A game is nothing without a world surrounding it.
Sure, a game can have fantastic characters or challenging puzzles, but if the setting doesn’t bolster all of that, the game can fall flat. That is why many of my favorite titles have an immersive world that gripped me, further adding to the experience and keeping me engaged for hours at a time.
Immersing Yourself in the World
I’ve been gaming since the Nintendo 64 days, but the first game to really grip me with its world was Metroid Prime on the GameCube. The world immersed me for several reasons.
As a first-person shooter, the game naturally lends itself to immersing you in the surrounding world. The game further accomplished this through other factors such as music, natural sound, and subtle graphics such as mist droplets splashing on Samus’s visor.
Whenever someone’s asked about an immersive world, I’ve always pointed to Metroid Prime. That crown, however, has become a bit lofty in recent years thanks to the onset of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
This game is a masterpiece in many aspects but, for me, its world and setting shine above all. From the beginning, I felt like I was roaming Hyrule thanks to the ambience and music.
Much in the same way Metroid Prime did, Breath of the Wild utilized music and natural sound to draw me into the setting, often leaning into quiet ambience. The big difference, however, was the game carried a third-person perspective, shifting my view that first-person games are more immersive than others.
What do you think?
Immersive worlds are not all created equal, and I believe it largely depends on the individual playing the game.
Games like Metroid Dread or Hollow Knight are side-scrollers, both with active worlds as backdrops that extend to the foreground at times. Other games can draw you into their worlds for other reasons based solely on your tastes.
But what do you think? Is there a gaming world that you find more immersive over others? What factors help draw you into a game’s world? Let us know in the comments below or on the Boss Rush Discord.