PCG Article The Best Cities in PC Gaming

The best videogame cities | PC Gamer
A nice PCG article by Fraser Brown on some of the best cities we've experienced in our PC gaming lives, and a subject that I don't think we've ever actually talked much here in the forum. Night City (CP2077) I've yet to see (even though I own the game) and many others, like the Assassin's Creed Paris, that I'll never see, but he listed several that are memorable to me.

-City 17 (Half-Life 2)
-The Citadel (Mass Effect 1-3)
-Megaton (Fallout 3)
-Athkatla (Baldur's Gate 2)
-Novigrad (The Witcher 3)
-Sigil (Planescape Torment)
-Vivec City (Morrowind)

I have good memories from all those mentioned cities, but I'd like to add a couple more that were immersive for me:

-Solitude (Skyrim): Skyrim had a lot of cities, some of which felt more like villages, but they all had so much activity from the citizens and their daily schedules & interactions, as well as available questlines and/or factions. But the one that stood out for me was Solitude, as it felt the most like a living, breathing city sprawled out on the northeastern cliffs of the Skyrim Province.

-Downtown Boston (Fallout 4): That area is dense with quests, obscure NPCs, factions, and combat encounters. But it was the vertical exploration (either working your way to the top of a building, or downward into the sewers or vaults) that really made Downtown Boston such a massive game city to explore.

Baldur's Gate (Baldur's Gate 1): Athkatla (BG2) was great, but I still think that exploring Baldur's Gate (especially for the first time) was even better. So many areas to explore in a series of maps directly connected to each other, filled with optional quests, weird NPCs, houses, taverns, stores, that at that time (1994) was just incredibly immersive for me.

So how about you? Were there any cities mentioned in the article, or other cities not mentioned, that you really enjoyed?
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I think that's one thing that game developers do very well and going oldschool I enjoyed being as a character in places like Whiterun and Riften in Skyrim. In both you had a wide variety of locations above ground but also another layer underground particularly Riften where the seedy criminals lived.

More modern I was impressed by WD's Legion's version of London. The Dev team put a lot of research into the diverse areas of the city spending months there recording what they saw but also interviewing a diverse range of inhabitants. And that's of course another important aspect of a city, it's population.

British Taxi Black cab drivers have to memorise all the streets of London before taking a test called The Knowledge. Playing Legion would be a good virtual introduction.


Community Contributor
Solitude's location up on that cliff was awesome, too.

I would also give kudos to London from Watch Dogs 3

There's also the city of Xebec's Demise from Alternate Reality. Today, it'd be a joke of a city, but back in 1985? Amazing!!

Oh, and the city in Shivering Islands (the Oblivion expansion) with its division was interesting.
The Knowledge
<Sorry you asked>
Interesting brain dev study based on TK
</Sorry you asked>

City 17 was probably the first 'real' city I met in gaming, impressed me a lot.

Games I didn't finish, but with impressive cities:
Rapture in Bioshock
Dunwall in Dishonored
New York in Crysis 2 & 3
The City in Thief

Some of my One City Challenge metropolises in Civ4 were things of wonders, not so much with my SimCity efforts :)

I haven't played it yet, but I'm expecting someone to extol Cities Skylines city.
If Skyram towns count as cities, Griffinborough or Thylysium come to mind, they were the two most city like things in Sacred 2 - http://www.sacredwiki.org/index.php/Sacred_2:City_Guide_Achievement
Thylysium was way bigger than most cities in Skyrim.

The big island of Hawaii in Test Drive Unlimited 2 wasn't bad. I don't know if that counts?

Cities Skylines says hello... just because, its in the name :)
Sim City (the original before it all got too complicated and long before it got killed by EA)
Whiterun always felt like home to me in Skyrim. Whenever I had stuff to sell I would go there and my first house would almost always be Breezehome.
Same. A couple of months ago, I started another game of Skyrim, and when I first got to Whiterun, it felt like home. It was so frustrating, and almost heartbreaking, to not be able to get into Breezehome.


Community Contributor
Vivec in Morrowind? I prefer Balmora to Vivec. Vivec has got to be one of the most boring cities ever?

I concur. Vivec is a nightmare to navigate if you don't have Levitate spell. It has an interesting look, but its advantages end at that. Balmora on the other hand is tremendous. My favorite town from Morrowind.

As for other cities/towns, I liked Wyzima from The Witcher 1 and my favorite Athkatla from BG2. The first one has a great atmosphere. It's so good that I'm afraid it can be ruined in the remake. Probably Aurora engine has a large contribution to this fact and it can loose its unique style in Unreal Engine 5.

As for Athkatla, it's a pinnacle of isometric city design. It has everything in a right place: proper districts, high-level item shops, tons of side quests and a feeling of being big enough to be believable.
Interesting brain dev study based on TK
Yes interetsing study of Black Cab drivers' memory. I used to blast around London as a motorcycle courier.(A-Z was all I used).
In Legion though Black Cabs were AI.

I think gamers must have similarly developed memories. We remember our routes through multiple virtual cities.
I often joke, I know some virtual cities better than where I live.