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15 games like Skyrim to scratch your open-world itch

Skyrim was a one-of-a-kind title that blew the collective minds of gamers from day one. Here are some games like Skyrim that match the feeling.

So, you’ve started a new game in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for the 150th time, and you think to yourself, ‘surely there are other games like Skyrim that I can play?’

Visually stunning, immersive, and escapist games like Horizon Zero Dawn, Skyrim, or Breath of the Wild seem to be enjoying a special moment in the sun. These open worlds that developers have created serve as much-needed tethers to different realities; ones where you can play a hero, a villain, or simply marvel at your surroundings.

And the answer is no, there aren’t any games exactly like Skyrimbut here’s a list of some games that are similar and just as good in their own right.

Shadow Screenshot

Fallout 4

When talking about games similar to Bethesda’s Skyrim, you can’t look past the developer’s other flagship series, Fallout. Affectionately known to fans as “Skyrim with radiation”, the game shares the same open-world, action role-playing conventions.

While there’s a bit of a difference between the magic and swords of Skyrim and the guns and atom bombs of Fallout, there’s one key part of the game that links them above all else: the character customisation options (and the giant, scary bugs). You can travel freely wherever your Vault-Tec clad feet take you, engaging in whatever quests you feel like as you level up and take on the post-apocalyptic world.

Fallout 4 is available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Since Bethesda’s acquisition of Microsoft, it’s also included in Xbox Game Pass.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

One of the top picks on this list is Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Aside from the fact that the game is absolutely stunning with amazing gameplay, Breath of the Wild has fantastic similarities to everything we know and love about Skyrim. Open-world? Check. Magic? Double check. Cool swords? Triforce check.

Many, many side quests to lose yourself in while you stubbornly ignore the looming main quest? You know it.

Run, ride horses, and glide across Hyrule as you take down monsters and complete quests at your leisure – as long as you can ignore Zelda’s frequent distress signals. Save civilians, dress up in funky little outfits to protect yourself from the extreme climates, and ignore everything bad in the world as you try to figure out how to cook something that won’t just turn out as more Dubious Food.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is available for the Nintendo Switch and Wii U.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is stacked with Skyrim-worthy moments. While there isn’t as much flexibility in character customisation and there are many, many more cutscenes, The Witcher still fits in this list very well. Rather than the wide, open-world sandbox of Skyrim, this game is story-driven in a way Bethesda’s title isn’t.

Players traverse the map between plot points, able to hunt wildlife and gather ingredients for alchemy and health restoration. The playable magic is also more limited than in Skyrim, but if you’re a fan of more heavy hitting characters with big swords, the melee combat is definitely for you. The Witcher 3 really matches Skyrim’s aesthetics, above all else. Beautiful views, horrifying monsters, heaps of leather armour and shiny weapons… the list goes on.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S, Nintendo Switch, and Microsoft Windows.

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition is a semi-open world action RPG, coming third in BioWare’s Dragon Age franchise. The game’s open world isn’t quite as free range as Skyrim, but the map is made up of extremely large regions, each with their own purpose.

Inquisition allows for a lot of character customisation, from race to appearance, character class, combat style, and attributes. You can even customise your followers. Just like Skyrim, players have the ability to craft their own weapons and armour, and while there is a core plot with a linear timeline, players have a lot of options as to how they get there.

Inquisition is also a very popular game due to its lore aspects, characters and the possible relationships. To top it all off, as you might guess from the title, it’s got dragons!

Dragon Age: Inquisition is available on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Legend of Grimrock 1 and 2

I’ll be honest; the Grimrock games are not like the others on this list. They’re not open-world, the character creation is pretty basic, and there’s no real character interactions to speak of. What they do have going for them, however, are their dungeons.

The first thing that pops to mind when you see these stone walls, metal spikes, giant spiders and other various baddies is the Skyrim dungeons. You even play prisoners in both Grimrock and Skyrim. As stated in the trailer, “the balance between exciting combat, thought-provoking puzzle work, and open-ended exploration is stellar.”

Legend of Grimrock is available on Microsoft Windows, Linux, and iOS. Legend of Grimrock 2 is available on Microsoft Windows and OS X.

