Video games have certainly come a long way since the days of Pong. No longer confined to a single platform, gamers now have entire worlds to explore. For many people, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the reason they purchased a Nintendo Switch in the first place. Not only do you get to see Link, Zelda, and Ganon on a next-generation console, but the vast world of Hyrule already feels familiar, and there are so many places to explore and learn more about the mythos of this franchise. There are plenty of great open-world Switch games, but these are widely considered the best of the bunch.
Most open-world games encourage you to explore and reward you for venturing out of the plot to see what the developers have to offer. Sure, you may be able to complete the main story in 30-40 hours, but you could potentially play and live in these worlds infinitely.
So is Breath of the Wild better than The Witcher 3? What about Skyrim? And does Xenoblade Chronicles 2 also deserve a top spot? Vote up all your favorite open-world Switch games that make you want to explore every inch to see what you can find.
It may have taken a few years, but when The Witcher 3 was finally ported to the Switch, it gave gamers another reason to dive into the incredibly diverse realm of Nilfgaard. You can do a lot more than toss a coin with The Witcher 3. It features one of the best open-world RPGs on the Switch, and the port's smooth framerates and stunning graphics look every bit as stellar as they did when it was first released on the PS4 and Xbox One. (Plus, after you download a small patch to make the gameplay better, you can really soak up everything there is to see. )
The game has a dense open world, and with all three DLCs included, there's an awful lot to explore. When you play it on the Switch, you can take the console with you and play in bed or take it with you as you're out and about on the town. The world is at your fingertips.
An epic game?
- Release: 2015
- Developer: CD Projekt RED
Easily one of the most acclaimed and beloved RPGs of all time, Skyrim made its way to the Switch in 2017, with critics calling it a crowning achievement. According to one reviewer, "Skyrim on Switch is the only version that you can take to Starbucks for an Americano to the knee and it is quite an accomplishment."
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is known for the massive lore; the more you explore the world, the more you learn and the more rewarding the gameplay becomes. Unlike other games in its genre, there are no equipment limitations of character classes. If you hit an enemy with a shortsword, then you will increase your one-handed skill level. If you sneak around, then you increase your sneak level. You become better at the tactics you regularly use.
An epic game?
- Release: 2011
- Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
The Rebel Collection features two of the series' most acclaimed games, Black Flag and Rogue, as well as a new DLC. While Assassin's Creed III had a tumultuous release on the Switch, The Rebel Collection assuages all doubts about whether you can play a good AC game on the Switch.
Both games have been remastered, and the ability to scale walls and experience illuminating new civilizations in hand-held mode is nothing short of stunning. Black Flag, in particular, really stands up as a great game and one of the better ports in recent years. The gameplay, graphics, and story feel every bit as fresh today as they did in 2013
An epic game?
- Release: 2019
- Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was one of the highest-rated games of the last decade and is easily one of the best games you can play on the Switch. The thing that makes it stand apart is that the open-world concept actually feels exciting to explore. The game doesn't guide you to exciting locations. Instead, it's up to you to decide where you want to go, and you can mark points of interest on the map yourself so that you can explore them further in-depth later if you want.
There's no one right way to play the game. From cooking to combat, it's up to you how you want to proceed, and the game rewards creative solutions to problems. In addition to head-scratching new puzzles and side quests, the combat is significantly more challenging in BotW. No longer can you simply swing your sword and hope for the best; knowing how to evade, counter, and punish your enemies are all crucial elements.
An epic game?
- Release: 2017
- Developer: Nintendo EPD