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The World's Most Highly-Regarded Modern Video Games To Quench Your Thirst For Wanderlust – TheTravel

As of 2021, these video games are still making us wonder if we finished a game or wound up in another world entirely.

Sometimes, the best we can do when we feel restless is turn to a TV screen to help us get away from it all for a while. One of the best things one can do with a TV, some would argue, is to purchase a game console to go with it – and who are we to argue with them? Video games have absolutely transformed the world of gaming as we know it and, in the process, have transformed the world, as well. Gaming is no longer just a way to pass time, it’s a way to experience new places, people, and things, not unlike the same worldly feeling we get when we finish a wanderlust-fueled novel.

Related: If Reading Is An Escape, Then These Wanderlust-Filled Books Should Be On Your Shelf

In recent years, there are many video games that have transcended our idea of what a digital landscape should look like. Pixelated trees and glitchy groundwork is a thing of the past and now, gamers are ushering in a realistic experience like no other. However, you don’t need to be a hardcore gamer to experience and appreciate the worlds that these games now have to offer. As of early 2021, these are the games that are transporting us to new worlds.

Animal Crossing

With all of the new and recent updates for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it’s hard to believe that so much creativity in one game is ours. Players have the chance to build their own island, visit random islands, and visit their friend’s islands as long as they have Nintendo Online and a friend’s code.

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an island in animal crossing: new horizons

via USgamer

Many islands have gained worldwide recognition due to their customized builds, representing anything from real cities, like Paris or Tokyo, to fictional places such as movie and TV show worlds.

Final Fantasy

The Final Fantasy series is one that has been ongoing since the late 1980s and is still ongoing to this day. While the emphasis on the first generation of games is on the story and its characters, in later games (Final Fantasy X and after) the emphasis begins to transition noticeably to world-building and the environments throughout the game as graphics continued to advance in quality.

final fantasy xv

via Microsoft

With the emotional storylines that these games always promise and worlds that look like something our fantasy-driven minds couldn’t imagine on our best day, these are worth a go.

Related: The Best Travel-Themed Coloring Books So You Can Travel The World Via Art

Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn was hailed for its stunning environment and as players follow the story of a young woman named Alloy, they can experience it all first-hand.

a scene from horizon zero dawn

via British GQ

For those who are more about the exploration aspect rather than the gameplay aspect, the game’s difficulty level can be set to ‘easy’ to allow players to appreciate both the powerful story and the environment. With the expansions for this game, the landscapes continue to get even grander, featuring new weather patterns and brand new locations to explore.


The Yakuza series has been making headlines with a new game for fans of the older games and the access to modern-day Japan alone is worth the hype. Follow the story as you trace your way through Japan’s inner workings and experience a side of it that only a video game can provide.

yakuza 0

via The Verge

The catchy dialogue, quirky (and at times, downright strange) activities the player can partake in, and slightly obscure humor and combat styles are all things this game was praised on – with a fun and thrilling environment, to boot.


The Uncharted series is perfect for those who are fans of adventure and desire a game that matches their own thirst for thrills. While this game is getting a movie to accompany it, those who can’t wait for it to hit the big screen can start with the first game following Nathan Drake, who is in search of treasure… and possibly a little more.

a scene from uncharted

via Pocket-lint

With twists at every turn, puzzles to solve at ancient sites, and an overall Indiana Jones-type of feel to this game series, it’s nothing short of brilliant and beautiful.

Ghost Of Tsushima

The most recent game to receive praise for its landscape is Ghost of Tsushima. This game follows the invasion of the Mongols in Tsushima as players step into the role of a samurai named Jin, with a storyline that questions morality, one’s purpose, and the code of the samurai.

a scene from ghost of tsushima

via USgamer

Historical context aside, this game is an utterly stunning example of how one title can make a player feel as though they’ve stepped through the screen and into the Japanese countryside, with vibrantly-colored landscapes, realistic weather patterns, and all of the sounds of a world that has yet to be discovered by many.

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