Horizon Zero Dawn

In Horizon Zero Dawn, you play as Aloy, a hunter in a world where nature and machines are intertwined on the deepest level. As you explore the open world of Colorado and Utah in the 31st century, you can discover new and interesting locations, take on side quests, and try to uncover the mystery of Aloy’s past.

While there isn’t a lot of character customisation available for Aloy, players can use scavenged resources to craft within the game, modifying weapons, outfits, and various other items. The game is set on a pre-determined plot, but you can choose how you get there. Where you go, what you fight, how you interact with the NPCs – it’s all up to you.

One of the differences to Skyrim that fans discovered is the lack of romance options within the game, but that’s just something that comes with playing a pre-set protagonist.

Horizon Zero Dawn is available for PS4 and Microsoft Windows.

Divinity: Original Sin 2

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is an open-world RPG where you fight against the Void to become the next Divine. While the style of game is quite different to Skyrim, in that it’s a turn-based game with the option of playing solo or with a party of up to four, it definitely matches Skyrim’s vibes.

A character with powers laying dormant within, travelling across the wide map to level up and become the closest thing to a God on the mortal realm? Feels like a Dragonborn to me. You can choose from five different races for your characters, with different play styles and combat abilities among them.

The character interactions within the game are also another positive point: “every member of your party can be [a] romantic interest, ally, friend… or foe”. The game is massively open-world, with the ability to go anywhere on the map you want, interact with the NPCs however you want, and find your way though the game how you want to play, rather than following a set plot.

Divinity: Original Sin II is available on Microsoft Windows, PS4, Xbox One, macOS, and Nintendo Switch.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

When you talk open-world gaming, you would be remiss to leave Assassin’s Creed Odyssey out. Not only is the map huge, it’s filled with various quests here and there for you to complete… or avoid. There is a main quest, but you can still plug hours of fun into the game while keeping to the spirit of Skyrim and ignoring it.

While Kassandra – or Alexios, if you choose – isn’t throwing fireballs around or summoning Atronachs, the play style is diverse and adaptable. You can play as a long range archer, sneak around with your assassin stealth skills, or just go full-on warrior and charge in with your Legendary Hammer of Jason and a war cry.

Take sides in the civil war with the Imperials or the Stormcloaks – I mean the Athenians or the Spartans – or stay as impartial as possible while still kicking major butt. Customise your weapons and armour, find insane enemies to fight, and try not to fall off too many cliffs. While there are no dragons, you can have a horse, and there are quite a few romance options if you’re a fan of them. One of the best parts of the game is your ship, where you can pick who to have on board and what colours you fly as you sail along to the lovely sound of your singing crew.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, and Google Stadia. Grab it via the Ubisoft store.

Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus is not a conventional open-world game, and it exists in this list less as one of the games like Skyrim, but more-so as a game that must be mentioned. Unlike Skyrim, where the open world revolves around the Dragonborn, in Shadow of the Colossus, the world almost exists as a character of its own.

Every aspect of the game exists to make the character seem small. The Colossi themselves, the dilapidated shrines, mountain ridges, fields and even the trees are all there to make you feel insignificant. For its time, the map is quite large, and every aspect of it is designed to make it feel gargantuan. You will never reach those mountains in the distance, and you are always travelling between fights, but there’s just something about this game that gives players the same feel as Skyrim.

Originally released in 2005 for the PS2 (and undoubtedly one of the best PS2 games ever made), the Shadow of the Colossus remastered version is available on PS4.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

As we continue this list, how could we not mention Skyrim’s predecessor, Oblivion? It’s an open-world, RPG developed by Bethesda in 2006. While the graphics aren’t quite at Skyrim level, it’s a quality game.

Set in Cyrodiil as opposed to Skyrim, you aren’t burdened with the title of Dragonborn. Oblivion is known for its quality plot and thoroughly interesting storylines and character interactions. The character creation is just as great as Skyrim’s and the diverse abilities you can play around with are just as fun to explore. Sometimes when you love a game as much as Skyrim, you’ve got to go back to its roots and see where it started to appreciate it even more. Or maybe you’ll jump camp and find yourself an avid Oblivion fan!

