10 of the Best Games Set in New York
New York is pretty much the perfect setting for video games. The diverse culture, iconic buildings and wonderful scenery mean you can set pretty much any type of game there. These strengths have seen the ‘Big Apple’ make its appearance in a wide range of games – but which one is the best?
There are plenty of video games that could’ve made the list. You would probably be surprised at just how many games feature New York in their gameplay. It seems to be an excellent selling point, as it is in movies. New York has really become a big hit for gaming, not just video games either but also casino gaming and sports betting. We took a look at the best NY sportsbooks and apps 2023 and were pleasantly surprised with the amount of platforms available to New York residents. Anyway, onto the list:
Indigo Prophecy aka Fahrenheit
Fahrenheit (Known as Indigo Prophecy in America) brought a totally unique take to storytelling when it was released back in 2005. Instead of the straightforward narrative arc that pretty much every other game at the time used, Fahrenheit made gamers make deeper choices that totally affected the story and plot. It was an incredibly immersive game.
Gamers play as one of the multiple characters to unravel a plot centring around murders taking place around New York. The city itself is dark, cold and gloomy – a perfect setting for this somber and rather dark story-based game. Taking heavily from classic film noir, Fahrenheit also takes elements from hit detective films that are based in New York such as Angel Heart and Se7en.
True Crime: New York City
Another classic from the retro archives would have to be the sequel to True Crime: Streets of LA – True Crime: New York City. This expansive sandbox game has a vibrant open city and sees you taking the role of a cop who’s tasked with cleaning up the streets of Manhattan.
Even though the game is from 2005, the attention to detail is staggering. You have all the biggest hot spots from the city recreated faithfully in 3D with a rather good voice cast to boot (expect to hear the voices of none other than Lawrence Fishbourne, Mickey Rourke and Christopher Walken).
There were some unique gameplay elements in the game too which saw it become quite popular, although it couldn’t topple the king of the open-world sandbox genre, Grand Theft Auto.
Peter Jackson’s King Kong
Movie tie-in games have a long-standing reputation for being less than stellar cash grabs. Thankfully, this is definitely not the case with King Kong – you can tell a lot of care and attention was put into the development of the game to make it just as good as the film.
The game takes place in multiple locations, with the first half taking place on Skull Island. But later on, Kong makes his way to New York. It’s this section which has meticulously captured the charm and feel of 30s New York in a brilliant way. You even get to relive the iconic scene of Kong on top of the Empire State Building!
Assassins Creed 3
Taking things way back to the 18th century, Assassins Creed 3 sees New York depicted how it was long before the first skyscraper was built in the city. This time period saw New York as more of an up-and-coming port town, starting life as one of the major centers of commerce in the world.
The Assassins Creed games are well known for their attention to detail when it comes to the historical sections of the game and Assassins Creed 3 is no exception. If you’re after an action-packed game set in 18th-century America which sees you fending off the old redcoats, look no further.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game
Ghostbusters: The Video Game is often seen as the 3rd classic Ghostbusters film that the fans never got. You’ve got a majority of the original cast taking up their respective mantle and a fun/quirky storyline to go with it.
The absolute pinnacle of the game though is the number of real-life locations you’ll find yourself fending off ghosts around New York City. From the streets of Manhattan to the Natural History Museum, fending off ghouls and ghosts in these recognisable landmarks never gets old.
Prototype offers a more fantastical take on New York. You play as an experimental shapeshifter called Alex Mercer who can fashion his body into weapons. On top of this, you have a rather cool array of acrobatic moves that will have you traversing through New York in all manners of fantastical ways.
Skyscrapers are an absolute breeze to run up and you can glide around the city. When you get the hang of using these abilities, you’re zipping around the buildings of New York effortlessly. The actual rendition of New York in Prototype isn’t the best though, so don’t expect a massively detailed map.
The iconic anti-hero took an outing in the grimy streets of New York in his first-ever outing. The game sees Max avenging the death of his family over three gloomy and snowy nights in the city.
The game itself doesn’t really show the splendor and scale of New York as most of the levels are high-rise apartments but it does a really good job of showing the seedy underbelly of the city. The noir detective tone of the game is second to almost none and it’s one of those games that you can’t put down from start to finish.
Tom Clancy’s The Division
The Division takes New York City and converts it to a guerilla warfare zone. In the game, there’s been some sort of viral outbreak which has seen the city descend into chaos, with a big chunk of the city being quarantined off. It’s up to the player to help bring order back to the city.
The game itself is super atmospheric and really gets you feeling like you’re in a ravaged New York. The city is drenched in snow and whilst the map doesn’t have every square inch of New York, the bits you get to play in are incredibly detailed. They’re even faithfully recreated some iconic locations in New York – the Rockefeller Centre and the Empire State Building. You’ll have to be pretty brave to venture into these though as they’re ‘Dark Zones’ in the game.
GTA 4 doesn’t actually include New York = but Liberty City is pretty much the city just with a new name. The fictional city has inspirations of everything New York does including major landmarks: You can find a version of Central Park, a rendition of Times Square and even a cheeky representation of the iconic Statue of Liberty.
The thing which separates the city in GTA 4 from every other game is the sheer amount to do whilst you’re in the city. You can rob a taxi and take fares, visit numerous shops or just drive around to take everything in. Your choices are almost limitless.
Spider-Man brings New York to life in a way that no other game does. The graphics of the game are simply jaw-dropping and web-slinging your way around the high-rise buildings just can’t be replicated by any other game.
Sure, it’s not a one-to-one representation of New York, but it’s almost unbelievable how close it gets. You can sling your way over to the One World Trade building, climb up to the top and take a cheeky selfie – or you can simply walk amongst the crowds of the street and watch the taxis drive by!