9 Video Games to Play When Experiencing Wanderlust

Updated on July 1, 2019
CYong74 profile image

Geek, gamer, writer, graphic artist. Yong’s favourite movies and games are those that allow him to enjoy the world from his bedroom.

Wanderlust hits when you least expect it. Fortunately, the magic of video games enables anyone to be a world-trekking tourist the craving for adventure strikes.

1. "Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End"

Uncharted 4 comes with a handy photo mode. Because the game knows you'd be playing it when wanderlust hits.
Uncharted 4 comes with a handy photo mode. Because the game knows you'd be playing it when wanderlust hits.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is, without doubt, one of the best video games for remedying wanderlust. Spanning three continents and with stunning graphics to boot, Naughty Dog’s 2016 masterpiece instantly transforms you into an intrepid explorer/thief questing for legendary treasures in the exotic locations. Long to visit crumbling Spanish ruins? Or photograph yourself at mysterious Scottish abbeys? Or stroll through exotic Malagasy bazaars? You can do all these, and more, in this concluding episode of thief extraordinaire Nathan Drake’s career. Best of all, the game comes with an extensive multiplayer mode too. After you have addressed your craving for adventure, you can attend to your anger issues. Uncharted 4’s multiplayer mode has endless hordes of rampaging brigands and ghostly pirate lords for you to gleefully gun down.

2. "Sleeping Dogs"

Victoria Peak, night markets, neon-lit streets, it's all there in Sleeping Dogs.
Victoria Peak, night markets, neon-lit streets, it's all there in Sleeping Dogs.

I recently attempted to write a mini-feature on Sleeping Dogs for my blog, and before I knew it, I was replaying the game more than writing. The most ambitious open world game based on Hong Kong made to date, you will easily lose yourself in its streets for hours, doing no more than soaking up the many sights and sounds. My favourite activity, to simply cruise around the districts on my Ducati while listening to the extensive, atmospheric soundtrack. If you’ve ever longed to visit the Pearl of the Orient, but could not afford the time or money, this is the best video game to go for. Actually, there’s no game.

3. Any "Assassin’s Creed" Game

Florence in Assassin's Creed II. Don't worry about the time difference. Florence today still looks very much like this.
Florence in Assassin's Creed II. Don't worry about the time difference. Florence today still looks very much like this.

How could any listicle on wanderlust and video games not include the Assassin’s Creed franchise? Practically a showcase of the most popular tourist locations in Europe and the Americas, Ubisoft’s flagship series has so far digitally recreated for us the Holy Lands, Italy, Paris, London, Boston, New York, and a handful of Asian locations. Through the signature parkour gameplay or aimless wandering in the open world locations, you are instantly teleported to these spectacular destinations, with the ability to experience these historical cities from vantage points no normal tourist can easily reach. My personal episode from the AC franchise? Part 2. Taking place all over fifteenth-century Italy, this masterpiece is a cyber Grand Tour. It’s a renaissance adventure you can go on again and again, just by loading a save file.

4. "Ryu ga Gotoku" 0 (Also known as "Yakuza 0")

Be dazzled by Japan's neon-lit nightlife in Ryu ga Gotoku Zero.
Be dazzled by Japan's neon-lit nightlife in Ryu ga Gotoku Zero.

It would be a sin not to include a Ryu ga Gotoku game on this list. Renowned for painstaking reconstructions of Tokyo’s largest red-light district, and famous for integrating real-life brands and shops to heighten realism, the series is literally a virtual reality tourism showpiece. One that hesitates not to show you the best and worst of Japanese nightlife. For this list, I choose Ryu ga Gotoku 0 because of its cutting-edge PlayStation 4 graphics, and also because it includes Osaka’s Dontonbori. A suggestion here. Play this game with good headphones. Better still, play it with PlayStation VR. The VR experience is second only to being within the metropolises themselves.

5. "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim"

Miles and miles, and miles, of Nordic splendor within your grasp in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
Miles and miles, and miles, of Nordic splendor within your grasp in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Bethesda’s best-selling masterpiece might be a strange entry for a list on wanderlust and video games. After all, Skyrim is a medieval magical realm. But remember, Skyrim itself was heavily based on Scandinavia and Northern European medieval culture. With the amount of detail Bethesda injected into the game, it’s thus not difficult at all to imagine yourself actually journeying through the rugged landscapes of Northern Europe when slaying fire-breathing dragons and animated skeletons. When playing the game, don’t neglect to read the many mini stories included within the game too. Just as travelogues enhance any traveling experience, these colourful tales greatly add color to your sojourn in this frosty realm. You might be so fascinated, you never want to leave.

