Coronavirus has dominated the world for the past few weeks and has been depressing people for various reasons. Many people, including myself, have remained indoors for safety reasons and as a native Londoner, I truly miss London and its damp-looking streets. But thanks to virtually pixelated digital experiences (my cooler way of saying video games), I’m able to ease the pains of being locked indoors during this grim period. Let’s dive straight into my 5 favourite games set in London.
Note: the games I have listed are games that fully take place in London. I will not be including games that feature London in some chapters or short sequences, so don’t be mad if you don’t see gems such as Uncharted or Resistance.
Set in London 1918 during the Spanish flu, Vampyr’s story is based around Jonathan Reid, a doctor who strangely turned into a vampire overnight. The gloomy streets of post-war London serves as a fitting playground for Vampyr, as the game requires players to make morally questionable choices regarding its inhabitants. Players must gather clues and observe the behaviour of the civilians of London before they decide who deserves to die in order to fulfill Reid’s thirst for blood.
Vampyr combines popular RPG mechanics with detailed storytelling, featuring branching dialogues and multiple story endings. Many citizens can be targeted, but be careful! Some characters being killed off affects the rest of London’s four featured districts in significant ways.
Combat revolves around close-up melee and long-ranged weapons including machetes and revolvers. Though it features no revolutionary implementations, the combat in Vampyr serves as satisfactory for a game that’s main focus appears to be narrative. Vampyr is certainly a perfect start for anyone looking to be immersed in a story in which the main character is the city of London.
4. Grand Theft Auto: London, 1961 & 1969
Yep, a GTA game in a “best game” list, even with a “set in London” criteria. Released as an expansion to Grand Theft Auto, Grand Theft Auto: London is a retro gem that I remember perfectly from my childhood.
This was way back during the PlayStation 1 era, when GTA titles were played in birds-eye view. Probably doesn’t seem much looking at it from the younger generations’ perspective, but GTA: London was a big deal for a young chap like myself at the time. An open world set in London was refreshing to explore, given that most games at the time were set in fictional locations or America.
Not much to say about the gameplay. Standard GTA stuff. Complete mission, get paid, buy guns, and onto the next. I’ll be honest, the way the game handles plus the awkward controllers? Probably won’t be a great throwback experience. Regardless, it’s up there as one of my favourite games set in London and one that I clocked many hours into.
3. The Order 1886 (PS4 Exclusive)
The Order 1886 is a bit of a tough one and comes with a word of warning. Your experience and view of the game will be dependent on the genre and type of game you’re looking for. It’s also quite hard to suggest that The Order 1886 on release was worth its full price of £54.99. It is a fairly linear game and on the shorter side of things when it comes to playing time. However, the game is absolutely breathtaking. Seriously, the visuals rival those of a high end PC gaming experience. And it’s not just a pretty sight. The story and lore also provide an interesting take on the Victorian streets of London.
The game is set in an alternate steampunk London. You play as Sir Galahad, member of the Order of Knights who are tasked with keeping the world safe from half-breed creatures. The Order of Knights, under the lead of King Arthur, are now under threat and take the fight to the tight streets of London. But not to worry! You have the backing of Nikola Tesla, who is crafting for the Knights some of the coolest looking and sounding weapons I’ve seen to date in any game.
It has been about 5 years since The Order 1886 was released on PS4, so it’s relatively cheap to get a hold of. If you’re looking for a cinematic experience with awesome cover-based gunplay, The Order 1886 is a solid title. It really does provide a unique take on the city of London.
2. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
London might not seem like the coolest location for an Assassin’s Creed title, but Syndicate was critical in the long running franchise’s life-cycle. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate was released after the poor launch Ubisoft experienced with Assassin’s Creed Unity. Interestingly, many were surprised with how well the company had bounced back from a shaky period.
Players return to the series as Evie and Jacob Frye, twins raised as assassins who are eager to take back the streets of London now under Templar control. Both characters have their own style of play. Jacob plays as more of a brawler type while Evie plays best with stealthy approach.
Players can expect standard AC missions including escort objectives and stealing items in a stealthy manner. But what adds a whole layer of interest to the game is the notable historical inhabitants of London. You come across figures such as Dickens, Karl Marx, Florence Nightingale and Darwin, all voiced excellently. Anyone looking to be immersed in an open world Victorian London should without hesitation check this title out.
1. The Getaway Series
The Getaway games were just top quality, especially considering the time they were released. And yes, I know, I’m including both games, but I seriously can not separate them. Both titles felt like you were in a Guy Richie movie, need I say more?
Alright fine, I’ll say more. The Getaway focuses on the London’s underground gang crime scene and tells stories from the perspective of mobsters and police officers. The game does an outstanding job of giving you the feeling that you are indeed in modern day London. I guess it isn’t that hard to do, considering all you need is to have no sunlight and crap weather. But still, the atmosphere, streets, people, voice acting and variety of cars. Everything was just perfect.
Interestingly enough, the game included some cool details that led to a refreshing open world gaming experience. For example, your car indicators were your radar, signalling when you need to turn as you’re driving to get to the next location. There was no HUD or health bar, which really added to that cinematic Guy Ritchie movie feel I mentioned earlier. Though I miss the game dearly, I imagine it would be a challenging throwback session. The controls were quite awkward even back when it was released, and the visuals certainly do it no favour. So here’s to hoping that a remaster or revisit of some sort could occur sometime in the future.
Those were my favourite games set in London. Is there any I missed? Let me know what you think with a comment and be sure to drop any suggestions you have.