Video games are arguably the best form of art, on account of them being able to transport players to magical places that blur the lines between imagination and reality. Technology has enabled developers to craft wondrous worlds with striking levels of detail, and when that technology combines with great art direction we get imaginary worlds that are simply unforgettable. Gamers have been treated to many such levels, and we will look at a few such examples today.

Dishonored 2 – The Clockwork Mansion

Arkane Studios did a fantastic job with Dishonored 2, a sequel that builds upon the foundations of the original with better level designs and varied powers. Dishonored 2 gives players the ultimate playground of possibilities with huge levels filled to the brim with secret zones and plenty of verticality, and the Clockwork Mansion is easily the best of the bunch. Even talking about this level in purely visual terms, this level impresses with its rendition of a mechanical palace. The palace is also home to an underground prison and rusty servant quarters which offer a stark contrast to the large rooms filled with all sorts of luxurious furniture and paintings on the upper floors. And of course, pulling the levers will drastically change the level layout which looks really awesome.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – Prague

Deus Ex veered away from its series traditions by incorporating an open world with Mankind Divided, but it’s a risk that largely paid off. The futuristic town of Prague is a beauty to behold despite it crumbling under the weight of the conflict between humans and androids. It’s a densely packed city with varied shops and alleys, and exploring each nook and cranny of this place reveals new information about the world and the people that inhabit it thanks to excellent use of environmental storytelling. Of course, there’s also eye popping levels of detail in this rendition of Prague which can be credited to the beautiful reflections and lighting that makes this place feel lived in.

Ghost of Tsushima – Golden Forest

ghost of tsushima golden forest

Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima takes place in a large map that’s just as beautiful to explore as it is dense with things to do and secrets to uncover. The island of Tsushima is home to some great spots, but our favorite has to be the Golden Forest. It’s one of the first areas that players will visit during their adventure, and it’s one that will stay with them long after the credits roll. The forest is filled to the brim with beautiful trees that shed golden leaves out into the surroundings. A serene temple sits at the center of this area which has become a resting place for survivors from the Mongol invasion, and this adds a lot of life and emotional value to this already beautiful location.

Star Wars Battlefront II – Endor

star wars battlefront 2

Star Wars is home to some fantastic locations, and the forests of Endor is one such that’s beautifully realized in Star Wars: Battlefront 2. The Frostbite engine is capable of creating some immaculately detailed worlds that are dense with both macro and micro detail, and it absolutely shines in the case of the forest of Endor. The dense foliage gives way to a dilapidated battle area that’s dotted with large flames and rubble all around, and there’s also a military base at the center of it all that forms an integral part of the battle in this mission. Everything from the impressive sky to the character models beautifully come together to make this place one of the best locations in the game.

Atomic Heart – Facility 3826

Atomic Heart is as much of its own entity as it is a thunderous throwback to classics like Deus Ex, and developer Mundfish pays its due respects to its inspirations with the opening sequence that showcases the technological marvel that is Facility 3826. It’s a post WW2 utopian society where robots and science have made great advances for mankind. The sheer scale of the place and the wondrous robot designs really harken back to the time when you first visited Prague in Deus Ex. There are cars floating high in the sky, robot servants offering newspapers to pedestrians, and drones offering soda to tourists while a celebration is raging in full force. It’s all rendered beautifully with great attention to detail using high-fidelity assets and great lighting tech, and you get a fair bit of time to soak the scenery to your heart’s content. It’s a shame then that this utopian dream doesn’t last long, and all hell breaks loose shortly after.

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Hitman 2 – Haven Island

The Hitman series has a knack for converting some of the most beautiful locations around the globe into large playgrounds of murder and mayhem, and the Haven Island from Hitman 2 is no different. Haven Island is a tropical resort perfect for a relaxing holiday. Huge palm trees pepper the luxurious resort on the island, all of which are rendered with astute attention to detail. It’s a huge level filled with multiple shacks and a huge guarded manor that houses one of the targets, and it’s going to take multiple playthroughs to fully explore the areas and the many opportunities it presents for flavourful assassinations.

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Resident Evil: Village – Dimitrescu Manor

Resident Evil: Village is a great showcase for the graphical prowess of the RE Engine, and the Dimitrescu Manor is easily the showstopper for this experience. This huge manor is home to the Dimitrescu sisters, and impresses with its dim lighting and use of macabre colors. The castle manages to feel a place that’s equal parts a royal abode and a spooky mansion with great use of shiny ornaments and heinous traps respectively. There’s an underground dungeon in the castle, puzzle rooms filled with pools of blood, and all sorts of wonderfully realized horrors that makes this place simply unforgettable.

Watch_Dogs Legion – London

watch dogs legion

Watch_Dogs Legion might not have stood on many of its lofty promises that developer set with its pre release trailers, but it certainly delivers on the visual front with its representation of a near futuristic London. Watch_Dogs Legion paints a beautiful picture of a technology driven London, complete with all recognizable landmarks like the Westminster bridge and Big Ben among others. The streets are dotted with NPCs from different cultures across the world, which add a lot of depth and personality to this beautiful map.

Ragnarok – Midgard

god of war ragnarok

Ragnarok is a worthy sequel to the 2018 reboot, thanks to a better combat loop that dwarfs the scope of the original while retaining the moments that made the original such a great time. And of course, Ragnarok also improves upon the visuals of the first game, and we get to witness those improvements with this game’s rendition of Midgard. The Lake of Nine that was once flowing with clear water is frozen now that Fimbulwinter has kicked in, and the realm is filled to the brim with all sorts of structures that house interesting activities. Sony Santa Monica does a great job depicting a frozen and desolate place with Midgard, thanks to great use of cool colors like blue and white in the presentation. It’s not all show either, the realm is home to some great side quests and boss fights which should entice players to check every nook and cranny of this wonderful map.