Global Game Awards
Grand Theft Auto V Assassins Creed 4 Black Flag Far Cry 3 Saints Row 4
Best Sandbox

Every year the benchmarks for gaming get pushed further and the big hitters in the industry are now at the stage where they have to create entire worlds for a player to roam around in at their own pace. The Best Sandbox Award Nominees are those titles that set those benchmarks.

Developers build breathing worlds for the gamer to skip merrily through, but it is only the best that allow the gamer to bounce along with a rocket launcher in hand and a complete world of possibilities resting on their trigger finger. Mastering this field means keeping the player entertained whenever they want, without railroading them into a story arch they cannot escape, while simultaneously providing them with entertaining, relevant options whenever they so wish. No easy feat, but the year’s nominees manage to walk that ground comfortably.

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Grand Theft Auto V
It is the game that redefined what an open world environment could be. From the sands of Vespucci Beach and mansions of Rockford Hills, to the violent suburbs of Davis and Rancho and the vast skyscrapers of downtown Los Santos and beyond, GTA V’s world is sprawling and insanely detailed. But although snap-happy tourists, loitering kids and dog walkers help contribute to the fabric of Los Santos, it is the gameplay itself which has made GTA V the fastest selling game of all time. The story is at times thrilling and at times unpredictable, and the game’s three main characters add an extra variability to Rockstar’s masterpiece.
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Assassins Creed 4 Black Flag
Standing at your ship’s wheel and gazing out to sea, taking in the gently undulating ocean and the dozens of distant islands on the horizon, Black Flag’s world is truly a joy to behold, and it’s even more fun to strut your stuff in. With dozens of different activities from treasure hunting to assassinations and even shark-hunting, Assassin’s Creed IV has got it all for the would be adventurer.
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2nd
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Far Cry 3
Far Cry 3’s open world juxtaposes a beautiful natural environment with human vice, as pirates and drug runners unsettle a tropical paradise. The result is a game whose world is a colourful but vicious playground; a world that is open and vast and ripe for exploration, whilst never losing focus or feeling aimless.
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3rd
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Saints Row 4
It doesn’t get much more barmy than the high camp ridiculousness of Saint Row. You play the President of the United States, and you fight aliens. Oh, and you’re a superhero. And a gang boss. Sometimes, the beauty of a sandbox game is just to throw away the rules, and the sense of realism, and just go wild. Saints Row IV is this game.
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4th

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