6. "Persona 5"

Japan is famous for its underground shopping malls, and for video games. How about experiencing both at the same time?
Japan is famous for its underground shopping malls, and for video games. How about experiencing both at the same time?

Unless you are severely adverse to turn-based combat, it's impossible for you not to love Persona 5. A quirky blend of fantasy and daily teenage life, the game’s renditions of Tokyo’s most famous districts is nothing short of inspirational, with Persona 5 also going all out to show you how modern Japanese teenagers spend their days. If you’ve ever dreamed of being on an exchange programme in Tokyo, or your wanderlust just points towards Tokyo, this is the game to play. At the same time, Persona 5 also has one of the most imaginative stories ever written for the genre. This is a story equally as absorbing with its fantastical elements, as it is with acute social commentary.

7. "Far Cry 4"

Kyrat. Wouldn't you want to explore every nook and cranny of such a land?
Kyrat. Wouldn't you want to explore every nook and cranny of such a land?

I was torn between recommending Far Cry 3 or 4. Ultimately, I decided on Far Cry 4 as it featured a region harder for most travellers to get to. Set in Kyrat, a fictional Himalayan country, Far Cry 4 affords you the thrill of journeying through the world’s highest mountain range, but without the many perils associated with that sort of trek. Naturally, as a first-person shooter, the game comes with substantial violence, which could be a turn-off for some folks. On that, be informed that FC4 has one of the largest and densest open-worlds ever created. Brigands don’t lurk behind every rock. Sometimes there’s just cliffs, wildlife, and absolutely breathtaking Himalayan scenery.

8. "Bioshock"

Rapture has been consistently hailed as one of the most mesmerizing worlds created for video games. In other words, it's perfect when afflicted with wanderlust.
Rapture has been consistently hailed as one of the most mesmerizing worlds created for video games. In other words, it's perfect when afflicted with wanderlust. | Source

There are many reasons to play Bioshock, foremost of which being Rapture, the Art Deco inspired underwater city at the heart of the game. The romanticized New York so many of us long to visit, Rapture is Art Deco architecture at its dreamiest, a metropolis perpetually shrouded by night and aglow with neon illumination. In addition, the Ayn Rand elements in the story presents the spirit of that era, an age when the world was torn apart by political and ideological differences. If I may put it this way, playing Bioshock is more than gaming adventure or wanderlust gratification, it is also philosophical consideration. Surviving Bioshock is to survive the many contradicting ideologies that have choked the world for centuries.

9. "World of Warcraft"

Karst mountains, rolling plains and terracotta-like warrior statues. WoW's Pandaria is perfect for anyone experiencing wanderlust for China.
Karst mountains, rolling plains and terracotta-like warrior statues. WoW's Pandaria is perfect for anyone experiencing wanderlust for China.

Like entry 5, the best-selling MMORPG in gaming history might feel to be a weird entry. In contrast to Skyrim, the worlds of Azeroth and Draenor contain decisively magical sceneries, such as floating cities and mile-high trees. On the other hand, many World of Warcraft locations are based on real-life locations, particularly those in the Mists of Pandaria expansion. If your wanderlust is brought on by dreams of misty adventures in Chinese paddy fields, bamboo groves and golden palaces, a leisurely ride through the continent of Pandaria will not disappoint. Incidentally, many other locations in World of Warcraft are also reminiscent of travel hotspots. For example, lush European forests, forgotten Egyptian ruins, the rugged Australian outback, etc. Play with the right character, and you could be at all these wonderful destinations instantaneously.

Do You Play Video Games When Experiencing Wanderlust?

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    © 2017 Kuan Leong Yong

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      • CYong74 profile imageAUTHOR

        Kuan Leong Yong 

        2 years ago from Singapore

        Hey Cheeky. I'm a city guy in and out, so my favourite ones from this list are Sleeping Dogs and Ryu. Skyrim is great too, except, I still haven't completed the main story after two years. The side quests never seem to end! :0

        And Pokémon Go ... Yeah, real life wandering. Last year, I was wandering around my house at 3pm, trying to catch new Pokemons after writing hubs!

      • Cheeky Kid profile image

        Cheeky Kid 

        2 years ago from Milky Way

        Skyrim is my go-to game whenever I'm experiencing wanderlust. Also, Witcher...but the world you can explore is very limited. Oh, one more thing--if I want to explore the world for real, then I'd play Pokemon Go. Hahaha, it'll literally take me everywhere.

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