Sometimes you need a break of combat and this is when exploration comes into play. Over the past few years, exploration-based games became extremely popular and while they are certainly not for everyone, immersing yourself in another world is one of the reasons why we play games in the first place. In this article I cover some of the best games that emphasize exploration over every other aspect and to be clear, this doesn’t intend to be a definitive list but a post with five of the best exploration games you can play instead. Here we go.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Everyone who enjoys playing video games have probably visited the land of Hyrule at least once, but one of the most memorable adventures that takes place in this mystical land was in Ocarina of Time. Of course, a meaningful part of what made the Nintendo 64 classic such a seminal game was what it brought to the table in terms of gameplay (context-sensitive actions, stealth sequences, Z-targeting, time travel and so on,) but navigating dungeons in three-dimensions and riding Epona from place to place are equally as important.
Similar Games: Shadow of the Colossus
Most of the people who go to Minecraft do so to create, but building constructions out of textured cubes requires you to explore the procedurally generated environments and there’s a lot to explore. Apart from that, you have combat, crafting and resource gathering, so there’s something in this game for pretty much anyone.
Similar Games: Terraria, Aquaria
I could have definitely chosen any of the Grand Theft Auto games or Red Dead Redemption instead, but there was something incredibly novel about an open-world game set in high school that I loved about Bully. In comparison, Bully’s map wasn’t nearly as large as most of the open-world games available at the time, but what the setting lacked in mass, it more than made up in charm and originality.
Similar Games: Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption
The Elder Scrolls has always been about exploring, but it wasn’t until the fifth entry in the series where Bethesda delivered some of the concepts that the company had been working on for years. One of the most inviting parts about Skyrim involves roaming the land of Skyrim which includes towers, caves, villages, expanses, dungeons and everything in between. The game encourages exploration in such a way that you can completely ignore the main quest to do whatever you want, so you never feel the pressure to save the world from dragons if you don’t want to.
Similar Games: Fallout 3, Far Cry 3
The premise behind Gone Home is simple: you take on the role of Kaitlin who must explore a mansion in Portland, Oregon after spending a year abroad. The game takes place in first-person view and you can explore objects. Other than that, there are no goals, though you receive rewards in the form of new messages whenever you discover new areas of the house. Gone Home delivered a realistic and intimate experience that almost everyone can relate to and that’s both rare and special.
Similar Games: Firewatch, Proteus, Dear Esther