From the bustling streets of Japan to a weird alien ocean, these are the virtual worlds every PC gamer should spend time in. One of the most powerful things a video game can do is make you feel like you’ve been completely transported to another world. In part 1 of this series, we will share 10 most spectacular game worlds you can explore on PC.
That’s what makes this medium the most effective form of escapism, particularly in the following PC games. For different reasons these are all incredible virtual places to lose yourself in, from the desolation of Mad Max to the sweeping grandeur of The Witcher 3—and you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your chair to visit them.
The Witcher 3
Whether it’s the rugged European expanses of Wild Hunt or the lush Mediterranean charms of Blood & Wine, the world of The Witcher 3 is always stunning. From the deep boreal forests and dramatic, mist-shrouded mountains of the Skellige archipelago, to the rolling vineyards and fairytale castles of Toussaint, every location feels wild, organic, and alive.
With its mix of strange magic, Victorian imperialism, and whale oil-powered steampunk, the rat-infested city of Dunwall is an incredibly unique, evocative setting. And in the sequel’s own city, Karnaca, the cobbles and smokestacks are replaced by jungles, colonial architecture, and sweltering sunshine, giving a sense of this world’s cultural and geographical richness.
American Truck Simulator
No, really. This truck simulator might not have the lavish production values of some of the other games on this list, but in the dead of night its deserts are beautifully atmospheric. There’s something compelling about those quiet, lonely stretches of road, dark except for the glow of your headlights and the occasional neon motel sign buzzing in the distance.
Grand Theft Auto 5
The city of Los Santos is an intricate, staggeringly detailed urban sprawl, and one of the most incredible cities and open world games on PC. Then you leave the city limits behind and find yourself in a vast expanse of countryside dominated by the towering silhouette of the colossal Mt. Chiliad, where, from its peak, you can see the skyscrapers of downtown Los Santos far in the distance.
In this vivid ocean you’ll find fields of dancing kelp, caves illuminated by fluorescent fungi, bubbling thermal vents, and sandy plains sprinkled with glowing plants. It’s a diverse, vibrant setting that feels truly alien, and the hand-crafted nature of the world means exploration is genuinely rewarding. The deeper you go, the deeper the mystery becomes.
In 1940s, Empire Bay is bleak and wintry, with military planes in the sky and off-duty soldiers on the streets reminding you that World War II is still in full force. Then Vito ends up in jail, returning in the 1950s to find the city sunny, optimistic, and vividly colourful. It’s not as detailed or big as the cities of GTA, but makes up for it with an incredible sense of place and atmosphere.
Avalanche’s vast desert wasteland has a surprising amount of colour, variety, and unexpected weather effects, which collectively create an intoxicating vision of the post-apocalyptic expanse the movies are famous for. It captures the desolation and loneliness of a post-nuclear world better than most games, including the cluttered, distraction-filled Fallout series.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
The dystopian city of Hengsha isn’t huge, but the use of neon lights, colourful advertising, and narrow streets creates a convincing sense that you’re at the bottom rung of a two-tiered futuristic city. Nothing feels over-designed, which cyberpunk settings are frequently guilty of, and while Mankind Divided is technically superior, this is a more compelling space.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
This slice of rural Britain is one of the most lavish and well-observed settings on PC. The sleepy villages, rolling farmland, and holiday camps of Shropshire perfectly capture the feel of the British countryside, and provide an eerie, unsettling backdrop for the game’s melancholy sci-fi storyline. The marriage of the mundanely pastoral and frighteningly supernatural is incredibly eerie.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Black Flag absolutely nails the feeling of being a pirate, giving you the freedom to explore a huge chunk of the West Indies including Cuba, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and countless other small islands. Sailing those crystal blue waters, listening to your crew sing shanties, is absolutely transporting, and arguably the best-realised setting in the series’ long history.