Games with exceptional locations

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Some Zelda games have a really nice view to them.
But I am going to go for Lotro and the Shire.

Xenoblade. All of it.

Hmmm... How about the ENTIRE WORLD of Conker's Bad Fur Day?! haha. Rapture's good too. And Hyrule field is always very, shall I say, iconic, whichever LoZ game you're talking about. Assassin's Creed (the first is the only one I've played) has a very well-developed world too. And the Prince of Persia trilogy does very well in this regard also. Aaaand, Need for Speed: Underground 2! Excellent city-scape and at the age I was playing it at, the streets all became like old friends. Also, TWO WORLDS. Don't worry, I'm fucking kidding

Haha this turned out to be a lot more games than I thought I'd add to your little forum thread. Oh well, when I am drunk, my posting is always over 9000

EDIT: AAAAND AND AND, Chrono Cross. MMMMMmmmmMMM beautiful and convincing. The music helped a lot too. Also, the Elder Scrolls series. Somehow forgot my old favorites <_<

Hero in a half shell:
I loved the first time you land on the Halo installation in Combat Evolved, on the impossibly huge clifface that looks out towards where the rest of the ring loops up over your head, and you have a huge river gorge beside you, with a narrow bridge over it.

Pity the later game devolved into a confusing, repetitive corridor dash, but that intro to the ringworld was spectacular.

I agree. It was quite impressive. Starts out on a ship with tight halls and ducts, then bam onto this huuuuuge panorama of color and nature and technology stretching before you. Everything about that second level of Halo implies grand architecture and achievement.

I do feel that yeah it kind of became a corridor dash for a bit but there was always that bit of hinted grandiosity. you spend the first half of truth and reconciliation making your way along a cliff at night before going into a truly alien ship. all the purple roundedness of the ship in stark contrast to the olive hardness of the human ship from before. Or the blue-grey hexagonal symmetry feel to the forerunner tech.

The Island where the cartographer is is this tiny little spot of paradise, until you get inside and there's a massive hole. Just a hole that goes into blackness. with hundreds of levels visible along the sides. As you go down level by level through the ring you emerge, having left an idyllic island to the snowy mountain areas leading to the control room.

Then a swampy claustrophobic horror level that is totally empty. The first Time I played through that, it was scarier than most true horror games. And there were no cheap "NGA! BOO!" moments. Total atmosphere. Then when you get to the room at the end you realize the horror has been set loose. Now you fight your way through a seemingly endless swarm of jumping scratching shooting things. And as the fight puts your back to the wall you're teleported away by and odd little drone.

This takes you to the library. A stark, sterile, uniform, chamber; a MASSIVE chamber that , once again, has a definite feeling of grand design and symmetry. But also because of the towering emptiness it feels almost claustrophobic. It's empty and blank. Once you've achieved your objective it's teleport to the control room again.

Theeeeen you go backwards through all of the levels for the second half of the game :/ Granted it does a fantastic job showing you how the world has changed since the flood were unwittingly released. There's an atmosphere of rot and putrefaction added to everything and it's excellently done. But I still do not approve of backtracking >.>

As for Halo 2, 3, and Reach.... well I love em but I gotta admit there was a definite lack of the above. 2 really did a good job of it but that's all: *Good*

3 and Reach were pretty much just about spectacle. I love how epic they feel and they're solid, tight, beautiful games. But as I've said, atmosphere.

ODST on the other hand kinda brought it back after 3. As you explore New Mombassa post slip-space event, you certainly feel the devastation. For awhile the city's empty. As enemies re-occupy the streets you have to make your way around one versus many, as is the theme of the series, except this time you're not a super-soldier. You're a grunt. A well trained and definitively badass grunt. But still someone that'll never be able to punch out a brute like a Spartan. And you know it. The lilting piano and sax music that plays as you try to find your squad-mates is not only sombre, but a little depressing as well. You're alone, and you're not supposed to be. You're coming into these situations after they've occurred, and then the game shifts you into the squad-mate's place 12 hours ago to re-enact that battle. I think it was really well done, going from the overall exploratory hopeless feel to the typical run-n-gun shooter. Very well done but still not as well as the first time around. Definitely close though.

Wow that turned into a huge post >_> Thanks for reading. =]

Acre from assassins creed 1. Mainly because I love medieval European architecture. Also Illium and the citadel from me2 because they had a pretty view.


