The 10 Best Open-World Games Like Shadow of War

Image credit: WB Games

Talion’s adventures were a dream come true. Although this isn’t the most faithful franchise regarding Tolkien lore, it is still amazing to play as an overpowered wraith in the world of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien.

Shadow of War is a game in which you make remarkable enemies, fight hundreds of orcs, and roam freely within Mordor.

Although there aren’t many games with all those elements, you can find some that are similar enough.

There are many open-world games in which you do side quests, evolve your characters, and deal with a situation in many different ways. In most of them, you also control overpowered characters.

If you enjoyed taking the role of Talion and Celebrimbor, keep reading to find out about the best open-world games like Shadow of War.

Middle-Eart: Shadow of Mordor

Just in case you didn’t play Shadow of Mordor already, go ahead and do it now. I even find the first game better than the second one. Although Middle-Eart: Shadow of War does introduce many new elements, they often become confusing or feel unnecessary.

Besides, you might want to check how the whole thing started.

Shadow of Mordor hits much closer in the emotional aspect. After all, this is the game that shows how everything started. Talion’s motivations and traumas all happened during Shadow of Mordor.

As for the gameplay, it feels very much the same, but it doesn’t have as many skills, and it lacks some RPG elements. Honestly, I’m completely fine with that. In fact, to me personally, it makes Shadow of Mordor much easier to enjoy.

I know that most people who played Shadow of War have played this game too. However, just in case you haven’t, go do it.

If older graphics bother you, this game also has a free HD update on Steam.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Rockstar Games is a developer that clearly knows how to make a successful game. After all, Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the most acclaimed games of its console generation. In fact, the game has been improved and released on PC with brand-new Story Mode content, better graphics, and more.

Red Dead Redemption is a story about conflict.

In this game, you take the role of Arthur Morgan, a Van der Linde gang member. Not only are they criminals, but federal officials and the greatest bounty hunters are following their tracks.

The Van der Linde gang robs, robs, and fights to live in America’s brutal heartland, but many conflicts are causing internal divisions. Now, Arthur must decide between his own beliefs and allegiance to the gang that raised him.

Unlike other games you will see in this list, you don’t play as a character who is super in any way.

This is a Western game with an adult storyline. However, all the other elements are here. Red Dead Redemption 2 is an open-world game that grants you a lot of freedom to explore, travel around, and make your own stories.

If you like more grounded games, adult themes, and the open-world side of Shadow of War, there’s a good chance you will enjoy Red Dead Redemption 2.

Sleeping Dogs

This game is odd.

It is a third-person, action, open-world game set in Hong Kong. Nothing weird there, but one can see how this game somewhat feels like GTA. In fact, many wonder if this was Square Enix’s response to GTA’s success.

In Sleeping Dogs, you take on the role of Wei Shen, an undercover police officer attempting to destroy the Triads from inside.

As you build trust and rank up in the organization, you’ll need to establish your worth by engaging in vile acts to prevent criminals from discovering your true identity.

Storywise, the game becomes especially interesting when the main character tests the limits between truth, loyalty, and justice. Wei becomes torn between devotion to the badge and a criminal code of honor. 

As for the gameplay, Wei is a very competent martial artist. So although he isn’t super, you do get to play as an action hero who can beat up numerous goons at ease. 

Although this game might look like GTA from afar, it is much more than that. It’s almost like Grand Theft Auto had a baby with the Yakuza series. If that sounds awesome, go ahead and try Sleeping Dogs.

Watch Dogs 2

Watch Dogs 2 doesn’t have you playing a superhuman, overpowered superhero or wraith. However, it has you playing a surreally resourceful hacker. Since you have all sorts of gadgets, weapons, and options, the game is significantly more interesting than its predecessor.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the birthplace of the technological revolution, you take on the role of brilliant hacker Marcus Holloway.

This character is very different from the previous protagonist, which helps to make you feel some distancing from the first game.

Marcus will work with the infamous hacking outfit Dedsec to carry out the largest hack in history, which entails taking down the intrusive operating system known as ctOS 2.0. This is the system that a criminal underworld boss uses to track and control people on a grand scale.

If you are a bit nitpicky regarding the mission structures, there is room for criticism. I find it will be weird to see Marcus and his idealistic team shooting cops and acting as if nothing happened. However, if you are not the kind of person who gets bothered by it, please ignore this paragraph altogether.

If being a surreally talented Hacker sounds fun, give this game a shot. There are plenty of action sequences, stealth sections, and puzzle solving with remote control drones to prevent the game from ever feeling boring.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

In this game, you play as a regular teenager named Aloy, who was exiled from a tribe since her birth. So in that sense, it isn’t much like Shadow of War.

However, when she was a kid, she found a rare technological device that stores and delivers information. This device, named Focus, gives Aloy an incredible advantage over others.

Horizon: Zero Dawn is a character-driven story about a girl who wants to know who she is. It just so happens that it takes place in a post-apocalyptic tribal world where giant machines from a lost era threaten humankind. This premise is pretty cool, making Horizon a game like Shadow of the Colossus sometimes.

This is an open-world game where you are free to roam and do side quests in any way you want. However, following the main quest does make you go through areas where you’ll find side-quests. As for the gameplay, Aloy is an extraordinary warrior. Although she is not superhuman, growing up with a focus makes her more attuned to machines and technology than any other warrior.

