When it comes to fuelling our biggest and boldest travel desires, people often look towards the silver screen or literature for inspiration. However, before you pick up that copy of Around the World in 80 Days or start streaming Into the Wild on Netflix, look towards your games collection for inspiration. The gaming industry has come a long way in the past decade, with incredibly detailed open worlds exploring both real and imagined locations, meaning you can now roam the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, explore the biggest cities in Asia, and swim in sapphire-blue tropical waters, without ever leaving your living room. Here are some of the best games to inspire some wanderlust.
One of the largest open worlds in video game history, this latest instalment from the Elder Scrolls series sees your customized character navigating the vast province of Skyrim, making friends and foes across this continent-sized world. Although fictional, this beautifully crafted landscape has everything an aspiring traveller could want, from breathtaking beaches, to dense cities, to sleepy clifftop villages and fast Scandinavian-style forests. An entire planet’s worth of scenery is packed into this game, and more importantly, the true wanderlust comes from the unlimited freedom of the gameplay, which allows you to roam as you please and carve out your own path in this beautiful and varied universe. A few hours spent trekking through the detailed natural landscapes of Skyrim will have you looking at flights faster than you can say “Dragonborn”.
While we may never be able to physically explore the past, Assassin’s Creed games allow you to come as close as humanly possible, as you navigate the most important historical cities in Europe, America, the Middle East and beyond, in mind-blowing detail. There are plenty of games and platforms which offer players a chance to roam through history, from the complex to the more simple, with even a new online casino giving people the chance to step back in time with slots such as Da Vinci’s Vault and Age of Egypt. The appetite players have for travelling through history was arguably kicked off by the Assassin’s Creed franchise, which revolutionised the limits of gaming by allowing players to explore hyper-realistic reconstructions of Renaissance Florence, ancient Cairo, colonial Boston and Victorian London which, like real travel, allow the user to learn a lot about the fascinating history of these global cities.
When it comes to real-life city reconstructions in games, there’s plenty of top contenders for the best. However, the title that most effectively captures the essence and energy of a real-life city is Sleeping Dogs, which sets a gripping action thriller on the streets of Hong Kong. From grumbling fishwives in Kowloon, to comical executives in the throbbing Financial District, to the party animals and neon hipsters of Soho, anyone who has been to Hong Kong IRL will be able to attest that Sleeping Dogs captures the manic energy of this 24-hour city-state perfectly.
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