It's a game like Marmite; some prefer the prequel Halo's and other just don't like it, but I think everyone can agree, with it being set on another planet that is being globally plasma-scorched and glassed by a giant alien armada of super-carriers, that its setting is awesome.

Dwemer ruins in Morrowind are something I always loved, and to a smaller extent skyrim's dwemer ruins.

Despite how (mostly) linear and superficial they were, the environments in FF13 were, at the very least, very attractive. If nothing else, it's a game that knows how to look pretty.

As much as I go on about how much I hated FF13, it was one of the most beautiful games I have ever played. The locations were varied, colorful, huge (to look at) and refreshing.

I personally loved the Shivering Isles. Split in half between Mania and Dementia. Great fun.


This will blow your fucking mind

Blow it right the fuck away. Seriously, I want the next Portal to be like this and fuck with my perceptions of reality. Or maybe a game where you go mad and this is what happens to the levels?

That. was. amazing. I want this so badly.

OT: I enjoy the Zone from STALKER, as well as the post-fallout America from Fallout 3. I also like the massive nondescript battlefields of the Total War games, from the valleys to the hills to the plains to the cities... all fields to be stained with blood.

Indeed, Skyrim is just wonderful.
I would add : the AC series, Riven (didn't play the other games) the Witcher (esp. the second one)... but my favorite : the Shivering Isles ! I'm a sucker for scenery porn...

Pretty much all of FF13 and Witcher 2. Dragon Age 3 is going to be done with the Frostbite 2 engine, so I expect a large amount of scenery porn there.

Has to be said, the entire Red Dead Redemption map, but especially Mexico for me. Simply superb. Also, I agree with the OP, Dragon Age had one or two amazing locations, but the party camp was my favourite :)

yah i know its from WoW but Ashenvale, its a huge forest thick with green purple and pink tree's that tower over you. the music is pretty too. every lush forest in games are beautiful to me but Ashenvale * sigh * i could live there lol to bad Wow decided to cute half of it down n put a freakin erupting volcano in the middle of the wonderful place :(

The Witcher 2, even the sewers in that game looked amazing. Sanitarium, while far from 'beautiful' had some very memorable locations, and what really made them good was how unique each was, in its own twisted way.

And of course Vice City. It may be lacking a bit in terms of aesthetics when compared to more modern games, but it's still one of the best sandbox locations of any video game.

Also, X-16.

The whole of Red Dead Redemption's world is beautiful, except Blackwater, but maybe that's intentional.

The reveal of Rapture is stunning and i like how each level gives a different view of it i.e fort frolic lets you see the skyscrapers (seascrapers?) and hephestus lets you see the very bottom with its cool orange glow and the city way above.

Blackreach and Sovngarde in Skyrim are also pretty cool.

Mass Effect 2, some truly beautiful work there.

Flailing Escapist:
Am I the only one thinking of the sky in Assassin's Creed 2 right now?

Assassin's Creed is what popped into my head the moment I read the title. Seriously, all of those games are beautiful and painstakingly designed, it's hard not to love it.

Deus ex: Human Revolutions. For some reason I adored Hengsha.

Am I the only person who likes Paradise City from Burnout? From city center, to mountain range, to exotic island, it was pretty much perfectly suited to it's cause, it really felt like it was designed with gameplay in mind.

Skyrim was also good, a fantastic representation of the frozen north.

Enslaved had a lot of beautiful environments because of the juxtaposition of nature and the old, ruined city look. Also the Lost Woods in Twilight Princess were gorgeous.

I'll also mention the gardens in Prince of Persia: Warrior Within because I think I spent more time looking at the scenery then trying to solve the puzzles.

Dear Esther, the entire cave chapter blew me away with how gorgeous the scenery is, also i am a sucker for waterfalls and small rivers and caves.

Myst Online: Uru had Ahnonay.

Best level design ever.

From the same game, the open area at the top of the first tower in Gahreesen was basically a quick blast of pure scenery porn.

The whole game was absolutely astounding, especially regarding scenery and level design.

And I agree with the one mentioning Morrowind's Sadrith Mora.
Oh, and the water temple in TLoZ: Majora's Mask was amazing. So many pipes and is my favourite temple. (Silence, water temple haters!)

Rapture in Bioshock, Black Mesa and City 17 in Half-Life, Chernobyl in S.T.A.L.K.E.R., several Elder Scrolls cities, Oasis Grove in Fallout, too many Uncharted spots (Iram of the Pillars, Shambhala, the cruise ship).

