Towns That Tell a Story


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    @Ruaidhri18 Yeah! I got this really nice vibe to it!

    @SabotageTheTruth Same here! in the end when I wanted to go home, I always went to Whiterun, also that was the only house I fully upgraded!



  • The Assassins creed games have lately become history city simulator, I take most time exploring the setting, than playing the story.



  • I don't know if this counts as "towns" and this probably isn't exactly what you're looking for but if I recall, that town in Persona 4 is also a main setting so I'm gonna roll with this. The following are settings for games that take on a life of their own. I have never played any open world action game or RPG or anything that put so much detail and atmosphere into self contained places like these:

    Butcher Bay - The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay
    The entire max security prison has an aura of despair and violence but to narrow it down, the original section at the beginning in general population oozes with atmosphere. You can fully walk around your prison ward and take on side missions, talk to the prisoners, go into cells, fight with people. Screams from behind closed doors. Moisture on the walls and limited light except in the courtyard. Amazing to play.

    Arkham Asylum - Batman: Arkham Asylum
    Most people have played the original (and best) in the Arkham series. I saw this is the best game because it, again, is a self contained title. You get to uncover, the rediscover new places to proceed through the asylum. It almost feels like the video game version of Die Hard where you spend a whole day in Arkham stopping the Joker, but you never leave. Even once the game is over, energy still emits as you uncover backstory for (Amadeus?) Arkham as well as solve Riddler puzzles. None of the sequels had the atmosphere that Asylum had.

    Rapture - Bioshock
    You feel the horror stuck inside your pod as you arrive in Rapture. The place is dark with light only funneling in from the ocean. Deformed people screech, you walk through puddles that litter beautiful carpets and walls with an art direction akin to 1920s Atlantic City or something. So much beauty but so much decay and madness. This is the most atmospheric game setting of all time if you ask me. I'll never forget Rapture.

    Sevestapol - Alien Isolation
    This is the next best thing after Rapture. This space station begins to feel so familiar by the end of the game, but that in itself doesn't mean the terror of the foggy and dim corridors is null. The sounds of doors opening, or the glow from old CRT computers all help the station take on a life of its own. The abandonment from the staff and the survivors slowly being killed by the alien makes each return to a prior hallway much more eerie.


    Like I said, you probably weren't looking for this answer but akin to what you posed, "towns that are more than just window dressing," I'd say that these are nothing of the sort. Are they towns, no, but they aren't like some games where you battle in a generic jungle or an RPG game where you are exploring a borderline empty sprawl with nothing except some loot sprinkled in between. These settings are the richest I've personally played.



  • @michemagius said in Towns That Tell a Story:

    I spent a whole lot of time in Hamelin from Ni No Kuni. It was so unlike any other town in that game, like a peek in to a pig filled industrial era.

    Oh god yes. Everything from the soundtrack to the areas around the city just work so well in conveying the atmosphere of "industrial" with a sense of pollution. Let's get a Syndrome on it somehow.



  • @GoTaco Actually, Rapture is a damn fine pull. Lots of stories all throughout that place.



  • Novigrad in Wither 3 its cool how the city evolves into religious fanaticism over the course of the game.



  • @FutureCorpse said in Towns That Tell a Story:

    Novigrad in Wither 3 its cool how the city evolves into religious fanaticism over the course of the game.

    Novigrad also gets my vote! Except it's more of a actual city than just a town. So many memorable characters live there and as you said you get to see the city evolve. And even can take quite a big part in shaping it. But even the small towns feel lively in the Witcher. The world is designed to be believable, even in fantasy setting.



  • @Budi yeah you pretty much hit the nail on the head.



  • I liked Whiterun, but I feel like the companions and main questlines only stopped there: they didn't truly take place there. I really liked Windhelm. Not only do you have the rumor about the Arentino kid and murder mystery quest (those are always fun), but there's the Dark Brotherhood contract to kill the Shatter-Shield daughter. It's a really cool quest, because if you kill her, her mother kills herself too. As morose as that sounds, I though it was a really cool payoff to a quest, suicide note and everything.

    Elder Scrolls games are fun. Good, clean, sadistic fun.



  • @FutureCorpse said in Towns That Tell a Story:

    Novigrad in Wither 3 its cool how the city evolves into religious fanaticism over the course of the game.

    Weren't they burning mages when you got there? What was the evolution there? Triss' storyline?



  • @Haru17 said in Towns That Tell a Story:

    @FutureCorpse said in Towns That Tell a Story:

    Novigrad in Wither 3 its cool how the city evolves into religious fanaticism over the course of the game.

    Weren't they burning mages when you got there? What was the evolution there? Triss' storyline?

    Yeah, when mages leave the persecution shifts to non-humans.



  • @Budi Oh... right. I guess I forgot that because not-Gimli is still there.



  • Midgar. Just the range in that place, everything packed in there so densely. so many people with vastly different lives, so many nooks and crannies, so much history there! I would love a short movie that focuses on the lives of like 10 random people from Midgar, just to tell the story of the city you know? or like the architectural buildings of Midgar something like that. If there was any town I'd like to visit from a video game its Midgar.



  • Novigrad is a good one. The amount of stuff there is to do within those walls, the amount of different people, places you visit, things you see, is insane. Most towns in most games are just backdrop, and the devs don't really utilize that space and density, but Novigrad really surprised me in that way. When I first set foot in there I never imagined it would be so packed with cool stuff.

    I'm not sure if it's cool to talk about Uncharted 4 spoilers yet, so I'm going to err on the side of caution in this case.

    Arriving in Libertalia was a real highlight for me. Going through the abandoned taverns, blacksmith shops, just looking out across the mountains and seeing all of these houses teetering on the cliffs. Driving up the road to New Devon and exploring the mansions of the founders. It truly felt like a place where people once lived, and walking through it trying to imagine what it might have looked like in its hayday was an incredible experience. One of the best moments of the entire series, easily.

    And reiterating what Kyle said. At least I think it was Kyle. Final Fantasy IX. Lindblum is still one of my favourite towns in any video game.



  • @Mango Love love love Midgar. Even minor unnamed NPCs have interesting little arcs that are completely optional and flesh out the story. I'm really hoping they keep a similar vibe in the remake but expand on it even farther.



  • Not to beat Midgar to death, but I would also support that as a setting that tells so much story. The one thing about the remake is that Midgar has been confirmed to be more fleshed out so I am positively giddy (not only for the remake OF COURSE) to run around Sectors 5, 6, and 7 in so much more detail. I would also get a real kick if we could explore 1 through 4 while we're at it... God I love FF VII.



  • It doesn't get better than GTA's IV and V's Liberty City and Los Santos respectively. The civil engineering in those games are unparalleled. Nothing else in the industry even comes close. Every corner, every alleyway tells a story that resonates with anyone who's ever walked a city block.



  • @SabotageTheTruth Oh man the level of hype I have for that remake....



  • I 100% agree on Persona 4. Another game dose this well is Nier especially once u reach Facade.



  • This might not be a popular game here, but New York in Division is great. It's incredibly detailed and it contains a lot of tragic little stories. I'm not talking about the main plot though. But the optional stuff you can find like phone recordings and echoes. Giving credit where credit is due.