Video games take us to all manner of exotic locations and once there we embark on fantastic adventures exploring cities, meeting locals, taking in the sights, and in most cases killing people. We are going to take a world tour through some of the great games of recent times…
1. RE5 | Africa
Let’s start our tour of the world with Africa. A still exotic location to many, Resident Evil 5 took us here on the search for the latest mutation of Las Plagas/zombie disease. From thatched-roof villages to swamplands, players explored a lot of the African terrain.
2. L.A. Noire | Los Angeles
Heading back in time and to the West Coast, L.A. Noire puts players in the shoes of a detective in the 1940s. The surroundings are Los Angeles in its heyday; bright lights, big hopes and dreams, and a seedy underground.
3. Crysis 2 | New York
Traveling to the other side of the United States, Crysis 2 put us in New York in the middle of an insane battle. Seeing New York getting ripped to shreds is a weird experience, but the city is done very well.
4. Prince of Persia | Ancient Persia
The series itself is beautiful in its own right, the Prince of Persia games take place in, where else, Persia. With arched architecture, huge palaces, and beautiful surroundings, it’s like really going back to the Persian city.
5. Assassin’s Creed 2 | Italy
Full of all of the biggest and best-known landmarks, Assassin’s Creed 2 brings players to Florence, Venice, and other smaller surrounding cities of Italy. Reconstructed in great detail, the developers worked painstakingly to make it as true to the cities as possible.
6. Uncharted 2 | Nepal
Uncharted is undoubtedly one of the most aesthetically detailed games. Uncharted 2 brings hero Nathan Drake to Nepal and the Himilayan mountains, a very unique area of the world that most games don’t visit.
7. Fallout 3 | Washington D.C.
Heading back to the states shortly, Fallout 3 takes place in a post-apocalyptic Washington D.C., Lincoln Memorial and all. Everything is exactly where it is found in the city, landmark-wise. They’ve just all taken a bit of a beating.
8. Yakuza | Japan
The entire Yakuza series takes place in Japan, mostly in Tokyo. A lot of the city was recreated to the same detail, so you really feel like you’re in the famous city. As far as games set in Japan go, these are the most true to the location.
9. Tomb Raider | Ko Tapu Islands, Thailand
The latest Tomb Raider takes players to the Ko Tapu Islands in Japan. And while they prove perilous for Lara Croft, they are actually beautiful and a safe place to check out on a boat excursion. Fun fact: Ko Tapu was shown in “The Man With the Golden Gun,” so it is also known as James Bond Island.
10. The Saboteur | France
While The Saboteur also takes us on quick trips to London and Germany in various flashbacks, the majority of the game takes place in France. While it is back in Nazi-occupied France, it follows the suit of many other games and directly copies famous landmarks. You can even climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
11. Resident Evil 4 | Spain
Resident Evil brought us to Spain in 4, though where exactly, Capcom never truly said. But it can be deduced by the surroundings as well as the way the local cops are dressed in the beginning of the game that it is somewhere in rural Spain, where the Las Plagas is born.
12. Max Payne 3 | Sao Paulo, Brazil
Max Payne 3 brings us to Brazil. Sao Paulo is the largest city in Brazil and the eighth largest in the world by population. And it gets all kinds of shots up in the game, which is over the top but beautiful.
13. Spec Ops: The Line | Dubai
In Spec Ops: The Line, Dubai is set up in a fictional situation where the worst series of dust storms hit the city, causing politicians and the elite to evacuate, leaving many behind and stuck in the city. Sand can actually be used in-game to kill enemies at certain points.
14. Sleeping Dogs | Hong Kong
As an undercover cop trying to infiltrate a street gang in China, Sleeping Dogs makes Hong Kong look like a playground with its open world. If only you really could run around China doing the same things you do here, without getting arrested.
