13 Tantalising Stomping Grounds In The Gaming Universe
Whether you are an indoor or outdoor person, you’ll always have preferred places to be in. If you’re the adventure seeking adrenaline junkie, you’ll probably be found outdoors; teasing the most deadly animal known to man with a splintering toothpick. The indoor people may prefer a nice cozy place to set down their behind, sipping on a cup of tea while engrossing themselves in their books, movies and / or games. This got me thinking about the environments our beloved gaming characters find themselves in. While I think it’s safe to say that not all characters enjoy their surroundings and situations, I still know those environments prove to be emotional taps. Come to think of it, there’s a lot of environments that I enjoy while playing, but you’ll not find me there in real life, if I have any say in the matter.
These following titles are not supposed to be judged by their looks, but by the overall feel they provide. Let’s have a look-see and see what we’re looking at.
War; one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse is being framed and all Hell has broken loose. At the beginning of the game you’re plunged into the frame facing angels and demons in modern day with cars being thrown at you and helicopters circling above. After a while you’re thrown back to Earth facing even more creatures, where the world has gotten even crappier. It’s difficult to describe the overall feel of Darksiders, seeing as how you are exploring underground dungeons, forgotten cities and a few areas best left undescribed. It’s got a unique feel to it. You want to explore and search this post-apocalyptic version of Earth.
Assasssin’s Creed 2
Although the first Assassin’s Creed had a great atmosphere packed with lots of detail, I chose the second one for it’s feel, and here’s why. The world of Renaissance Italy was brought together before our eyes in a great way. It’s got great architecture, filled with lots of hidden secrets in the form of glyphs that reveal some interesting footage. And by interesting I mean: “Holy crap! Did you just see that? It was…” Interesting doesn’t even begin to describe it. The feel you got while exploring and climbing every traversable building was just awesome. Minstrels will sing for you, hoping you’ll give them a few florins, either causing you to throw a few pieces down on the ground or punching them, listening to them pleading as they run away. If you listen to what they are singing, they have some real chuckle-worthy rhymes. The marketplaces feel alive and the pigeons that fly away as you’re chasing your target down don’t hurt either.
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
Enslaved is a game that went under lots of gamers’ radar. Set in a post-apocalyptic setting where slaves are being controlled by headbands keeping them on a tight and extremely lethal leash. The surroundings are lush and beautiful. Wrecks and damaged buildings are overgrown with all sorts of plant life. To summarize: it’s a beautiful post-apocalyptic expanse with great vistas. You’ll fight a lot of mechs that were used during the conflict that sent today’s civilization six feet under. If you get the chance to play this highly underrated game, please do so.
Running through a dense forest searching for your wife, having almost no ammunition while being chased by everyday folks corrupted by a dark presence sounds pretty moody, doesn’t it? Although Alan Wake is not having a particularly great time of his life, it’s safe to say that your surroundings, whether it be nightmarish survival situations or finding out what had happened to your wife during the day by talking to the quirky locals, is pretty darn atmospheric. There’s a lot of exploration to be had if you’re searching for missing manuscript pages or just looking for hidden supplies. Have a spare flashlight handy, because you’re in for a treat.
Trying to repair a broken down planet-cracking ship, dubbed the USG Ishimura, which has gone completely silent due to unknown reasons sounds like a blast, hey? Well, it’s quite literally a blast filled with scares and some real atmospheric scenarios. “Is that a metal pipe falling in the background? Oh, good, I sincerely hope so, otherwise it may just be my imminent albeit brutal death caused by a bunch of ugly guys that were essentially the original crew of the ship I’m desperately trying to repair, running towards me with extra, deadly limbs not having the capability to form words, resulting in nerve-wrecking shouts that will have me needing new pants.” If you want creepy atmospheric corridors filled with peril, look no further.
The idea of dying in your dreams has always intrigued me. What will really happen and what awaits you when you wake up? Catherine takes this idea and provides the player with some interesting scenarios. The nightmarish sequences will have you climbing what seems to be endless levels of blocks. If you don’t climb fast enough the blocks will leave you at the mercy of gravity, resulting in a death on top of a pile of blocks among other climbers that have failed in their quest for unfaithful redemption. The surroundings are tantalising and provide a feeling of hopelessness. Be it bloody machinery or trapped sheep that provide the background, it will have you climbing like there is no tomorrow.
