A fantastic level or section within a game is only one of the many factors that make a title great. However, when you experience a setting that is truly amazing it sticks with you for a good while. There are some areas in incredible games that go beyond that and are still firmly planted within our memories even today. Here are the top 10 settings our favorite games.
Fort Frolic in Bioshock
In a game filled with incredible moments and levels, it takes something truly special to stand out from the rest. Fort Frolic makes for a level that is the epitome of the BioShock experience. The sights, sounds, and characters found within are all intensely memorable. Being able to revisit this creepy artist’s dream on Nintendo Switch will surely be interesting.
Central Yarnham in Bloodborne
Like BioShock, Bloodborne is a game that is comprised of areas that are a cut above most other game experiences. However, Bloodborne places one of the best areas players can look forward to right at the start.
Walking through Central Yarnham for the first time is incredible. The sights and sounds mixed with learning the gameplay create a very vulnerable atmosphere for new players. Then you begin to figure out how to play, how to approach enemies, and map out the area in your mind. By that time, you can begin appreciating how the area is laid out and how it is cluttered with clever shortcuts.
Shadow Moses in Metal Gear Solid
While this technically isn’t a level or area, Shadow Moses as a setting is comprised of little areas that are incredible in terms of design. Metal Gear Solid was a groundbreaking title that helped kick off the stealth genre in gaming. As such, Shadow Moses is a sneaky playground for players to tactically crawl through.
The Spencer Mansion in Resident Evil
The Spencer Mansion in Resident Evil helped do wonders for a genre of gaming. This tightly-crafted estate is a place where no space is wasted. There are secrets, dangers, and puzzles hidden behind every corner. However, with every tiny section of the mansion that you unlock, you discover more of the dark secrets hidden within.
Claustrophobic, terrifying, and heavily detailed, this setting is what made Resident Evil a classic game and helped influence horror games for years.
The USG Ishimura in Dead Space
One of the many settings that Resident Evil influenced was that of Dead Space. Trapped in the middle of space upon the USG Ishimura, Isaac Clarke must use his prowess as an engineer to survive. The Ishimura shares many similarities with the Spencer Mansion, yet also makes this type of setting interesting in its own way.
The Ishimura makes masterful use of ambient noise in order to make each hallway a tense encounter. The interiors of the ship are dark, dingy shadows of their former selves which you can imagine being nice and pristine in their prime. Plus, every area is laid out in a thoughtful and memorable way.
The Lake of Nine in God of War
Fans of the original God of War games would have never considered a hub area could exist within the series. The thought of Kratos casually rowing a boat across a calm lake in order to turn in a quest would have been absurd. However, this feature is one thing that made 2018’s God of War such a strong reboot.
This gorgeous area presents tons of possibilities for the player, such as subtle character development and tons of chances for experience points. It’s fun to explore, offers a break from the main narrative, and contains one of the best optional bosses in the entire game.
The Ashtray Maze in Control
2019’s Control was a cool little supernatural action game that had a lot of mind-melting moments. Although, the clear standout among all of them would be the Ashtray Maze.
Set to a great soundtrack to hype you up, this hectic section tosses tons of opportunities to the player to use all of their powers. From start to finish, the maze feels like an obstacle course designed to test what the player has learned in the game. Naturally, this leads to you feeling like a god charging through a fever dream. Which is always a good time, of course.
Arkham Asylum in Batman: Arkham Asylum
Batman: Arkham Asylum had a big hurdle to clear in order to deliver a game that would please fans. One way they chose to do this was to turn Arkham Asylum into a Batman museum. It’s clear to see that tons of love and passion went into crafting this setting. The fact that there is an obscure Batman Easter egg every two steps supports this claim.
The atmosphere of the Asylum feels like a faithful Batman comic book, which makes it incredibly easy to get lost in. Plus, each area is crafted to show off Batman’s strengths, while also posing a few good challenges for the player. All in all, developer Rocksteady nailed their first encounter with the Caped Crusader.
Green Hill Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog
When most people think of Sonic the Hedgehog, their minds go straight to the blue blur racing through Green Hill Zone. The way that the level is laid out makes it a breeze to speed through. However, it’s also insanely fun and effective in teaching newcomers how to play. There’s a good reason why so many people have the entire level virtually mapped out in their minds.
Level 1-1 in Super Mario Bros.
You’d be hard pressed to find a more iconic and influential level than that of Level 1-1. It’s the perfect first level to kick off the Super Mario series, and accomplishes exactly what it needs to do. It introduces series defining elements such as powerups, goombas, breakable blocks, and tons of other stuff in a natural way. By simply moving through this level, the player learns everything they’ll ever need to know about survival in Super Mario Bros.
What are your favorite settings and levels in video games? Tell us in the comments below!