There are a so many beautiful cities in the world, but few of them are able to hold a torch to the sprawling metropolises that we are commonly met with in games. So here are the top five gaming cities, ranked by their levels of safety, their uses, their atmosphere, and by how damn pretty they all are.
Rapture is undeniably gorgeous. Aside from the appealing aesthetics of an underwater city, Rapture has elaborate theatres, museums, bars and would’ve had a fabulous nightlife in its prime. Bioshock has a magnificent system of government that aimed to escape political, religious and social anxieties of the world during the Cold War. It’s a socialites dream come true thanks to the attractions; the city in itself is a work of art, and it’s built upon principles that outlaw almost everything we argue over in the real world.
“…I chose the impossible. I chose… Rapture. A city where the artist would not fear the censor. Where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality. Where the great would not be constrained by the small. And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city as well.”
Unfortunately Rapture did meet its downfall, and wouldn’t be quite as appealing as it may have been in the beginning.
4Vivec (The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind)
There are a lot of pretty cities within the Elder Scrolls series, but Vivec boasts itself to have “the most perfect of all city streets in the known worlds.” It’s situated within an elaborate lagoon with canals that connect its 9 man-made islands. To get across the water, there are hundreds of intricate bridges and walkways that span across the city with a maze-like appeal. The buildings on each island are perfectly orderly, too, with absolutely everything you could ever need to find from shops to fancy manors, or from clubs to temples.
To get around, you’re given the option of fast-travelling via gondolas on the canals that connect each of the islands. Vivec City is just so damn perfect in its surreal architecture, and the water theme makes it feel a little like Venice, with the exception of being super clean.
“Finally the bones of Horde Mountain landed and became the foundation stones for the City of Swords, which Vivec named after his own sigil, and the net fell across it all and between, or became as bridges between bones, and since its segments had been touched by his holy wisdom they became the most perfect of all city streets in the known worlds.” – Vivec
3Rathir (Kingdoms of Amalur)
Kingdoms of Amalur wasn’t exactly a popular game, but my word it’s damn pretty. From the pinks and blues in the flowers, to the crystal clear water, enormous trees and individual, homely towns – almost every city is beautiful. It is almost unanimous that the game drags out and gets a little stale, but it’s cities like Rathir that kept me hooked.
Rathir is an castle-looking city founded on a stone spire which juts out over the sea. To get to it, you cross a stone bridge, and I doubt there was a single time I crossed that bridge without marveling at the castle before me. It’s also the centre of trade and commerce for the area with various rare items and an abundance of side quests to keep things interesting. It absolutely and resonates with magic, and houses the Scholia Arcana on its rooftop – a magic guild who can be found fighting in the courtyards. Aside from their practices, the city is entirely violence-free thanks to the tough city watch, and it’s always bustling with life and wealth. I wouldn’t mind calling Rathir my home, particularly if I could afford to buy a nice ship to house at the docks.
2Lindblum (Final Fantasy IX)
Lindblum is a city that would fit quite comfortably in a Studio Ghibli movie. Aside from being generally beautiful, its best adjective is ‘epic’. Built upon a green, grassy mountain, the stone city exhibits dome rooftops, elaborate chimneys, almost medieval architecture and the Grand Castle sits right in the middle. The streets are cobblestone, balconies are golden, houses are shiny wood and even the windows and clocks are creatively designed.
If that’s not enough, there’s the endless views of ever-sunny skies to lift your mood. The city has a slight steam-punk feel to it, too, which – in my opinion – only adds to its appeal. Along with that, the city is alive with happiness. Of course, there are traders and merchants whenever you need them, but almost everyone you encounter is rightfully excited and happy to be there. I would be, too.
1Divinity’s Reach (Guild Wars 2)
Divinity’s Reach is home to the humans in the Guild Wars universe, build on the stunning Divinity Coast. As soon as you reach the city, you’re sure to be overwhelmed by the breath-taking monument of white parapets and tall, pristine towers. It houses the royal family, and the gorgeous stones it’s built from give it an all around royal feel, yet even your average Joe wouldn’t feel out of place. The city is made up of refugees from all over the lands, each with different districts that surround the central palace, in a wondrous circular design.
You can find absolutely everything you need in Divinity’s Reach, along with the carnival that travels each of the 6 districts, playing Uzolan’s Mechanical (and incredible) Orchestra. The city bustles with life, but the coast keeps it calming, and I dare say a city like that in real life would absolutely glow.
Have a favourite city or town that’s not in the above? Hit us up in the comments below!