Before you read on, think for a minute what makes gaming so great? Forget everything and focus on one thing that the game revolves around? It’s the setting, right? It’s the very essence that draws you in into the game that you just purchased.
From Rockstar’s rendition of the Wild West to BioShock’s Rapture, here are the top 5 best settings in all of gaming.
America in the 1950s was a good place but also it was a scary place. It was a time of authentic fear for a world that was about to break with the threat of nuclear war as the United States and the USSR was at each other’s throats. Such a culture left its mark on the modern world long after the Cold War ended and this is what Fallout revolves around.
To keep things short, I’ll give you the shortened length of Fallout’s lore. In Fallout, the world hasn’t changed from the 1950’s or from the Cold War era. Everything that made the 1950’s great in America remains firmly in place well into the 21st century and going beyond; from the music to the fashion and to the cars, everything has stayed the same in Fallout’s universe. The apocalypse doesn’t come until 2077 when China and the United States go to war, the result ended in global war that lasted only 2 hours with much of the world left in ruins. This setting is one of the most unique settings I’ve ever seen within gaming.
L.A Noire’s Los Angeles
L.A Noire’s Los Angeles takes place in the year 1947 and it is a pretty accurate representation of the city in that era. The world that Rockstar and Team Bondi built in 2011 is as real as they come, with parts of the city truly coming to life: from the storefronts to the vehicles, everything has been recreated to make you feel like you are there in the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Aside from the faithful recreation of Los Angeles in 1947, L.A Noire is a perfect game that captures the very essence of film noire that Rockstar and Team Bondi tried to chase and was obviously inspired by when creating the game. If you want to be sucked into the world of post-war Los Angeles, then go look no further than L.A Noire.
The Elder Scrolls’ Tamriel
The Elder Scrolls takes place on the planet of Nirn, the franchise takes place on the content of Tamriel. From Skyrim to Morrowind, we’ve walked every square inch of the land taking in adventures large and small. Recently, we took a small little hike in the snowy regions of Skyrim in the north which is the homeland of the Nords.
The Elder Scrolls world isn’t just defined by the land, however. The characters, literature, languages, history, and overall lore of the world is what makes the franchise so special. It’s basically the Elder Scrolls equivalent of Fallout’s world, everything that the world gives you contributes to what makes the franchise so unique and special.
Rapture was dreamed about in 1947 after Andrew Ryan saw what occurred at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He was convinced that the world would turn to glass as a result of what he saw and so he began to build his dream; to build a city at the bottom of the very ocean where there was no kings or gods, just only man.
So, in 1952, Rapture was created at the bottom of the northern region of the Atlantic Ocean, somewhere between Greenland and Iceland. The city thrived until New Year’s Eve, 1959. The city plundered after a civil war and that’s where the original game takes place in right on the heels of this massive civil war that wrecked the city.
When we enter the city, it is one year after the collapse of Rapture and the majority of the population are dead with the rest of the population becoming into monsters or survivors that have barricaded themselves. The city itself is ruined and in decay with the ocean slowly reclaiming the city, some locations within Rapture have become flooded, while other locations are damaged, so damaged that the city itself is damaged to the point of no return. Rapture is a fascinating place and there is something wonderful and yet disturbing about Rapture which makes it one of the best settings within video games.
Rockstar’s Wild West
The Wild West genre holds a special place in my heart, more so than any other genre like military or science-fiction. Perhaps, it is because no other nation in the world has created such an iconic self-image as the American cowboy and the Outlaw. I just love the Wild West and the lore and history that has inhabited that particular point in American history since I was a kid so seeing Rockstar take on this legendary period in American history was exciting.
The original Red Dead Redemption takes place in 1911, at the time when the Wild West was effectively over and the government alongside the rule of law started to sweep across the land. The world that Rockstar Games created is a true achievement, with American history behind every corner. Its a world that is conflicted by the winds of change as the middle half of the 20th century begins and a new world is beginning to take shape across the American West.
Red Dead Redemption nailed the later half of the era and it’s a true achievement. I can’t wait to see what Rockstar has created in Red Dead Redemption II.