Flailing Escapist:
Am I the only one thinking of the sky in Assassin's Creed 2 right now?

No your not! It's truly beautiful

Venice in Assassin's Creed 2.

The architecture, the visuals (sparkly water), the music, just the whole atmosphere of the place was exceptional.

And you my good man are correct too!

The Assassin's Creed games always impress me with their visuals, they make me want to be in Italy (with a good bottle of wine!)

Just Cause 2's entire map was a stunning achievement, especially the snowy mountain bits. I'm a sucker for snow in games.
Far Cry 2, amazing graphics, incredible world...shame about the gameplay. Great to explore though, providing you don't get shot by those GODDAMN patrols every 5 minutes.
Red Dead Redemption, again especially the snowy bits. But the whole world is amazing.
Far Cry (PC). Amazing tropical location. It was pretty good in Far Cry Instincts as well.
Finally, GTA IV's Liberty City. Just full of detail. It still amazes me driving across Brooklyn Bridge at night with the classic rock station on.

EDIT: Nope, thought of another one. Splinter Cell Double Agent on X360 was ultimately disappointing for me, especially cause I played the (in my opinion) superior one on Xbox first. That said, the Shanghai level was stunning. Just looking across to the skyline as you're on the rooftop.

Ok, I realise how retarded I will sound now, but...

In Anarchy Online, there were two locations that I absolutely ADORED.
This is a 2001 game, mind you, and it definitely didn't age gracefully. But still, when playing it, and my then-noob NT was running all over Shadowlands, I remember how absolutely awed I was when I first saw those locations.

The first one was the waterfalls in Elysium:

The other one was a really pretty garden... rock-thing in otherwise barren and grim Scheol:

Well, like I said, it didn't age well at all. But still makes me nostalgic, and those two locations, I really think were pretty.

for me the following

Vvadenfell (and by extension the shivering isles)
Skyrim (typical western fantasy setting in a nordic landscape that looks gorgeous? fuck yh!
Rapture.... need i say more?
Vergen from The Witcher 2 (i love the dwarves)

and lots of areas in World Of Warcraft

I would have to say that Shadow of the Colossus had some pretty good set pieces, as well as Dante's Inferno.

A few others: Jak and Daxter series(not including Jak X), Burnout, Gran Turismo, and that is all I can think of now

On another not, Inglip is looking for anyone named Bret Oesvit.

Psychonauts. Summer camp was great, inside of people's minds is basically unsurpassed in terms of fun/creative level design.

While pretty much every Zelda game has excellent locales, I absolutly adored the world of Twilight Princess. The open world areas all look gorgeous, all of the towns and areas feel distinct, and when the world is bathed in twilight, oh what a feeling of dread the world has. Fantastic game.


Myst Online: Uru had Ahnonay.

Best level design ever.

From the same game, the open area at the top of the first tower in Gahreesen was basically a quick blast of pure scenery porn.

The whole game was absolutely astounding, especially regarding scenery and level design.

With the possible exception of Minkata. -_-

I saw what they were trying to do, but they didn't manage it. But overall, I'd hold up Uru as the "How To Do It" example for level and puzzle design.

Some Final Fantasy games are rich with beautiful locations and great places, for example:

VIII: Balamb is a beautiful port town with a beautiful serene BGM I wish it was real I'd love to spend a day at the hotel, Timber as a typical european town, Winhill is a charming village, Deiling City has that modern but still culturally-rich, beautiful city, Cetra Ruins look mysterious and eerie as well as The Tomb Of The Unkown King, Shumi as a serene garden in the middle of nowhere, Fisherman's Horizon steampunk/post-apocalyptic town look, and Timber, reminding me of some light industry traveler hotspot, I just love the art of this game so much.

The first two Jak& Daxter games are beautiful, and I still hold the original game's art and locations above a lot of current games.

Traverse Town/Twilight Town/The End Of The World from the KH series are also deserving of a nod. As well as Dragon Age: Origins

And back in the day I used to love the locations from Abe's Oddworld/Odyssey as well as Parasite Eve's initial area on a destroyed and creepy as hell apartment building/shopping mall complex.

Singapore Sling:
Riven (didn't play the other games)


You're really missing out, man!

Panau from Just Cause 2 the size and scale is absolutely amazing especially since you can go to literally any point in the game and not encounter any loading time.

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