How many of these games based in the UK have you played?
Too often we see big name movies and videogames set in major American cities such as New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas. It’s much rarer to see games that take in the icons and scenery of good old Blighty, where you can feel that rush of pride as your favourite landmark looms large on the big screen or appears in pixel form.
But, there are some games that have celebrated the UK in the past 10 years or so, with some set wholly in Great Britain, while others chose to have certain portions of their titles set there.
As part of our best of British week, we thought that we’d celebrate by highlighting these games and showcase their interpretation of the UK.
If you can think of any others that we’ve missed, feel free to let us know in the comments below.
1 – Tomb Raider 3 (1998)
The first in our list of best games set here in the UK is a 90s classic – Tomb Raider 3. Although the game spans several locations including the rather more tropical South Pacific Islands, India and even Antarctica, developer Core Design decided to have Lara visit London too.
During the London segment of the game, Lara explores St Paul’s Cathedral, Aldwych Station, the Natural History Museum and even the City of London in search for the Eye of Isis.
In our opinion, Lara Croft 3 was the first game to give London the regal videogame it deserves. Even the now blurry textures couldn’t distract from the pride of seeing Aldwych tube station in all its pixellated glory.
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2 – Grand Theft Auto: London, 1969 (1999)
Okay, so we cheated a little bit with Tomb Raider 3, but Grand Theft Auto: London, 1969 – as the title suggests – is set entirely in London and proved to be immensely popular.
GTA has always been a series that celebrates cities with its unique Rockstar Games jovial spin and that was exactly the same with GTA: London 1969.
The game brought out all the stereotypical London cockney geezers and showcased some of our capital’s haunts like Bermondsey, Mile End and Bow.
Although GTA: London 1969 was only a expansion and gave London a very American makeover – since when has London used a grid system? – we were still happy to lark about GTA-style surrounded by semi-familiar landmarks even if they are geographically inaccurate.
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3 – The Getaway (2002)
Now The Getaway was the first videogame to be set entirely in London, ambitiously creating the majority of Zone 1 in unprecedented detail on the PlayStation 2.
It’s a shame that the PS2 hardware held the game back from being truly awesome, especially as the gameplay really didn’t live up to the promise of the London replication. The storyline was a rather half-baked East London gangster affair that felt like a cheap Lock, Stock knock-off that you’d picked up off Dodgy Bob down the pub.
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4 – Resistance: Fall of Man (2006)
Resistance: Fall of Man, an Insomniac Games creation, tells the story of an alternate history of 1951 where humans must attempt to drive a rather mysterious alien force out of Britain. And, rather than focusing on the capital, the game explores some of the UK’s other great cities.
The game starts with the Chimera landing in York where a fierce battle rages. Afterwards, the game’s protagonist Sgt. Nathan Hale travels to Manchester to recover a secret weapon, which must be delivered to the resistance’s headquarters in Cheshire.
Hale later has to evacuate the last major resistance stronghold in Bristol before the Chimera can wipe it out, before heading to London to destroy the Chimera’s central tower.
Giving us a whirlwind tour of an alternate version of Britain, Resistance did exceedingly well and has gone down as one of the best PS3 launch games.
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5 – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2011)
Call of Duty has a bit of a hitlist when it comes to game locations, with the franchise already covering Paris, Moscow, New York and other major cities. But with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 it was time for London to get a look in with Activision’s FPS series – albeit
You’ll notice the Canary Wharf skyline rising in the background as operatives battle in the London Docklands, while Big Ben and the House of Parliament can be seen while the SAS engage the Ultranationalist truck.
The game also sees you chase down a tube train along the London Underground tunnels. Who said war wasn’t fun?
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6 – Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (2011)
Uncharted as a series is one known for being full of globe-trotting adventuring, you might not be surprised that one of the games makes it over to British shores.
In fact, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception actually starts in a traditional London pub, which is quickly filled with an old-fashioned bar fight. Cue the cringy cockney accents.
Stereotyping aside, London is given a glorious showcase in Uncharted 3. The skyline is given particular care, to the point that you’ll be able to pick out our landmarks with ease even from a distance thanks to the sheer amount of detail – especially at night.
That’s before Nathan Drake runs off to a different locale on yet another adventure anyway.
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7 – Mass Effect 3 (2012)
Although the Mass Effect series is set in the distant future in an unknown galaxy, strangely developer BioWare still managed to squeeze in its own version of London in the latest game – Mass Effect 3.
Amidst the battle raging between Earth’s inhabitants and the Reapers in the final moments of the game, you might spot Big Ben and other London landmarks, albeit briefly.
Despite all the carnage, BioWare manages to quickly highlight the capital without deviating from the mayhem or losing the slick modern feel the series is known for.
See also: Mass Effect 4 news and rumours
8 – ZombiU (2012)
As one of the more recent games to tackle recreating London, ZombiU does it with a survival horror spin that sees you hacking away at the undead with a rickety cricket bat.
Although the game certainly takes advantage of creative license, there’s clever representations of Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace that you’ll spot as you play.
However, the entire game starts off rather surprisingly in Shadwell station, which seems a strange choice from developers Ubisoft Montpellier. We’re not going to judge them though, we’re just happy to see another developer’s take on Blighty.
See also: Best Wii U Games 2015
9 – The Order: 1886 (2015)
A PS4 exclusive released earlier this year, The Order: 1886 explores an alternate Victorian London, where an old order of knights are tasked with keeping the world safe from half-breed monsters.
The idea is the knight have weapons that are far more advanced than they would have at the time, hence the game’s neo-Victorian London setting description.
Although The Order: 1886 hasn’t been the best received games in recent history, thanks to a short campaign, lots of quick time events and extended cut scenes, it’s still one of the best looking games on PS4.
It certainly makes 1886 London look pretty darn beautiful.
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10 – Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (TBC 2015)
Technically, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture isn’t set in a real UK location. Instead, you’ll be tasked with exploring the fictional town of Yaughton.
However, Yaughton is designed to be the epitome of a traditional English country village, supposedly located in the county of Shropshire.
And it’s as stereotypical as they come. Houses covered in flowering vines and ivies circle a main village green complete with children’s playground. The church looms high on the hill, while the country pub in the centre has a cosy garden filled with picnic benches and half-drunk pints.
Your goal is to discover what happened to the people here, but it’s impossible to avoid marvelling at the beauty of this country idyll while you’re doing it.
NB: This game is due to be released later this year
See also: Upcoming PS4 games 2015
11 – Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (October 23, 2015)
Just like Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate isn’t actually out yet. In fact, it’s due to launch on October 23 in the UK for Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
For Syndicate, Ubisoft is swapping the French Revolution of Assassin’s Creed Unity for London. The game will spread across seven London boroughs in the year 1868 during the Industrial Revolution.
It’s a time period that sees organised crime a prevalent feature of society, while great breakthroughs were being made in transportation and science.
You’ll be able to ride around London in horse-drawn carriages and battle it out on top of speeding steam trains in Syndicate, like a Victorian London GTA title.
We’ve not had a chance to play Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, but it looks like it will be as big and detailed as Unity and Black Flag.