There’s nothing quite like fully immersing ourselves in a stunning world so that the drab flaws of reality can drift to the back of our minds. Gaming can truly enhance even the most basic surroundings and make them spectacular works of art, and developers are only looking to build on that. Sadly, when compared to real-life, video game worlds levitate into a whole other league; one of which we always dream about venturing to in reality. Of course, VR is probably as close as we’ll get — but it doesn’t stop many of us from clutching on to that flawless dream.
We’ve seen hundreds of unique worlds proudly power on to our screens over the years, and we’re always left to question the wondrous minds behind every little design. Some, of course, can be somewhat common in this day and age, and many details can go unnoticed. Others, however, can truly engage with our intrigue and develop worlds that touch levels that even our wildest imagination struggles to fathom. And, it’s those specific worlds that are so flustered with wonder that we want to explore. So, here are five unique settings that we’d love to visit outside of the dreaming world.
5. Concrete Genie
What might originally appear to be a rather bleak town in Concrete Genie is actually a fluorescent world waiting to be painted. That, funnily enough, is pretty much the concept of the game: to literally paint the town and bring back wild creations packed full of colour to the abandoned streets. Of course, when we say we’d love to visit the world — we mean the finished world — providing every wall has been plastered with magical paint. After that, there really is no corner that can be deemed as an eyesore.
Monsters come to life and crawl through the alleys with smiles, neon paint enchants every streetlight and lamp, and almost every nook and cranny breathes with eternal life. Denska becomes a home away from home where your imagination truly is your only limit. For that reason alone, we have to put it as our number five.
4. Monster Hunter: World
Take away the death-defying checkpoints and oversized monsters — and you’ve got yourself a niche world with a natural outstanding beauty. As tourists to the New World, I think we’d all enjoy branching out on stunning expeditions across untamed lands. Monsters aside, the New World has proven to be a worthy addition to our dreamworld agenda — and I’m sure we’d pay good money to jet off to the remarkable horizons that idle over the colossal sized planet, too.
Capcom paid a great deal of time to the design of Monster Hunter: World, and it sure paid off upon release. The world itself hosts not only an entire library of unthinkable creatures — but also endless miles of polished landscapes and fascinating areas to uncover. Whether it be among the clouds on an ashen-grey mountaintop, or in the depths of a neon-blue rainforest; Monster Hunter always manages to gift wrap a spectacular surrounding that never fails to please the eye.
3. Final Fantasy XV
One thing Square Enix perfected with the fifteenth chapter of Final Fantasy was breathtaking design. In fact, with the game taking a lot of time to really halt the player from rushing through the story — absorbing the scenery really is one of the main goals to beating the campaign. Even if it’s just cruising through the desert wastelands in search of a gas station; breathing in those few minutes with the roof down and the sun hitting the back of your neck truly are some of the purest moments of absolute bliss. There isn’t a shred of rocket-paced action or a nervewracking boss battle to accommodate — just simplistic minutes that are most definitely worth soaking up every step of the way.
Final Fantasy XV’s primary goals are to develop lasting relationships with your closest friends, all while crossing the country in search of your bride-to-be. However, story aside, it’s the setting that captures our hearts and the fine eye for detail that Square Enix nails on the head. The tricking waters soaking against the Golden Quay beachfront. The roaring crowds following your every move in the towering metropolis of Insomnia. Every little piece of Eos tells a story, and we’d love nothing more than to just spend a day backpacking through it all.
2. Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
This list wouldn’t be complete without a good old JRPG — and we think Ni No Kuni truly is a work of art when it comes to world design. Of course, with Revenant Kingdom — it is what you make of it. There are many times throughout the game where you’re only goal is to evolve your kingdom and draw more citizens to your cause. This can be in the shape of an exciting Spellworks or Outfitters, or even a full-fledged farm to help feed your folk. Then, on top of the gorgeous kingdom building, there is, of course — the rest of Ding Dong Dell, which is just as divine.
Wandering the crisp hills of Ding Dong Dell and interacting with the millions of happy go lucky travellers can be a joy in itself. A million stories can be told just with one passing NPC, and it would only be too wondrous to be able to physically engage with them. And then, on top of the characters — there are the several miles of stretched landscapes and sparkling hillsides. Putting both of them in the same basket, and we’ve got ourselves a truly fascinating world that we’d love to visit ten times over.
1. World of Warcraft
When Blizzard stormed the MMORPG platform way back in 2004 with World of Warcraft, millions of people all flocked together to agree on one thing. It wasn’t that the game itself was a genuinely impressive feat to reach, but more that the art design was on par with being absolutely phenomenal. Of course, it seems rather strange bringing up a game from almost two decades ago, but even in 2021 — World of Warcraft still hosts one of the most jaw-dropping maps ever created. From Azeroth to the Eastern Kingdoms, Outland to Northrend — and every nook and cranny of every island; Blizzard breathes life into this wondrous world, unlike any other developer.
There’s no ignoring the fact that World of Warcraft is enormous. There’s scorching canyons, apple-green woodlands, violet skies — and a whole lot of shifting landscapes packed so full with lore. No square inch is the same here, and we’d love nothing more than to physically be able to step into our screens and experience the fantastic surroundings first-hand. But, eh — one can dream.