Video Games Set In New York

August 21, 2019 12:27 pm

NYC’s a pretty famous place, so it’s not hugely surprising that many a video game has taken place there. And what better way to experience all the fineries the city has to offer than from the comfort of your own room, in the dark, alone. Just how nature intended. So don’t get dressed. Don’t shower. Don’t even brush your teeth. Use your eyes and join us on a reading journey through some of the many video games set in New York.

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Die Hard Trilogy

Yippee ki yay. If it isn’t New York’s favourite fictional cop John McClane with his own trilogy of ‘maximum adventures’ (according to the box art). Die Hard Trilogy was a classic for the PS1 back in the late Nineties. Three films (we don’t talk about the other two) translated into three very different gaming experiences.

The first had you playing McClane in third person, as you ran around Nakatomi Plaza, disarming threats. Die Hard 2 was an on-rails shooter akin to Time Crisis or House of the Dead (and special editions even featured a bulky plastic light gun). And finally, Die Hard With a Vengeance saw you drive around NYC in a taxi, stopping criminals. Those who played it will no doubt remember the windscreen wipers. Brutal.

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Max Payne

Hardboiled cop Max Payne had it pretty rough. He lost his wife and daughter and was framed for his partner’s death. So what did Max Payne do? He donned his best leather jacket, that’s what. Oh, he also enacted justice on the perpetrators while wielding the uncanny ability to slow down time.

The Max Payne series is often credited as the game that popularised ‘bullet time’ in the game industry, with its inspirations firmly based in Hong Kong action cinema. It’s a technique still used nearly 20 years later in all sorts of different game genres. Followed by two sequels that delved further into Max’s psyche and his decent into alcoholism, this brutal noir trilogy still holds up today as one of the best action spectacles around. They’re only surpassed by the cinematic tour-de-force that is the Max Payne movie. Lol.

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50 Cent: Bulletproof

The Noughties were kind to 50 Cent. ‘Get Rich Or Die Trying’ the movie, anyone? But did you also know that he starred in not one, but two video games? Thank you, whoever greenlit these. Thank you so much.

In 50 Cent: Bulletproof, you play Fiddy. You run, you fight, and you throw out uninspired one liners and edgy curse words. Inspiring stuff. When aliens eventually find the remnants of our species in a few million years, we hope that they find the very pinnacle of human achievement – this game.

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Marvel’s Spiderman

Just when you thought Marvel were content with cornering the cinematic and comic book markets, here comes the first game in another potential ‘universe’. When will they end?

Thankfully, this new universe starts with a bang (pun intended, as all puns are). This fantastic game sees you take up the well-worn mantle of Peter Parker. However, unlike the high school antics of the Tom Holland-fronted movies, this is an older take on The Webslinger. You’ll swing through the city, stopping street crimes while facing off against some of Spiderman’s greatest adversary – full time employment. You can even take selfies, like an insufferable millennial. This video game set in New York is actually well worth a play.

Grand Theft Auto IV

No list of video games set in New York would be complete without a mention of Rockstar’s behemoth, Grand Theft Auto. Three games in the series have taken place in Liberty City, Rockstar’s fictional recreation of the Big Apple, but perhaps its most well-known is GTA IV. Players control Niko Bellic, an Eastern European immigrant who arrives on Liberty City’s shores to meet his “COUSIN!” Roman, in pursuit of the American Dream.

Niko starts off small-time, helping out his idiot cousin in many of his schemes, but soon finds himself doing jobs for the criminal elite, and even working for a shady undercover government organisation disguised as a paper company. You’ll drive, and fight maniacally through 40+ hours of open-world goodness, and eagle-eyed players can even find a beating heart in the Statue of Liberty. Sadly, she doesn’t have one in real life. Don’t believe us? See for yourself.

Def Jam Vendetta

What do you get if you bring some of rap’s biggest names together for a video game? Pro-wrestling, obviously. With NYC as the backdrop, you can pick from a huge roster of established rap stars like DMX, Method Man, and Ludacris and…sigh…wrestle other rappers. Or you can take on the game’s story mode, which sounds hilarious. Grapple for street cred, pin your expectations on the mat, and choke-slam your disbelief as you vendetta your way to saving your girlfriend from a wrestling promoter or something. How do games like this exist? The Noughties. That’s how.

Them’s just some of the many video games set in New York City. If you didn’t like this list then you are wrong, but please feel free to tell us which games you would have picked instead in the comments below!

Fancy exploring New York IRL? We’ve got plenty of inspiration for you.

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