The Perfect Video Games for Your Next Virtual Vacation

A guide to some of the best video games escapes this side of the multiverse.

Video games allow us to escape to fantastical new worlds. We are permitted to play people and do things that would not normally be accessible to us. This fact makes them a perfect vehicle for travel. You are not just going to far-off countries, but realms that defy everything but the human imagination.

And like any vacation, you need a guide. We are going to rate these games based on how great of a vacation spot they are. This list is a continuation of an earlier guide, the first part of which you can access it here.

Join us as we judge these multiverses on their locals, vistas, and food to provide you the ultimate list for your next virtual vacation.

Final Fantasy VII Remake — Best City Crawl

Final Fantasy VII Remake has the best of both worlds, from fantasy and science fiction. You play as a sword-wielding hero named Cloud Strife in the super-advanced city of Midgar, fighting against the evil Shinra Electric Power Company, whose actions threaten the very existence of the planet. This game lets you cast magic and use hi-tech simultaneously, which is a truly wonderful experience.

The most thrilling (and shocking) part of this game is the environment. Midgar is a heavily stratified city where the upper class lives on plates lifted above the ground, while those impoverished live below them in sunless slums. Let yourself wander through the streets, experiencing both the good and the bad.

  • The Locals: Mixed. Like any corporatocracy, there is a fair amount of cognitive dissonance happening in the city of Midgar. People living in the upper levels are fairly ignorant of all the problems being caused by Shinra and would much prefer entertainment. Everyone else is either beaten down or down for a fight.
  • Where To Sleep: If you want a wild, eccentric venue where you can dance your heart away, and also experience great accommodations, go to the Honey Bee Inn. This large venue has a huge dance floor and private rooms if you need to take a break from all the action.
  • Best Venue: It may not be in the best part of town, but Seventh Heaven is the perfect dive bar. There is a friendly bartender who will listen to all your troubles. Use the jukebox or dartboard if you need to get out some pent-up frustration.
  • Most Stunning Vista: Aerith’s Garden is an oasis inside the slums of Midgar. This adorable house sits beside a waterful, surrounded by a lush garden. Steampunk valves protrude from the sides of the rocky barrier that separates the house from the slums. Overhead you can see a gap between two Midgar plates, integrating these two dissonant spaces aesthetically.
  • Best Grub: The Wall Market in Sector 6 is an infamous shopping and entertainment district. There is a restaurant there where you can chow down on some delicious food. Try the special!
  • Honorable Mention: There are so many good games that feature a city. Don’t like Final Fantasy? Check out Bioshock, Dishonored, Mirror’s Edge, or LA Noire.

Minecraft — Best Procedurally-Generated Expedition

It’s hard to beat a classic. If you want some aimless fun — where literally the sky is the limit — then you want the sandbox game Minecraft. Some people spend their time trying to survive the world’s eldritch horrors. Others will build obscenely intricate creations that rival real-world buildings or the complexity of computers. There is also the option to set the game on peaceful and pick a direction and go.

No matter what your playstyle is, Minecraft allows you to explore a world that is both real and fantastical: traverse through forests and underwater depths, hop over giant mushrooms, craft magical items, slay dragons, and punch lots and lots of trees. This procedurally-generated world is your pixelated oyster.

  • The Locals: Mostly hostile. It’s fine to walk about during the day (above ground), but you better get inside at night. There are a few scattered villages throughout this world; however, most of the villagers there will not give you the time of day unless you are willing to toss a few emeralds their way.
  • Where To Sleep: We recommend anywhere with four walls, a roof, and a torch. Villager houses make an especially great space in the early-game.
  • Best Venue: Seed -573947210 is a charming little island out in the middle of the pixelated sea. There is a village there with a long walkway and cute little houses. Go diving off the shore to uncover shipwrecks. There might even be buried treasure on the island!
  • Most Stunning Vista: Head over to seed 46663436141796529 to find a mountain that defies explanation. Blocks hover impossibly in the sky. There are large falls showering the surface below with water and lava. And if you need a quick breather, spend a night in one of this locale’s several mountainside villager houses.
  • Best Grub: Unfortunately, Minecraft is mainly a DIY establishment. You are just going to have to break out that oven and cook some food yourself. Personally, I recommend the cooked salmon. It may not provide the best buffs, but it is delicious.
  • Honorable Mention: Another world you might want to explore is Star Citizen. Fly your spaceship around a galaxy as large as your imagination.

Subnautica — Best Maritime Outing

There is something primordial about the water. The ability to submerge yourself in a world that is entirely familiar and alien at the same time. Subnautica is all about exploring that intersection. You are the sole survivor of a spaceship that has crashlanded on a watery world, secretly on a mission to unearth a groundbreaking secret.

Much like Minecraft, you have the ability to mine and craft various things in the game, but the main joy comes from exploring the depths. This open-ended map allows you to navigate many different environments, ranging from kelp forests to underwater islands.

