You can’t beat the amazing views on the trail. We get that, but technology is improving at such a rate that it’s not too big a jump to imagine a decent imitation for those that can’t get outside, for whatever reason. So if you’re stuck in the city, or injured and unable to run, where should you go on a virtual reality hike? Which PC and console games offer the best views for a virtual trail. Let’s find out…
The legendary action role playing game has been known to steal hundreds of hours of players time, and with an incredibly realized world and a rich story, it’s not hard to see why.
There are no exact measurements about how big the game world is, but Reddit speculates that the kingdom of Skyrim is around 14.8 square miles. It takes around half an hour to run across the map – a feat you can see undertaken in the video above.
From photorealism to blocky art stylings in the world-beating Minecraft. Over 54 million copies have been sold of Minecraft, with people enjoying the kind of views pictured above, as they carve out a world in their own image.
The video above is what hiking through the game world looks like.
Far Cry 4
Far Cry – a first person shooter known for its wide open natural environments – returns for a fourth edition in the fictional Himalayan country of Kyrat. The mountainous terrain offers plenty of opportunity for hiking and taking in the views… before being set on by a honey badger. The “meanest, nastiest and flat out most lethal animal in all of Kyrat”, apparently.
Okay, sure, the Grand Theft Auto franchise isn’t the first game you’d think of when you consider peaceful walks through nature, but San Andreas is just so big that it covers a whole state, and that means a lot of surprisingly nice hikes and views. Indeed, hiking was rumored to be a part of GTA V thanks to preview videos that suggested it, and hikers can still be found in the mountains and on trails.
The video above shows someone running across the entire map, sped up to the Benny Hill music. Just because. It starts out a touch grimy in the city, but by 2:30 in the video things get a lot more green…
Just Cause 2
Panau is the island that Just Cause 2 is set in. Never heard of it? That’s because it’s fictional, but it’s imagined to be in Maritime Southeast Asia. With the ability to paraglide and parachute out of moving planes, great views are never too far away…
The Assassins Creed games involve a historical whirlwind tour around locations around the world in different eras, scrambling up buildings, which lead to truly exceptional shots. This one is from Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag, where things took a turn for the piratey.
Likewise, Tomb Raider sees exploration and adventure all over the world, leading to some truly great views. The original game was published in 1996 when things were a bit more angular, but by the 2013 reboot, the graphics took a turn for the spectacular.
Fallout: New Vegas
Who’d have thought a post-nuclear fallout version of the Vegas desert could have such beautiful views? A similar world size to that of Skyrim (it’s the same people behind it), Fallout provides a bleak but beautiful hiking experience.
Who knew that a world torn apart by nuclear fallout could be so pretty?
World of Warcraft
The original massively multiplayer online timesink, World of Warcraft offers a huge world, just ripe for exploring and lovely screenshots like the above.
Miasmata, an indie game about survival, takes the whole hiking replication one step further, by requiring the player to remain hydrated throughout the trip, otherwise a Game Over screen beckons.
An experimental game, originally a free mod before getting a commercial release. Players wander around a beautiful island hearing the story unfold in the form of letters as they explore.
That’s a poor explanation, so maybe the official trailer – above – will give a better explanation.
Red Dead Redemption
The makers of Grand Theft Auto take a trip to the wild west, and the open world takes up an estimated size of 28 square miles, making for an enjoyable hike – or a horse-back ride, if you don’t want it to take hours.
Above is someone riding from one side of the map to the other to give you an idea…
A puzzle game from all the way back in 1993 when CDs were a strange new format to those of us used to floppy disks (remember those?) The art style has hung on through several sequels and a recent remake with enhanced visuals to enjoy while exploring…
Shadows of the Colossus
Nothing ruins a good hike like a giant monster hell-bent on killing you. Despite that, Shadows of the Colossus offers impressive views and great scope. Even if your pleasant walk through the game world is likely to be disrupted.
Call of Juarez
Another walk through the Wild West, this time from a first person perspective in Call of Juarez. Again, your walk may be disrupted by people trying to shoot you in the face, so best watch your step.
Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments!