Video games are responsible for some of the most compelling fictional planets ever created. The ability to live and breathe within these spaces is a truly unique experience that is impossible within other media. Exploring uncharted territory in No Man's Sky or overlooking striking alien landscapes in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy need to be seen to be believed.
There are some fantastic open-world games available right now that not only tell compelling narratives but also offer a stunning sandbox for you to explore and interact with. Thanks to the power of video games, players have the immense opportunity to immerse themselves in these gorgeous fictional planets. From metropolises to dystopias, these fictional planets are by far the best in video games.
Magalan – ELEX
Magalan is the planet featured in the game ELEX. Once a renowned world, it became corrupted by the titular element Elex which saw the planet ravaged and split into various factions. What makes Magalan such a unique world is its varied biomes spread across its densely packed and detailed landscapes.
From arid deserts to impenetrably dense forests, there's lots of variety when it comes to the range of locations hidden within Magalan. Each one of these unique areas is ruled by a tyrannical faction that is fighting for power in this dying world. Fortunately, despite the devastation, Magalan is a beautiful place to explore as it cleverly blends both fantasy and sci-fi into one immersive space.
Hoth – Star Wars Battlefront 2
Hoth hardly needs an introduction as it has appeared in practically every Star Wars game, and is one of the main locations featured in The Empire Strikes Back. Its best depiction is in the Battlefront games, both new and old, which allow players to explore a large portion of its frozen landscapes.
Hoth may be nothing more than a snow-covered battlefield, but its legacy in both Star Wars video games and other assorted media makes it a genuinely captivating place to explore. The fact that it has been so beautifully brought to life in the Battlefront games ensures that fans get to experience it in the most immersive way possible. Suffice to say, Hoth is an iconic planet.
Dahna – Tales Of Arise
Much like Magalan, Dahna is broken up into distinct biomes, all of which offer a unique perspective on both the world's current events, history and, overall culture. From firey hellscapes to rich valleys overshadowed by rock formations, Dahna is beautiful no matter where you go. However, while it is a visually stunning planet to explore, its rich history steeped in slavery and oppression makes it a simultaneously compelling and heartbreaking place to inhabit.
It is evident as you explore how rich and vibrant the culture and life was before the invaders from Dahna's sister planet Rena invaded. Seeing how 300 years of oppression and enslavement has completely transformed the world is a haunting experience, especially when the game offers a narrative that is not as black and white as you'd have likely hoped. Dahna is a fascinating planet simply due to its stunning landscapes and engrossing history and culture.
Dathomir – Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
In true Star Wars tradition, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is packed full of potential planets for you to visit. From the stunning junkyard planet of Bracca to the treetops of Kashyyyk, there’s plenty for you to explore during your time with the game. However, by far the best planet in the game is Dathomir.
Dathomir is a terrifying planet full of pitfalls and disasters awaiting you. It is also home to one of the most challenging boss fights in the entire game. However, despite its uncomfortable atmosphere, Dathomir is also home to a lot of compelling lore, history and culture. Its haunted landscapes speak volumes about the devastation of the planet, which just makes it that much more enthralling.
Kerwan – Ratchet & Clank (2016)
Kerwan is the home of Aleero City, the stunning futuristic metropolis that Ratchet and Clank visit during their travels. The sweeping cityscape filled with high rise buildings and flying cars whizzes by you as you plow through the enemies patrolling its lush green streets and cargo-filled stations.
While you won't see much of Kerwan outside of Aleero City in the 2016 reimagining of Ratchet & Clank, it is nonetheless a sight to behold. The stunning vistas and exhilarating set pieces are more than enough to make this futuristic planet feel alive and brimming with potential.
New World – Biomutant
Biomutant is a fascinating game made all the more intriguing by its distinct and unique world. The ironically named New World is an overgrown apocalyptic wasteland filled with memories of a past civilisation. It's also inhabited by mutated animals that have divided into various factions and are warring over land and territory.
The overgrown nature of the New World allows for some lush landscapes, with rolling hills, cascading waterfalls, and a towering tree in the centre of all the chaos.
Thanks to the varied biomes throughout all of New World you can expect to have a dynamic experience as you travel around. The uniqueness of Biomutant's semi-apocalyptic world stems from its vibrancy and use of nature. It's certainly a more unique take on the apocalyptic setting and makes its planet a far more compelling place to visit.
Reach – Halo Reach
Reach is the titular planet in the critically acclaimed first-person shooter Halo Reach and is by far one of the most memorable planets in the entire series. Due to the game being set entirely within the confines of the planet, you'll quickly become accustomed to its people, cities, and countryside as you scrape your way through fight after fight. The dreary atmosphere, ruined cityscapes, and burning fields signal a world on the brink of collapse.
Reach is not only iconic but extremely memorable. The distinct locations you visit throughout your time in Reach are all unique in topography and design. From the once magnificent city of New Alexandria to the rocky beaches outside of a spaceport, each and every place has a sense of loss and devastation surrounding it. The nightclubs, hospitals and homes you visit make it feel like a world populated by real people, which makes ultimately losing the planet that much more devastating.
Alrest – Xenoblade Chronicles 2
There’s a lot to love about 2017's epic JRPG Xenoblade Chronicles 2. From its compelling cast of memorable characters to its melodious soundtrack, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 proved itself to be one of the best JRPGs on the Nintendo Switch. However, it is the awe-inspiringly beautiful world Alrest that makes it stand out above the many other JRPGs that came before and after it.
Alrest is a sea of clouds populated by giant Titans that carry civilisations on their backs until they eventually die. It is a world that is perpetually dying and being reborn and one that will soon cease to exist forever. Alrest features numerous unique biomes spread across the various Titans which is what makes it such a fascinating place to explore. From the grassy fields of the Gormott Province to the kaleidoscopic lakes of Uraya, there are many beautiful places to visit in Alrest. However, it is its history, cultures and ultimately secrets that make it a truly wonderful planet.
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