Usually when we choose to purchase a video game, we tend to make our choices based on reviews, gameplay, graphics, and story. What often gets overlooked is the time and detail artists take to make the environment you’re playing in truly spectacular.
I’m guilty of this and I’m sure I’m not the only one who forgets to “stop and smell the roses,” so to speak. I tend to get caught up in the characters, story, and boss fights to really stop and appreciate the world the designers have worked so hard on creating to really place the player into the story.
When I do remember to pause and appreciate the landscapes laid out in front of me, I’m truly in awe of the handiwork. With this in mind, I’ve compiled a list of the best video game worlds to take the time to fully admire when you do take a break from that boss battle you’ve been hacking and slashing your way at.
1. Dragon Age. Let’s face it, the world of Thedas is a vast and epic place to explore, and we haven’t even had a chance to see all of it in the video game series yet. Whether you’re playing Origins and exploring the dark and mysterious woods of the Korcari Wilds or running around the busy city streets of Kirkwall in Dragon Age 2, there’s plenty of environments that are as different as the place you may have just left to continue your journey.
2. Mass Effect. What’s not to love about this other Bioware game? You get to travel from planet to planet, each with its own unique landscapes, from the sprawling metropolis of the Citadel to Virmire, the tropical island paradise with its crystal clear blue waters. I have a traveler’s heart, and if space exploration that’s on the same scale as Mass Effect were to exist, I’d sign up to be a part of seeing these new and exotic lands.
3. The World Ends With You. The entire game takes place in the district of Shibuya in Tokyo, Japan. I loved going in and out of stores as Neku or appreciating the graffiti inspired artwork of this world. As someone who has visited Tokyo once before and has seen Shibuya with her own eyes, it was a great way to reminisce on the bright lights, chaos, and chic stores of this bustling neighborhood. There’s so much to do and see that you just don’t know where to start first!
4. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Every time I spend a few hours in KoA, my heart stops and I’m completely breathless by how beautiful this world is. Everything about it reminds me of a John Waterhouse painting––dreamy and romantic, even in the darkest places of the game. It’s absolutely gorgeous when I stop and look around the place I’m in. Flowers give off a warm and ethereal glow and the rivers and streams you encounter look cool and inviting to dip your hands in.
5. Pokemon X. I really enjoy how this game has more of an expanded, open world feel compared to past games. Instead of just going to people’s homes, the Pokemon Center, and a few points of interest, you really get to roller blade your way around the Kalos region. I haven’t clocked in too many hours of Pokemon X, but I loved feeling like I’m exploring a new city for the first time in places like Lumiose City, which reminds me of any charming city in Europe. It brings back good memories I have of traveling to Europe and feeling excited to either interact with the locals or to get as much out of my visit as I possibly can before boarding the bus to my next destination.
Have a favorite world in a video game you can’t get enough of? Share them with me in the comments section.