Five video game worlds worth taking time to go for a stroll

Taking the time to explore "No Man's Sky" is worthwhile for players, maybe you'll find a way to befriend the bird-turtle dinosaurs? — Hello Games/dpa

Video games aren't really known for allowing unstructured activity or idle time: There is always a task to be completed, a mission to attempt, a record to beat. Every action, no matter how small, is rewarded with experience points or powerful equipment.

But once in a while, it's worth going for a stroll in the game world. Without a goal or place to be. Some video games even become more appealing through a relaxed stroll — here are five to try out:

Scandinavian strolling through Skyrim

A classic role-playing game, "The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim" takes place in a fantasy world full of elves, orks and dragons. But the landscape itself takes a few cues from the real world, bringing to mind Finland or Sweden with coniferous forests, high mountains and river valleys.

Players who take a virtual walk through this snowy landscape will be rewarded not only with beautiful ice crystals and rolling white hills on the horizon, but also special discoveries. The developers figured that players would occasionally stray from the path, whether on purpose or accidentally, and placed little surprises here and there.

Sometimes it's a mysterious witch's cottage, other times it's a ritual stone circles that fill the air with a magical crackle. Either way, a trip off the beaten path in Skyrim is worth players' while.

— "The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim," Bethesda Softworks, for PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Xbox Series Nintendo Switch, about US$40 (RM166)

Social criticism to discover for yourself

When "Cyberpunk 2077" first came out, there was an uproar: The technical aspects were so bad that the game would repeatedly crash or displayed levels incorrectly. It took several weeks and many updates until these teething problems were eventually sorted out for gamers.

The game's unfortunate rollout overshadowed the immense detail that can be found in this futuristic game, even away from the storyline. And the best way to discover them is through a leisurely stroll.

The world of "Cyberpunk 2077" contains a lot of the same themes found in the genre of the same name: Criticism of capitalism and social inequality, and a penchant for vigilante justice and anarchy instead of democracy. Walk through the metropolises and outlying districts of this game world to find these same resounding themes, from hostile architecture to drug-dealing children on the side of the streets.

— "Cyberpunk 2077," CD Projekt Red, for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, about US$50 (RM207)

Take a (primordial) walk on the wild side

"Far Cry Primal" offers an unusual experience from the get-go: Its open game world takes players back to the early days of man, when Homo sapiens had not yet established themselves. There are no wizards or trolls, dungeons or gunfights here. Instead, players find themselves fighting Neanderthals, sabre-toothed tigers and mammoths.

And not surprisingly, the game is also very nature-focused, inviting players to take a stroll through the dense, sun-drenched forests and vast, grassy fields. And not another person in sight! Not too shabby.

— "Far Cry Primal," Ubisoft, for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, about US$30 (RM124).

Cosmic worlds at random

The original vision behind the space adventure "No Man's Sky" was already pretty close to what every fan of walking dreams of: Billions of planets generated randomly that should be as different as possible from one another. With unique flora and fauna, each begs players to go exploring new sights. Sound impressive? It is — from planets full of green meadows to deep-red lava hells, this universe has it all.

To top it off, there are also imaginatively designed animals and plants, also created randomly, that will surprise intrepid gamers.

The most spectacular shapes and colours are waiting to be discovered, but only for those who aren't satisfied with just taking in the view.

— "No Man's Sky," Hello Games, for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, about US$60 (RM248).

Bringing colour to the world

Unlike the other games in this list, "GRIS" doesn't offer a completely open game world. Players are led on a short leash through this linear adventure. However, the trick is that the walk itself is the adventure, which makes this game actually worth experiencing.

The game deals with heavy topics such as trauma, loss, fear and worry — all of which the protagonist tries to process by dancing ballet around the world. Step by step, she colours the game world into a colourful interplay offering an ideal background for a dreamy walk.

— "GRIS," Nomada Studio, Blitworks, for PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, about US$10 (RM41). – dpa

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