrun by a zombie horde. Survival will not be easy, you’ll need to use your wits as well as your weapons in order to get through. But if you do make it, you’ll know you’ve earned it in this very fun, yet challenging, title.

#23 Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5

You might think about racing titles when you think about “exploration games”, and yet, that’s exactly what Forza Horizon 5 is (and certain other Forza games for the record). Because it’s not just about the cars (though that helps), it’s about being able to drive around a fictional version of Mexico and seeing all that the terrain has to offer you.

We’re talking about going on roads, through cities, off roads, on the beach, in the mud, in the desert, and everything in between. All the while being able to pilot hundreds of different cars to give you a unique feeling through this “ever evolving world”.

So while you may not at first think about racing games with exploration ties, get Forza Horizon 5 and it might just change your mind.

#22 Hollow Knight

Beneath the ground lies a kingdom, one that is massive, forgotten, and full of potential treasures and truths. You play as one who is seeking to find out all that it has to offer, and in return, you get a grand adventure!

Hollow Knight is without a doubt one of the best exploration games out there, especially from the indie standpoint.

You’ll get to follow your own path through the world, as well as built up your character with new abilities and skills that’ll help you tackle all that is within this underground kingdom!

Plus, Hollow Knight has free DLC and the Silksong expansion to give you even MORE things to enjoy.

#21 Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is one that aims to give you not just an open-world experience, but one that puts you in the middle of a massive medieval conflict that’ll affect the whole nation of Bohemia.

You are the son of a blacksmith who has survived a massacre ordered by the king himself. Now, you must join the rebellion meant to overthrow him, and help shape the land for the better…or the worse.

With a massive world full of cities and characters to interact with, how you go about handling things will determine your fate. Including how you handle various missions and build up your character overall. The game is non-linear, and with so much to do, you could easily do multiple playthroughs and not see it all.

Look, we’re not saying that Metal Gear Solid V Phantom Pain is low on this list because of Hideo Kojima’s storytelling methods…but we’re not refuting it!

Regardless, Metal Gear Solid V Phantom Pain puts you in the final main story of the Metal Gear saga. Set during the cold war, Snake (Big Boss) awakes from a coma and must now go after a shadow group called XOF with his own forces.

The game does indeed give you an open-world to handle things in, and you’ll even be able to choose how to progress the game via the mission order. Then, when you are in the missions, you can complete them a variety of ways.

All the while, you’ll piece together the final details that ensures that this story…is finished…for now.

#19 The Forest

In The Forest, you’re a survivor from a plane crash. That alone is bad, but then, you find yourself in a forest where you KNOW you’re not alone, as there are mutants who are very much wanting to get you.

Thus, you have two things to do. In the daytime, you must scavenge for supplies, cut down trees to build up your shelter and then fortify your defense. As well as explore to see if there are other things you can use, or clues to help you figure out the truth within the trees.

Then, at night, the mutants come out, and you’ll have to fight them off in order to survive.

Your struggle will be anything but easy. But if you survive…well…then you survive.

#18 Sea of Thieves

If you’re looking for a more “pirate-y” adventure to have, then look no further than Sea of Thieves! Because in this game, you’re a pirate.

…yep, that’s it. Ok, not really.

You are a pirate, and how you go about building up your pirate legend is up to you and the other players you form your crew with! The game gives you ships that you can use to explore islands, have massive PVP battles with, store treasure on, and more!

And don’t forget to search beneath the waves, as you’ll find sunken vessels (and dangers) to explore as well! In short, if you go and get this game, it’s the pirates life for ye.

#17 Outer Wilds

Outer Wilds is one that puts various twists on both exploration games and sci-fi ones as a whole. Because in this title, you’re in a fledgling space program tasked with piloting one of their ships across the stars. The problem? You’re stuck in an endless time loop!

Now, you must travel the stars as much as you can within each loop so that you can figure out what is going on. Each planet is special, and may hold clues as to what is happening, or, reveal things to you over time that might further your journey.

Every loop is its own adventure, so go and see where yours takes you…then takes you again…and again…and again…

#16 Subnautica: Below Zero

The original Subnautica game was a triumph, and so, naturally, they decided to build off of it via Subnautica: Below Zero. In this game, you’ll return to the planet of the original title, BUT, you’ll be in a region that you weren’t in before.

And thus, you must explore the frozen waters in order to build up your survival base, find clues as to what happened to the research teams that were here before you, and more.

All the while, surviving the freezing cold temperatures, aquatic beings who may not be so nice to you, and more! This is a very special kind of exploration game, and we highly recommend it.

