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20 Best Games Like Skyrim for Sandbox Enthusiasts

With Skyrim’s release back in 2011, the open-world genre got a massive boost, and the genre got one of its biggest giants. However, it’s been years now, and there are contenders to the throne. In this article, we present the top 20 games like Skyrim. Take note that these games are not carbon copies of Bethesda’s masterpiece. All these games share elements that make these games either play or feel like Skyrim. But first, what exactly is Skyrim?

 

What Is ‘Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’?

games like Skyrim
Photo from Bethesda

 

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an open-world action-adventure game set in the land of Skyrim. Just when the Imperial vs. Stormcloak war is about to happen, and the dragons under Alduin are coming back from the depths of time. You, the Dragonborn, must take a side and defeat Alduin once and for all. Pretty heavy stuff if it weren’t for the fact that you can delay the inevitable confrontation by doing other things.

Overall, the game’s open world is what gives it its massive draw. It also helps the game’s longevity that it’s very moddable. Anyhow, let’s go about listing 20 games that are like Skyrim.

Checkout Skyrim on Amazon

 

20 Best Games Like Skyrim

games like skyrim
Photo by Robots

 

If you’re tired of roaming around the northmost province of Tamriel, here are 20 of the best games that play and feel like Skyrim.

 

1. Fallout: New Vegas

First off on our list of the best Skyrim-like games is Fallout: New Vegas. Don’t get us wrong, New Vegas is old, very old. Not that it stops its story from standing out amongst other Fallout Games, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously at times. There’s always going to be a chuckle or five when you play New Vegas, and the sheer freedom that the game gives you during the time of its release made it a classic. If you haven’t played New Vegas yet, do yourself a favor and buy the game. It’s really good.

 

2. Elden Ring

FromSoftware has always been a master of the Souls genre, given that they’ve made it popular. From the classic Demons Souls to Dark Souls 3. However, fusing this formula into an open world was something of a challenge, which led to 2022’s Elden Ring. The game is set in the Lands Between, and players control the Tarnished, individuals spurned from Grace. Now, that Grace is returned and gave them a mission to collect the scattered Great Runes. Their goal is to restore the Elden Ring and become the Elden Lord, and it wouldn’t be easy.

Elden Ring’s open world is vast and full of secrets. However, be warned that every place in the Lands Between has its own set of dangers, large, small, and environmental. Eventually, you’ll explore every nook and cranny, fight epic bosses, go through quests both large, small, and strange, and learn about the world.

Oh, and Fashion Souls are still a thing, and it’s very awesome. All the armor, weapons, and gear you could ever want. Seriously, try out Elden Ring. Even if you’re a first-time Souls player, the challenge, and the sweet rewards, are well worth it.

 

3. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Next on the list is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Now, the LoZ series has always been a series that’s focused on exploring the land and going on fantastical adventures. Thus, it comes as no surprise that open-world elements will be added to the game in full eventually. A fully open-world Zelda game, however, was not something that came into Nintendo’s minds until Breath of the Wild came out, and oh boy did it make an impact.

From sales, acclaim, and overall awesomeness, the sheer scale of the game is mind-boggling. Mostly because such a large open world was able to run well on the Nintendo Switch. However, it also looks well-lived, with various NPCs running around the wide map. Yes, some places look barren, but it heightens the game’s sense of freedom. Combine this with interesting combat mechanics, awesome puzzle-solving, and the fact that you can do anything to destroy your enemies. Well, you can see why people are clamoring for the game’s sequel. And if we’re being honest, we are too.

 

4. Saints Row 4

Next is Saints Row 4, and this one is a bit of a doozy due to the weird direction that the reboot has taken. However, the games before the reboot are wild and proud of it. Think the Grand Theft Auto games, but ramp up the shenanigans by a factor of 1000. Saints Row 4 however, added superpowers, which makes the game a chaotic brew of gangs, powers, and sheer mayhem. Steelport is never the same.

Of course, this adds to Saints Row 4’s entertainment value. After all, nothing’s as hilarious as punting someone with a massive violet dildo that you swung with all your superpowered strength. There’s still the usual Saints Row here, but the added powers just made it even nuttier. Overall, if you’re looking for wacky GTA (that’s not modded, of course), then go for Saints Row 4.

 

5. Genshin Impact

For those that lament the fact that Breath of the Wild doesn’t exist on PC, PlayStation, or Xbox, worry not. Because Genshin Impact is here. Created by miHoYo/Hoyoverse, think of this game as Waifu Breath of the Wild. Gacha mechanics abound, but the game overall has some good mechanics, and unique gameplay when you go to each of the game’s various regions.

Mondstadt for example is a great starting location, full of places to explore and do usual open-world stuff. Inazuma is an archipelago, with each island in the chain holding unique dangers (Especially Tsurumi and Seirai Island), et cetera. There are a lot of things to explore in Genshin, and given that we just got to Sumeru, we still have a long way to go. If you want to be part of the journey, you best go for the game now. New characters, events, stories, and more will come later on in the years. Oh, and this game’s free-to-play as well, with monetization mechanics thanks to Gacha.

