The difference between a good exploration game and a great one isn’t always down to the quality of the landscape, the story, the stuff you’re actually exploring. Sometimes, as with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the difference is as small as waypoint pins. There’s only a handful of them to play with in Zelda, meaning that you have to really choose what you’re going to aim for on the map, while the game also ensures that you can’t become overwhelmed. Those pins narrow your focus, and make a huge landscape manageable.
Outer Wilds does something else.
Outer Wilds is already one of the greatest games I have ever played and I have no idea how far through it I am. Seriously, this game is magical. You play as a member of a sort of cobbled-together space initiative exploring a clockwork solar system filled with dynamic forces and constant change. Everywhere I land when I blast off to the stars in my little ship suggests thrilling mysteries, and while I suspect a lot of these individual mysteries will dovetail, it’s still a lot to keep track of.