Video games have evolved so amazingly over the last decades that now anyone can find something to play. The worlds created for these games make everything better, transporting the player into a realm full of possibilities, like the chance to stroll through a jungle or explore a haunted hospital. Here are our ten favorite settings in a video game!
1. Volcanic Island
There’s something unique about playing in volcanic worlds because the threat of falling into lava makes the game more exciting for some people. Even some Pokemon games have volcanic islands to traipse through. Developers add new environments to keep people guessing. You may be familiar with some of the best volcano settings in a video game or more, but let’s remember a few favorites.
Do you remember Death Mountain from Ocarina of Time? The Legend of Zelda will always be recognized as one of the best video games ever made. All its versions are timeless, even as technology in graphics advances. True gamers will always end up coming back to it, and Death Mountain was a prominent part of several versions of this game.
However, the one from Ocarina of Time was the best. The Gorons lived there, and Link could only go inside with the help of a Goron Tunic to withstand the high temperatures. There were enemies to kill and obstacles to avoid, or you could die. Reaching the Fire Temple and killing Volvagia, the fire dragon, was satisfying. Other iconic volcanoes include the Red Mountain from The Elder Scrolls III, Barril Volcano from Super Mario RPG, and of course, the volcanoes you could place in Sim City.
2. Spooky Mansion
A haunted mansion in a video game is usually full of adrenaline-spiking moments and jump scares. It’s not for the faint-hearted, especially if you’re playing a horror game. However, spooky mansions can appear in non-horror computer games, too. Reaching that point is often more exciting because the player doesn’t know what to expect. Will it be terrifying, or is it just a background they picked for that part? The unknown and suspense of them make things better.
One of the most surprising aspects of a spooky mansion is the details that go into each part because terror can be tricky. The area has to look like a house that needs furnace repair; cold and uninviting. However, the scares have to be fiery to impact the player. A fantastic horror mansion is the Old Chateau in Pokemon Diamond and Pearl.
Most Pokemon games are family-friendly, so you can’t expect something bloody or heart-stopping, but the developers did a great job making the abandoned house in Eterna City. Players can explore it whenever they want and check out the poltergeist Pokemon. Other memorable spooky mansions are the Roivas Estate from Eternal Darkness, the Washington Lodge from Until Dawn, the Brennenburg Castle from Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and the Baker Residence from Resident Evil 7.
3. Densely Populated City
Walking through a city in a video game is more realistic when other people, or NPCs, are around. A densely populated metropolis is one of the best settings in any game, especially open-world versions. You’ll see non-playable characters doing random things like sitting at public benches, singing karaoke, and sometimes, they speak. They’re primarily distractions, but they bring the game together.
These cities don’t have to be modern, and one example is The Witcher, which has a colossal open-world map to explore. You’ll find many characters that may or may not have interactions, but they serve a significant purpose: immerse the player into the game. However, if you’re looking for a more modern city, the best option is probably GTA. The fifth game has one of the most extensive maps; you’ll always see many NPCs walking and driving around.
Furthermore, GTA V was inspired by Los Angeles, which only makes things better. Watch Dogs is another game with this setting. It was modeled after Chicago, and the many ways you can control the system due to this game’s “hacking” feature makes the entire experience more exciting. It’s like being in a dream where you have more options and liberties.
4. Old West
The wild west genre will always stay in style, and it’s often better in a video game. Western-theme computer games are perfect for first-person shooters or action storylines, and it’s even better when they’re open-world. Other games have cowboy things for decoration purposes only. You can grow cattle or do some ranch fencing. However, most people prefer when there’s an actual cowboy plot to follow with this setting.
The best example of the Old West in a video game is Red Dead Redemption II, and it tops all the lists among Western games. It’s open-world; players get to be bandits, have horses, kill enemies, and more. Another fantastic example is Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, with a bounty hunter main character that just wants to stop crime in his town.
Other options include Wasteland III, Desperado III, Gun, Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath, and Darkwatch: Curse Of The West. If you like old-school games set in the old west, check out Wild Guns Reloaded, which has a Super Nintendo design, and Gunman Clive, a classic of this genre. Most of these games are shooters of some kind.
5. Abandoned Hospital
Aside from spooky mansions, there’s nothing quite as creepy as an abandoned hospital. Unfortunately, this setting is often overused in horror video games, but that’s only because it works perfectly. If the developers pair with good writers, they can still make a great story. They also have to add the typical hospital features, and it’s better when the player can interact with items.
For example, in some games, the main character can kick hospital beds or take pills for health. Seeing medical equipment, such as the kind to perform a colonoscopy service, make things more realistic. Many games are located entirely in one setting, like the hospital, but seeing several scenarios is better. If you’re playing a horror story, you may see a spooky mansion and an abandoned hospital later in the game.
Eyes: The Horror Game is an excellent example. Although it’s a budget-friendly game, it still attracts the player by making them go through several scary settings. Other fantastic abandoned hospitals are the Rutledge Asylum in Alice Madness Returns, the Brookhaven Hospital in Silent Hill II, the Mount Massive Asylum in Outlast, the Beacon Mental Hospital in The Evil Within, and the Winterlake Hospital in Tormented Souls.
6. Open Ocean
Traveling across an entire city in a game and reaching a body of water that can’t be explored is disappointing. It happens often, as that’s where you’ll find the edge of the map. Therefore, an open ocean is usually a fantastic addition for the player. Sometimes, it’s sad to see your character on the boat docks and not be able to explore the high seas.
There are ocean-based games, such as Blackwake, where you cooperate with others to handle a pirate ship. There’s Barotrauma, where you’re part of a crew in a submarine. Diluvion is another excellent option, and Sea of Thieves is a fan favorite. However, other open-world games, such as Horizon, allow the player to explore a bit of the sea. The character can swim, pick herbs from the bottom, and more. It’s still exciting, even if the sea isn’t the main focus of that story.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was praised by fans for the ship battles and how they could explore the sea. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is another great option, although it features old-school graphics. Abzu is a visual delight where a diver explores and approaches sea creatures. Subnautica has one of the largest underwater worlds of any video game, and Beyond Blue is another visual marvel you should check out.
7. Thick Jungle
Another setting in a video game is a thick jungle, and you can see this type of environment in certain games, such as Uncharted and Horizon. It’s a good alternative that fits into specific stories perfectly. After all, the idea of any game is to immerse the player into a different world, and most people will never even get close to a jungle.
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune shows the character going to several parts of the world, but many are wilderness and jungles. The main characters on Crysis are on the Lingshan Islands, and they must get through the jungles to escape North Korean invaders. It has fantastic graphics considering that it was made solely for PC. Naturally, you’ll find jungles in other games, especially if the characters are animals. Donkey Kong Country and the Isle are the best examples of that.
Other games with a thick jungle setting include Aliens Vs. Predator, Far Cry 3, Shadow Of The Tomb Raider, Crash Bandicoot, Lost Ember, Beasts Of Maravilla Island, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Playing these games is a much better experience than being in a real jungle because you don’t need mosquito control.
8. Dangerous Prison
Dangerous prisons and jails are great settings in a video game because they make the story more intense, especially if it’s about escaping. Many main characters in console and computer games are thieves who can’t easily hire criminal law attorneys to defend them. Therefore, they have to get out in more creative ways. Some games include paranormal aspects, but others focus on the outlaw side.
You’ll probably have to face cops or jailers, deal with other thieves, find keys, get some guns, and go through the maze-like map to escape. It may be difficult, but there’s something satisfying about finally reaching the end. If you breathed a sigh of relief afterward, you were genuinely transported into the game.
Some prisons are featured only in a few levels, while others are the game’s central aspect. Examples of prison levels include Purgatory in Mass Effect 2, Jailhouse Judgment in House of the Dead: Overkill, Escaping UNATCO in Deus Ex, and Gerudo Fortress in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Meanwhile, Batman: Arkham Asylum and The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay set their story in the actual jail.
9. Futuristic Metropolis
Futuristic themes are common in video games, but some have advanced cities where technology is far ahead. These games are usually considered sci-fi because of the technology inside those worlds. Sometimes, the city will be on another planet, so there could be space travel. Other times, it’ll be a futuristic city on Earth, based on a large metropolis like New York, where the main character has to navigate and find out what’s wrong.
There should also be some kind of conflict, like people trying to reduce electric usage with a solar roof. The main character needs motivation. Otherwise is just another city game. Some of the best games with futuristic metropolia are Cyberpunk 2077, Imagine Earth, Detroit: Become Human, BioShock, Sphere-Flying Cities, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, RimWorld, and Atmocity.
Some options are open-world, while others are futuristic city builders, meaning this genre can be adapted to all tastes. Open-world examples include Death Stranding, Final Fantasy XV, Warframe, Horizon Zero Dawn, NieR: Automata, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and Batman: Arkham City. Each city is different, and you’ll have to learn each map to get through them, but that’s what makes this amazing.
10. Ancient City
Ancient cities are one of the most popular settings in a video game. You get to travel back in time to fight with swords, have a character dressed in armor, and save the princess from peril. Some games with this environment have fantasy features, while others are just for enjoyment. You’ll greet the local NPCs or check out the stores, some with custom baked goods, in a town.
One example of this setting is Spartan Wars: Blood and Fire, where you create an army to defend the city. Other games include Ancient Cities, Dawn of Man, Manor Lords, Going Medieval, Farthest Frontier, and Wandering Village. Marble Age: Remastered, Settlement Survival, Warcraft, and Ostri. Some of these games are also available on phones, like Clash of Clans, and you can download them now and start playing for free.
Now that you know the settings we love the most, tell us which is the best. Did we miss an important one? Some prefer brightly colored worlds, while others like the ominous feeling of a darker scenario. Either way, grab your console and start playing your favorite setting in a video game.