New York, a city so popular and diverse that some have gone so far as to call it the cultural capital of the world. It’s no wonder why. More than 800 different languages are spoken in the city, as documented by the Endangered Language Alliance (ELA), a non-profit organisation based in New York. This shouldn’t be surprising, considering that it’s the most densely populated city in the United States.
New York is also the home of pretty much every popular Marvel superhero, and one of worst places to be if you live in an apocalyptic film or video game, and we are supposed to be talking about video games, which, when featuring New York, tend to reshape it considerably while somehow maintaining the city’s unique identity. Take these awesome video games set in New York for example.
LEGO Marvel’s Avengers
The first version of New York on our list is that seen in LEGO Marvel’s Avengers— the LEGO themed video game which follows the events of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. LEGO Marvel’s Avengers features New York as an open world setting which, despite not being aesthetically as LEGO-y (that’s a word, deal with it) as one might expect, nevertheless makes you feel as though you were playing in one giant LEGO play set. It’s filled to the brim with puzzles, fun little oddities, and action, just like the real New York.
Speaking of action, 2009’s Prototype by Radical Entertainment features a New York, specifically Manhattan Island, as you’ve definitely never seen it in any film or video game ever: riddled with destruction. To its credit, relative to the decade, the city depicted in the video game is incredibly detailed and seems to come alive. Civilians roam the city, seemingly with a purpose, ready for you to hunt and possess. The dirtied concrete streets carry a flow of traffic, threatening to hinder you as you try to run from the militarised organisation trying to take you down. All in all, Prototype shows a wonderful version of New York, perfect for sightseeing if you’re into wanton destruction.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
If you are in fact, into wanton destruction, you’re likely to love the third and final entry in Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare trilogy. Modern Warfare 3 features a war torn New York, struggling through the Ultranationalist Russian invasion, courtesy of Makarov’s machinations. It’s a terrifying depiction of a war-torn city but incredibly immersive and detailed, making your triumphant re-conquering of the city that much more glorious.
Assassin’s Creed III
Here’s a game that allows us to see New York after its whole ‘New Amsterdam’ phase, but before it became the cultural and financial centre we all know and love. While still occupied by the British army, 1770s New York is as bustling a metropolis as an American city can be while being heavily taxed by a government and parliament more than 4000 miles away (roughly 6500km). In Assassin’s Creed 3 there are poor folk, rich folk, soldiers and farm animals running amok, all helping to make the city a living, breathing historical depiction, which you can explore while you pet all the animals, and chase scraps of historically significant paper.
Tom Clancy’s: The Division
An alternative, if you fancy more of a nightmarish New York, step into the quarantined Manhattan of Tom Clancy’s: The Division, wherein all of Manhattan has suffered a rapid and devastating outbreak of smallpox, or ‘the dollar flu’ after it was intentionally spread via bank notes, during Black Friday. You play as an agent of the Strategic Homeland Defense Division, trying to aid as many people as you can whilst searching for the eco-terrorist who caused all the mayhem. New York is depicted with astounding detail, but admittedly, fails to populate it with anything interesting. While plot-wise, that makes sense, when it comes to gameplay, it makes the city a beautifully rendered island of tedium.
Spider-Man (All of Them)
If there’s one thing you be sure to find when starting up a Spider-man game, it’s that you will see Manhattan depicted as closely to the real place as possible. While Spider-man games may not always be very good (especially the most recent ones), it’s always fun to swing or run into civilians and hear them lash out at you in true New Yorker fashion, this was especially true in Spider-man 2: The Game back in 2004. But there are a variety of Spider-man games and quite a few of them offer up a variety of New York cities.
Ultimate Spider-man gives us New York straight out of a comic book, while Spider-man Web of Shadows sees New York engulfed in the malicious oozes that are the symbiotes. Spider-man: Shattered Dimensions, as you can imagine, gives us four different versions of Spider-man and four unique version of New York, ranging from a comic-book styled city to one straight out of a Noire film. One thing that can definitely be said of Spider-man games is that they are the perfect games to play if you love the New York skyline.