Nearly Endless Gameplay

17 Best RPG Exploration Games

A top list of games with high replay value

A character on a hill looking out over a fantasy world
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Games for Days

Exploration games on PC take you on journeys through vast worlds, uncovering secrets hidden in every corner. These games are all about discovering new territories, solving puzzles, and immersing yourself in stories that unfold as you traverse through unknown lands.

They offer a unique blend of adventure and freedom, allowing players to experience the thrill of exploration from the comfort of their homes. Whether you’re navigating through mystical landscapes, ancient ruins, or futuristic cities, each game provides a distinct experience that catulates your imagination and tests your problem-solving skills.

With an endless array of environments to explore, these games guarantee hours (days, weeks, months?) of entertainment. Keep scrolling to dive into reviews of our top picks for the best exploration games PC has to offer and find your next adventure.

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1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt stands out as an unparalleled adventure game that invites players to explore a vast open world teeming with life and lore. This game, developed by CD Projekt Red, offers an expansive universe filled with rich narratives and diverse ecosystems that keep players engaged for hours on end.

Players embark on a journey through the beautifully crafted landscapes of The Witcher 3, encountering complex quests along the way. These quests are renowned for their depth, presenting morally ambiguous choices that have real consequences on the game’s world and its inhabitants. This level of interactivity adds a layer of realism and immersion rarely seen in other games.

At the heart of The Witcher 3 is its mature story, masterfully weaving together elements of folklore, politics, and personal dilemmas. Players take on the role of Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter in search of his adopted daughter. The narrative is rich with emotional depth, challenging players to make decisions that affect not only their own fate but also that of the people they encounter.

This game truly shines in its ability to blend engaging gameplay with a compelling narrative. Side quests are as meticulously designed as the main storyline, often unfolding into substantial adventures themselves. Each quest feels like a piece of a larger puzzle, contributing to the overall experience and understanding of the game’s world.

2. Skyrim

Skyrim stands as a monumental achievement in the realm of RPGs, offering players an expansive fantasy world brimming with opportunity and adventure. This classic game sets you free in the province of Skyrim, a place where every corner holds a new discovery, and the map stretches far beyond the horizon, inviting exploration.

Players start their journey by customizing their character from a diverse selection of races and skill sets. This level of personalization ensures that each playthrough can be tailored to fit your unique style, whether you prefer stealthy archery, powerful magic, or brute force with weapons. The beauty of Skyrim lies in its ability to mold itself around your preferences and actions.

The world is rich with content, featuring countless quests, dungeons teeming with danger, and secrets hidden in the most unexpected places. Every dungeon dive offers a mix of thrilling combat, intricate puzzles, and valuable loot, making each one a memorable experience. The freedom to explore at your own pace means you can follow the main storyline or venture off into the wilderness to discover what lies beyond the next mountain.

Updates over the years have only added to Skyrim’s depth, introducing new features like house building which allows players to establish their own little place within the vast world. These updates keep the game fresh and ensure that there’s always something new to discover.

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3. Dark Souls III

Dark Souls III stands out as a masterpiece in the exploration game genre on PC, offering players an unforgettable journey through beautifully grim landscapes. As you traverse these haunting environments, you’ll encounter a variety of challenging enemies and bosses that demand your full attention and skill.

The game is renowned for its refined combat system, which places a high value on patience, timing, and strategy. This system ensures that every victory feels earned and satisfying, pushing players to learn from their defeats and strategically plan their next moves. The satisfaction of overcoming what at first seems insurmountable is a key part of what makes Dark Souls III so rewarding.

Another captivating aspect of Dark Souls III is its method of storytelling. The game expertly uses environmental storytelling and NPC interactions to unravel the cryptic lore of the Dark Souls universe. Players are encouraged to pay close attention to their surroundings and the characters they meet to piece together the rich backstory that underpins the world. This approach invites players into a deeper engagement with the game, turning each playthrough into a detective work as much as it is an adventure.

4. Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition empowers players to lead the Inquisition, a monumental task aimed at restoring order in a world teetering on the edge of chaos. This game stands out for its deep narrative, where every choice made has significant consequences, shaping both the world and the story’s outcome. Players find themselves fully immersed in a richly detailed world, making decisions that feel impactful and meaningful.

One of the game’s most compelling features is the ability to recruit and build relationships with a diverse cast of companions. These characters bring their own stories, motivations, and skills to the table, enriching the gameplay experience. As players progress through the game, they can develop these relationships further, which not only affects the narrative but also opens up new ways to tackle challenges.