15. The Getaway | London
Said to be inspired by British gangland films like Snatch, The Getaway is set in London. In fact, the developers were so bent on re-creating large areas of London properly in high res, the game was actually delayed 18 months to do so.
16. The Walking Dead | Atlanta, Georgia
While not in the city specifically, The Walking Dead game by Telltale Games takes place just in the outskirts of Atlanta, in the Georgia area right when the zombie apocalypse hits. The location is similar to the area of the show, even though by all accounts, the entire world has been affected.
17. Call of Duty | Germany
Most Call of Duty games take place in Germany, whether fully or in specific sections of the game. Because you can’t have a first-person shooter without it taking place in Germany, apparently!
18. New Zealand Story | New Zealand
Ok so that might be obvious, but New Zealand Story does indeed take place in New Zealand, also land of hobbits. This actually might be one of the only video games to take place in the country as it isn’t the most popular choice for as setting, but works so very well in the cutesy setting of the game.
19. Lego Indiana Jones | Egypt
Of course, following in the steps of the actual movies, Lego Indiana Jones takes place deep in Egypt, with all the fun of treasure hunting and thief fighting. The game lets you explore the temples and the outdoor deserts, in keeping with the same plot from the original trilogy.
20. Rogue warrior | Russia & North Korea
A first-person shooter by Bethesda, it sends the main character, Richard Marcinko, to both North Korea and Russia via the United State military. A pretty hot topic, considering everything going on with North Korea today.
21. Metro 2033 | Moscow
Based on a novel of the same name, Metro 2033 takes place in a post-apocalyptic Moscow. A first-person shooter, it takes place mostly in the underground, so players don’t get to enjoy that much of a nuclear wasted Russia, but it still gets us up and out into the world!
22. Army of Two: 40th day | Shanghai
Taking the co-op to the streets of Shanghai, let’s face it, Army of Two: 40th Day doesn’t have much of a plot. But you don’t need one to run and gun in a foreign country, whether it be through the main story of multiplayer.
23. Castlevania | Transylvania
A classic in all senses, Castlevania can only be placed on Transylvania, where the myth of Dracula (and much of vampires in general) originated. Every game takes place in the country, in a variety of ways, but there’s one underlying truth; it’s a sure-fire way to run into the undead.
24. Operation: Desert Storm | Iraq
Following the events of the real Desert Storm, the game only sold a minimal amount of copies but hey, it was by Bungie! And it brought players through Iraq and into Bagdhad, an area that would later become popular in many first-person shooters.
25. Pirates of the Caribbean | The Caribbean
You don’t get too many games in known Caribbean areas (usually just faceless islands) which is a shame as there are some truly stunning Islands. My particular favourite is St Lucia and I am sure that in the Lego version of Pirates of the Caribbean you can see the famous twin Pitons the island is famous for. Thankfully, Pirates of the Caribbean took locations right from the movies and threw them into the game.
26. Winter Games | Canada
Where else would you hold winter games but in Canada? OK, maybe a few places, but not for the actual game of that title. This retro title was one of a lot of rages, but I assume that came more from the players. I mean, Canadians seem like such happy people!
27. Madagascar | Madagascar
Another obvious, but really fun one. As far as movie-to-game adaptations go, it certainly wasn’t the worst. Levels take you through a variety of different areas of Madagascar, playing as one of the main four characters.
28. The Thing | Antarctica
Another movie to game transition, The Thing takes place in the same location as the classic, Antarctica. Because just like in space, in Antarctica, no one can hear you scream (save for some penguins). This game is kind of great, in that NPCs that work with you can be affected by the fear they are feeling and that can, in turn, can cause them to do various things, like attack you or commit suicide.
29. Brave Temple Run | Scotland
OK, so maybe the actual surroundings aren’t that true to Scotland unless you were running through Scotland at 15 miles per hour. But Brave Temple Run does technically take place there and it may be one of the very few games that do.