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion can be accessed on Microsoft Windows, PS3, and Xbox 360.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

By Alys Oldham

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning shares plenty of similarities with The Elder Scrolls franchise, with Oblivion’s lead designer Ken Rolston even being involved in its creation. It might be one of the only games released by 38 Studios before they went bankrupt, but the developers sure did put everything into this fantasy RPG.

The central story is pretty dramatic – you feature as the Fateless One who has been resurrected into a ravaged world to change fate itself – but the mechanics of the game will feel familiar to any Skyrim fans. Similarly, this open-world adventure has extreme potential for character customisation, rich storytelling, immersive combat, and significant player choices, so there’s endless possibilities to explore.

While the original game was released in 2012, mere months after Skyrim, a remastered version aptly titled Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is now available if you want a throwback RPG that has more refined gameplay and visuals.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is available on Windows, PS3 and Xbox 360, and Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is available on Windows, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.

Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen

By Alys Oldham

There is one very obvious element that Skyrim and Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen have in common – dragons. You play as the Arisen, who has been resurrected to defeat the dragon who stole their heart. With plenty of fantasy creatures to take on as you explore plentiful dungeons, naturally including the titular dragon, this game is perfect if you didn’t get enough dragon hunting in Skyrim.

Winged beasts aren’t where the similarities end, however. Lovers of character customisation can be sure to find plenty of options to perfect your character’s look, with a familiar system involving various factions to choose from with unique combat systems.

This third-person, open-world game by Capcom is full of exciting combat and endless side quests, so the expansive fantasy world is sure to keep you occupied with plenty of entertainment much akin to Skyrim.

Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is available on PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Switch, and Windows.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

By Alys Oldham

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a lot closer to reality than Skyrim, yet it still feels similar. This action RPG fits more so into the historical fiction genre rather than fantasy, despite not representing any real events.

The story-driven open world includes all the typical elements of an immersive RPG game, placing players into a medieval setting filled with realistic threats facing the fictional Kingdom of Bohemia. It essentially takes Skyrim‘s classic formula and adapts it to create a more authentic historical depiction of Europe during the Holy Roman Empire.

While the first-person gameplay feels reminiscent of Skyrim, the dedication to realism extends to a nuanced combat style and additional survival mechanics. Being released in 2018, Kingdom Come: Deliverance has clearly learned from the RPGs that came before and built upon them to create a mature interpretation of the typically fantasy-filled genre.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is available on Windows, PS4, and Xbox One.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War

By Alys Oldham

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is set in the fantasy world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings franchise, so you know it’s going to be a massive adventure filled with magic and monsters alike. The action-adventure RPG is the sequel to Shadow of Mordor, and follows its narrative with the addition of the Nemesis system to generate endless possibilities for the personalities, traits, and stories of enemies you might face.

Much like in Skyrim, you can expect to encounter all kinds of characters across the open world, from elves to orcs. Each of these unique NPCs can have surprising levels of charm despite often having no impact on the main story, often starring in their own unexpected adventures that the player can influence.

It goes without saying that Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is definitely worth playing (alongside its predecessor) for fans of Skyrim who are also interested in delving deeper into the dark, fantastical world created by the Lord of the Rings novels and movies.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is available on PS4, Xbox One, and Windows.

The Elder Scrolls Online

By Alys Oldham

If you want to be immersed into the world of Skyrim on a bigger scale than before, The Elder Scrolls Online is a no-brainer. Some RPG enthusiasts might be hesitant to step into the world of MMORPGs, but there’s no better transition game than one that features such a familiar, beloved universe.

The game still has all the features you expect from a great RPG – the expansive fantasy world is just populated with players from all across the real world. You can expect just as much customisation of your character’s appearance, skills, weapons and style of play as in Skyrim, with even greater variety in who you encounter and the stories you can create together.

Since a rough entry to the realm of online games in 2014, Bethesda have worked hard to continuously refine the system and create an epic MMO world to rival any other. Skyrim loyalists can feel confident knowing the game’s perspective, fonts and user interface have been carried through to the online game, as well as notable game elements like the races, combat and questlines, so this vast online world is simply expanding a familiar adventure.

The Elder Scrolls Online is available on PS4, Xbox One, Windows and Mac OS.