11 Games Set in the UK
There aren’t too many games set entirely in the UK; true, there are games that feature levels set in a UK location, though mostly that game will take part in other settings around the world also. Given that, I decided to write a list of games that are set exclusively in the UK and the UK alone. Here are 11 console games that are wholly UK-based. Please note that the games below are in no particular order.
Taking place in 1868 in Victorian London, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate features landmarks of the capital city including the likes of Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral, and the Tower of London. The detail is immense, and, as I said in my review, it’s one of the greatest settings that the Assassin’s Creed series has ever seen. The game also features prominent historical figures of the time, including the likes of Queen Victoria, Charles Dickens, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin and Florence Nightingale.
Initially released on the Wii U as a launch title for the console and later as a download for PS4 and Xbox One, this survival horror zombie game already felt like a breath of fresh air with its brutal approach to gameplay, although the London setting also made the game feel really distinct. With the likes of Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London present, the game’s zombie infested London is a good place to be, if you enjoy repeatedly dying.
The Getaway cost an absolute fortune for Sony to make, but it’s not surprising with the amount of work and attention to detail that went into the game. The developer recreated 22 square miles of London, and the results are staggering. While the game was flawed, the setting and the amazing recreation of England’s capital city will long be remembered, and, to my knowledge, this is the only game on the list that boasts a very true-to-life London as opposed to being merely inspired by locations from around the city. A sequel, The Getaway: Black Monday, was also released in 2004.
Yet another game set in London, although only occasionally this time, as Gray Matter actually largely takes place in the grand city of Oxford, with the famous university being a prominent setting for the game. Being one of the more obscure games on this list, Gray Matter was released in 2011 on the Xbox 360 and PC. It’s a very traditional point and click adventure.
Back in 2000, Koudelka was released on the PlayStation, and its Welsh setting was very unique at the time. 15 years later, a game set in Aberystwyth in Wales, or anywhere in Wales for that matter, is a very rare thing. While Nementon Abbey, the location in which the game takes place, is entirely fictional, an RPG game set in Wales remains a novel thing. The developer later worked on the Shadow Hearts series, which also featured Wales as a setting at certain points.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, which, like Koudelka, is also another game that is set in the UK but entirely outside of London. Set in the fictional town of Yaughton located in the English county of Shropshire, the game is unmistakably British in both its look and feel. Despite being a fictional setting, the English countryside has been perfectly captured, with authentic road signs, tight roads, quaint cottages, chirpy birds, wild flowers, and green fields and hedges creating a real sense of place.
PS3 FPS Resistance: Fall of Man actually takes place across a large part of England in an alternate history in which you have to fight off an alien invasion in the early 1950’s. With the likes of London, Grimsby, Manchester, York, Nottingham, Somerset, Cheshire and Bristol being included in the game, there’s certainly not a shortage of English areas, and this is definitely the game with the biggest variety of UK locations on the list. Also notable is the fact that the game caused controversy for its use of Manchester Cathedral, which resulted in complaints from the Church of England and an apology from Sony. The controversy didn’t do the game any harm here in the UK, as the attention that it received brought about a major sales increase.
The only GTA game set outside of the US is Grand Theft Auto: London, 1969. In order to play it, you were required to own the disc for the original top-down Grand Theft Auto. Funnily enough, Grand Theft Auto: London is also the only game in the series that uses the name of the actual city its environment is based on, as opposed to it being inspired by a real city and then renamed with a fictional title in the way that Rockstar usually does. Set in the late 1960’s, the game features Cockney London accents and some famous landmarks. As The Getaway series is no longer with us, a modern day Grand Theft Auto set in London would be welcomed with open arms.
Sherlock Holmes is a British icon, and Frogware Interactive has made a number of games based on the character. Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments is the latest game in the series, and it has you using your investigative prowess across a number of London locations, including Whitechapel, Strand Lane, Kew Gardens and, of course, Baker Street. But, in one of the six cases, the game also takes you to the train stations of Evesham, Bridlington, Doncaster and Chesterfield. Another case takes you to the town of St. Albans in Hertfordshire as well.
Nightmare Creatures is yet another game set in London and, like three other games on this list, it has a Victorian setting. The game is spread across many areas of London, which includes very well known locations, but there are also others that aren’t too well known. Locations include Chelsea, Westminister, Highgate, Spitalfields, Marylebone, Bloombury, and Hampstead Heath, amongst others. A sequel was also released in 2000, but Paris joined London as another location in the game.
The Order is one of the best looking games ever, and it’s also set in London as well. Taking inspiration from Steampunk, the events of the game take place in an alternate history of the city. The London Underground makes an appearance, as does Westminister, Whitechapel, Hyde Park and Blackwall. The Order certainly portrays a beautiful version of London, although the game itself could have been a little better.
Upon compiling this list, I realised that more than half of the games I have included are actually set in London from start to finish, and whilst it’s great that England’s capital is gaining lots of attention, it would be very welcome for developers to think outside of London for inspiration for any future UK-set games. How about a console game set entirely in bonny Scotland? With its rich culture and history, surely there are some stories that need to be told? As it takes place in the Scottish Hebrides, a console release of Dear Esther would be most welcome.
What are your favourite UK-set games?