Making impactful decisions is at the heart of Dragon Age: Inquisition. The game brilliantly intertwines player choices with the overarching storyline, ensuring that no two playthroughs are exactly alike. This level of personalization adds immense replay value and keeps players engaged for hours on end.

5. Divinity: Original Sin 2

Divinity: Original Sin 2 stands out in the realm of exploration games on PC for its deeply interactive world. Players can manipulate or affect nearly everything within its environment using magic, showcasing an unparalleled level of freedom in gameplay. This feature alone sets it apart from many other titles, offering a unique experience where creativity and experimentation are rewarded.

The game also excels in its tactical turn-based combat system. It places a heavy emphasis on elemental interactions and strategic planning, challenging players to think several steps ahead of their opponents. This combat style not only tests your quick thinking but also encourages you to consider the environment as a tool to gain an advantage over enemies.

Another remarkable aspect of Divinity: Original Sin 2 is its storytelling flexibility, especially when playing in single-player or co-op multiplayer modes. Each player can craft their own story, choosing from unique origin stories and quests that intertwine with the main narrative. This level of personalization ensures that no two playthroughs are exactly alike, significantly enhancing replay value.

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6. Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn takes players on an unforgettable journey through a post-apocalyptic world where lush nature has overtaken the remnants of a once-thriving civilization. This unique setting is not just a backdrop but a key player in the game’s narrative and mechanics. The contrast between the vibrant, overgrown landscapes and the decayed ruins of skyscrapers creates an atmosphere that is both haunting and beautiful.

At the heart of Horizon Zero Dawn is its protagonist, Aloy, a skilled hunter embroiled in a quest that intertwines her destiny with the secrets of the fallen world. Players get to explore diverse environments, from snowy mountains to dense forests, each teeming with mysterious robotic creatures. These machines, ranging from herd-like grazers to towering behemoths, provide not only a challenge but also an opportunity for players to employ strategic combat and hunting tactics. Utilizing a variety of weapons—from bows and arrows to traps and explosives—Aloy can exploit each machine’s weaknesses to survive.

The narrative deepens as Aloy uncovers clues about the downfall of the previous world and her own origins. This blend of personal discovery and broader mystery propels the game forward, engaging players with well-crafted storytelling that balances action with emotional depth.

7. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Embark on an epic journey in ancient Greece as a mercenary exploring both land and sea in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. This game stands out for its vast open world that is rich in detail and full of life, capturing the essence of ancient Greece with precision and beauty. As players traverse through cities, battle on the high seas, and climb the snowy peaks of Olympus, they are treated to a visually stunning experience that is both immersive and captivating.

One of the game’s unique features is the ability to influence the course of history through choices in dialogues and actions. This level of player agency adds depth to the gameplay, making each decision feel impactful and meaningful. Whether it’s siding with Sparta or Athens in the Peloponnesian War or deciding the fate of key characters, your actions have real consequences that can alter the game’s ending.

Combat in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is both dynamic and engaging, with a particular highlight being naval combat. Taking to the Aegean Sea in a customizable warship brings thrilling battles against pirates and Athenian fleets, adding a layer of strategic depth to the game. On land, players can lead assaults on fortified locations using a combination of stealth, archery, and melee combat to emerge victorious.

Uncovering hidden treasures and delving into Greek myths add elements of mystery and adventure, encouraging exploration beyond the main storyline. From finding legendary armor sets to battling mythical creatures like Medusa and the Minotaur, these quests provide challenging yet rewarding experiences that enrich the overall gameplay.

8. NieR: Automata

NieR: Automata takes players on a journey through a desolate Earth, where they navigate the challenges faced by androids on a mission to save humanity. This game stands out for its deeply immersive storyline, which unfolds across multiple playthroughs. Each new round of gameplay reveals additional layers of narrative, offering fresh perspectives and uncovering hidden truths that keep players engaged.

The character development in NieR: Automata is remarkably rich, with each android featuring a unique backstory and personality. These characters embody the struggle for survival and quest for meaning in a world overrun by machine lifeforms. The game’s ability to blend these stories into the larger narrative arc is a testament to its intricate design and storytelling prowess.

Combat in NieR: Automata is both fast-paced and fluid, providing an exhilarating experience as players face off against a variety of machine lifeforms and towering bosses. The combat system is accessible yet deep, allowing both newcomers and seasoned gamers to enjoy the thrill of battle. With each encounter, players can expect a challenging yet rewarding experience that tests their skills and strategy.

9. Fallout 4

Survive and rebuild in a post-apocalyptic world where every choice you make can shape the future. In Fallout 4, players find themselves in a wasteland full of moral dilemmas and factions vying for power. This isn’t just about survival; it’s about making your mark on a world that has seen better days.

