5 Video Games That Will Help You Scratch Your Travel Itch
With many of us confined to our homes and instructed to limit trips out, it’s no surprise that already popular video games are becoming more and more prominent.
While it’s great to use the extra free time you have during social distancing to exercise, redecorate or learn new skills or languages, you also need the space to relax. And what better way to do that than to transport yourself to fantastic and fantastical locations for hours upon hours at a time?
From first-person shooters to adventure games, x-pensive Xbox 360 titles to bargain hits, and everything in between, this list of video games will inspire you with how to fill your time and find travel inspiration during quarantine.Please note: none of the games on this list are suitable for children.
Video Games: the Best Way to Travel Without Leaving the House
People around the world have used stories as a way to experience far-off lands for all of human history. Ancient mythology imagined mystical underworlds and exotic islands, while the plays of Shakespeare offered British audiences elaborate visions of life in Italy and across the Mediterranean.
More recently, films like the James Bond series have made their name on showing beautiful people in even more beautiful settings.
Escapism is as old as storytelling itself. But with the rise of virtual gaming, we’ve been able to take that to a whole new level. Where other forms of media can show you new places, games can let you experience them. No other art form allows you to move through meticulously crafted worlds, rendered in ever more intricate detail.
With that in mind, check out our list of the best video games to make you feel like you’re somewhere new - and maybe even inspire your next trip abroad once all this is over.
Teletext Holidays’ List of Video Games: The Best Video Games to Scratch Your Travel Itch
1) BATTLEFIELD V
With its Rotterdam map, Battlefield V captures the charm of one of Europe’s most beautiful cities at one of the darkest moments in the continent’s history.
It might seem strange to use a World War Two-era first-person shooter for travel inspiration, but the slower pace of the Battlefield franchise compared to something like Call of Duty allows players to appreciate the beauty amidst the chaos. And while the multiplayer takes obvious liberties with the history of the war, its depiction of Rotterdam’s streets and landmarks is spot on. Just try not to get shot by another player while you’re admiring the architecture!
2) THE UNCHARTED SERIES
While PC and Xbox 360 players are sadly unable to enjoy this PlayStation-exclusive series, we couldn’t write a list of the best video game locations without a look at perhaps the greatest action-adventure franchise in gaming history.
The first game is a little rough around the edges, but its fictional South American and Caribbean island settings beautifully evoke the region’s jungle mysteries, with the adventures of explorer Nathan Drake making the perfect inspiration for a real-life trip to Aztec or Mayan sites across Latin America.
By the second game, though, the series really started to show what it could do, taking players from a museum heist in Istanbul, Turkey to a hidden city high in the Himalayan mountains.
Add in trips to the Scottish Highlands and a bustling African town in the fourth game, and aspiring explorers will be ready to book their trips just as soon as they can put the controller down.
3) GRAND THEFT AUTO V
The Grand Theft Auto series is admittedly not for everyone, but it’s hard not to be seduced by its mix of huge, open worlds and brazen, over-the-top satire. Its 2008 predecessor, Grand Theft Auto IV, provides a strong depiction of the game world’s fictionalised New York City, called Liberty City. But 2013’s GTA V builds on that in almost every conceivable way, giving you access to the vast playground of Los Santos - this universe’s answer to Los Angeles.
Even if you’ve never made it to the City of Angels in real life, you’ll likely experience deja vu driving around the game’s painstaking recreations of famous locations from movies and TV.
There’s a strong story here for players to enjoy, and the remastered version offers an optional first-person shooter view alongside the series’ traditional third-person perspective. And as if the great single-player content weren’t enough, the online mode still attracts huge numbers of players seven years after release, offering the chance to truly go wild in the enormous sandbox that is Los Santos.
While it’s probably not a great idea to hijack a helicopter and fly it through the city streets in real life, it’s an absolute blast in-game.
4) FALOUT : NEW VEGAS
While GTA V offers a far better looking and bigger world than this 2011 title from developer Obsidian, New Vegas is often considered one of the best games in the role-playing, first-person shooter genre.
And for good reason. It has an unusually deep faction system, with a staggering number of options when it comes to crafting your character and taking the story in different directions. Whether you want to play as a huge, dimwitted brute or a charismatic card shark, you have enormous freedom here to do what you want.
Even more important for this list, though, is the game’s unique setting, presenting real-world versions of landmarks in and around the Las Vegas area, filtered through the Fallout universe’s deep lore and alternate timeline.
Downloadable content gives you access to a part of the Grand Canyon, while much of the plot focuses on the machinations of the rebuilt Vegas strip (hence ‘new’ Vegas), pieced back together after the game’s world blew itself to hell with a nuclear war in 2077. The real-life Hoover Dam also plays a crucial role in the narrative, with the game turning these real-world centres of economic and hydroelectric power into hard-fought-over resources in its post-apocalyptic landscape.
It’s far less brash than GTA, but the Fallout series also brings more than enough humour to proceedings to offset any doom and gloom provided by its setting. In fact, seeing Nevada (and a little of California) struggling to rebuild itself might help you appreciate that the area is thriving in a real-life trip there.
5) THE ASSASSIN'S CREED SERIES
While the games have varied in quality over the series’ decade-plus history, each Assassin’s Creed title has done excellent work transporting players to beautifully crafted historic locations, from the streets of Renaissance Venice and Rome in the older games to modern titles’ trips to Ancient Egypt and Greece.
These games are an absolute must for history buffs, as the wild, hairbrained, centuries-spanning conspiracy theory master-plot opens opportunities to travel around places that remain hugely popular destinations today.
If you’ve never been to Athens, for instance, 2018’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey offers an enticing taste of the city in its ancient prime. Manoeuvring your way through political intrigue while hanging out with historical figures like Socrates will surely whet your appetite for a trip!
We hope this list of the best video games for travel inspiration has given you some ideas of where you’d like to take your first post-pandemic trip. If so, why not check out our other blog posts?