Slender finds itself among a list of big titles, and believe me when I say that the game deserves it. Taking a very minimalistic approach to scaring the audience, it does that with flying colours. On a quest to find eight pages and surviving while doing so, can be more than a little intimidating. The pages are scattered at random places, not enabling you to go in with a game plan. The way the Slender character behaves is more than enough to induce bowel moving results and have you, the player, screaming like a little girl. The forest is filled with trees and although the trees look alike, it serves beautifully to the scare factor and have you mistaking the Slender character with a tree or vice versa. The piano-crashing sounds when laying eyes on the Slender character is brilliant. Let a friend play this game while you are taking on the role as audience, it’s probably the safest way to enjoy the sadistic traits that you possess.
This is one nasty game. It’s got blood, and saying a lot of it will still result in an understatement. Beside the violent nature that the game and bloodthirsty mask provide, it is the surroundings that will have one feeling uneasy or perhaps creeped out. It’s not going to give you a fright, but the overall feeling will have you wanting to clean the disc with a blackmarket-class scrubbing solution. Please don’t do that, the disc will not survive. After acquiring a new copy of the game, be sure to enjoy the surroundings. It’s not necessarily a case of enjoying them, but rather experiencing them. Taking place in a creepy mansion where a lot of experimentation has taken place, it’s safe to say that you’ll not like the end result. The game has a dirty feel to it, and will definitely not be for everyone. Some areas will have you thinking about the back of a butcher’s shop, and not in a good way. I know I’m not letting the game sound very fun, but the feeling is really different. It’s still fun, but in a dirty way. (See: dirty. Not meaning the game to have erotic undertones. Rather a lack of housekeeping.)
Deus Ex Human Revolution
Set in a cyberpunk universe where the heavy theme of human augmentation is the drive of it all. The futuristic look and feel the game has, is just great. You’ll have a lot of choice while playing, but I would prefer talking about the various emotions the game provide. Lots of exploration are encouraged, and lots of that can be done by scouring around through vents. Exploring these slick and clean offices can be very rewarding. The underground areas will provide a contrasting feel with rat-infested sewers. If you want variety in gameplay while playing in a unique and futuristic looking dystopian city, be sure to jump in. The blurry line between right an wrong will have you second guessing your actions.
Shadows of the Damned
Shooting your way through the underworld desperately trying to get your angel back can prove to be a rather interesting trip. This is not your average everyday game constantly being serious throughout its entirety. Don’t make the mistake of thinking of it as humorous for being kiddy-friendly and having cute landscapes. Shadows of the Damned’s environments is gritty, bloody and downright strange. Be it streets filled with corpses, erotic-inspired areas where the darkness will be the death of you if you linger longer than Garcia Hotspur can handle, or just being strangely puzzling. Expect to be freaked out by the tricks the underworld can muster up and chuckling while doing so.
Set in the same universe as our beloved Half-Life, Portal 2 provides a lot of mind-straining puzzles along with a bunch of laughs caused by the nefarious artificial intelligence; GlaDOS. All of those aspects aside, the game’s looks have a rather minimalistic approach. Test chambers have very little color. Entering a new testing area while it’s being repaired just for you is mesmerisingly awe-inspiring. Combine that with mind-bending portal mechanics, lots of puzzle variety and a rather interesting scientific approach to paint and you’ve got yourself something speacial. You’ll laugh one moment and cry the next.
This lovely trip through Hell seeing our protagonist with a dark past; Dante impetuously killing everything in his path to find his one true love, Beatrice. (“Lovely”: sarcasm.) Despite all the claims of it being a God of War clone, I have to admit that this was one of the most atmospheric game I’ve played. It insanely dark, vile and downright nasty, but hey, how else would Hell be? Dante will go through all nine circles of Hell to find and rescue Beatrice from Lucifer. Each circle will have unique enemies and surroundings appropriate to that specific circle. It’s not for the faint of heart.
Red Dead Redemption
The western setting of this game is second to none. It alive and brimming with wildlife and bandits. Quests for strangers and helping those in need will provide some interesting results and have the player guessing the true motivations of his immediate company. Following the redemptive story of John Marston, you’ll be treated to breathtaking landscapes and a world that truly feels alive.