Customization is at the heart of Fallout 4. From fine-tuning your character to shaping companions and settlements, the game offers an unparalleled level of control. Whether you’re tweaking appearances or assigning roles within your growing community, every decision contributes to your unique journey through the ruins of Boston.

Exploration is rewarded with rich storytelling and unexpected encounters. Hidden locations dot the landscape, each with its own stories waiting to be uncovered. The freedom to explore at your own pace ensures that no two adventures are alike. You could stumble upon a hidden bunker on one playthrough and miss it entirely on the next, making each experience uniquely yours.

10. Bloodborne

Bloodborne invites players into the gothic, nightmarish city of Yharnam, a place cursed with a mysterious bloodborne disease. This game stands out for its unique blend of horror, mystery, and action-packed gameplay. Players must navigate through dark, foreboding streets and buildings, facing off against terrifying creatures and unraveling the city’s secrets.

One of the game’s most praised aspects is its fast-paced, aggressive combat system. Unlike many other games where defense might be a viable strategy, Bloodborne encourages players to be proactive and daring. The combat is not just about attacking but also about adapting to enemies’ moves and mastering the art of evasion. Success in battle rewards players with deeper exploration opportunities and progression through the game’s enigmatic storyline.

The lore of Bloodborne is as intricate as it is cryptic. Instead of direct exposition, the story unfolds through environmental clues, item descriptions, and dialogues with non-playable characters (NPCs). This method encourages players to piece together the plot themselves, leading to various interpretations and theories within the gaming community.

11. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild redefines exploration in video games, offering players unprecedented freedom to traverse the vast and beautiful kingdom of Hyrule. This game stands out for its innovative use of physics-based gameplay mechanics, allowing players to approach puzzles and combat in endlessly creative ways.

Exploring the lands between towering mountains and deep valleys is not just about moving from point A to B; it’s an adventure filled with discovery and surprise. Players can glide over vast landscapes, climb any surface, and use the environment to their advantage during battles or when solving puzzles. The dynamic weather system and day-night cycle further immerse players into this expansive world.

At the heart of the game is a compelling story that unfolds as you explore. Players piece together the history of Link, Zelda, and the fall of Hyrule by recovering memories scattered throughout the land. This narrative approach encourages exploration as a means to uncover deeper layers of the story, making every discovery feel personal and rewarding.

12. Disco Elysium

Disco Elysium stands out as a groundbreaking narrative RPG that immerses players in the role of a detective entangled in a complex murder mystery. Unlike traditional exploration games, it focuses heavily on dialogue and skill checks, offering a richly woven story that advances through player choices and interactions. This unique approach ensures that every decision matters, making the gameplay deeply personal and engaging.

The game introduces a distinctive skill system, allowing players to develop their detective in ways that directly influence how they interact with the world and its inhabitants. From persuasion to physical strength, each skill opens up new paths and possibilities, ensuring no two playthroughs are alike. This system not only adds depth to character development but also enriches the storytelling by providing diverse outcomes based on player strategies.

Revachol, the city at the heart of Disco Elysium, is a character in its own right. Its districts are teeming with life, stories, and mysteries waiting to be uncovered. Players can expect to spend hours exploring its corners, talking to its citizens, each bringing their own perspectives and tales to the narrative fabric of the game. This level of interaction adds layers to the exploration, making every conversation an opportunity to learn more about this vibrant world.

13. Monster Hunter: World

Embark on thrilling hunts in a game that sets you on a quest to track and slay monstrous creatures. In “Monster Hunter: World,” players dive into diverse habitats, each teeming with formidable beasts that challenge your hunting skills. The game’s vast world is alive and pulsates with opportunities for breathtaking encounters.

Utilizing an extensive arsenal of weapons becomes crucial as each monster presents a unique challenge. The variety in weaponry and gear allows players to tailor their hunting strategies, ensuring no two hunts are the same. Whether you prefer the brute force of a great sword or the precision of a bow, adapting your approach based on your prey’s weaknesses and behaviors adds depth to the gameplay.

For those who thrive in teamwork, “Monster Hunter: World” offers a robust cooperative multiplayer experience. You can join forces with other hunters, combining your strengths and strategies to take down monsters more efficiently. This social aspect not only enhances the fun but also opens up new tactics for tackling the game’s toughest challenges.

14. Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

Sailing the high seas takes on a thrilling dimension in Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire. Players become captains navigating their ships across a treacherous archipelago, where every decision can lead to new adventures or unseen dangers. This unique feature sets Deadfire apart, immersing players in a world where their leadership directly influences their journey and the fate of their crew.