  • The Locals: Rarely talkative. Occasionally deadly. Most of the time, you are by yourself, in the water. Watch out for dangerous creatures such as leviathans.
  • Where To Sleep: The planet tragically does not come with the most human-friendly accommodations, but you can make bases that are quite complex.
  • Best Venue: In Sabanautica, with no other civilization insight, this question really comes down to where you should set up your base. I recommend doing so near the mushroom forest or the cove tree. Not only are these locations practical, but they are gorgeous too.
  • Most Stunning Vista: There are many fantastical places to observe on your journey, however, one of my favorites is the floating island. The topside is a striking tropical landscape, but it's the island's underbelly that you need to really observe. Gigantic creatures called floaters have attached themselves to the bottom, keeping the island in place above the water (note this area is also a short dive away from the Grand Reef).
  • Best Grub: Another DIY cooking game, we recommend chowing down on the decadent Cooked Reginald. Enjoy the smokey flavors of the fish. It’s highly filling and will keep you going for a while.
  • Honorable Mention: Looking for more of a ship focus in your water adventure? Try Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.

Uncharted Series — Best Indiana Jones-style Romp

The Uncharted series was made for the player to voyeuristically travel from one amazing locale to the next. You (mostly) play as adventurer Nathan “Nate” Drake as he and his friends unearth mythical cities all over the world. The game is a 3D platformer/shooter on a railroad, so you spend a lot of time hopping between various set pieces.

Occasionally, pause and take advantage of all the ancient architecture and stunning surroundings. This game series may be heart-pumping at many moments, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stop to enjoy the artwork.

  • The Locals: Mostly absent. A few locals will occasionally pop up in the story, but they are predominantly in the background helping Expats. The Uncharted series takes a colonizer’s view of travel. Both the story’s heroes and villains are westerners fighting over the artifacts of cultures they do not belong to. 🤷
  • Where To Sleep: You spend a lot of time in this series traveling in Humvees and on planes. There is not a lot of rest in this game, but I would love to crash in the secret London underground lair found in the third game. This hideout for the nefarious Order is hundreds of years old, surrounded by marvelous ancient relics, as well as elegant furniture. Who wouldn’t want to take a quick catnap on a reupholstered, 200-year-old feinting sofa?
  • Best Venue: Near the middle of the second game, you find yourself in a delightful Tibetan village in the Himalayas. Spend time kicking soccer balls with the local children. Take in the beauty of the surrounding landscape as you enjoy the view of the mountains.
  • Most Stunning Vista: Every game has a moment where you enter the lost city for the first time, and you are treated to a panoramic view of the ruined cityscape, still mostly preserved. A personal favorite is the mythical city of Shambhala, but that’s mainly because I am a sucker for any city with the secret of immortality buried beneath its depths.
  • Best Grub: Unfortunately, not a lot of eating goes down in this series. I am going to go with the piece of corn Nate has in a flashback in Uncharted 3.
  • Honorable Mention: If you want a game with a little less toxic masculinity, try the latest Tomb Raider reboot.

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch — Best Fantasy World Journey

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is a game that manages to synthesize a lot of favorable elements. A project between Studio Ghibli and Level-5, it has the best worlds of both video games and anime. You play the character Oliver as they go back and forth between the “real world” and a fantastical “other country” — a place of magic, pirates, and fairies.

There is a plot, but with no set time to complete it, you have the option to explore a truly staggering open world. You can cross deserts, climb mountains, voyage across the sea, and fly in the sky on top of a purple dragon.

  • The Locals: Adorable. Who wouldn’t want to communicate with talking animals? There are intelligent magical creatures everywhere in this world, and most of them are darn right charming. My personal favorite is Queen Lowlah — a cow who loves to eat. Chat them up and get lost in this world’s vast lore.
  • Where To Sleep: The fabulous Cat’s Cradle Inn is located in the downtown of Ding Dong Dell city. Enjoy the premium accommodations at a discount. The customer is always apurreciated there!
  • Best Venue: For some fun, go to the fairy island of Teeheeni. There you will come across the Fairygrounds — a playful community where fairies laugh, play, and perform terrible standup.
  • Most Stunning Vista: It’s not every day you get to ride a dragon. After you befriend the pirate king, you get access to the wyvern Tengri, who becomes your mount. Pass over the Golden Grove to get a birdseye view of a landscape in perpetual autumn.
  • Best Grub: There are a lot of yummy snacks you can feed both yourself and your familiars. Go to the city of Al Mamoon to come across a curry vendor with some delicious bowls of Tikka Mahala.
  • Honorable Mention: There is an abundance of fantasy games right now that allow you to travel stunning new worlds. Check out The Witcher 3, Skyrim, or Breath of the Wilds, to name a few.

I write about pop culture and politics. Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/opinionsalexhas Write for me: https://medium.com/after-the-storm

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