 

6. Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Next is Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which isn’t a fully open-world game per se, due to it being divided into several mini regions. However, this worked to its advantage as Wild Hunt gives each area their unique details and areas filled with enemies and monsters to defeat. It feels like a fully open world even though it isn’t. From Novigrad’s populated areas, the plains of Velen where corpses pile up everywhere, woods with forgotten villages and decrepit cemeteries.

All told, you really can’t go wrong in where you want to go on the Witcher 3. If you want to go somewhere, chances are there’s something there, which is this game’s greatest strength. There’s always going to be a new character to meet, new quests to do, beasts to kill, and adventures to encounter. Oh, and the PC version can be modded to do some cool things, and the various DLCs are finger-licking good. Seriously, get Witcher 3: Wild Hunt if you haven’t yet. It’s well worth the money, and they usually come on sale on Steam.

 

7. Sea of Thieves

For those that want to sail the 7 seas, battle enormous monsters, and take treasures uncounted, then Sea of Thieves is their jam. The game offers players a cornucopia of an open world that has anything and everything a pirate lover can like. You can do anything, from forming a crew with friends to taking on merchant’s vessels to get their booty. Explore treasure islands, hell you can even fight mythological creatures like the Kraken. Sea of Thieves will give you the world to build your legend in. In addition to this, it’s been given constant updates since it was released, which is another point in this great game’s favor.

 

8. Horizon Zero Dawn

For those that had a PS4 back in 2017 Horizon Zero Dawn was one of the best games to ever come out for the console. After all, the ability to destroy/ride giant robot dinosaurs doesn’t come by willy-nilly. Players play as Aloy, who goes on a quest to find out why the machines are trying to erase humanity from the census and then stop them. However, there are a few twists that make this game particularly spicy, and the combat is top-notch. All told, another must-have for any player. Oh, and it’s on PC now after years of PlayStation exclusivity, which means mods. And uncapped frame rates.

 

9. GTA V

Then we have Grand Theft Auto 5, or GTA 5 for short, the GTA Series has always been Rockstar’s crème de la crème. However, GTA 5 can be considered their best game yet. It led the way to 3D open world but added the GTA spin to it. From gang wars to interesting quests, all the way to UFOs and Bigfoot. Combine this with the utter hugeness of the game world, a metric ton of content, and even GTA Online. And you have a game that still has a lot of players even though the game’s half a decade old now.

Also, the game is incredibly moddable. Like, you can create a zombie apocalypse game with GTA V and have full-fledged quests on it. It’s kinda hilarious actually, how much the game can be modded. But it adds to GTA V’s charm. Speaking of zombie apocalypse games…

 

10. Days Gone

Next on the games like Skyrim list, we do have a zombie apocalypse game: Days Gone, an open-world third-person shooter game with adventure and survival horror elements. Think open world World War Z with the zombies running towards you in an unending tide. Players take the role of a biker named Deacon St. John. Why he’s named like that I have no idea, but his story’s interesting and he has a cool bike. Said bike is how you explore the open world, and it’s practically your lifeline. Your bike can break down, it can run out of fuel, and you need to maintain it. If you’re unlucky, you might run into the game’s zombie hordes, or, by their name in the game, freakers.

Still, this is an open world, and there are a lot of secret nooks and crannies for players to look around in. For the ones that know what they’re doing, they can find great things. For those that don’t, that’s just fine. However, you will have to brave the horde if you want to get good. Still, Days Gone is a great zombie game experience that has its shining moments. But it can get a bit stale once you have a rhythm.

 

11. Watch Dogs 2

Now, GTA V epitomized the city-based open-world genre based in the modern era. Thus, it can be a bit difficult to find a niche here. Ubisoft however, managed to do so when they made Watch Dogs 2. How? By adding in hacking, political shenanigans, and player invasions. The last one’s weird but it somehow works so we’re adding it in.

You play as Marcus, a hacker who got into a spot of trouble by being involved with DedSec. The main draw, however, is the fact that all the things around you can be hacked now. From phones to security cameras, if you’ve upgraded enough, you can hack everything. And when fighting enemies, you can also do some pretty hilarious things. Chase scene? Hack the sewer grid to spew out a geyser of water below the car chasing you. Need to go stealthy? Hack the electricity grid and turn off the lights. It just makes the game more fun overall, which is the main draw of Watch Dogs 2.

 

12. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Some gamers don’t like to go out on enemy encampments all guns blazing. This is pretty understandable, as you have to deal with loads of mooks with various weapons. Thus, stealth is a great option, and Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain is a great showing of this. Non-lethal is a viable idea to go for, and you can quite literally recruit your enemies by strapping them to balloons and sending them to the stratosphere. There’s a lot of cool stuff you can do here, and there’s even some Metal Gear action going on as well. Oh, and Quiet. We can never go about Phantom Pain without mentioning Quiet.

All in all, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a great game. A bit incomplete given that Kojima wasn’t able to finish it, but it’s a great game still. There are a lot of references to previous games in the series, a bit of comedy, a lot of tears, and action galore. A great pickup for fans of the series and open-world games in general.

