In order to get away from the stresses of everyday life, we sometimes long to take a holiday at some far-away tropical paradise. However, this is not always an option for the majority of us and so we indulge in other forms of escapism, with video/computer games being one of them. Here’s a list (in alphabetical order) of some of the more fascinating locations on offer for those of us that like our holidays to come on a CD (some of which would probably kill us…But oh well).
American McGee’s AliceTaking you on a warped and twisted adventure through a dystopian Wonderland, this dark reimagining of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland offered up some interesting and exotic locations. Whilst not necessarily the type of place you’d want to spend much time in alone especially if you weren’t too fond of cards, it was nevertheless a thoroughly entertaining place to be.
Assassin’s CreedPossibly one of the best adventure games in which you portrayed an assassin whose duty it was to assassinate important figures in the Holy Land, some of the high vantage points in the city provided you with a fantastic view of whichever city you were in, with the highlight being able to freefall to the ground, with your fall being totally broken by a thin layer of hay.
BioshockAnyone that’s visited Rapture will understand the visual appeal of this place and if there are those out there that haven’t trodden the damp corridors of this fallen underwater “paradise”, then would you kindly do so?
Deus ExAn Every time you mention it, SOMEONE reinstalls it. Hong Kong was a particular highlight, because it had awesome neon signs. Everywhere should have awesome neon signs.
The DigReleased in 1995, this game is sadly often overlooked. Regarded as being one of the most serious LucasArts adventure games, containing little of their trademark slapstick or humor, it is still nonetheless an underrated classic. As a team of astronauts attempts to stop an asteroid from crashing into Earth, they are transported to an alien world which offers them many wondrous sights.
Fable 2A fantastically deep (if a little buggy) action RPG with hours upon hours of things to do, even if those things are relatively mundane like – for example – starting a family, when you could be out there saving the world with the help of Stephen Fry. Albion did offer the player some fascinating sights along the way, particularly of lush countryside, complete with windmills.
As if wondering around in a post-apocalyptic wasteland version of America wasn’t going to provide something interesting to look at (although admittedly, if everything had been totally obliterated, there really wouldn’t have been much to see). Here is Tenpenny Tower, home of Allistair Tenpenny
, a man who will potentially provide you with another
(warning: spoiler) sight to see.
Far Cry 1 + 2 Whether playing as the first’s Jack Carver or the second’s mercenary, it is true to say that the Far Cry series can provide some stunning vistas. Far Cry 1 had a tropical island paradise, whereas 2 had a fictional Central-African nation to traverse, filled with exotic foliage and wildlife. That you could then realistically set fire to.
Half Life 2
When not busy smashing open crates and polishing his crowbar, Gordon Freeman could observe his surroundings and would perhaps not find them to be a comfortable place in which to set up home, but nevertheless would marvel at the urban decay, the giant tower in the middle of City 17, or the shiny coastline at the Lost Coast
Heroes of Might and Magic 3
Stemming from a long line of turn-based strategy fantasy games, with the third one
is generally regarded as being the best. When not trying to stockpile Archangels or becoming increasingly frustrated at the overwhelming enemy armies or combat AI, you could stop to admire the lush scenery portrayed in the strategic map section.
Ico Both this game and its spiritual successor (more of which, later) feature stunning (read: insane and random) architecture that would at times make your jaw drop, despite the fact that you were carting around some irritatingly inept young lady that needed saving all the time.
Good, old, Jagged Alliance
. Originally released in 1994, this tactical, strategic, sort of role-playing game gave you explosions and mercenaries at the same time as giving you a tropical island to do it on. Sun, sand, sea, expensive guards, very limited funds, it could all be yours.
The Longest Journey A good, old-fashioned, simple point-and-click adventure game, this one, except that it sent your character (April) into alternate and alien worlds and dimensions, where she had to deal with magic, the Balance, Draic-Kin, starting the game in her underwear, stupid people wanting to date her and many more challenges along the way.
Mass Effect Man or woman? Male or Female? Whatever you chose, you still ended up with “Shepard” as your name. Whilst stirring up the media with its much-hyped sex scene (between humans or inter-species, the choice is yours), it also let you travel to entire alien worlds, allowing the player to experience horizons totally foreign but at the same time visually appealing.
. Stunning scenery, babbling brooks, vibrant vistas and other such visual alliteration, NetHack had none of it. This…This is a joke.
Now THIS was awesome and by association, so was its predecessor, Morrowind. Whilst the player is saddened (or delighted, if you’re that way inclined) at the lack of Patrick Stewart, there is glory to be had in the amazing ocular experiences that Oblivion can provide. Lush fields and pastures, dungeons that look as damp as they would no doubt feel, sprawling cities, filled to saturation with the same 5 voice actors, it was all incredible. It was made even more outstanding by the modding community
that love to continuously pimp things up
Shadow of the Colossus As mentioned previously, this is Ico’s spiritual successor. The game had you roaming all across a “forbidden land” in an attempt to slay 16 colossi and resurrect an ancient force in order to bring a loved one back to life. Along the way you would encounter fantastic architecture, visually incredible rolling fields, mountains and well…Pretty much anything that you could see in the game looked amazing. The colossi themselves were…Well…They were massive, with one of them actually being big enough so as to actually be the entire level.
Regardless of whether it’s the first (Shadow of Chernobyl) or the second (Clear Sky) game, you will still get the same urban decay, the same fields littered with corrugated iron, abandoned vehicles and other scrap. It might not sound pleasant and it most likely isn’t, but it does create an outstanding atmosphere and it certainly looks extraordinary (if a little oppressive). As you explored the ruined Zone of Exclusion/Alienation
surrounding the remains of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, you just had to sometimes stop, take in the sights as the wind breezed past you, then take a step forward and die immediately at the hands of an unseen anomaly.
Treasure Island Dizzy
A 1987 Codemasters classic, this featured that weird egg-thing
as he tried to find his way off of the island that he had somehow managed to get marooned on. As you can see from the screenshot, his island had it all: crystal clear (and clean) water (that appears to have money in it), a wide-ranging and varied spectrum of flora (not sure about fauna, though) and his own personal beach. I mean, look, he even has A Large Rock! What more could Dizzy want, except maybe his freedom?