European vacation too expensive? Try a virtual vacation with these video games


The interface works well when it comes to managing the arcade, but the best thing about the game is that players get to explore the arcade they’ve built in virtual reality. — Nosebleed Interactive

Sometimes a European vacation isn’t in the cards. Budget constraints prevents that plane trip and lodging or family commitments means that one can’t leave home. When that happens, video games offer an answer. Many of them can transport players to a desired destination, though it may not be a one-to-one reproduction. Some of those destinations may not be even real at all.

With that in mind, here are recent titles that can make players feel as if they were at a vacation destination while staying put in the living room:

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth: Do yourself a favor and play Yakuza: Like a Dragon before jumping into this sequel. Otherwise, you can’t appreciate this adventure to the fullest. The first title in the series revamp transports players to Yokohoma and Osaka in Japan so you’ll be getting your money’s worth from these games.

The sequel follows new series protagonist Ichiban Kasuga as he discovers that his mother is actually alive and residing in Hawaii. That takes him to Oahu and an area that looks like Waikiki as he searches for her and ends up embroiled in more drama involving gangs. It’s the first time the series has gone beyond Japan’s shores and Infinite Wealth maintains the turn-based combat introduced in the previous title.

Despite the new approach, Infinite Wealth maintains the off-beat side quest and touching dramas that are a hallmark of the Sega franchise, but this time, it’s at a vacation hot spot. — Ryu Ga Gotoku StudioDespite the new approach, Infinite Wealth maintains the off-beat side quest and touching dramas that are a hallmark of the Sega franchise, but this time, it’s at a vacation hot spot. — Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio

It was a controversial move but the right one as it opens up more avenues for storytelling and turns the game from an experience focused on one character into a campaign involving an ensemble cast. Despite the new approach, Infinite Wealth maintains the off-beat side quest and touching dramas that are a hallmark of the Sega franchise, but this time, it’s at a vacation hot spot. (Available on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, and PC)

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora: If you can’t take a trip to Walt Disney World to check out the Avatar Flight of Passage ride, this is the next best thing. In fact, this first-person shooter is even better. The adventure plays similarly to Ubisoft’s Far Cry series except players are on the Alpha Centauri moon.

In this original adventure, players take on the role of a Na’vi from a lost tribe of travelling storytellers called the Sarentu. When they were children, the Sarentu were abducted by the Resources Development Administration and trained to be soldiers. But the events of the first film squashed the program. Years later, the children are rediscovered by a former scientist who cared for them, and the campaign follows their reintegration into Na’vi society.

In this original adventure, players take on the role of a Na’vi from a lost tribe of travelling storytellers called the Sarentu. — Massive Entertainment In this original adventure, players take on the role of a Na’vi from a lost tribe of travelling storytellers called the Sarentu. — Massive Entertainment

They also have to battle the RDA, which has taken over and despoiled the Western Frontier. For Avatar fans, this game unlocks whole new areas of the rich world that director James Cameron envisioned and expands the lore, taking players to different tribes that have distinct ways of living with the environment.

Although the game borrows a lot from the Far Cry formula, the environment is distinctly Avatar with unusual fauna and flora. It’s a game that transports you onto a faraway world. (Available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, and PC)

Dragon’s Dogma II: Capcom’s sequel to its underrated action role-playing game asks a lot from players. It throws them in a dark-fantasy environment and pushes them to explore it. As the Arisen, whose heart is stolen by a dragon, players embark on a quest to defeat the beast. That’s easier said than done.

They’ll craft a main companion called a Pawn, who will help the protagonist throughout the quest. They’ll also recruit two other Pawns, which are created by other players. With a party of four, they’ll explore the kingdoms of Battahl and Vermund, fighting monsters and embroiling themselves in political drama.

If players want to immerse themselves in a fantasy world for a vacation, then this is your best bet. — CapcomIf players want to immerse themselves in a fantasy world for a vacation, then this is your best bet. — Capcom

What makes Dragon’s Dogma II so different from other open-world adventures is its dedication to making players explore the world. Fast travel is an expensive option so it pushes players to venture across the world on foot. Along the way, they may run into people in need or other quest-givers. Some of the tasks are timed or go on without the players’ involvement, creating different outcomes.

If players want to immerse themselves in a fantasy world for a vacation, then this is your best bet. (Available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, and PC)

Arcade Paradise VR: This unusual game generated buzz in 2022. On the surface, it looks boring as players take on the role of Ashley, whose father tasks the child with with running the King Wash Laundromat in 1993. It seems like a fairly boring job, but in the back room, there’s a collection of old arcade machines that customers can use, which happens to generate loads of money.

The interface works well when it comes to managing the arcade, but the best thing about the game is that players get to explore the arcade they’ve built in virtual reality. — Nosebleed InteractiveThe interface works well when it comes to managing the arcade, but the best thing about the game is that players get to explore the arcade they’ve built in virtual reality. — Nosebleed Interactive

The goal of the game is to convert the laundromat into a full-blown arcade, but players have to handle the work-life balance. The game has been ported recently to Meta Quest devices and works well with intuitive controls and tweaks that immerse players into the narrative. Players don’t just press buttons to do laundry, they’ll have to toss them in the washer and dryers.

Meanwhile, the interface works well when it comes to managing the arcade, but the best thing about the game is that players get to explore the arcade they’ve built in virtual reality. For those who grew up in that era of gaming, Arcade Paradise VR has a heavy dose of nostalgia and transports them to another summer of their childhood. (Meta Quest 3, Meta Quest 2, Meta Quest Pro. The regular version is available on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X and Series S, Xbox One and PC) – Bay Area News Group/Tribune News Service

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