Losing yourself in an amazing world is one of the greatest experiences you can have whilst playing video games. This post is simple, my five favourite PS4 worlds – let the countdown begin!
5 – Dystopian World (INSIDE)
The world of Playdead’s 2D puzzle platformer is a curious one. For a world to be as memorable as INSIDE’s without having an in-depth aspect of exploration is something which I found to be incredibly impressive. INSIDE is all about mystery and most of the story is told via the eerie backdrops and foreboding scenery. INSIDE’s dark colour palate and subtle sound design powers the game forwards and the lack of narrative means that as a player you must map out the story based on the boy’s journey. Starting out in a damp field under an overcast grey sky the boy moves through a forest. Seemingly welcoming lights harbour danger and the familiar comfort of fellow people suddenly become something to avoid. The laboratory section of INSIDE is perhaps the most chilling segment of the game. Curious and sometimes violent scenes unfolding in the background reveal a piece of the puzzle but also amplify the importance of staying hidden and out of site. Each tiny detail in both the back and the foreground adds to the story. Each object seems purposefully placed as if it’s been waiting just for you to interact with it. Sometimes these eye-catching pieces are the key to solving the late game puzzles as well as being there just for décor. For a 2D game almost all of INSIDE’s compelling story is told through the areas that we can’t get to. Meaning that this dark world which is just out of reach is one the winning elements of this BAFTA winning game.
4 – Yharnam (Bloodborne)
Although Bloodborne’s decimated city may not be the most pleasant world to be immersed in, it’s undeniable that nothing on PS4 holds an uneasy tension quite like the streets of Yharnam. With a gothic flair visible on each piece of intricate architecture Bloodborne’s eerie world is consistently haunting. Dark colours dominate Yharnam and each section of the game is as eerie as the next. Central Yharnam is filled with crooked spirals and dark narrow alleyways and scene props such as chained coffins and abandoned prams. Later, the game’s progresses into area’s such as The Nightmare of Mensis and the fittingly named Nightmare Frontier. These late game locations continue to sport looming towers, crumbling bridges and piles of bones that hold the tense atmosphere which Bloodborne embraces throughout the entire game. With the clever use of colour, you can tell if you’re in immediate danger or if you’re safe to cautiously explore. Although some might see the world of Bloodborne lacking due to the strict colour palate and the non-open world setting. But, further explorations uncover hidden areas, dungeons located miles beneath the streets of Yharnam and secrets darker than you could imagine hidden in the perpetual night. Bloodborne is as successful as it is because it can pull players in and keep them entranced by the story and the horror of the scourge. Normally a repetitive environment which plays off the same dark themes for the whole game would be grating or not diverse. For Yharnam’s world though, it simply places emphasis on the horrors of the Scourge, the need of the Hunters and the decimated state of Yharnam. PS sorry for mentioning Bloodborne AGAIN.
3- The Oceans (ABZU)
If I could live in any video game world it would be in the cool, clear waters of ABZÚ. ABZÚ consistently delivers an extraordinary colour palate, endless coves flourishing with exotic underwater flora and fish and sea life which dances in front of you, swirling and flowing in the currents. ABZÚ’s world is so diverse that it’s always unpredictable as to what you’ll discover next. Lagoons and reefs teeming with life signal a safe space, colours here boast the peaceful nature of the game and it’s easy to spend countless hours swimming alongside the striking fish, loosing yourself in the beauty of the game. Later your diver delves into open waters and a stronger sci-fi element takes over the once peaceful lagoons of the game. Although there is nothing here to seriously harm our curious diver, the change in scenery is powerful enough to suddenly make us feel uneasy in a game where we felt relaxed mere moments before. Creating this spectrum of emotions simply by changing the colour palate and minimalizing background design is something which made ABZÚ both incredibly powerful and memorable.
2 – Future Colorado and Utah (Horizon Zero Dawn)
Open world games often become repetitive. However, Horizon Zero Dawn’s future Colorado and Utah tell a different story. Each section of the map is filled with endemic flora and fauna, robotic creatures move either alone or in packs, each with different characteristics and traits making this world feel like a working ecosystem. Rich forests flush with life fill the south of the map and treacherous mountains and blizzards rage in the east. The space between these two drastic environments are wide distances of dry desert and an elevated mesa of grassy flatlands. Traversing though these areas almost feels as though Aloy is moving through multiple different games. Attention to detail is perfect with settlements and major cities littering the post-apocalyptic world, each of them functioning in real time, making this world feel incredibly immersive and realistic. Some of the most impressive moments in Horizon Zero Dawn come from the openly vast world and all the quests and missions available to undertake there. One of these side quests urges you to collect a series of voice recordings scattered around the map. Listening to them will unveil an image of the previous landscape. Horizon Zero Dawn is mapped onto of modern day Colorado, and the impressive structures which have been transformed by time and the elements are shown in their full glory in a frozen picture of the past. Uncovering these monuments in this vast open world only made me enjoy the exploration aspect even more.
1 – The Northern Islands (Witcher 3: Wild Hunt)
Its hard to think of a more impressive game when it comes to the world design than that of The Witcher 3. With an impressively vast open world, multiple side quests all of which contain engaging stories and meaningful character development within and stunning scenery The Witcher 3 is easily the video game world I was most impressed by. One of the things which makes this game so intricate is the effect a previous war has left upon the land. The Nilfgaardian Empire have ravaged the lands of Skellige, Novigrad and Velen and even though the fighting is ceased during Geralts adventure, tension between rival clans and armies is significant. The land feels scarred by the wars, landmarks and villages lay in ruins, monsters prowl the streets after dark and the continuous battle for power is felt by all. The Witcher’s open world harbours monster contracts, side quests and mythical places of lost power. Each section of this intricate game feels tenderly crafted, almost alive in most respects. The lore and background are so rich and enticing that its almost impossible to disregard these large proportions of the game and most players will find themselves struggling to keep on track of the main game due to this vast range of possibilities in this huge realm. Its winning feature though is the amount to do in the Witcher 3, whether Geralt is eradicating monsters, following Ciri through the lands or just playing Gwent in a local tavern, The Northern Islands feel like a real, functioning, living place, which is why The Witcher’s world is simply the best.
The five worlds above are the best PS4 worlds in my opinion, of course opinions vary so I would love to hear yours! Comment below the gaming worlds that you loved the most!