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2019 has been a fantastic year so far for games, and we're only nearly halfway! From Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice to the upcoming Borderlands 3, there are dozens of excellent reasons to pick up a controller in 2019.
One type of game in particular that's seen an impressive amount of success is the open world genre, titles where you're plunked down into a ridiculously huge setting, teeming with things to do and people to meet that you can explore at your leisure. It's not even July yet, and we've already seen quite a few contenders for some of what will end up as this year's best in this genre.
With all that in mind, we've pulled together five of 2019's best open world games so far. From The Division 2 to Far Cry New Dawn, these adventures gave us free rein of worlds absolutely riddled with colorful personalities, exciting missions, and reasons to keep dropping back into these expansive new areas time and time again. If you're looking to get lost in a few new video game worlds, try these titles on for size — just make sure you come back to the one you actually live from time to time.
01. Days Gone
The PlayStation 4-exclusive Days Gone is a blockbuster adventure that takes place in post-apocalyptic Oregon after a global pandemic has turned most of the population into zombie-like creatures known as Freakers. Players take on the role of biker-turned-outlaw Deacon St. John, a loner on the hunt for his missing and presumed dead wife. As Oregon is overrun by the bloodthirsty Freakers, who continuously roam the landscape looking for humans to tussle with, Deacon plans to find his wife, who may still be out there somewhere waiting for him while working to stay alive in this desolate vision of the future.
Days Gone's living, breathing world is an intriguing one that can be explored primarily by motorcycle, and there's plenty to do from place to place, whether it's going on supply runs for the last bastion of humanity still trying to eke out a living. It makes for a tense, satisfying vision of a zombie-like apocalypse, and Deacon is a protagonist who's easy to root for. You'll want to spend hours traipsing around dilapidated Oregon trying to figure out if Sarah is actually out there somewhere.
02. Far Cry: New Dawn
Far Cry 5 was a bit of a disappointment, but Far Cry New Dawn rose from its ashes with a candy-colored vision of the apocalypse. (That's what some of the best open world games tend to take place in, after all.) This budget installment to the Far Cry series takes place 17 years after Far Cry 5 and the events of Hope County terrorist Joseph Seed's disappearance after heralding what actually was the apocalypse, much to everyone's dismay. You take on the role of the savior for the folks of the camp Prosperity, or what's left of humanity, collecting supplies and keeping everyone safe from the antagonistic Highwaymen and the nefarious Twins who lead them.
Except this is no ordinary apocalypse. Nature is back in control: The waters are a dazzling blue, the skies have taken on a rainbow tint, and everything looks absolutely gorgeous. Though the game doesn't break new ground in terms of plot or character development, its truly breathtaking interpretation on the typical washed-out, desaturated end of the world theme makes it worth trying out. You're not going to see anything else like it in the genre, that's for sure.
03. Crackdown 3
The long-awaited Crackdown 3 is just as raucous and exciting as the previous games before it. This one took nine years to finally come to fruition, and it was well worth the wait. Taking place ten years after Crackdown 2, players must work as members of the Agency in the city of New Providence to defeat the terrorist organization Terra Nova. Players can work as or alongside characters like Commander Isaiah Jaxon (voiced by the hilarious Terry Crews) in an attempt to make things right. While doing so, you'll get a ton of different weapons, a variety of superpowers, and a wide variety of vehicles to travel throughout New Providence and beat the terrorists back.
Most of the city you're tasked with exploring can actually be destroyed, meaning that not only can you explore to your heart's content but you can also basically level it, especially within the game's Wrecking Zone multiplayer mode. It's absolute chaos but in the best possible way. There's no ultra-serious narrative here to get in the way of the silliness. All that and you get to hang out with virtual Terry Crews most of the time, which is awesome.
04. Metro Exodus
The austere Metro Exodus is another post-apocalyptic delight with plenty for players to explore. The first-person shooter is set on a nuclear war-ravaged Earth where players take on the role of Artyom, who lives with his family on the Moscow Metro. After becoming frustrated with constant fighting and corruption in the area where he's made a home for himself, he takes it upon himself to leave with his wife, her father, and other companions on a locomotive called the Aurora across the continent to see allies in the east. Though the future of humanity looks bleak in and outside of Moscow, Metro Exodus is a gorgeous game that lets you get up close and personal with a vision of the world after it's been torn apart by nuclear war.
It's a challenging game that won't let up at any point, but it's happy to let you see the gorgeous Volga River, Mount Yamantau, and the shores of Lake Baikal along the way. It's an excellent narrative that practically begs you to continue, but not until you've had an eyeful of how beautiful the world can still be, even after being partially destroyed by nuclear war.
05. The Division 2
This third-person adventure is an online multiplayer game that takes place seven months after the events that unfolded in The Division. An environmental terrorist took it upon themselves to release Green Poison, a virulent strain of smallpox that ended up becoming a pandemic on a global scale. Players become part of the Strategic Homeland Division, a group of sleeper agents called upon to try and keep peace in the United States following the near-collapse of the government and all social order.
As such, The Division 2 finds agents roaming a dilapidated vision of Washington D.C. that's been divided up into territories by gangs like the Outcasts, Hyenas, and the True Sons, all of whom are working to enact their own brand of authoritarianism (or chaos) in various ways. With President Andrew Ellis missing in action, things have gone to hell in a handbasket, and it's up to you to try to make sense of this brutal new order. That means exploring the city, which is a lawless wasteland, and working to make some sort of sense out of life after the Green Poison outbreak. It's rather bleak, but a satisfying mission that hopefully never reflects anything in our country's future. There's a whole wide world to see in the game, though, as far as the city goes.