End of the world scenarios are a common occurrence throughout most archetypes of video game storytelling, but it is when they actually happen that we are particularly intrigued. The 10 Best Post-Apocalyptic Worlds of Gaming not only show the decimation of society, but they also focus on mankind's perseverance in the face of utter destruction; that no matter how far the world descends into hell, we will continue to fight. Try and think of how many nuclear bombs and chemical weapons are actually out there in the world, and this list becomes a much more terrifying thing. But like the heroes of these titles, we must persist through multiple, desolate wastelands as we explore the 10 Best Post-Apocalyptic Worlds of Gaming.
Based on the literary series written by Dmitri Glukovsky, Metro 2033 involves exploring much of Moscow's underground metro system post-Black Rain. In this apocalypse setting, ammunition is scarce and is used as a form of currency. And while the bullets are precious, they are a necessity when there is a war between the neo-Nazis and a re-established Soviet Union going on in the underground. While Metro 2033 might have some gamers screaming "Fallout Clone!", its source material was written roughly three years before Fallout 3, which introduced the series to most gamers. Thus, we feel that Metro 2033 deserves its spot on our list of 10 Best Apocalyptic Worlds of Gaming. Also, Metro has mutant bear boss battles.
While we have seen Shao Kahn's forces invade Earth multiple times throughout the Mortal Kombat series (and, unfortunately, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation), his invasion in the 2011 title was the most impressive. There were armies of Tarkatan (Baraka's race), centaurs, and even giant dragons. But who knew that the banshee-like Sindel would be the one that would actually kill most of Raiden's fighters? And no, talking about multiple fatalities in Mortal Kombat hardly counts as being a spoiler.
Hundreds of times more enjoyable than that Hills Have Eyes-ripoff, Chernobyl Diaries, the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series has players exploring Ukraine's Pripyat area where the 1986 Chernobyl disaster occurred. In this alternate reality, Ukrainians tried to repopulate the area. Unfortunately, a second radioactive accident occurred and this exacerbated the conditions of Pripyat tremendously. Let's just say, there's a reason why the title of the series is an acronym (hint: scavengers, trespassers, adventurers, loners, killers, explorers, robbers).
First, planet Sera had a massive civil war between the Coalition of Ordered Governments and the Union of Independent Republics over Imulsion, a liquid form of combustible energy. The COG ended up decimating the Union due to their use of the Hammer of Dawn, a massive orbital laser, on many Union-based cities. Years later, the COG (and most of the other inhabitants of Sera), unearthed the Locust because they excavated too deep into the ground in search of Imulsion. The Locust ravaged COG forces to the point that every human left on Sera was encouraged to flee to Jacinto City, as the COGs used the Hammer of Dawn on all other remaining cities on the planet in order to prevent the Locust from properly fortifying and using their own resources. Things sound royally screwed for Fenix and the rest of Delta Squad, and we haven't even mentioned the Lambent yet.
Even since the Black Mesa Research Facility opened a dimensional rift to planet Xen, it unleashed hell for Gordon Freeman's world. In what was dubbed the "Seven Hour War", all of Humanity surrendered to Xen's Combine forces in a time shorter than it would take to binge the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Combine's thoroughly oppressed all of humanity and demilitarized every country on the planet.
From Resident Evil to Left 4 Dead, there were plenty of zombie outbreaks scenarios to chose from, but we felt that the zombie oubreak of Dead Rising is the one that felt the most right. L4D was skipped because of the astronomical amounts of bullets used, and RE was axed because the franchise is trying to evolve beyond the standard types of zombies and walkers. We achknowledge that Dead Rising has its fair share of fallacies (mainly in terms of its whacky, human bosses), but Dead Rising 3's E3 video was so impressive in terms of capturing the magnitude of a zombie outbreak, that it cemented its spot on our list of 10 Best Post-Apocalyptic Worlds of Gaming
Take Richard Matheson's best novel, trade the vampirism in for the worst case of athlete's foot in the history of fiction, let it sit for 20 years and watch the grass grow... over everything. All jokes aside, The Last of Us was a masterpiece, but the world of the Cordyceps outbreak is an extremely bleak life where just the slightest mistake could kill you. The stalkers, runners, clickers and bloaters left us both scared and disgusted by what the outbreak could do. But the abundance of the spore-spreading plant life which cause the disease and the ease of transmitting the fungus via scratching or biting left us even more scared for Joel and Ellie throughout their ventures.
The temporal anomalies inadvertently caused by Lucca's teleportation machine set forth a journey through time where Crono and his friends were simply trying to return back home... until they were transported to 2300 A.D. At first, this bleak world seemed to have suffered nuclear fallout (as if this list can't get enough of that, right?). But, a more horrific truth is learned when Crono and company watched video footage from 1999 of the planet-eating Lavos emerging from underground, obliterating the world in an instant. The post-Day of Lavos is filled with ash, remnants of an advanced culture, and humanity has dwindled down to about a dozen unlucky survivors who are all starving to death. Ouch.
Except for New Vegas, the Fallout series has always revolved around Vault-dwellers who have lived inside self-sustaining (well.. not always), sealed living quarters designed to withstand nuclear fallout. The Vaults were designed for humanity to survive the nuclear holocaust that happened in 2077 after the wars between China vs. The United States and Europe vs. the Middle East finally came to a horrific close. After multiple generations, some Vaults were opened, and many of its inhabitants were unprepared for surviving in the Wasteland. Super Mutant problems? Better call the Brotherhood of Steel!
Most Japanese role-playing games revolve around preventing the end of the world, but in Final Fantasy 6, it actually happens. When the Joker-like Kefka moved the statues of Three Warring Gods, it caused a releasing of their combined powers which vastly changed the world for the worse: continents were shattered into islands, ancient monsters were set free and plants could no longer grow throughout most civilized areas. After the destruction, all 14 party members of Final Fantasy 6 lived in separate areas of the world, each trying to cope with armageddon in their own unique way. It was up to Celes, Terra and the rest of the company to regroup and dethrone Kefka in order to restore order to the world. The selfless acts of Locke and the rest of the gang left us inspired to put the World of Ruin as the top spot in our list of 10 Best Post-Apocalyptic Worlds of Gaming. Kupo!