30. Beneath a Steel Sky | Australia
This 1994 point and click adventure, released for DOS, Atari and Amiga, takes you to a dystopian future in Australia. Not only is it critically acclaimed, but it’s also actually considered one of the greatest adventure games of all time and was remastered and re-released on the iOS in 2009.
31. Vampire: The Masquerade Redemption | Prague
Some people aren’t aware, but these games are actually based on a tabletop role-playing game. The game itself takes place in two different times, past and present, with the past bringing you to Prague initially. A fun game, it was only hurt by some of its bugs and glitches.
32. Hitman 2 | India
Arguably one of the best Hitman games to date, Hitman takes place in India, among other countries (Malaysia, Japan and Russia, for example) where missions are carried out. It’s a bit more accessible than the first, so if you’re looking to travel the world a bit assassinating people, this might be a good choice.
33. Driv3r | Instanbul, Turkey
Also known as Driver 3, it’s a combination of racing, shooting and adventure that takes place in Istanbul, Turkey towards the end of the game. Again, not a popular spot for games, but a fun one in this game. Each city was built by a team of 25 artists and is highly detailed.
34. Splinter Cell: Conviction | Malta
Another game that travels around the world, kicks off in Malta where Sam Fisher is investigating rumors about his daughter’s death. Not morbid at all. You get to experience one awesome mansion and maybe a little bit what Malta is like if you were to be attacked by hitmen there.
35. Portugal 1111 | Portugal
Real-time strategies just never die, such is the case of this 2004 release that is set in Portugal. It is modeled to be just like Age of Empires and was the first commercial video game ever to be completely produced and designed in Portugal.
36. Zack McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders | Peru
Created by the now sadly defunct Lucas Arts, it was the second to ever use the awesome SCUMM engine of the late 80s. Zack is a tabloid writer who gets caught up in trying to stop aliens. It’s just as weird a plot as most other Lucas Arts games, and Lima, Peru is on the list of hot spots. It’s actually the main area for a lot of alien theories and supposed sightings.
37. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield | Argentina
Argentina may seem like a nice country until you find out that neo-fascists are attacking oil and financial institutions from there. That’s the plot of Rainbow Six 3, anyway, and the entire game takes place within the country.
38. Resident Evil: Code Veronica | Antarctica
Resident Evil: Code Veronica is widely hailed as one of the best of all the original style Resident Evils. Within your travels, you end up at an Umbrella base in Antarctica (an idea also used within the movies) . This is towards the beginning of the game, as the player is still controlling Claire. There are a lot of creepy things afoot at this facility, including holding the T-Veronica virus.
39. Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow | East Timor
Splinter Cell’s often taken us all over the place, and Pandora Tomorrow is no exception. Bringing Sam Fisher into East Timor to infiltrate an embassy and gather intelligence, it’s one of the more unique worldly locations of a game. You won’t find many others located here.
40. Medal of Honor: Warfighter | Pakistan
The single-player campaign takes players to a few different locations, but the very first is Pakistan. You start off on ship docks in the country, trying to sabotage a black-market arms deal. The first level is a pretty fun one.
Halfway there… phew!
41. Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation | Cambodia
A critical success back in 199 when it was released, The Last Revelation takes Lara on a hunt for various Egyptian tombs in Cambodia and surrounding areas. While the game might not seem like much compared to say, the new Tomb Raider of this year, it was lauded for its highly detailed levels and a great story.
42. Alpha Protocol | Saudi Arabia
Alpha Protocol is an action stealth game that came out just a few years ago and was loved by some and disliked by others, but altogether took players to far-off lands. Saudi Arabia was the base of a lot of this game. While not a new location for games, it’s not one of the overused ones, either.
43. Syphon Filter | Kazakhstan
Syphon Filter is a game that some don’t know, but the ones who do, love it. It has quite a following in that it was re-released on the PSP and eventually for Android. Syphon Filter takes place in Kazakhstan, a country most people probably couldn’t find on a map.
