10 Games and Franchises with the Best WorldsMay 20, 2019 | 1 Votes by Mikhail 10 rate Video games treat us to different worlds both based on fantasy and on real-life. Let’s take a look at some of the games and franchises that treat us to some of the best ones.
Video games appeal to us not only because of their overall gameplay but also due to the worlds they’re set in. We crave exploration to new frontiers and meet new characters along the way.
Thing is, what are some of the things that make a great video game world?
Size matters, but it isn’t too important. A world can be large yet barren and devoid of life. Other factors include the characters, density of NPCs, enemies, and activity, and of course, the design. Finally, don’t also discount the world’s story and lore. Note that even if you have a large and well-designed world, it would be letdown without its own history and lore.
With all these in mind, let’s take a look at great examples of spectacular and immersive and spectacular worlds in gaming.
The Elder Scrolls III, IV & V (Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim)
The world of Tamriel in Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls is arguably one of the best-built worlds in terms of design, lore, and volume. However, the most notable locations are from the most recent numbered Elder Scrolls games: Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim.
Morrowind is set in Vvardenfell, the large island in the Dunmer (dark elf) province of Morrowind. Meanwhile, Oblivion takes place in Cyrodiil, the seat of the Septim Empire while Skyrim takes place in Skyrim, home of the Nords. The three games span across various eras, though some events and in-game books and lore reference each other.
Red Dead Redemption 2
You can’t talk about game worlds without Red Dead Redemption 2. Set in 1899 in the western part of an alternate United States, the game features a vast world complete with different biomes, towns, and a large cast of characters. Despite its sheer size, you can interact with most of the NPCs and you’ll never run out of random and scripted in-game encounters.
Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City, San Andreas, IV, and V
Arguably the most popular and iconic open world franchise, Grand Theft Auto takes place in the modern world in cities modeled after ones in real-life. For example, Liberty City in GTA III and IV is patterned after New York, while San Andreas covers Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. Finally, GTA V takes place in Los Angeles, though the game world shows that it takes place on an island.
The Witcher III:
The Witcher III’s world, called the Continent, is massive. Pair a large world up with a massive selection of side quests and you’ll have one of the most immersive gaming experiences ever. You’ll get to explore monster-laden swamps, small towns, fortresses, and even extra-dimensional worlds.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Though other Assassin’s Creed titles also deserve to be in this list, Odyssey (the most recent AC game) possesses the best world. It’s an accurate depiction of Ancient Greece, complete with restored historical statues and locations as well as Greek towns, cities, and even land and water forms. Note that the game lets you explore the Greek world during the Peloponnesian War and interact with historical figures like Socrates, Herodotus, and Hippocrates.
BioShock is one of those once-in-a-generation games that people will continue to talk about for years to come not only because of its gameplay but mainly because of its setting. The events of the game take place in Rapture, an underwater city developed by Andrew Ryan to escape the pressures and realities of the post-WW2 world. We’re not diving deep into spoiler territory, but exploring it despite in its state of anarchy and violence is nothing short of pleasant and immersive.
The events of Borderlands (as well as Borderlands 2 and Tales from the Borderlands) take place in the planet of Pandora, a wasteland rife with aggressive monsters and hostile bandits. It has varied biomes, from snowy, arctic regions to deserts and large wetlands. Hostile bandit gangs and marauders also roam the wilderness.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Horizon: Zero Dawn is one of the most compelling and interesting game worlds today. It is set in a post-apocalyptic world set in 3020. Apart from real-life animals wandering the ruins of cities like Colorado Springs and Denver, there are large robots taking the form and behavior of animals in the wilderness. Apart from its compelling world, it has an amazing lore and story you’ll uncover as you play.
Trails of Cold Steel I, II, III, IV
The Trails of Cold Steel series, which is part of the Kiseki franchise, takes place in the Erebonian Empire, the largest country in the continent of Zemuria. Like the other games in the series, Cold Steel’s world-building is impressive. You can explore and move around cities (depends on which part of the story) and talk to NPCs whose dialogue changes depending on which part of the story you’re in. This is because their story changes as you progress. Put this in the same train in a world full of lore, history, and a well-written cast of characters, you’re in for a real treat.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Set in the world of Hyrule (much like other The Legend of Zelda games), Breath of the Wild doesn’t have the volume and urbanized locales of other games. Instead, it makes up for it with its atmosphere, weather effects, and various biomes. You’ll get to explore volcanoes, large lakes, and small towns. Add in ruins of a fallen kingdom from a hundred years ago and a well-written story and lore, it’s no doubt that BOTW is indeed 2017’s best game.
So, what do you think are some of the other games with amazing worlds that are not on this list? There may be a few that warrant a mention, like Eos in FFXV and even Minecraft’s vast, nearly infinite world. Regardless, all of the abovementioned games will treat us to another portal and in a way, another life.