 

13. Fallout 4

The next game we have on this list is Fallout 4, which starts with a massive nuclear war. Then, your baby got kidnapped and your wife killed, which is another conundrum. Now you might be tempted to go in, kick-ass, and take names, but your journey to find your son is not time sensitive. This means you have the option to go around the Nuclear Wastelands of Boston, MA. Looking for NPCs, finding quests, searching for mysteries, and killing enemies. It’s a hard life, but it’s what those Wastelanders got. And you have to be very careful that you’re not biting more than you can chew. Deathclaws are a thing after all.

All in all, a very good Fallout game in a storied series. It may not have been as good as New Vegas, but it’s still a great game. Oh, and it can be modded as well, which is nice.

 

14. Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 is another Rockstar game that set a high bar in terms of storytelling and open-world goodness. In this game, players take on the role of a wanted outlaw named Arthur Morgan. You may, however, know him as a part of the Van der Linde gang, and the first game made it very clear that this gang’s biting the dust. Its fate is sealed, but the sheer gorgeousness of RDR2 makes you want to try and prevent it. The game overall is a love letter to old westerns and that bygone era of cowboys and vigilantism. It’s great.

 

15. Dying Light 2

Dying Light 2 is next and it goes hard on the things that made the first game so good. You can parkour around buildings, kill enemy zombies by melee or running kicks, and there are more ways to traverse the map. Want to glide around the game world? You can do that. Want to parkour through interconnected buildings? Possible. In Dying Light 2, the breadth of the open world is expanded to give players a great parkour experience.

Nighttime is also more terrifying as you now have a time limit on how long you can stay out. After all, you’re infected, and your infection grows stronger without UV light AKA the sun or UV lamps. This means that you need to be fast when doing night missions but it’s all part of the core gameplay loop.

 

16. Death Stranding

The next game on the best games like Skyrim list is Hideo Kojima’s newest masterpiece, Death Stranding. Now, we’ll admit that it’s not for everyone in terms of narrative and gameplay. However, Death Stranding is very compelling and has a lot of cool bits of lore on it. Of course, if you can stand being in an action game/walking simulator combo. The game’s main gameplay loop is delivering various packages throughout the width and breadth of post-apocalypse America. Your packages degrade, and various raiders can try and take them, there are a lot of things that can happen. However, the gameplay loop can be assuaged by creating various things like ladders, bridges, et cetera to make the journey easier.

Also, the game has a cool take on multiplayer. Players that play the game can have their own created ladders and bridges for other players to use. Quite literally walking in another’s footsteps you could say. Combine this with a great soundtrack, an interesting world, and vague lore ala Kojima game and you have an interesting and engaging game.

 

17. No Man’s Sky

No Man’s Sky is widely considered to be a great story of how to push past a bad rep and a crap launch. Now, it’s everything it promised back then and more. Procedurally-generated planets, various starships, cool aliens, you name it, No Man’s Sky has it. It also helps matters that Hello Games is constantly pushing updates for the game as well, which is a welcome sight—adding in more stories, NPCs, new worlds to explore, new ships to go about the universe, and adding new features. Overall, No Man’s Sky is a great game, and we’re here to see how the game develops in the future.

 

18. Ghost of Tsushima

The next game on this list of the best games like Skyrim is Ghost of Tsushima. This title is an absolute master class when it comes to open-world design. The whole island is just full of things to do, from petting foxes who lead you to shrines to killing enemy Mongols who are squatting in a temple. Jin Sakai, the player character, has a lot of things that he needs to do if he wants Tsushima safe. Thus, he has a choice to be a noble samurai or a vengeful ghost. Both playstyles can be combined to create a dervish of destruction in the Mongol ranks, and it’s a fun thing to see as you go through the game’s plot.

 

19. Marvel’s Spider-Man

The next game on the list of games that feel and play like Skyrim is Marvel’s Spider-Man. In fact, developer Insomniac Games quite literally knocked it out of the park. New York is a blast to web-swing around and the game is an overall joy. From kicking mook ass, looking at great New York areas, to finding Peter’s stuff in the most unlikely of places. Marvel’s Spider-Man is a great open-world game with lots of things to do and you can bet that the same is true for the Miles Morales spinoff, which is sadly not on PC yet, but we can wait.

 

20. Kenshi

Last but not least on our games like Skyrim list is Kenshi, which can be considered open-world hard mode. After all, you’re just plopped into a huge open world, told to go about your life, and then… Nothing. You make your own story in Kenshi, and depending on what you do, it can be epic, or hilarious. Of course, there’s no need to go about the game killing enemies and having epic adventures. You can also go about it in a more Minecraft way where you create houses, settlements, and farms. But where’s the fun in that? Seriously, if you want a challenge, get Kenshi. It’s well worth the money to do so.

 

Why Should You Play Games Like Skyrim?

Games like Skyrim are a sandbox of things that players can do. It’s practically a massive toybox with high-quality toys for players to enjoy. From defeating enemies to creating, depending on the game, there are a lot of awesome things that players can achieve. Doubly so on PC since you can mod them however you wish with some exceptions.

Albert de Venecia

Albert de Venecia

I love playing video games on either console or mobile platforms. I also collect action figures of superheroes and robots.

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