44. Far Cry 3 | Thailand
Aside from being an incredible game, Far Cry 3 is also a very pretty one. That might be because the island the game takes place on is in Thailand, which is a notoriously beautiful and flora-rich country.
45. God of War | Greece
Naturally, all of the God of War series would take place in Greece, where all of the Greek gods Kratos fights are located. It’s an ancient and fantastical take on the country, but one of the few games that even takes place in or near it.
46. Return to Castle Wolfenstein | Norway
Although you automatically think of Germany with any Wolfenstein game, Return to Castle Wolfenstein takes Blazkowicz out of Germany and into Norway in the later parts of the game to check out the mysterious X-Labs.
47. Tomorrow Never Dies | Switzerland
James Bond does get around, doesn’t he? In Tomorrow Never Dies, he takes a trip to Switzerland, particularly to the Swiss Alps. Apparently, that’s the headquarters of Henry Gupta, the man you are pursuing much of the game.
48. Need for Speed: Shift | Belgium
The second reboot of the franchise, Need for Speed Shift takes place in a bunch of real-world circuits, but one of the more interesting ones is in Belgium, a location not often played in most games. The game was a really well-received reboot and still very much playable 4 years later.
49. Goldeneye | Cuba
Goldeneye, based heavily on the movie, takes us to Cuba in the end game, after finding a satellite dish that Alex Trevlyn needs to target London. You not only get to finish off that annoying Xenia Onatop, but you get to fight the big bad and conclude the whole game in this Hispanic island.
50. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis | Algeria
A point-and-click adventure, the Fate of Atlantis takes Indy to Algeria for a short time. There’s interaction in an Algerian marketplace while Indy looks for clues as to where the fabled Atlantis could actually be located.
51. Dreamfall: The Longest Journey | Morocco
Morocco is a beautiful country and is depicted as such in its futuristic version set in 2219. Casablanca is the city the main character Zoe Castillo is from and the in-game renderings are very realistic to the ambiance and architecture of the actual country.
52. Soldier of Fortune | Uganda
Quite the big first-person shooter back in its day, Soldier of Fortune lets you fight Ugandan rebels on a cargo train moving through Soroti. Not a bad idea for a level and pretty unique as far as location goes.
53. Left 4 Dead 2 | New Orleans
Left 4 Dead 2 takes place in the zombie-filled New Orleans, with charismatic characters from the south to boot. New Orleans may seem like one fun city normally, but that drastically changes with a bunch of undead shuffling around.
54. Deadlight | Seattle
A side-scrolling survival horror game (which is pretty unique for the genre), Deadlight takes place in Seattle and is a throwback to side-scrollers like Another World and Flashback. It’s Seattle of 1986, where once again zombies are an issue. We really have a zombie problem in American cities, don’t we?
55. Deus Ex: Human Revolution | Detroit
This game was a sleeper hit; one of those games that are ridiculously good but not enough people seemed to play. The game starts off in a futuristic cyberpunk Detroit. It’s the year 2027, which is actually 25 years before Deus Ex.
56. Penumbra | Greenland
The Penumbra games (made by the same studio that created Amnesia) are decidedly terrifying. All three of the games take place in Greenland. Uninhabited, creepy northern Greenland. Because we know a place far off like that can be home to nothing but monsters.
57. Assassins Creed 4 | Jamaica
So Assassin’s Creed 4 is a long way from release, but the game of the high sea is said to take place in and around Jamaica as well as other Caribbean islands. It will mix open-ended ship exploration with land-based adventures, so players will get to do a lot of worldly exploring on their own.
58. Broken Sword – Shadow of the Templars | Ireland
The original, and in my opinion, best Broken Sword game was a point-and-click adventure released by Revolution Games back in 1996. The main protagonist gets wrapped up in a politician’s murder which leads to a globe-trotting adventure with some great locations. Even though the game starts in Paris, France I did like the Ireland level as you get to go to a good old Irish Pub.