The User Interface is a bit polluted, at least in my honest opinion, but I genuinely appreciate how the Focus is integrated into it. This device is also used in the story, making everything feel part of a living, integrated world.

Speaking of story, Horizon: Zero Dawn has an addictive main storyline. When I got engaged, I could not stop playing until I was too tired to keep my eyes open. The plot is so good and so well written that it genuinely surprised me.

Mad Max

Mad Max is one of those games I didn’t think I was going to enjoy until I played it. Max is not an overpowered hero or supernatural being like the main characters of many other open-world games in this list. Yet, he is a survivor who can brutally beat up dozens of bad guys on his own. That should be enough to make you feel like a badass.

If that wasn’t clear, in this game, you take the role of Mad Max. He is a guy who has gone through way too much. Now, there’s nothing Max wants more than leaving the past behind and finding some peace. Although Max doesn’t want to get involved in anyone’s mess, he is a reluctant hero who will end up helping those in need.

The Wastelands surprised me in this game. I was expecting it to be visually dull, but the developer nailed the looks and vibes. The Wastelands have personality, which is quite impressive to pull off. You meet people who need help, people who are trying to ambush you, and all sorts of things.

As for the rest of the gameplay, driving around is both needed and fun in Mad Max. You build your car from scrap, and then you add harpoons, spikes, and whatever else you can get with the scraps you find.

Mad Max is a beautiful game from the PS4 era that most fans of open-world games overlooked. It is an underrated gem that is fun and worth your time.

Prototype 2

In this game, you take the role of James Heller, your new infected protagonist wastelands of post-viral New York Zero. James will progressively assemble a massive genetic arsenal of devastating new bioweapons and abilities as they hunt, slaughter, and consume his way toward the ultimate goal: vengeance.

I know it sounds dramatic and edgy, but it was sort of a trend when Prototype first came out. This game feels like Spider-Man in some ways, but the violence and nonsensical upgrades feel more like Shadow of War.

The story isn’t great. Don’t play this game for that reason. Prototype 2 is all about cutting, slicing, smashing, and exploding things. It’s all about the power fantasy. If you want braindead, open-world fun where you get to explode things, this is the game for you. I mean it. This game is crazy fun.

When you start this game, you already feel like the main character is super strong, but you have no idea how crazy things get. The game knows how to make you feel powerful. Enemies that were once a pain will eventually become entirely trivial, and effortlessly destroying them feels fantastic.

Please note that this is an old game. It might have a few issues and won’t look as good as recently released titles. Still, it is one of the most fun games I’ve ever played.

Infamous: Second Son

Second Son picks up seven years after the protagonist Cole MacGrath sacrifices himself to save humanity from a plague and slay The Beast in Infamous 2. Conduits are sub-species of humans who possess superhuman abilities due to a Conduit Gene.

Much like the franchise’s previous games, Infamous Second Son is an open-world, action-adventure game in which you take the role of Conduit. However, since the events in Infamous 2, the American government has formed a task force to find and apprehend all surviving Conduits throughout the world.

Delsin Rowe, the main character, is a very powerful Conduit who can absorb the powers of others. In this game, he will control substances like smoke, neon, video, and concrete. Yeah, his abilities can become a bit weird, but that’s what makes the gameplay fun.

He can use his powers as weapons or skillfully move throughout the environment. He can even climb vertical surfaces like tall buildings, perform teleport-like dashes, and so much more.

Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered

Instead of Mordor and an overpowered wraith, Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered has New York and an overpowered Spider-Man. I mean it. Peter Parker is a veteran who uses a high-tech suit with many gadgets that make him even more powerful than his comic book version.

In this game, Peter Parker has been Spider-Man for 8 years. Peter is already a master at fighting crime. This is one of the excuses used in the game for having such a powerful Spider-Man. That premise allowed them to add mechanics that made Marvel’s Spider-Man one of the best superhero games on Steam.

Now, you get to feel the full force of the seasoned hero. The combat system should be familiar to fans of the genre. It’s the same that was made popular by Batman: Arkham Asylum. On top of that, you can perform exciting acrobatics and fluid web swinging mid-combat. You can even interact with the environment to add a bit of improvisation to the mix.

Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered is an ever better-looking version of the acclaimed PS4 game. However, you won’t be losing much if you play the original. It is pretty much the same game, except for the better textures and Peter’s face model.

Batman: Arkham City

Yes, Arkham Knight is the franchise’s latest game, but Arkham City is still my favorite. This game took the gameplay from Arkham Asylum and put it into an open-world setting. It worked so well that many games in this list copied this franchise in one way or another.

The Arkham saga’s second installment is every bit as majestic as its predecessor. It adds a ton of new material without departing too much from the concept that made the original game so successful.

The game’s well-written dialogues and characters are worth mentioning. Although this is an action game with stealth sections, it is refreshing to play a game that also delivers a good story. Most characters presented are remarkable, especially the villains.

Thanks to the complexity of the characters’ personalities, plot, and voice actors, it doesn’t take much to feel immersed in this game. In fact, it’s a bit hard to find something bad about this game unless you are nitpicking. The same goes for this game’s power fantasy. You do feel like Batman, which is why many players love the Arkham series.

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