Naturally, any list of best sandbox games so far this year has to include The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. One of the things that makes this game stand out as a sandbox game is the fact that it even is a sandbox game -- a tremendous departure from the formulaic, linear Zelda games of yesteryear.
After completing a few required scenarios, players can immediately race to the game's final moments, scour the land for the best equipment possible, find and complete a multitude of shrine quests and uncover new abilities in the process, or delve into the game's story. Series fans would probably be as interested in the last option as anything else, but the game is still completely accessible for newcomers on account of it being set so far in the future from any events in any other Zelda game.
Exploration and puzzle solving are no longer a "paint-by-numbers" affair either. As Nintendo frequently mentioned in the leadup to the game's launch, there are as many ways to solve a puzzle as there are players.
What have been your favorite sandbox games this year? If they aren't included in our list, leave a comment below and let us know!