As the video game industry expands, an increasing number of games aim to offer players the freedom to explore open worlds in a nonlinear manner. In recent years, there has been a notable effort within the gaming industry to enhance the capabilities of video games and elevate their cinematic qualities. This has prompted many game development studios to shift their focus towards cinematic elements, particularly in the realm of sound design.

The evolution of gaming, which began with simple arcade games in the 1980s, has now transformed into epic narratives featuring heroic figures and complex moral dilemmas. Games have grown significantly in scale, and sound design has had to keep pace in order to maximize the immersive potential of these newer games. Consequently, some of the most remarkable open-world games now boast top-tier sound design systems.

1. Elden Ring

Elden Ring, considered one of the most expansive and ambitious games ever, elevated the cinematic quality of From Software's "Soulsborne" franchise, which was already exceptionally impressive. Much of this enhancement can be attributed to the exceptional level of sound design.

Ash Of War Elden Ring
Elden Ring

This game excels in every aspect, from the elemental sounds of spells to the atmospheric effects like weather, and the distinct sounds associated with each creature and boss encounter. It fulfills all the criteria for becoming a monumental presence in the gaming world, and its sound design is just one of the elements that contribute to its spine-tingling excellence.

2. Red Dead Redemption 2

The Wild West serves as a daring backdrop for an open-world game, even though much of the Western genre's themes have been extensively explored in movies for many years. Nevertheless, Rockstar didn't hesitate to launch the Red Dead Redemption franchise, and Red Dead Redemption 2 stands out as an exceptionally ambitious endeavor in the realm of open-world sound design.

Full Cheat Codes List Unlocks Red Dead Redemption
Red Dead

Whether it's the simple act of riding a horse, the shattering of a window, or the thunderous echo of gunshots, Red Dead Redemption 2 fully embraces meticulous attention to sound intricacies. Its dedication to sound design contributed significantly to the game's cinematic immersion, earning it numerous accolades upon its release.

3. Subnautica

Creating an open-world game set predominantly underwater was a daring decision from the outset, but Subnautica executed it masterfully, earning recognition for its exceptional craftsmanship. Players find themselves crash-landed on an alien planet, compelled to gather resources for survival while actively searching for a means to eventually escape. The immersion experienced in Subnautica is truly remarkable, owing to the exquisite design of the underwater environment and the meticulous attention to sound.

Subnautica Below Zero

The constant underwater setting in Subnautica instills a sense of apprehension among players, largely due to the pervasive silence that often prevails, intensifying the impact of various oceanic sounds. Whether it's the ominous roars of leviathan creatures, the submerged eruptions of volcanoes, or even the gentle hum of a Cyclops engine as players venture into uncharted territory, Subnautica serves as an exemplary demonstration of how sound design can be both immersive and spine-tingling, skillfully employing moments of silence to heighten the overall experience.

4. Horizon Forbidden West

The Horizon franchise has always possessed a highly cinematic quality, striving to immerse players in Aloy's world and her encounters with animal-like machines. From the rich soundscapes of the diverse ecosystems players explore to the subtle background conversations that might go unnoticed, every element contributes to enhancing the game's immersion.

Horizon Forbidden West Ps5
Forbidden West

Sound plays a pivotal role in Horizon: Forbidden West, as it can often enable players to evade battles by keenly listening for nearby creatures and taking alternate routes. Beyond this, the meticulous attention to sound design across the entire game is undeniably impressive and elevates the overall cinematic experience significantly.

5. Hunt: Showdown

It's uncommon to find a multiplayer first-person shooter (FPS) game included among the top-notch sound designs in open-world gaming. However, Hunt: Showdown is part of the emerging trend of extraction shooters, where sound design plays an exceptionally vital role because it empowers players to leverage it effectively.

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Hunt: Showdown

In this open-world bounty-hunting game, players are encouraged to track down and eliminate various boss creatures within a level to collect the bounties on them. Subsequently, Hunt: Showdown challenges players to reach an extraction point for escape. The game heavily relies on the precision of sound, enabling players to pinpoint the exact location of enemies thanks to its remarkable sound design.

6. Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla

The Assassin's Creed series has always placed a strong emphasis on character development and storytelling, and it has consistently featured outstanding soundtracks from its inception. Therefore, it's not surprising to see one of the newer installments, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, recognized for its exceptional sound design in the realm of open-world games.

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Valhalla marked a departure for the franchise as players took on the role of a Viking. While the series had previously delivered impressive sound design, nothing quite matched the immersive quality found in Valhalla, which spanned diverse settings such as parties, villages, frozen wastelands, and otherworldly realms throughout its extensive gameplay. Much of this accomplishment can be attributed to the extraordinary sound design, which greatly contributed to the rich world-building in the game's backdrop.

7. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

In The Witcher 3, an open-world game of profound seriousness set in the dark and fantastical realm of the Continent, achieving immersion is of paramount importance. Recognizing this, the developers took great care to ensure that the world around Geralt felt vibrant and lifelike as he embarked on his adventures. Unlike Skyrim, this game has earned accolades for the quality and quantity of its voiceover work, and the myriad sounds of both creatures and the environment are executed with exceptional skill.

The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt
Wild Hunt

Furthermore, much like Skyrim, The Witcher 3 boasts an exceptional soundtrack that enriches the overall gaming experience. Whether it's the music that accompanies moments of pause, the in-world tunes performed by bards, or the general soundtrack that envelops players as Geralt journeys through the game's world, The Witcher 3 offers a comprehensive auditory experience that greatly enhances the video game.

8. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Over the years since Skyrim's initial release, much discussion has centered around the voiceover work and its occasional repetitiveness. However, when one focuses solely on the sounds of Tamriel, a different perspective emerges. From the melodies of bards performing in every tavern to the clamor of street vendors and the pleas of beggar children, Skyrim boasts remarkable sound design.

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Furthermore, the game is replete with a variety of sounds associated with its denizens, including the thunderous descent of dragons with their warning roars, the droning of insects heralding the approach of a Spriggan, and many other formidable creatures. The depth of the sound design is truly astonishing, and this is without even mentioning the captivating and expansive soundtrack that continues to draw players back to the game, enticing them to revisit its melodic wonders time and time again.

>>> Read more: 4 Best RPGs To Play If You Like Witcher 3