Top 5 Gaming Dystopias


Top 5 Gaming Dystopias
I (don’t) Want To Go To There!
With the colourful, charming and unashamedly hilarious Borderlands 2 rocking our disc trays these past couple of weeks, we cast a fond eye back on this generation’s less hospitable gaming environs. These locales may not be idyllic for the raising of families (or the living of life) but from the comfort of an armchair, with a controller in hand, there’s nothing like a bit of social upheaval. Am I right, folks?!

Shut up, I am.

5. Rapture – Bioshock 2

Skin and Blister
Skin and BlisterEnlarge Enlarge

Eight years after the events of the acclaimed original and Rapture (a submerged city in which children syringe the innards from genetically modified crazies while gigantic drill-wielding leviathans stand guard) has really gone to shit. With Ryan and Fontaine gone, Rapture has descended into madness, with modern artists picking people off the streets, slumdogs cowering for cover and Big Sisters terrorizing the underwater metropolis.

The place is dog-rough. So please enjoy this funny song

4. Capital Wastelands – Fallout 3

Capitol Punishment
Capitol PunishmentEnlarge Enlarge

Imagine Washington, only cored out, roamed by two headed cows, populated by bandit hordes and irradiated ghouls and soundtracked by psychologically challenged Super-Mutants.

Livelier than it looks...
Livelier than it looks...Enlarge Enlarge

While Fallout may not be the prettiest game on this list (or ANY list) the wealth of opportunity evident in its every glowing nook and sand-blasted cranny builds arguably the most well realised, most lived in Dystopia of this console generation.
The Capital Wastelands are most definitely full. Of what is anyone’s guess.

3. The Borderlands – Borderlands 2

Population Station
Population StationEnlarge Enlarge

Expanding its colour pallet dramatically, the reds, blues, whites and purples of The Borderlands feature two very distant populations.

The first is a cast of imaginative beasties and ingeniously wacky humans (with the notable exception of Claptrap) each with their own quirks, demons and inimitable wit written so lovingly by the nut-jobs at Gearbox. Even blindly, wilfully ignoring the genius that is Handsome Jack’s omnipresence, your stay in this colourful dystopia will be one defined by constant giggles. Assuming you survive the Boner-Farts and the Turbo-Cancer, that is.

EnvironMENTALEnlarge Enlarge

Far outnumbering them are the guns. The ration Guns is to Things-That-Are-Not-Guns in Borderlands 2 is roughly 25,000:1
It’s a shooter, unless that was unclear...

2. The West – Enslaved

Yes. Just Yes.
Yes. Just Yes.Enlarge Enlarge

While too many post-apocalyptic settings ASSUME nuclear and asteroid induced Armageddon will leave the Earth scorched a healthy BROWN, Ninja Theory opted to hurl their energies into floral arrangements.

Western civilisation is long strangled by mutinous forestry in Enslaved, its borders contrasted with the ocean’s cerulean majesty. Auto-piloted mechs, marauding airships and lumbering Titans flavour the landscape, but the true star of Enslaved (beyond Monkey and Trip's palpable chemistry) is the unkempt vegetation, the creeping foliage and windswept shrubbery of the ruined West.
Totally Tropical Taste
Totally Tropical TasteEnlarge Enlarge

You’d be surprised how much staring at pretty scenery for seven hours can dramatically improve one’s gameplay experience.

1. North America – The Walking Dead

At least the architecture's impressive...
At least the architecture's impressive...Enlarge Enlarge

The most haunting facet of The Walking Dead’s setting is how strikingly familiar it is. It’s basically just modern-day North America. Same landmarks. Same cities. Same rural outposts.

But no-one’s alive anymore. And what they left behind tends to walk around and indulge in the occasional spot of grey matter.
Telltale’s Walking Dead series unleashes a miasma of emotion upon players until every shadow, every horizon, every structure, city and sunset unleash tremors of tension and terror. North America is as much a character in The Walking Dead as Clem and Lee. And arguably more heartbreaking.

Dishonourable mentions:

Wasteland – Rage
Sera – Gears of War
Mars – Red Faction: Guerilla

Hey guys, the funny thing about derivative, clichéd, imitative settings is that they don’t exactly scream polished, intelligent Triple A title. Sling the old Imagination Caps on next time round, eh?

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