07 Jul Nightmares and Dreamscapes: The Most Fantastic Landscapes in Gaming
Those of us lucky enough to remember the advent of 3D games have witnessed a meteoric rise in graphical fidelity. Remarkably sophisticated graphical rendering is now quite unremarkable. We’re used to games looking good.
However, while any reasonably skilled developer can put together a game with good graphics, it takes a very talented team to produce an immersive, living, breathing landscape. The following games are the ones that make you want to occasionally stop and just take the world in.
God of War (PS4)
This reboot of the legendary game series sees Kratos abandoning Mt Olympus and Greek mythology, in favor of the Norse realms. From the game’s central hub of Midgard to the fires of Nifelheim and the land of the giants – Jotunheim – every area has been crafted to perfection. This is a fantasy world which is easy to lose yourself in. Of course, the game’s fantastic combat system and gripping storytelling helps, but much of the praise must also be directed towards the art team, who have created a believable and engrossing version of Midgard.
Far Cry 5
Far Cry has always been something of a standard setter when it comes to open worlds. Far Cry 2 was a very bold step for the series to take and while the result wasn’t to everyone’s liking, it demonstrated the embryonic stages of many of the series’ defining features. Now, a decade on, the series has found its groove and is consistently wowing its audience.
Far Cry 5 improves on its predecessors in every way, but not least of all in its world design. Set in Montana, players take on the role of a government agent charged with bringing down an evangelical cult. Whether you choose to traverse the map on foot, dipping in and out of the game’s many forested areas to hunt deer and avoid patrols, in a car, in a plane, or even a boat, no matter what angle you look at the map from, it is gorgeous.
Not only does it have impressive graphical fidelity, the world is full of stuff to find and do, making exploring its depths all the more rewarding.
The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
Sick of hearing about Skyrim yet? Since its initial release and subsequent re-releases, Skyrim has become the golden standard for RPGs and open world games everywhere. Skyrim’s fantastic landscapes are even more fantastic on PC, where mods allow users to further enhance the game’s graphics. As Skyrim ages, these mods can breathe new life into the game. Combined with a decent pair of headphones and one of the best PC gaming chairs for the money you have to spend, you will have one of the greatest experiences any game can provide.
TES 4: Oblivion – Shivering Isles Expansion
Before Skyrim, there was Oblivion. Sure, the main game had, like Skyrim, a detailed world that was ahead of its time. However, it was the surprisingly psychedelic experience of playing The Shivering Isles expansion pack where the creator’s originality really shone. The map is divided into a light half and a dark half. The lighter half is an Alice in Wonderland-style fantasy land, bathed in eternal sunlight. The other half is a nightmare world of perpetual darkness. Nothing before or since has come close to the Shivering Isles in terms of uniqueness.
Of course, there are many other games out there with breathtaking visuals. The above titles aren’t just eye candy – they are also immersive games that are well worth your time.