10 Most Rewarding Open-World Video Games

9. Red Dead Redemption 2

Lillith Borderlands 2

Rockstar Games had quite the task in front of them in following up both 2013's GTA V and 2010's Red Dead Redemption. Unsurprisingly, they totally delivered, crafting the greatest open-world action/adventure Western known to man.

Taking place well before its precursor, its examination of the Van der Linde gang’s deterioration is enormously absorbing for its complex relationships and broader historical commentary.

There’s the typical smorgasbord of secondary pursuits, unique NPCs, and gratifying dividends in which to indulge. However, Red Dead Redemption 2 would be fulfilling without any of those things because the sheer breadth and realism of its five major regions are enough to keep players glued to their controllers.

The icing on the cake comes when you realize that – SPOILERS – it ultimately connects to tragic previous antihero John Marston via its epilogue and bittersweet 100% completion cinematic.

Admittedly, Red Dead Online isn’t nearly as successful as GTA Online (in terms of popularity, lucrativeness, and gameplay), to the point that the studio is pretty much giving up on it.

That said, it’s still a good time –the Frontier Pursuits, Moonshine, and Blood Money updates introduced significant additions – and its issues don’t take away from the strengths of its single-player paradise.


Hey there! Outside of WhatCulture, I'm a former editor at PopMatters and a contributor to Kerrang!, Consequence, PROG, Metal Injection, Loudwire, and more. I've written books about Jethro Tull, Opeth, and Dream Theater and I run a creative arts journal called The Bookends Review. Oh, and I live in Philadelphia and teach academic/creative writing courses at a few colleges/universities.