5 most memorable locations from video games
Level design is one of the key aspects of any video game, as the most interesting feature of any game, aside from the player character, is how the game looks. Over the years, level design has evolved by leaps and bounds. Take a look at the original Doom and the 2016 remake.
Currently, the graphical quality of games is high enough that it is possible to create vistas for players to get lost in. Pause the gameplay for a few seconds and admire the scenery around them.
Thus, video games sometimes create such masterful environments that they refuse to leave from the player’s memory.
These are iconic environments in video games
1) Halo Ring - Halo: Combat Evolved
While the concept of ringworlds may trace its roots back to the novel of the same name by Larry Niven, Halo: CE was the first video game to depict it. First encountered after an uncalculated jump into slipspace, the UNSC Pillar of Autumn ship comes across this structure orbiting a gas giant.
Following this proceeds the entire story of the first Halo game while setting a precedent for all other entries in the series. Bungie did wonders to depict the ring world as best they could, with the limitations of the technology of the time. It is now an iconic shot in most Halo games to see the ring shape from wherever the player is standing, circling overhead in a perfect halo in the first person.
While some video games in the series did diverge from it, ultimately, the fate of all Halo games is linked to the ringworld. As evidenced by Halo: Infinite coming full circle (pun intended) with the story being set in a new ring.
3) Sovngarde - Skyrim
As players journey through Skyrim, taking quests and doing side missions like the Dragonborn, they often hear an NPC mention Sovngarde. This is the Hall of Valor of the Nord afterlife, where warriors killed in battle go after death to revel in eternal glory.
Little did players know that they would be headed there by the end of the main questline, although not in a permanent manner. In the quest aptly named ‘Sovngarde,’ the Dragonborn is sent there through a portal to end the tyranny of Alduin. Once that is done, however, they are free to wander about and take in the sights until they are ready to return to their world.
This is a fitting option, as Sovngarde is probably one of the most beautiful locations one can visit in the game. While small in size, this eternal afterlife is forever graced with an Aurora in the sky, while a giant whalebone bridge links the large open garden to the actual hall of the slain. There's also a giant waterfall to infinity.
3) Dunehollow - Horizon Forbidden West
Horizon Forbidden West pushed the boundaries of where video games can go with scenery, featuring distinct biomes on its map. It's hard to pick one place from this game. Duneholllow, though, would probably take the cake.
Originally the ruins of Las Vegas, the place known as Dunehollow lies buried beneath the desert area of Stillsands by the game's events. While initially unremarkable, once Aloy can clear the water level away and restore power, the area regains some of the lost splendor Vegas is known for.
Casino lights and holograms cover the area and make it a picturesque spot. Forbidden West’s excellent photo mode comes in handy here as there are quite a few places for players to pose and become the next influencer in Horizon’s world. Considering all the warring factions that exist, they could use one.
4) The Ashtray Maze - Control
Control isn’t a video game that is known for its vistas. After all, it is mostly set in dark corridors and alternate empty planes of existence. But there is one location in the game that does qualify: the Ashtray Maze. While accessible early on, this maze is initially a mind-bender, never letting players progress too far and spitting them back out at the entrance.
However, after a significant portion of the game, protagonist Jessie is given a tool to safely navigate the maze: an old walkman with an alternative rock track. Heading back to the maze, the players have witnessed a significant change as Jessie puts on a walkman and a banger of a soundtrack comes on.
The maze lets Jessie through, twisting and changing and reconfiguring itself to create the best possible path across it. It even seals off enemies and gives the player some environmental assistance. It's set to music that makes players feel like the superhero they’ve always wanted to be, making it one of the coolest moments in video games.
5) St. Denis - Red Dead Redemption 2
While the entire RDR2 map is a beauty to behold, St. Denis is a masterpiece. The sprawling city is the largest hub in the game and was modeled after the city of New Orleans in Louisiana, USA.
Such intricate details are ingrained into this area of the map that photos taken in the video game are reminiscent of the same areas of the city in real life. Combined with Red Dead Redemption’s graphical prowess and NPC mechanics, walking down the streets of St. Denis is a surreal experience unto itself.
This in-game city is a testament to how much detail can be put into video game design. This invigorates players' curiosity about how Rockstar studios will push itself with the next game.
Note: This article reflects the writer's opinions.