#15 No Man’s Sky

Ok, so…we know this is a bit of an ironic entry…but…it does deserve to be here.

No Man’s Sky was SUPPOSED to be the greatest exploration gave ever. Like…period. It was meant to give you a massive universe to explore that was full of content and fun and so on and so forth. But…it didn’t turn out that way, at all.

…or at least…not at first. But, to their credit, Hello Games did everything they could to fix what was “broken” and a few years later, they honestly lived up to their promises for the most part. The universe is much more “alive”, you can play the game with friends, and see all that was “intended” upon its launch.

It’s still not 100% what they said it would be. But…we give them credit for fixing their mistakes…because there were a lot of them…

#14 Far Cry 6

Far Cry 6 continues the trend that was setup by previous titles, by putting you in a vast land that needs saving, and asking you to help lead a rebellion in order to save it.

In this title, you’ll be going up against a ruthless dictator (who reminds us of a chicken restaurant guy for some reason…) who is trying to groom his son to be his successor. You are part of a rebel group trying to overthrow him, and you’ll need to go throughout the land and disrupt his empire, take down his cohorts and save the day…if that’s even possible.

This game is one where exploration gives you a grander sense of all that is here. So don’t take it lightly, and enjoy all that it has to offer.

#13 Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

The Assassin’s Creed games started off red hot, then kind of stumbled, and then they rebuilt themselves in a big way that led to the arrival of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Where you will play as an outcast on the Greek isles who will embark on a journey to become a Spartan legend!

Your choices are vital to the game, with multiple endings being available depending on how you talk with others and the various decisions that you make. But, you also will get to explore the Greek isles like never before, and with seafaring and DLC abound, you’ll have even more to do as you seek to make your name in a land of legends.

And that doesn’t even touch upon how you can grow your character and have large scale battles! So go and see what the hype is all about!

#12 Death Stranding

Here’s one of our more controversial entries on this list, but if you really think about it, Death Stranding really is an exploration game in the literal sense of the word, it’s just one that HAPPENS to be tied up in a grandiose story by Hideo Kojima…

Case in point, you play as a man named Sam Bridges (very punny name…) as you go out as basically a delivery man and try to reconnect America after a major event has separated various cities from one another.

So yeah, part of your job is to wander the world and reconnect people, isn’t that the very definition of exploration? It’s also been dubbed a “package simulator game” but we’ll let that go.

Yes, Death Stranding isn’t for everyone, but you might be surprised by it when you play it, so at least consider getting it.

#11 Grand Theft Auto V

Considering this is one of the best-selling games of all time, it would’ve been wrong not to put Grand Theft Auto V rather high on this list. And that’s not even taking into account GTA Online which adds even MORE exploration to things.

In Grand Theft Auto V, you’ll play as three men who are trying to survive in multiple cities despite the odds being very much stacked against them. As you go through Los Santos, you’ll need to do some big heists and avoid the government to survive.

All the while, you can explore the city, cause mayhem, do whatever you want in the streets, and see all the wonders that the place has to offer.

#10 Red Dead Redemption 2

Some might be mad that we’re putting Red Dead Redemption 2 a bit lower on this list, but when you see the other games above it, you might understand.

But make no mistake, as an exploration game and as a game as a whole, Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the best to have ever been made. And proof that sequels can come out WAY later as long as the time and effort put into them are worth it. It’s worth it here.

You play as Arthur Morgan in some of the latter days of the “Wild West”, your crew is on the run from the law, and you must do what you can to survive. Explore, rob, steal, shoot, whatever it takes to get to the next day and the next safe spot.

But with tensions mounting…whether you survive might not be up to you…

#9 Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon: Zero Dawn featured a beautiful world. One of which you find yourself in that is BEGGING to be explored. You play as Aloy, an outcast who is trying to prove her worth to her tribe in a world where machine and nature are one in the same at times.

Explore forests, climb mountains (climb mechanical monsters), go deep into the waters and more as you explore what makes this world so special.

You’re getting rewarded for exploring! How nice.

#8 Fallout 4

War…war never changes…

And when it comes to Fallout 4, what never changes is just how grand, expansive, and fun this game is. And it’s one that very much holds up on further examination.

You are the sole survivor of Vault 111 (no pressure) and now the wasteland that you find yourself in needs fixing…or maybe it doesn’t.

Fallout 4 prides itself on giving you a massive world to do what you want with. You can go and join a faction, start rebuilding things one building at a time. Go and fight monsters, craft weapons using literally scraps you find on the ground, and more.

