A road trip is something that sees like-minded individuals journey from one marker to another. Video games, of course, use such trips as the foundations for lengthy story-driven experiences. Although not always driven by a narrative, per se, they do open the doors for such an opportunity, as well as give characters a significant amount of time to establish genuine connections with the player.
Anyway, we've been reminiscing about the countless road trips we've taken over the years. Turns out, a select few have been a bit more memorable than others. Five of them, to be precise. But what are they, and what made them the whirlwind adventures they wound up becoming? Well, here's how we see it. Here are, in our opinion, the five best road trips in gaming.
5. Brutal Legend
What better way to explore a metal-themed world than as an iron-willed roadie with a questionable, albeit incredibly extensive knowledge of all things music and tour-based? That's Brutal Legend, in a nutshell, and anyone who's so much as bopped their heads to the sound of Black Sabbath will speak highly of its outlandish exploits.
As Eddie Riggs, roadie to the stars, you must take a newfound rebellion on tour, gathering troops to wage war against a demonic foe that threatens the land. As you buckle up, you'll take your army through a wide array of otherworldly locations, all of which link to the common theme of heavy metal. With that, expect plenty of gigs, a whole lot of bloodthirst, and a record-breaking amount of headbanging.
4. Need for Speed: The Run
Need for Speed has dabbled in a number of ideas over the years, none of which have been as ambitious as The Run. Although broken down into relatively small chunks, it was the first in the series to feature a linear narrative, one that was complimented by the series' signature palette of high-octane racing mechanics and luxury vehicles to choose from.
As an up-and-coming street racer with a wedge of debt locked to his portfolio, Jack Rourke must enter an illegal race that spans the whole of the US. From the far end of San Francisco to the watery crevices of New York City, 200 drivers must traverse the 3,000 mile stretch in a bid for the $25 million cash prize. As a player, you must select a high-powered car and hit the road at full speed, using your knowledge of the scene to overthrow the competition. Basically, it's a full-on tour of the United States, only with millions of dollars on the line. No pressure.
3. Life is Strange 2
Of all the heart-wrenching story-driven games on the market, Life is Strange is the one that holds a permanent residency in our memories. Its second chapter, though, possesses far more vigor, and its beautifully represented by a hearty pair of siblings and their whirlwind adventure from state to state. Like its debut, choices matter, and it's entirely up to the player to curate the conclusion, be it for the characters' best interests, or for the player's own selfish needs.
In Life is Strange 2, players follow the tale of two brothers, Sean and Daniel, as they dare to cross the country after being falsely accused of murdering their father. After learning of his younger brother's supernatural powers, Sean must teach him right from wrong, using his little knowledge to shape what could potentially be a future threat to humanity. For every choice there's a consequence, therefore it's up to you to make the right ones and accept responsibility for the drawbacks.
2. The Last of Us
Naughty Dog continues to excel in crafting story-driven video games, as proven in The Last of Us. The reason for its overwhelming success, of course, had something to do with the journey itself, as well as the flourishing relationship between Joel and Ellie. None of this would've come to fruition if it wasn't for the lengthy road trip the two had to take for the sake of survival.
It might not have been the smoothest endeavour in the book, but it was a tale best served with a side of dramatic twists, turns, and emotional grit. It was a road trip we saw through to the bitter end. And yet, it was one we were also willing to take a second, maybe even a third time. And so, for that, we have to give credit to The Last of Us for having one of the heartiest tales of the bunch.
1. Final Fantasy XV
It isn't very often we're given the luxury of being able to cross county lines without having to endure oceans worth of side tasks along the way. Fortunately, Final Fantasy XV provided such a luxury over its twenty-plus hour campaign. And while there were a number of tasks players could indulge in, its core gameplay was based around four rebellious boys, a sweet ride, and a serious amount of highway between goals.
Over a lengthy road trip from capital to capital, players could immerse in a flourishing brotherhood between four friends. From fishing by the lake, to camping up on the canyons, Final Fantasy XV gave off one of the most inviting boys' adventures of all time. Sure, there was an adequate amount of action and theatrics, but its bread and butter was undoubtedly the comradery between its companions. And as far as memorable road trips go, FFXV provided an absolute jewel of a journey, one that we'd happily venture back to even today.
So, what's your take? Do you agree with our top five? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.