If you had booked tickets to go on vacation in the coming weeks, it is quite likely that you would have had to revise your plans. Farewell to California, farewell to the turquoise waters of Mykonos, farewell to the Moroccan desert, farewell to the snowy foothills of the Eyjafjallajökull.
Unless. Unless you decide to play with fate, damning the pawn at Covid-19, without even lifting the buttocks of your sofa. Here’s something to get some fresh air, and still travel, through a virtual reality screen or headset.
You were planning to go to the United States: "Grand Theft Auto V"
Obviously, in Grand Theft Auto ((GTA), it is mainly about robberies, car thefts, settling of scores. But after all, what is the point of following the story, when one can get out of this tumult and freely visit the city of Los Santos, a reproduction more real than life of Los Angeles? And why not have a little getaway through GTA San Andreas, in the gigantic island state close to Southern California? Its mountain landscapes, its coast, its lake … There is there, even for players who respect the law and the highway code, what to spend an infinite time.
Also try: Red Dead Redemption II to travel the states of the east coast one hundred and twenty years ago on horseback; Far Cry 5 to get lost in Montana; or the good old man GTA IV, released in 2008, to stroll in Liberty City, a reproduction of New York.
You were planning to go to Norway: "The Witcher III"
If the action of The Witcher III takes place largely in the plains and swamps of a medieval and fantastic declination of Poland, in an open world where you can walk on foot or on horseback, one of its most important chapters is devoted to the Isle of Skellige.
As we know, the Skellig Islands, the real ones, are in Ireland: this is where most of the scenes from the last trilogy were filmed. Star Wars dedicated to Luke Skywalker. But in the Skellige of The Witcher III, there is also a lot of Norway, and snow-capped mountains. The people may not be as welcoming as around Oslo, but they deserve to be given a chance.
And also : The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, its slightly aggressive trolls and its mountains that have not aged since the game was released in 2011.
You were planning to go to Iceland: "Death Stranding"
Death Stranding is supposed to take place in post-apocalyptic United States, ravaged by rain that causes accelerated aging of everything it touches. A rough landscape therefore, hard, wild, damaged by time and the elements. The good idea of Kojima Productions, the studio behind this game released in October 2019: take inspiration from the landscapes of Iceland, scanned in 3D to the smallest pebble. The result is stunning, quite sinister it is true, but beautiful to die for. You just have to avoid the ghosts that haunt the place.
You were planning to go to Greece: "Assassin’s Creed Odyssey"
Some embark on a world tour, others are content to redo the entire Assassin's Creed, a series which since 2007 has offered to visit both ancient Egypt and industrial London, through revolutionary Paris or the Jerusalem of the Crusades.
The last episode to date is, in terms of reenactment, perhaps the most stunning, both Assassin's Creed Odyssey allows you to immerse yourself in an ancient Greece crying out for truth, with its sumptuous landscapes, its towns and villages, and its resplendent Aegean Sea.
The ideal, to enjoy the walk without having to cross the iron every hundred meters with bellicose Spartans, is still to buy the version Discovery tour, which is also sold at a reduced price (and even free for owners of the base game). Not only is it devoid of scenario, combat and danger, but it also offers dozens of "guided tours" allowing you to discover truly resurrected historic places.
You were planning to go to the desert: "Paper Beast"
Unlike the other games in this selection, Paper Beast (released March 24 in virtual reality on PlayStation 4) does not pretend to want to reproduce reality, but it is so immersive that it remains a dream vacation destination.
We walk there in a desert populated by peaceful paper creatures, launched in a migration towards a mysterious elsewhere. Along the way, they will encounter obstacles: it is up to the player to help them overcome it, in particular by using the behavior and characteristics of the critters (some spit sand, others suck it up, etc.) to shape the terrain.
To benefit from this poetic experience thought by the legendary French creator Eric Chahi, it will however be necessary to have the virtual reality headset of the PlayStation 4.
You were planning to go anywhere else: "Google Earth VR"
An even rarer accessory than the virtual reality headset for PlayStation 4, the PC headset (there are multiple models, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Valve Index, etc.) remains one of the best means of escape for the confined player. A surprise, however. It may not be a video game that makes the best use of it, but a well-known and free program: Google Earth, in its "VR" version.
It’s not entirely delusional to argue that Google Earth VR is the most staggering free and open source human invention from, say, Wikipedia. There is something overwhelming to see this immense blue ball reveal itself in its smallest details, while one zooms in the envy until discovering, reproduced in 3D, the least of its landscapes, the least of its cities. From exhilarating to walking in the middle of Manhattan or Paris as if we were a monster a kilometer high. It’s moving to gain height and to become aware of the vastness of the world, the distances that separate us, but above all, from this planet that brings us together.