Oh, and you have a dog to travel with. Good boy!

#7 Elden Ring

Having Elden Ring on here is honestly a funny thing. Not because it’s one of the more recent entries on this list, but rather, the From Software titles weren’t really about exploration on the grand scale. But with Elden Ring, they did indeed do that, and in the best way possible.

Because while the “core gameplay” of fighting (and losing against) giant monsters and beasts is still present, you’re given an unparalleled (for them anyway) amount of freedom to go and tackle the game as you choose. They even give you a horse AND a jump ability to help you traverse terrain!

And of course, everything you love from past games is here, it’s just wrapped up in a beautiful world that you can actually appreciate as you go from one spot to another.

#6 Minecraft

We’re sure some of you out there would’ve LOVED to see Minecraft as the No.1 entry…but you’re not getting that from us. Because while it is now the best-selling video game OF ALL TIME…that doesn’t mean it’s better than some of the other games on this list, and you should be grateful we put it in the top ten!

Regardless…Minecraft is a very special game where freedom and creativity are its backbones. Part of the fun of exploring this game is to go into the various servers and see exactly what people have built. And trust us, they’ve built a lot.

Or, you can do the Survival Mode and just explore so you can if you can last against all the dangers out there.

Minecraft is a title to have fun in, so go have fun in it!

#5 Fallout 3

Some might argue that Fallout 4 is better than Fallout 3, but 3 was the one that set the tone for all to come (we also realize now we should’ve put New Vegas on this list, our bad).

You are the son of a scientist, both of whom have been living in a vault for most of their lives. When your father suddenly leaves the fault, it’s your job to go after him, and find the truth about what happened to the world.

Fallout 3 prides itself on a MASSIVE wasteland full of things to do, and that doesn’t even count the DLC packages which are equally massive.

You can join the Brotherhood of Steel, blow up an actual megaton bomb, fight all sorts of monsters, stop a conspiracy, and so on!

So, why not get this all-time classic?

#4 Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV is easily one of the biggest and best games in the Final Fantasy franchise, and that’s saying something given FFVII Remake is out there in the world.

And the key thing here to note is that this game was BUILT to be not just an FF game but an exploration one. Case in point, you play as Noctis, the soon-to-be king of a realm, who must travel with his friends via a car to go and stop a darkness that is trying to take over your land. Traveling is literally a mechanic here, and you’ll want to use it as you go from place to place on your journey.

Along the way, you’ll take pictures, make new friends, fight LOTS of monsters, and strengthen the friendships you have.

And we didn’t cry at the ending for the record…definitely…didn’t…*sniff*

#3 Monster Hunter: World

For a long time, the Monster Hunter franchise wasn’t appreciated on a grand scale like many argue it should’ve been. Mainly because it wasn’t “tailored” to the West for them to really get into it. But with Monster Hunter: World, they changed that in the best way ever.

Now, you’ll be in a seamless world full of monsters, and it’s your job to go out into it and hunt them down no matter what. The beauty of Monster Hunter: World lies not just in its monsters, but the habitats that they’re in. They weren’t lying when they said this was a WORLD to explore and hunt in.

You’ll need to build yourself up for the perfect hunt, and then have at it against massive monsters of all types! So jump in and see how challenging a world you’ve found yourself in!

#2 The Witcher 3

In truth, The Witcher 3 could be the No.1 game on this list for the most basic of reasons: it’s a BIG game with a lot to do and explore.

You once again play as Geralt of Rivia, aka The Witcher, and you are on a quest to both save the realm and your pseudo daughter in Ciri from the titular Wild Hunt. But doing so is not going to be easy in the slightest, and that’s part of the fun. Because while you can do the main quest, you will likely go and find yourself doing side quests, doing hunts, and seeing all that this game has to offer.

Add to that a set of MASSIVE DLC with more to do and explore? And this is yet another game that will keep you occupied for a while.

Give that we’re talking about massive games of exploration, it honestly shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that Skyrim is the No.1 title on this list. After all, this is a game where you can put hundreds upon hundreds of hours into the game to do everything big and small…and you’ll still have plenty to do.

Not just because of the DLC in the game that gives you a LOT more to do, but because of the mod community where you can find yourself diving into wacky and wild adventures based on the imaginations of users!

There’s so much to do here between fighting monsters, exploring new lands, going on quests and so on that our best advice to you is just to play it…we’ll see you in a few years when you’re done.

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