Combat in Deadfire is not just about swinging swords or casting spells; it’s a deep, tactical affair combining magic, skills, and physical prowess. Players must think several steps ahead, considering positioning, abilities cooldowns, and the synergies between party members. This strategic depth ensures that battles are not only challenging but also rewarding, as players outsmart their foes with clever tactics rather than brute force.

Choices in Deadfire carry weight. The game’s branching narrative unfolds based on player decisions, affecting the world and its inhabitants profoundly. This level of influence ensures that no two playthroughs are alike, as each choice can lead to different outcomes in quests, alliances, and even the game’s ending. It’s this dynamic storytelling that enriches the experience, making players truly feel like they’re shaping the destiny of Deadfire’s world.

15. Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider marks a pivotal chapter in Lara Croft’s life, showcasing her transformation into the iconic Tomb Raider. This game invites players to immerse themselves in thrilling exploration and adventure, setting it apart from its predecessors.

Players get to traverse through deadly jungles and mysterious underwater environments, each meticulously designed to challenge and awe. The game’s world is rich with hidden tombs, each presenting unique puzzles and traps that test your problem-solving skills and dexterity.

One of the game’s standout features is its emphasis on using guerrilla tactics in combat. Players can leverage the environment to their advantage, setting up ambushes or avoiding conflict altogether. This strategic depth adds a layer of realism and choice, making every encounter feel dynamic and engaging.

Moreover, Shadow of the Tomb Raider does not shy away from showcasing breathtaking visuals. Whether it’s diving into a sunken ruin or weaving through lush foliage, every scene is crafted with attention to detail, enhancing the overall experience.

16. GreedFall

GreedFall transports players into a unique world inspired by 17th-century Europe, blending elements of magic, treachery, and ancient secrets waiting to be uncovered. This game stands out for its rich narrative depth and the freedom it offers players to shape their journey. Whether through diplomacy, deception, or force, your actions significantly influence the story and your relationships with companions.

Customization is at the heart of GreedFall’s appeal. The flexible class system allows for a high degree of character customization, ensuring that no two playthroughs are exactly alike. Players can tailor their skills, spells, and abilities to fit their preferred style of play—whether that be engaging in direct combat or using strategy and cunning to overcome obstacles.

Tactical combat in GreedFall is more than just swinging swords or casting spells; it requires thought and planning. The game rewards those who take the time to learn enemy weaknesses and use their environment to gain an advantage. This strategic depth adds a satisfying layer of challenge that keeps combat fresh and engaging.

The game’s world is vast and filled with mysteries. From dense forests to bustling cities, each location is packed with stories to discover and quests that often present moral dilemmas. These choices can have lasting impacts on the game’s world, adding weight to every decision you make.

17. Outer Worlds

Outer Worlds takes players on a journey through a satirical sci-fi universe, where every choice can significantly impact the storyline, character development, and the ultimate fate of the colony. This game stands out for its unique blend of humor, deep narrative, and player-driven outcomes.

As you navigate through this vibrant world, you’ll encounter various factions vying for power. Your interactions with these groups not only shape your path but also bring to light the game’s critique on corporate culture and consumerism. The depth of choice in Outer Worlds allows for a highly personalized experience, making each playthrough uniquely rewarding.

Combat in Outer Worlds is equally engaging, offering a tactical approach to encounters. Players have access to an array of weapons and abilities, enabling them to tailor their combat style to their preferences. Whether you prefer sneaking around enemies or confronting them head-on, the game provides ample opportunity to experiment and refine your tactics.

The weird west aesthetic further enriches the exploration aspect, blending futuristic elements with rugged frontier themes. This setting, combined with the game’s emphasis on exploration across various platforms, ensures that adventure seekers will find plenty to discover in this richly detailed world.

Looking for an Endless Adventure?

Exploration games on PC offer you worlds where every corner hides a story, and the titles we’ve covered are your gateways to adventures untold.

From the rich, detailed landscapes of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt to the mysterious, alien worlds of Outer Worlds, each game invites you into realms where your choices shape the journey. Whether you’re battling ancient dragons in Skyrim, uncovering secrets in Disco Elysium, or surviving the harsh realities of Dark Souls III, these games promise hours of immersive gameplay.

They’re not just games; they’re experiences that test your resolve, reward your curiosity, and expand your imagination.

Dive into any of these masterpieces, and let the adventure captivate you. Remember, each game is a doorway to a new world waiting to be explored by you.

So, grab your gear, choose your title, and embark on a journey that will redefine your gaming experience.

The path to unparalleled adventure is just a click away.

Ready for the challenge?

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