9 Video Games to Play When Experiencing Wanderlust
Wanderlust hits when you least expect it. Fortunately, the magic of video games enables anyone to be a world-trekking tourist when the craving for adventure strikes.
1. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is, without doubt, one of the best video games to play when experiencing 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
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 to date, you will easily lose yourself in its streets, its night markets, for hours, doing no more than soaking up the many sights and sounds. My favourite activity is to do no more than to 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 better game.
3. Any Assassin’s Creed Game
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, a handful of Asian locations, even Ancient Egypt. 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 favorite 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 5: Yume, Kanaeshi Mono (Also Known as Yakuza 5)
It would be a sin not to include a Ryu ga Gotoku game on this list about games to play when experiencing wanderlust. 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.
As for which episode to play, I strongly recommend Ryu ga Gotoku 5 because no other episode in the series offers you such a wide variety of locations to explore. From Fukuoka City down south in Kyushu, to the snowy streets of winter Sapporo, to Nagoya, Osaka, and finally, Tokyo, playing Ryu ga Gotoku 5 is like having an extended pan-Japanese holiday that covers the entire country. To best enjoy the trip, play the visually remastered version for the PS4. Play it too with a good set of headphones. You do not want to miss the atmospheric sounds and music that accompanies every chapter.
5. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Bethesda’s best-selling masterpiece might be a strange entry for a list of wanderlust and video games. After all, Skyrim is a medieval magical realm, decisively not of our world too. 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 colorful tales greatly add color to your sojourn in this frosty realm. You might be so fascinated, you never want to leave.
6. Persona 5
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 program 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
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 too, 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. Many a time, there’s just cliffs, wildlife, and absolutely breathtaking Himalayan scenery.
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
Like entry 5, the best-selling MMORPG in gaming history might feel to be a weird entry. In addition, 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