59. S.T.A.L.K.E.R | Chernobyl, Ukraine
A terrifying game in its own right, S.T.A.L.K.E.R Shadow of Chernobyl takes us to the famous Ukraine city that was the site of a 1986 nuclear plant accident. It takes the idea that many would be exposed to the radiation and things would get, well, creepy. The real world Chornobyl is scary enough.
60. Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine | Sudan
Indiana embarks on his first 3D adventure as he journeys to find machine parts before those power-hungry Soviets. During his tour, you will visit such locations as a monastery in the mountains of Kazakhstan, an active volcano in the Philippines, an Olmec valley in Mexico, and finally, this stunning tomb in the deserts of Sudan.
61. 007 Quantum of solace | Bolivia
Okay, so the most you get to see of Bolivia in this game is a cave full of Stalactites and stalagmites but its still Bolivia and i’m sure those rocks were models on real Bolivian rocks. Either way, the film made it look great and the game was great fun to play.
62. The Great Escape (2003) | Austria
Sadly, this great movie didn’t translate into a good video game. Let down by some shoddy controls and some uninspiring textures this game may have had a great story but failed at the last hurdle. However, if you wanted to sneak a peek at wartime Austria then this is the one. The game shows off the country’s rolling landscapes and mountainous horizon, it’s just a shame it is sealed off by barb wire fences.
63. Ripley’s Believe It or Not: The Riddle of Master Lu | Easter Island
Maybe not a video game in the usual sense of the word but a game nonetheless. The storyline may have been long forgotten but the game did take you to a number of exotic locations including the Olmec head filled Easter Island and so it deservedly gets a place on our trip.
64. Cabela’s African Safari | South Africa
Of course, a game like Cabela’s African Safari would take place in Africa. You get to hunt a variety of animals on the safari (though it sounds like something PETA would be up in arms with) with several kinds of rifles. You have different hunting modes, which sort of increases the longevity of the game, if not by much.
65. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 | Chile
Ever wanted to go to Chile? Well, it’s a beautiful country so I wouldn’t blame you. Doing it while gunning people down though, is a whole other story, but it’s what Bad Company 2 lets you do. Though it is only in the one mission, Sangre del Toro, it’s still about as close to Chile as many of us will ever get.
66. Ninja Gaiden 3 | Saudia Arabia
Technically Ninja Gaiden takes place in the Rub’ al Khali desert, which is located in Saudi Arabia but isn’t the area you’d expect. Still, it counts, and if you’ve ever wanted to know how a Ninja fairs in a desert, this game will tell you. It’s also one of the most difficult Ninja Gaiden games out there, so expect controller throwing on your journey.
67. Call of Duty: Black Ops II | Myanmar, Panama, Yemen
If you ever wanted to hit up multiple, unique locations in one game, Black Ops II is the way to go. Not many games can boast of having Myanmar, Panama and Yemen as their locations of choice.
68. Call of Duty: Black Ops | Laos
What do you know about Laos? To be honest; probably not much. Don’t feel bad, it’s one of those countries that aren’t very well known, being a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, but it’s there. And the original Black Ops takes you there around the halfway point of the game. Not only do you get to enjoy the forests but also a selection of tunnels. Your tour of Laos is highlighted by a helicopter tour of the canopy.
69. The Secret World MMORPG | Romania
If there’s one country sort of known for its creepiness, it’s Romania. That’s because a lot of it is rooted in deep mythology. So it makes sense an MMO like The Secret World would take place there, being a survival horror game (or as the developers called it, a “dark fantasy”). Players can also travel among many other cities in the world, fighting demons and monsters like vampires and zombies.
70. Lilo and Stitch | Hawaii
Lilo and Stitch was a great movie; it turns out to be not the greatest of games. But you do get to go to Hawaii, one of the most unique states in the U.S. and that has to count for something! The original can out for the PlayStation and was a platformer, like most Disney games back then were.
71. Army of Two: Devil’s Cartel | Mexico
Deep in the heart of Mexico lies the Army of Two sequels that just came out this past March. Going up against a drug cartel (as if there’s any other reason a shooter would be in Mexico), two new Operatives, Alpha and Bravo, are set out to stop the La Guadana.
72. Gran Turismo 5 | Madrid, Spain
Driving through a city isn’t as nice as running through or shooting through one, but it’ll do if that is what it takes to get to Madrid, Spain. A beautiful city in the Southern region, Madrid is home to flamenco dancing, bullfighting, and apparently, racing. The Madrid circuit is seriously beautiful and features the famous architecture of the city.
73. Project Gotham 4 | Macau, China
Often you see games taking place in the major areas of China but none really in Macau. Macau does have a Grand Prix motor-racing event held annually and it is the only street circuit racing event in which both car and motorcycle races are held. See, you learn something new every day.
74. Formula One Championship Edition | Monaco
I have purposely tried to avoid racing games in this list due to the fact that they cover a lot of places (similar to sports games) but don’t actually show you the real-world place. With Monaco however, we can make an exception as the country itself is synonymous with money and F1 so it seems fitting to show you around this stunning place at over 100mph in one of the world’s fastest cars. Whether you Formula One Championship Edition on PS3 with show you a lovingly crafted Monaco full of fantastic architecture and fabulous weather.
75. Battlefield 2142 | Tunisia
Tunisia may be the historic home of the Star Wars Tatooine scenes but in the future, it will be a bustling hub ideal for deathmatches. BF2142 is set in the early 22nd century, during a new ‘ice age’ when two military superpowers (the European Union and Pan Asian Coalition) battle for the remaining land. Whilst popular for a time it did not match the popularity of the original Battlefield game.
76. Excite Truck | Fiji
This fun racing game on the Wii is one of the only games to have a level/track set in Fiji. Bizarrely, both this game and its sequel Excitebots were not released in Australia which is one of its closest neighbors. The Fiji track not only shows users its many submerged areas but also features one of the four volcanoes on the island. All they need now is a huge population of sheep!
77. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier | Nigeria
This high-tech third-person shooter takes you from the arctic lands of Norway and Russia all the way to the unforgiving lands of Nigeria and Zambia. Whilst in Nigeria you can take in the lush forests and tribal villages and take out a pipeline or two whilst you hide from the locals using your invisibility gadgets.
78. Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Conspiracy | Lithuania
Thankfully you can enjoy Lithuania not stuck inside the body of Matt Damon. This Xbox and PS3 release borrows a lot from the movie but point blank refused to make the protagonist Matt Damon… Good on them. Whilst circumventing the city you can use both your wits and an unusual sixth sense to find the boss and uncover the truth. The hand-to-hand combat may have been praise but my god, the shooting sections suck!
79. Resistance Retribution | Luxembourg
Obviously, there is a better way to enjoy the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg than in a war-torn alien parallel dimension but at least the palace is still standing. Resistance Retribution may only be enjoyed on the small screen of the PSP but to be honest, it’s only a small country. At only 2500km across it is one of the smallest countries in the world but within its borders, you’ll be treated to a number of sights including the Grand Palace and more castles than you can shake a pistol at.
80. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain | Afghanistan
As we are coming to the end of our journey I thought we would have a sneaky peak at the world through the next generation’s eyes. The Xbox One news Metal Gear game sees Snake back in 1984 and awakening from his coma. Now using the name Punished Snake, he ventures into Afghanistan during the Soviet war to track down the men responsible for MSF’s destruction. You will be able to explore this fascinating land via horse or even tank should you manage to silently kill its crew.
Thank you for touring the video game globe with Debug Design, if you have enjoyed this trip please don’t forget to LIKE, TWEET, BOOKMARK and COMMENT